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Guest Post: Chynna Laird
This week, I have a journey that focuses on being an emotional writer. Please welcome author Chynna Laird as she shares her personal journey and offers up some helpful advice to becoming an author.
Writing From the Heart
Hello. My name is Chynna and I’m an emotional writer. No, it doesn’t mean I’m emotional, sobbing away while I’m writing (well…sometimes I do). What it means is that whatever I’m writing, no matter the genre, I seem to have the power to elicit deep emotions in my readers. I can’t help it. I don’t try to. The words just flow out of me that way. I don’t know whether it’s because I wear my heart on my sleeve or because I’m deeply connected to the emotions I’ve experienced in past situations. Either way, I draw from it to breath life into my stories and characters. And I wasn’t always comfortable with it.
You see, to be an emotional writer, it means you are strong enough to take yourself to that vulnerable place we usually keep hidden. That place we tuck our true emotions away so we don’t get hurt. But in order for your readers to relate to your characters and the experiences they have in your story, you need to have the courage to bring them into that emotional place. You need to feel it so your characters can show it, then your readers can relate too. That’s very powerful.
Draw from experience: You know all of those times your heart was broken? Or when you were disappointed that something didn’t work out quite the way it was supposed to? Or the pain of losing someone you loved? Or the fear in the pit of your stomach of that person/situation/place that scared the bijeezers out of you? Or the loneliness that overcame you when you were excluded? Or the pride you felt when you succeeded? Yeah! All of those good, bad and ugly times. Turn to those experiences, remember the way you felt and bring that to your writing.
Don’t fear the emotion: Trust me, I ‘get’ there are occasions that were so painful or terrifying you just don’t want to go there. I think my biggest fear was going to those places emotionally and not being able to come back out. Of course if something is too much, then don’t force it to come. But as writers, we owe it both to ourselves as well as to our readers to be willing to ‘go there’ emotionally so what our characters show is genuine. Don’t fear the feelings, embrace them.
See the scene through your character’s eyes: Connect with your characters, seeing the scenes through his or her eyes. What does she see? How does she respond to the situation or others? How does her environment make her feel? That’s essential in order for your characters to tell your story. If you go into your story with tunnel vision, your characters will too and your readers won’t be able to connect with them.
Have a positive distraction: One way I dealt with my fear of my often overwhelming emotions is to practice the art of positive distraction. I write both nonfiction and fiction and there are some issues I tackle that can be very draining. If/when those scenes get ‘too much’, be sure to have a way to come down from it all. Activities like yoga, meditation, reading a feeling good book, playing with your kids (if you have them) or even some more vigorous exercise are all ways to clear the body, mind and spirit of any negativity that could try sticking around. Turn to those positive distractions and don’t go back to that ‘too much’ scene again until you’re strong enough to pick up where you left off.
Practice through journaling: I found that journaling was a fantastic way to keep it all in check. Not only is a good way to unload the negative feelings that might be trying to interfere with your writing, it’s also another come down tactic for afterwards. Journaling is very soothing and therapeutic, plus it’s also a great way to practice writing about those emotions before you put them into your story.
It’s better to show rather than tell: You all know this one already but it’s vital to bring up again. Don’t tell your readers what your characters are feeling, show them. How do they respond to people or situations? How do they carry themselves? How had what they’ve gone through affected who they are? How do they communicate with others through body language? Your readers need all of that so they can make that connection to the characters. I think the most awesome thing is when a reader tells me they’ve connected with one character or another because they see themselves in how they speak or react or carry themselves.
So, there you go. Those are some of the most important pieces of advice I was given when I started writing. I hope these tidbits help you along your writing journey. You may not become an emotional writer but you can become an author who writes with emotion. And that takes guts.
Chynna Laird is a freelance writer and multi award-winning author. Her passion is helping children and families living with Sensory Processing Disorder and other special needs. She’s authored a children’s book, two memoirs, a Young Adult novella, a YA paranormal suspense novel and an adult Suspense/Thriller.
Please support Chynna by purchasing her books from Astraea Press and online retailers.
Additional Information on Chynna Laird:
- Website: www.chynna-laird-author.com
- Main Blog: www.the-gift-blog.com
- Special Needs Blog: www.seethewhiteelephants.com
**Read about other writers' journeys (see A Writer's Journey index)**
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