What’s Love Got to Do With it?
So today is Valentine’s Day. Spring is near– though with all these obscene rain, it’s practically impossible to believe, and until it snows, I can’t move on from winter. And love is in the air. And it sickens me.
Don’t get me wrong, I love love, but if you’re one of the many people feeling left out, you’re likely to give into cynicism. That’s why I’ll be at my Creative Writing Society meeting, where we can get all creative with our cynicism. And that’s what you should be doing too!
Beauty Is Pain
Now I’m not asking you to fill your writing with pissed off characters who try to wreck love for other couples, but I am talking about writing out your pain. Every character you write will have a trace of your own personality, or your repressed feelings and worries, or your beliefs. Each character is a part of you, and so one of the best ways to make them life-like is to draw out your own emotions into them.
We Feed on the Weak
Now the one fear with writing from your soul is criticism. You have to be aware that no matter how sincere you try to make your writing, there will always be critics and you have to be ready for that, whether it be to prepare to ignore them, or take the criticism like a champ and try harder next time. Writing from your pain can open up a doorway to a hurt you thought long ago closed. I know the feeling. I’ve tried writing what I hoped to be “deep” poems, originating from trials of my own. Though the heart wrenching ache was not quite as bad, it was still there– this ghostly numbness. It can be distressing and sometimes it can be too distressing for your readers too.
Conceal It. Don’t Feel It. Don’t Let Them Know.
Yes, I did get the above line from Disney’s Frozen, and like Elsa, the princess and would-be-queen, as a writer, we all have to wear our own thin veneer to keep the readers just a little bit distanced from the true reality of our soul. That’s why we have our characters. There is a thin line between using your emotions to build a character to life-like proportions, and letting your emotions overpower the novel. Your characters shouldn’t be exactly like you, or else it wouldn’t be completley original. And come on, could you imagine writing a novel with a character who’s past boyfriends or girlfriends and conquests had the same details as those of your own? We don’t need to read your diary– we want to read your novel. Or poem, or script, whatever format it may be.
How to Write it Out
An English teacher of mine gave us this useful advice during the stressful times of A-levels, back at sixth form. She advised us to keep a diary, and of course to write regualarly. Obvious, right? But it was the method that intrigued me. She told us to write continuously for about 10-15 minutes, and interestingly enough, NOT to have prepared anything beforehand.
What came out was this rush of words, in a voice that sounded so naturaly becuase I was literally writing as I was thinking. And it was strange how my mind flitted across to so many subjects and people in a short space of time– much more than if I had prepared my topic in advance.
Another piece of advice she gave us was to write in the 3rd person, to distance yourself from, well, yourself! Other interesting ways would be to change tenses.
For me, personally, I had a very emotional first week at university, getting to grips with living on my own. So one strange night I woke up at maybe 2AM in the morning and wrote out this really long, really angry poem. And you know what? It was cathartic. And that’s the beauty of writing– it’s therapeutic.