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  • Writer's picturemeredithjohnson

Feeling Emotional? Good. Let's Start Writing.

Are you feeling emotional? Good. Then find a pencil and paper or turn on the computer, and start writing. Having strong emotions from time to time is natural, and it can be good for your writing too. Has there ever been a time where you are so angry or sad you don't know what to say or how to express that feeling? I have, and in that moment, I've written some of my most honest stories and thoughts. We can all agree that emotions are powerful no matter which one you are feeling at the time. It's what you do with that emotion while you are feeling it that matters.

One of my favorite pieces I've ever written was the short story A Daughter's Memory, about the passing of my father. I started writing it after my grandmother (his mom) passed away; it was a very emotional time for me and I felt like I needed some way to express everything I was feeling inside. My story came out of heartache and sadness, but writing it became very therapeutic and helped me to let go of some feelings I'd been holding on to for a long time. I also think bits and pieces of that story are some of my best writing (although, a lot of it still needs to be edited and re-worded).

I've written before about my kids and our lack of time together is another example of how I use my emotions to write. A few years ago I was feeling very frustrated and upset, so I took a walk and started writing down my thoughts. Doing this helped me calm down, and gave me an opportunity to express my emotions in a constructive way. I've been writing for six years and I have learned that my strongest emotion (and the one that I think helps me write the best) is sadness. I don't have to feel sad in order to produce good material, but I've noticed my writing is stronger when I'm in that moment.

Stories are meant to be full of emotion, that's how we connect with them. Behind the words of any story, you will find an authors real feelings. Whether intentional or not, the characters we read about stem from some piece of that writer's life. Maybe the awesome villain in your favorite story came from a time when the writer was frustrated and angry or they knew a person who was always like that and fed off their emotion to create their character. The best hero ever written could have been formed when the author was at the happiest time in their life.

Every single day we are all full of emotion. Good or bad, it's always there. Try writing down some thoughts next time you have a strong emotional moment, no matter what you are feeling. If you're a writer you might find it leads to better development of the characters in your story. By tapping into your happiness or sadness (or whatever you are feeling), you'll have a better grasp on how to show what your character is going through in the story; because you're connected to the same emotion in that moment. If you're not a writer, keep a journal just for those times when you can't figure out how to express your feelings out loud. It's a good exercise that might help in more ways than you realize, and you never know what story could come from it.

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