Friday, July 29, 2022

Writing Out the Sadness and Anger--How to Get Strong Emotions on the Page Authentically

Sometimes I come to my writing with a lot of emotion--from my reactions to life events, the world, my own self. Maybe you've experienced this, especially lately. Do you find, like I have, that it is tricky to translate strong emotions into story, in a way that a reader who is living a completely different reality can enter?

It takes a certain writing skill, certainly. But I also find it takes some personal processing time, either on the page or otherwise, to gain the objectivity that makes an emotion universal.

In my early writing days, I didn't understand this. I "journaled" my own emotions into my characters. Basically, this is told emotion--we tell ourselves the feelings and thoughts when we journal. Not a bad thing at all, very needed when we are trying to make sense of our lives. But these emotions are often one step removed from the reader--they are too personal to our lives.