Friday, January 27, 2012

write until your soul is raw (and then you're almost there)

Hello to all my new followers! I see you and I'm happy to do so. Thank you ever so much for joining me for this crazy ride we call the writing life. I'm grateful, truly.

We've been discussing some pretty heavy subjects here lately. I hope I'm not weighting anyone down. I'm just very passionate about telling stories the way they come to us, grit and all. Too many times I've sat down to write and I've jumped in front of the bus instead of going alone with it just for the sake of its final destination. Stories are meant to be told and it is our job, as writers, to tell them in the most real and raw way that we can.

I have this weird habit. I sit down to write and I start out with this amazing idea. It’s almost complete in my head and I know if I just spit it out onto the page it will en-flesh itself and become what I see in my imagination.

Then something happens. I’m not sure what it is. I just know that my passion fizzles and I start hem-hawing around the keyboard. I start typing things like “she sighed”, “he grimaced”, “the villain laughed maniacally”. Ugh.

True, sometimes I’m just tired. I’ve been working since 8am on school work, posts, novels and short stories among other things and I’m burnt out. No worries. Take a tea break, come back, start over.

But most of the time that’s not the case. Confession time! MOST OF THE TIME I’M JUST PLAIN LAZY.

There. I said it. Don’t make me repeat myself.

It hurts to write from my guts all the time! It’s painful, it’s emotional, I end up in a heap on the floor crying when I have to kill one of my lovelies (and yes, Mom, sometimes you DO have to kill your characters). I get disoriented when I have to come back to the “real world”. I’m grumpy. I’m spent. I’m raw and the slightest glance from flesh and bone hurt terribly. Every nerve ending is on fire and I’m a walking time bomb. I don’t like this!

But THIS is where my most potent writing lives. This weird, bizarre realm between real and sugar coated. This twilight village of shadows that rent my hair out and drag me down thorny paths and through moss covered lakes. I’ll end up dirty and sweating and scratched. Bleeding and angry and in desperate need of a shower. Why can’t I just write clean and nice and proper?

It’s kind of like crying in public. I always wanted to be Audrey Hepburn or Grace Kelley. Oh how they could cry! Delicate, demure, tears in doe eyes that tumble and make the leading man rush to their aid, swooning. Nope. Not me. I’m all snot and splotched skin. I don’t cry, I sob. I scream and rant and moan in agony (and no, I’m not just talking about the day I was told Firefly was cancelled or I came home from seeing Star Wars: Episode One). I’m just not an emotionally graceful person. It’s no surprise (or at least it shouldn’t be) that I’m not graceful when it comes to writing.

Writing IS emotion and we will handle it the same way we handle anything emotional in our lives. I’ve always admired those people who can remain calm and even-keeled in the face of traumatic news or injustice. They are able to speak out, to carry on, to do what needs to be done with a quiet resilience. Now, I’m all about keeping my snot in until I’m alone or at least when it’s just my husband around. But boy when the bomb falls it’s not just devastation it’s total nuclear fall-out. I’m talking the kind that creates zombies.

THIS is what happens when I write myself raw. It’s a scary place to be but I know, that I know, that I KNOW that when I write from this place what comes out is so far beyond anything I could have ever written. THIS is the place I tap into the great universal vein that we all strive for with everything we write.

I guess I’ll just have to buy more tissue, invest in Band-Aids and take more showers.

Are you like me? Do you write yourself raw just to know you’re there? That you’ve tapped into something greater than yourself? Or are you the opposite? When you're in the flow, is it painless and transcendent? Don’t worry-I won’t hate you…forever.


  1. Buy those tissues and keep writing. Raw is good.

    And have a great weekend.

  2. I don't write until I cry but I did almost cry when Firefly was cancelled.

  3. I don't usually write until I cry, but if the scene I'm writing is a tough one then I get teary. I definitely think getting sucked in emotionally is important whether I walk away from writing with tears, or with triumph - it depends on where the story is at. The cancellation of firefly sucked. And I'm like you - blotchy and snotty . . . not a Hepburn.

  4. Kittie's right, Jen. Raw is the only way to go. Thanks so much for visiting my blog today. Have a super wonderful weekend.

  5. I've always heard that the reader won't cry unless the author did too. We can tell if the author has really put himself into the book. Yea, we have to suffer to do it but it makes for an amazing reading experience.

  6. I am like you...especially with the crying. I wail. :-) Raw is the place to be and even though it can be exhausting and is worth it. We will be able to feel it in your writing. Life is too short not to be raw!

  7. Aw, Hepburn and Kelley probably couldn't write an emotional scene worth a snot. If you're going to cry, do it big. If you're going to write, get all the way into it. Good for you.

    And thanks for stopping by my blog.

  8. Nah, I'm too old to write raw (or in the raw HA), but I do open a vein every now and then. :) Nice post.

  9. I'm the same with crying--bring on the wailing. :P

  10. This post is beautiful! And so spot on. It's amazing how emotionally raw writing can make you.

  11. I often cry and even laugh when I write. And, sometimes when I reread it, I do the same. I totally get that bleary-eyed feeling when you move out of writing mode and into reality. It's like waking up in someone else's bed. Huh? where am I?

    Play off the Page

  12. Hello! You sound so passionate and completely crazy in a most writerly way and I say BRAVO for you!!! Me, I'm too feeble and fragile to be so raw. If I truly let go and wrote with the blood of my heart and used my inner soul as paper, I'd be locked up and kept away from polite society and the only creature who won't disown me will be my cat! And maybe my mother. Maybe!

    Take care

  13. Jen: We are writers. We understand lunacy. It's completely normal.

  14. WOW I'm behind in comments! Sorry guys!!

    Kittie: You bet ya! If I'm going to cry, I let it out! No use keeping it in. Hope your weekend was a good one :D

    Alex: It was a good enough reason to cry in my opinion. I still sigh when I finish the last episode. So much more that needs to be said...

    Tyrean: It's not often that I sob when I'm writing, but there have been times when I've been so sucked into a story through emotion that it felt as if I was going through the situation and not my character. Here's to all the messy criers out there!

    Joylene: You're most welcome! And I do agree with Kittie! Raw is always better when it comes to creating and I believe that it shows through in the final product to the reader. Thanks for visiting!

    S.P: So true! If a scene moves me when I'm reading, I have to believe that it moved the author as much if not even more than it did me!

    Tracy Jo: I like that-life is too short not to be raw :D A good motto to tack onto my wall!

    Keith: Thanks so much for coming by! I agree; what is it they say: Go big or go home? I think that is so important in creative pursuits. The reader can always tell if you didn't give it your all.

    Angie: Thanks for stopping by! Your comment made me laugh. I say write the way you write best :D That's what a reader wants in the end!

    Golden: Here, here! Let the wailing commence :D

    Meredith: Your comments always make me smile. Thanks! When I'm pulled into a scene that I've created and I actually feel the emotion of the characters, I know I'm in "the zone" and I have to write my way through it.

    Mary: Nothing is more fun than writing something and laughing hysterically at it. I have a couple of characters that always make me laugh. Interesting how our own creations can stir up our emotions, isn't it?

    Old Kitty: Thanks so much for stopping by! Yes, I am completely a writerly way of course :D I'm pretty sure your cat and your mother would stand by you no matter way. Oh, and the rest of the writing community. We tend to like crazy people :D Why do you think I'm here?

    JJ: Thanks :D It's good to know in at least one circle, my lunacy is understood :D


Well, hello! I'm so glad you made it. Come inside and sit by the hearth. I'll take your coat and hat. The kettle is singing and there's cake and candles and good conversation. Settle in and make yourself at home. Don't mind the wolfhounds; they're friendly if you give them a bit of lemon curd.