My friend Tess Hardwick, author of Kindle Daily favorite Riversong, recently blogged about an unfortunate episode of maternal disorganization and how terribly she felt about the anxiety her forgetfulness caused her daughters. Like many aspiring and successful writers, Tess is juggling multiple real world responsibilities while working toward her dream: becoming a(n even more) successful author. I bet you think I’m about to discuss the challenges of living an overwhelming life. WRONG.
Oh, I concur, our worlds are busy and challenging. Divided attention is frustrating, and the bustle and demands bring their own burden (and wonder!) to the table. All these issues intertwine and distract us from our confidence and desire to push forward against all odds.
We ask, “Am I good enough? Have I let others down? Will I make it? Can I gain my balance, click my heels and become that perfect combination of successful tweeter, blogger, writer, friend, sister, wife, daughter, mother?” Probably not.
Well, to clarify, we may not become the perfect example of s/he who has managed, against all odds, to excel at everything we undertake. Who cares? Perfection was never the goal. The truth is, we learn more from our mistakes than we do from what we do right. In more ways than one.
Life’s wrong turns and detours are a Petri dish of regurgitatable (note questionable word) emotions. We typically don’t want to re-live or explore bad mojo. We don’t want to feel the difficult feelings more than once. We don’t want to return to the crappy, dark places.
But there’s something positive and important we can do with the pain AND the progress: Use our emotions in our work. Every screw-up, every downturn, every success, loss, win and broken heart is personal research we can draw upon and emote through our characters to enrich our readers’ experience. Poopy stuff + anguish + misery + joy = major book sales. Reality: If you can’t – or don’t – feel, how will your protagonist deal?
You’re writing the story, after all.
I think we’re all trying to find our way home. And a few wrong turns simply add depth to our character’s lives, if not our own. I know, easy for me to say. This is my blog, these are my thoughts.