It’s peculiar the relationship that writing and emotion have for me. There has always been a strong connection between misery and writing, for me. Whenever I’m going through a rough period I turn to writing as a means of escape and self-treatment. Conversely, when I’m happy writing doesn’t come as easily, or more correctly, the ideas don’t flow as easily.
I reason that it began when I started writing poetry – something that has never been my forte – after my father died about ten years ago. This was my first way of using writing as a means of dealing with emotion and problems. It was my latter teenage years (so naturally), a time when I was much less comfortable expressing emotion. Therefore writing became a way of dealing with emotions using an alias, as it were, a character-mask.
It was from there that my writing evolved and I began to create characters who were not completely me. They have always had traits or aspects of me but were not solely I. They carried my emotions often though, which were more often than not my negative emotions.
Characters need problems, obstacles to overcome; they need to be ripped apart and build back up. That is in itself the essence of storytelling.
But how do I genuinely do that when I don’t feel like I’ve problems to project onto them? When I don’t remember that last time I felt emotionally drained? Is it fabrication if it’s not authentic?
Though, as I write this I can’t help but feel like I’m being naïve and short-sighted. Perhaps I don’t need to be feeling the exact feeling of my characters as I write them. I have felt what I want my characters to feel. I have gone through their emotional states in the past. Maybe I need to dig deeper inside myself to find these emotions and construct a character. I need to get back on the prose horse, to flog a dead metaphor, and write until something is worthy!