Friday, July 14, 2017

How to Use Your Emotions in Your Writing


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Writing is not only a wonderful way to use our imaginations and tap into our creative selves. It can also be an extremely cathartic process and an excellent way of channelling our emotions and making sense of the world around us.
Drawing on our emotions to fuel our writing can help make our characters more believable, our stories more dramatic, and can help us craft beautiful, risky, moving pieces - ones that really connect with our readers.
Whether you are overjoyed, furiously angry, utterly heartbroken, peaceful and in tune with the world or feeling anxious and scared - capturing the rawness of your emotions and using them in your writing can be extremely beneficial.
So how can you channel your emotions in this way?

Try free writing
Freewriting is a great way to start any writing session. This is where you allow yourself to write down whatever you want, completely uncensored. It is an exercise many writers use to clear the cobwebs and get those creative juices flowing before they get back to their work, but can also be used if you are feeling a particularly strong emotion. Sometimes when we are overwhelmed with a feeling we struggle to describe it. Freewriting allows us to write whatever we want without judgement. Try doing it for five minutes or so, and when you look back over what you have written you may be surprised by the little gems you find within it!

Keep a notebook with you at all times
You never know when an emotion might hit you hard, and if you wait until the moment passes it may be difficult to accurately capture how you felt at the time. By keeping a trusty notebook with you at all times you can write things down as they strike you which will ensure the emotions are fresh and accurately described as they hit the page.

Keep a diary
A diary is a great way of exploring your thoughts and feelings, safe in the knowledge that these will not be shared with anyone else. If you write in your diary every day, you’ll soon get used to it and can use this as a way of trying to tap into how you really feel.

Use memories
Try to remember the angriest/ saddest/ happiest/ most frightened you have ever been. Think back to that time. What thoughts went through your head? How did you physically feel? Remembering when you felt these emotions most intensely and then trying to write them down could lead to some powerful descriptions and images.

Read something, watch something or listen to something that makes you feel a certain way
You can always jostle your emotions into action by reading something powerful, watching a movie that inspires you or makes you weep, or listening to music that brings back particular feelings. When you do this, make sure you have your notebook ready, and then try to capture exactly how you feel.

Always come back and reflect later
Writing our emotions isn’t just about capturing the raw essence of them, it's also about how we feel afterwards. So always revisit these feelings after they have subsided, reflect on them and see what shifts in perspective you have. Write these down and use them to influence your writing too!

Using the above tips can help you really tap into and capture your emotions. Doing so will not only be cathartic for you but will improve your writing too!

Using emotions in writing is one of the things that came up in the memoir writing class I recently took.  I tried hard to remember exactly how I'd felt during each of the times I recalled in what I had already written before taking the class. Some things I can recall, but not others. 

I did follow some of the things listed above when working on my story, such as using memories, since that is what a memoir is all about.  I also found some old journals I'd kept years ago that tell about the original time I was on antidepressants.  Since journals are generally kept brief, some of that I'd said then seemed a bit out of context, so I tried to make it sound as clear as I could make it. 

I still want to try some more free writing.  I should be doing more of this, since it's one of the best ways to get your creative juices flowing!

As I continue to work on the memoir, I have been trying to find ways to express how I recall feeling at the time.

1 comment:

  1. Using emotions before they use (and control) us, sounds like an excellent idea.