The Emotional Toll of Being a Writer

My goal with this blog, beside providing some helpful tips about writing and publishing, it is be as honest as possible about my journey as writer and what it takes to get a story from idea, to draft, to finished product. So with that in mind, here comes a middle of the week unscheduled post.

I’ve been really struggling with the rewrite of book 2, Family Binds. It’s not that I’m struggling with the plot. In fact, I’ve had some amazing breakthroughs in the last few weeks for scenes that will make the story so much stronger. It isn’t uncertainty about the story either. I’m actually really excited about this book and can’t wait to get it out into the world. It’s full of more action and tension than Crystal and Flint and it really opens the characters up in ways that wasn’t possible in the first book.

What’s really holding me back is the emotional toll I know it will take on me to do the rewrite.  See the first third of this book is so emotionally charged and I’m not talking about happy feel good emotions. It’s full of pain, betrayal, guilt, and anger. And if I want to write those moments with any kind of authenticity I have to really try to understand what they are going through. That means I have to make myself feel all of that pain, betrayal, guilt and anger. In fact, I’m getting knots in my stomach just thinking about it now.

Anyone that really knows me, knows that I’m not an outwardly emotional person (expect when it comes to movies or tv then I cry all the time).  I feel things, and I feel them deeply, though I very rarely show those feeling to the world.  And it’s not just negative emotions either, very rarely do I let the positive ones show through to their full extent either. It’s just the way I’m wired. I’m very much like Crystal in the sense that I feel emotions are best kept a bay until you are alone and can properly analyze them so that they, and what caused them, can be fully understood. Feelings are very draining and I’m often left feeling completely depleted after emotional events, whether they be positive or negative.

So, is it any wonder that I’m hesitant to force myself to feel the powerful emotions necessary to write this book? Though I know it’s unlikely, there is the fear that doing this will break me in the same way it breaks the characters in the story. That doesn’t mean I won’t do it. I’ll push forward, though maybe not as fast as I wanted, because it’s important. These stories need to be told and it’s up to me to do it. And I truly do enjoy it, most of the time.

I don’t share this so that people will feel bad for me or anything like that. I wanted to share this so that people might have a better understanding of what really goes into writing a book. It’s so much more than time, energy and creativity. It really is the author’s heart and soul. At least on some level, writers feel everything that their characters do and they feel it over and over again in order to make sure their words are genuine. Most the time it’s easy to move on when the scene is done. To leave all those feelings behind when they walk away from the computer. But sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes those feelings stay with you long after you close the document. Sometimes those emotions take a toll on their author.

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6 responses to “The Emotional Toll of Being a Writer”

  1. Quite insightful, appreciative your sharing a side of the process I wasn’t aware of. I think that is what makes your characters interesting. Same theory as an actor or singer being good vs great. Technique is good but to be great you need true emotion to come out. Looking forward to your next book. However long it takes.


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