I took some time for the U.S. holiday (Labor Day), but I’ll still post this week. I wanted to touch on something I’m really working on, which is emotional writing.
I’ve always had a huge issue pulling on the heartstrings of others in my writing, or at least that’s how I’ve felt. Things that should be funny are funny, for sure. But I feel like my more emotional writing isn’t very deep. After reading through “Writing Down the Bones” by Natalie Goldberg, I’m starting to understand where I might be losing steam.
There’s a type of barrier of resistance between how much you want to share in your writing and how much you have in your heart. To fully write what you have experienced, what you have felt, is to expose a certain amount of yourself that you wouldn’t otherwise. It’s terrifying. The Critical Self will do anything to keep us from that vulnerability. The Critic keeps us from doing the impractical, and what would be more impractical than sharing your biggest vulnerabilities?!
The first couple times I tried the free-writing exercise I got nothing special. My pen gave me some ramblings about how I like vlogs, what writing means to me, and some lists. But, something happened one of those days. I decided to write about a particularly vulnerable event, a sad event. I wrote about a funeral, which is not an unusual place for creative writers to start. There was still a huge block against writing down the emotions, so instead I wrote a description of the event (showing instead of telling…what a duh).
I listed out what I remembered. The list made way to more descriptive points, which made way to questions. I took those and got to work, forming a short piece just under 2,000 words that I actually felt pretty proud of, but felt intensely scared of for how open and raw it made me feel.
I’m not ready to share it, as it’s still my personal writing and not quite polished enough for my liking. I’m very excited to find out where this type of writing will take me as I continue to do these writing exercises before I start writing.
Have you had any breakthroughs with your writing? Any exercises you like to do before you write to get deep into the emotion?