To be a writer, you have to let yourself feel.
Does that statement stir you up a little bit?
Dwight V. Swain’s Techniques of the Selling Writer hammers one brilliant fact.
To be a writer, you have to feel.
Okay, maybe I’m stressing the point a little too much. But this gets me excited. Every day I’m surrounded by people who suppress their emotions–and to what end?
Swain is suggesting suppressing emotion destroys creativity. I agree with him. As writers raised in fact-worshiping society, we’re especially prone to have writing that (cough) sucks (cough) because we don’t write based on what we feel.
People pick up books to have an emotional experience.
They pick up books to have a reawakening of the emotion our culture has put to death.
Novels die when they’re full of facts but come to life with emotion…
But how can we write about something we don’t have?
Writers write because they’re excited about a story, because they feel something. And if their job is done right, the reader feels that same something stirring.
Writers especially can’t afford to distrust their emotions. Why would writers even start thinking feelings are, for lack of a better word, bad?
It all comes down to a fear of being wrong.
When a writer is afraid of being wrong, the emotion in the writing is going to die.
By letting yourself write what you feel, you risk someone else’s point of view being different from yours (and that will most certainly be the case).
And then, when your heart is written out, vulnerable on paper, the criticism comes.
“We’re sorry, but this manuscript does not meet our needs right now.”
“The characters fall flat.”
“The story structure doesn’t move.”
Whatever your criticism sounds like, don’t listen to it.
Shed the fear of being wrong. Otherwise, you’ll never write another word.
What you have to say is valuable. Your story excites YOU and that’s what matters right now. Let those words flow from the well inside you.
Later, the technique will start to fall in place. You can get critiques, book deals, movie rights…
But only if you write from what you feel without suffocating under the fear of being wrong.
So go ahead. Write what you feel deep inside.