In this virtual world, mainly on Medium, I read writers advise and strategies on the craft, or stories about their writing process. I found we all have this in common: to write (fiction), we have to be emotional.
If we’re empty of emotions when we sit our but on the chair, we force ourselves to feel something. Anything! We do it either reclaiming a sweet memory or rekindling a painful emotion — repressed long time ago -; we imagine “how would I feel if…”
When a writer craves to write, we do whatever it takes to trigger our writer-mood. Including manipulating emotions.
To write fiction or a personal essay I have to feel. My emotions have to be on. Simultaneously, the act of writing has to provoke emotions. I can start with joy but, while writing, it has to escalate something more exhilarating. I want excitement, arousal, euphoria and, sometimes, sadness; I need to dive into that grey area. My writing is my therapist.
During my creative writing course, my teacher told me:
You have a unique voice, there’s life behind your words
Damn, what a compliment! Even today, almost four years later, I keep this words. When my impostor syndrome attacks, I punch its face with it. It was given by a best seller writer, it has to worth something!
I want to learn as much as I can: I read about plotting, building characters, hooks, conflicts,… I’m a sponge. I crave knowledge, I practice, I test different techniques and styles. I want to achieve my full potential. Even knowing I’ll never reach it, I’ll keep learning and improving until the day I die.
But there’s something I’ve always wanted more than theoretical knowledge: to have a unique voice, an emotional and involving one. “You bleed to the paper,” my teacher also said.
Emotions are my allies.
I believe that our writer’s voice is something innate. Along the way, with practice, it will become tuned and accurate, but we have it in us, since day one.
On my blog, I’ve also received compliments on my writing, and it feels marvelous. Everybody likes to have positive feedback about their creations, and being recognized by our followers as a good writer is incredible (especially when you have two unpublished books…).
However, even being proud of my writer’s voice, and loving my writing (some days more than others), I question myself:
Can I claim to be a fiction writer if I’m unable to write when emotions are absent?
Sometimes the life behind the words that my teacher referred doesn’t want to come out, it’s numb. It makes me feel like a fraud, that if I were a good writer, I would write no matter what; I’d create imaginary emotions and act on that. But no, I can only write when I feel.
Acknowledging that my creativity depends on my ability to feel is a huge responsibility!
When I don’t feel (or I can’t feel), I won’t write. But when I do… I bleed to the paper. And, fraud or real, I am a happy writer.
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