Look, I’m about as coldhearted as they come and yeah, I get some hellish lows from writing something that is emotionally draining. They say creating something is a lot like having your own child–that’s highs, lows, mourning, celebration, despair, the whole lot.
There’s a couple reasons it happens:
Emotionally invested leaves you with heartache. Many of us can’t write the end of story without feeling loss. I hate ending stories because it feels a bit like I’ve ended this world.
Personally invested means our own trauma winds up in our writing. It’s why I take To Make a Kinder Children’s Tale so hard. It’s heavily tied up in my mother’s death. I didn’t do a lot of outward mourning–its in that book.
So, when someone who is fighting against a personal breakdown writes something that is either directly tied to themselves, or is their baby in the midst of their fighting their own demons, I really expect moments where it should be FAR worse than my own experiences. As bad as my mom’s death was, I’m tough as hell and I’m way older than most. That’s not to downplay things–it’s just to put things in perspective.
Now, as far as what kind of impact it has on you–that’s probably a therapy session.
Now, aside from all this, a general thing I find lacking in this idea of self-care:
Too many times in the effort to declare things “normal”, we fight to prevent “therapy” because we believe that things going right means that things should be healthy. Or that things that are healthy aren’t things that should need work. That ideology is killing our society and is again, my disgust with labels. People need to be able to accept that something is right but can still be better, needs help, and still hasn’t integrated for you. This all or nothing society drives me nuts.
The last time a book made me cry it was Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. When the last plane lands and they can’t open the doors because someone came on board with the plague and now everyone on board is infected, it was so sad! I hope I can write like that someday and wring emotion from the reader, but all we can do is keep reading and writing until we improve. ¯\_(ﭢ)_/¯
The longer I am into Red Reign, the better my writing feels than before.
I mean yeah it needs so much work and it is a zero/first draft, but something about the later chapters feel like I am improving a different way.
I won’t say I am getting better, but I am improving in such an odd way.
Chapter twelve is an interesting example of that.
I’ve always kept a level of distance when writing fiction. But today I learned about doing emotional work through writing fiction. Which could prove extremely helpful for me as a researcher working with very heavy topics.
The last time I cried about my writing was when I did a piece of auto/biography for a class. It felt good to get it off my chest. The tears came when I received feedback from my lecturer who sat me down and discussed it with me. I felt so seen.
I’ve heard of many writers crying and getting emotional over their stories, so it is common or normal. Personally, it’s never happened to me but that’s also because it’s hard for me to cry or become emotional with stories, even with my own. xD