Writing is hard. This sentiment repeats itself over writing posts everywhere.
Why is it so? I reflected on this notion and came to realize that it’s not a correct universal statement.
It should read: “Writing is hard, sometimes.”
There are times when you the writer knows what’s in your head, you understand the scene that you want to share, and the words just flow. That’s a great experience, and any writer feels a sense of catharsis, a physical release, and satisfaction. Even though we know, we’ll probably have to rewrite it and spruce it up a bit later; these moments can keep us motivated.
The writing becomes difficult when we face a scene that we need to write, and we don’t want to relive that experience for personal reasons. I ran into this the other day, so let me share my experience.
I have a scene in my new WIP, In The Woods, where my protagonist, Samantha, meets up with an old friend, Zach. Big deal, right. Well, it was tedious to write because the character’s mindset is so far from my own.
You see, I’ve been happily married for over thirty years. To write with the correct mindset of Samantha, I had to remember what it feels like to confront a person whom I’ve admired in the past, held a torch for, and was crushed by the breakup. Not only that, but Samantha was hurt to the point where her character had no other love interests since.
The protagonist’s entire sense of trust had been depleted when the man she was infatuated with had left her hometown. Now he walks into her life again, and feelings are stirred. Add the conflict of Samantha having to work side by side with this guy.
Yes, most of us have experienced unrequited love, but do you remember how it felt? Can you spill the right tension onto the page?
Thank goodness I have a dependable memory and also have counseled many broken hearts over the years. I pulled in those real life stories and used them. I found it uncomfortable to go back there, into the thoughts of the past, things better left behind.
But the scene called for the emotional state of a young teenager, hurt and disillusioned, now a grown woman trying to come to terms with herself. I had to go there.
Situations like this scene are when the writing is hard work. We search our feelings even those out of our comfort zones and are willing to relive healed wounds and tap into the emotional drive needed to reach the momentum the scene demands.
Here are three things that may help any writer:
- First, answer questions about your character’s motives as an objective onlooker.
- Then let the character speak in their own voice, not your past, but their past.
- Last, tap your own emotions to create a mood, but do not rewrite your own story.
I wonder, does anyone else want to share a scene they had a hard time writing? Please share and post your comment.