Obstacle #7: Emotions

Alright writers, let’s face it: sometimes, even when we manage to write something and be decently content with it, no one else will ever read it. Why?

Can’t– let– anyone— read this– EVER!!

So yes, today’s topic is emotions (aka any feelings that tell you your writing isn’t worthy, and you should just stop deluding yourself because clearly you’re not meant to be a writer).

Join me in this journey to tell those feelings to kindly turn around, sit down and shut up.

Whether you’re afraid, embarrassed or your ego just can’t take criticism, we humans are great at feeling things we don’t always need. Being a writer is, in part, bearing bits of your soul not even on your hands or fingers, but on (and nowadays in) foreign objects, completely removed from you and your reach. Once it’s out there, it’s out there for good (much like the internet– uh oh).

I’ve heard that writers are brave, because most of them expose themselves and their vulnerabilities. Isn’t that true? It took me a while to be ok with sending my writing to people, but I was ok, because I didn’t see them reading it first hand. I think once or twice a few people were reading above my shoulder, on the computer, and that– was quite unpleasant. I don’t know what the difference is, maybe that the sent version is more a polished product than whatever I might have on the screen at the moment.

Regardless, gaining courage to divulge your precious writing takes time and perseverance (which admittedly I lack too often, unfortunately). Obviously I’m still working on it, but let’s face it, a part of me is still afraid. Why else would I publish under a pseudonym? Half of me tells me it’s to protect whatever ounce of privacy I can, while I can. The other half is testing the waters, thinking that when the time’s right, I’ll probably jump in and publish under my real name; downsides be damned. (Step 0.5: seriously, write. Step 1: publish something.)

Ultimately, are emotions good or bad for your writing? … Well, they’re a vital part, aren’t they? Without them we probably wouldn’t have any inspiration or feelings to convey through our writing, so they’re not something we can just write off or easily cut out. Our emotions make us who we are, which defines your individuality. Sure everyone feels anger and pain, but the degree or angle of pain depends on all your previous pain experiences. Guess what? No one else but you had those.

“But if everyone’s special, then no one is!” you say. Sure, whatever, suit yourself. Just know that we are, and so are you.

All that to say that while emotions impede writing sometimes (at least mine), they come in handy so often it’s probably 10 fold to the power of 10. How can we write a believable character if we don’t have even a miniscule amount of what emotion they’re feeling? Certainly our creativity does the rest, but we need some kind of base, most likely inspired from our own experience(s).

Feedback/News

And that’s a wrap. I think I’m currently out of ideas for this Obstacle Series, so unless you have things you want me to attempt to tackle, I might just have to start a (writing based) Q&A… So please don’t be shy and throw topics at me! 😉

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