Nov 13, 2012
For My Eyes Only
I never cry when I write. I feel like a horrible monster without feelings. I'll have this empty pit in my chest that I will exaggerate and tell people I'm having a heart attack, but no tears will come. No matter how desperately my eyes want them.
I don't know what my problem is. I rarely cry in books or in anything. So long as it's not some equation no one can explain to me, my tear ducts are dry and empty. I'm left feeling terrible and unemotional. In reality, I'm dying, but whatever mask I've worn in front of my face for so long is starting to become glued to me. This, children, is why you don't wear masks in the middle of summer. They melt.
But that's all besides the point. I'm just trying to figure out what's wrong with my tear ducts.
What I'm really here to talk about is using your pain. I've noticed that more often than not, my characters have problems that stem from my own. I just want to say:
Don't be scared of it.
Putting my own life in my writing destroys me. Someone will see. Someone will know. Someone will look right through the words and point an evil finger at me.
Yet, I always daydream about writing the story of my life and fictionalizing it. Fix it up, publish it under a name other than my own, and just wait for the people I know to read it. I can never get past the first few sentences.
We have no reason to be scared. How many times do we pick up a book, watch a character, and say, "Hey, I bet something like this happened to the author." How ridiculous is that? Use your past, your pain, your problems.
After all, characters tend to have it harder than most people in known reality. Don't be afraid to intensify it. Okay, so you were in this situation that your character's in? I don't remember you going mental and running away.
You've lost someone you loved dearly? Put all those emotions in your writing. If you're feeling pain, the reader will too. If you're feeling love, so will the reader. If you're on top of the world. . .well, you can see where this is going.
Don't be afraid. There's always going to be someone who will hate your writing. That's unavoidable. But there will be people out there who are ready to cry with you, smile with you, and rejoice with you. Don't be afraid to put yourself in your work. This is writing. There are no walls. There should be no masks. So don't put one on and get it glued to your face like I did.
For now, say, "This is for my eyes only."