Writing: Harmful & Therapeutic to Your Health

writing in notebook a story

As a writer, I tend to sit a lot, which isn’t exactly healthy.  However, I do walk every now and then, and I found out that writing and walking are a natural marriage of mind and body.

But to be honest, I don’t walk enough…two or three times a week for twenty minutes per day the majority of the time.  Ideally, five days a week for twenty to thirty minutes is my unattained goal thus far.

Incidentally, along with discovering the marriage of writing and walking, I discovered some fascinating information on this topic.  Many famous writers walked a lot.  Authors such as Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf, and William Wordsworth.  Of course, if you think about it, walking was much more commonplace for getting around back in Dickens’ et. al’s eras.  They benefited before studies were done on what walking does for writers.

walking sneakers

Other than getting some good exercise, other positive things happen when we trek around our neighborhood or local park.  In a study done by England’s Cambridge University of more than 334,000 Europeans, it discovered a brisk walk twenty minutes a day might be sufficient to decrease a person’s risk of premature death.  In addition, walking aids in stress reduction and alleviates symptoms of depression (Bianchi).

Walking also clears the mind and actually leads to creative thinking.  A Stanford University study asked participants to do mental tasks, such as producing analogies to convey complex ideas, that are common in creativity tests.  The results showed that 81% to 100% of the participants formed creative ideas walking compared to sitting (Andrews).

Now, about writing.  I found that writing is a way to help heal from traumas and also releases emotional stress and eases anxiety.

A study by Spera, Buhrfeind, and Pennebaker shows expressive writing, which means scrawling down your feelings on paper, improves mood, well-being, and decreases stress levels.

Expressive writing can be used to write in a daily gratitude journal, a journal for recording emotionally stressful events, or through the created and written situations of characters’ lives in your novel.  For example, a study was done on engineers that had been laid off recently and were separated into three groups:

1) A control group with no writing,

2) A group assigned to write about time management, and

3) A group to expressively write about the raw feelings of losing their jobs.

Both writing groups did this twenty minutes a day for five days, in which they also elucidated the emotional difficulties of job hunting, “relationship problems, financial stressors, the immediate experience of being fired, losing their coworkers, and feeling rejected” (Grant).

The results were stunning.  Three months later, the control group with the exception of five percent, were still seeking employment.  Twenty-six percent of the expressive writing groups obtained new jobs.  These groups also reported consuming less alcohol.  Eight months later, the control group still struggled to acquire a job with less than nineteen percent finding full-time work, whereas, fifty-two percent of the expressive writing groups had new jobs (Grant).

writing

In writing her novel, author Jessica Lourey states, “Little by little, I was carving out new space for thoughts that were not about death or depression.”  She adds regarding Dr. Pennebaker’s study, “Two elements above all else increase therapeutic value of writing: creating a coherent narrative and shifting perspective…Writers call them plot and point of view” (Lourey).  Therefore, expressive writing heals.

So, writing and walking are good things, right?  Well…  Walking certainly is good for a person as noted above.  Writing is good for easing and healing emotional issues.  But sitting most of the day writing, staring at a computer screen, and not taking breaks can actually cause major health problems.

Like many office workers, serious, dedicated writers likely sit six or more hours a day.  Physically, sitting for many hours a day elevates the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and premature death.  This includes people who exercise regularly.  Dr. David Alter from the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute states, “Even if you do a half an hour or an hour of exercise every day, it doesn’t give us the reassurance that sitting for the other twenty-three hours is okay.  In fact, it’s not” (CBS News).

In a study by CBS News, prolonged sitting increased the risk of cardiovascular disease by 14%.  The risk of cancer increased by 13%, and the risk of diabetes skyrocketed to 91%.  With sedentariness, the heart is not getting its exercise, and blood sugar isn’t moving well through our cells (CBS News).

Mentally, sitting in an environment with no social interaction or outside fresh air and sunlight causes depression for many writers.  A couple of famous writers who had or currently have depression are F. Scott Fitzgerald and J.K. Rowling.

A study out of Australia of close to 9,000 women in their fifties discovered those who sat seven hours a day and did not exercise were three times more likely to have depressive symptoms, than for those who sat less than four hours daily and exercised regularly.

feeling-the-effects-of-chronci-stress

Incidentally, depression drains a person’s energy, which causes less of a desire to be active (Andrews). Sitting for several hours a day also affects a person’s wellbeing because of lack of social interaction. Connecting with family and friends reduces isolation and loneliness (Mann).

Writers also face emotional challenges such as dealing with perpetual rejections from publishers, editors, and the like.  This also at times includes their peers. A clinical psychiatrist, Dr. Alan Manevitz, states, “A large part of a writer’s success depends on how other people think of him” (Mann).

The majority of writers work by themselves and are isolated from companionship and sunlight, and coupled with unhealthy sleeping patterns if they write into the night, are a concoction for depression (Mann).

That news alone can depress a person who enjoys writing.  But there are ways to counter these dire outcomes.  We can start by standing up for one to three minutes each half hour or so of sitting throughout the day (CBS News).

Apparently, many corporations have purchased standing desks.  Some employees have reported feeling more balanced energy-wise by working at standing desks than when they’d been sitting at desks.  Getting used to standing at their desks did take time and adjustment, but it seems to be proving helpful to their wellness (CBS News).

standing desk

I started taking one to three-minute standing breaks yesterday, and I already felt a difference, and it was a positive one.  My energy level was better, and my mind was more focused and clear.

New story ideas and character dialogue switch on while I’m walking, and walking out in the sunlight and listening to the birds and looking at nature around me boosts my mood and energy.  Spending quality time with family and friends is something I’m trying to do more.  A good balance of social connection and alone time is needed for my introverted self.

With periodic breaks and a regular walking routine, we writers can improve not only our health, but our creativity.

~*~*~*~

Works Cited
Andrews, Linda Wasmer. “To Become a Better Writer, Be a Frequent Walker.”  Psychology Today.  28 March 2016.  https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/minding-the-body/201603/become-better-writer-be-frequent-walker.  Accessed 19 July 2018.
Andrews, Linda Wasmer.  “What Sitting Does to Your Psyche.”  Psychology Today.  20 March 2014.  https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/minding-the-body/201403/what-sitting-does-your-psyche.  Accessed 19 July 2018.
Bianchi, Nicole.  “Want to Become a Better Writer?  Go For a Walk.”  Nicholebianchi.com. 15 June 2016. https://nicolebianchi.com/better-writer-daily-walk/.  Accessed 12 July 2018.
Grant, Adam.  “The Power of the Pen:  How to Boost Happiness, Health, and Productivity.” Linkedin.com.  28 May 2013. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20130528121344-69244073-the-power-of-the-pen-can-writing-make-us-happier-healthier-and-more-productive/. Accessed 12 July 2018.
Lourey, Jessica.  “The Therapeutic Benefits of Writing a Novel:  Research suggests that writing fiction can be a powerful healing tool.”  Psychology Today.  9 June 2017.  https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/discover-your-truth/201706/the-therapeutic-benefits-writing-novel.  Accessed 12 July 2018.
Mann, Denise.  “Why Writers Are Prone To Depression.”  Everyday Health. https://www.everydayhealth.com/depression/why-writers-are-prone-to-depression-6709.aspx. Accessed 19 July 2018.
“Too much sitting raises risk of death, even if you exercise.”  CBS News.  20 January 2015. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/too-much-sitting-raises-risk-of-death-even-if-you-exercise/. Accessed 19 July 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

Breaking from Writing and the Consequences

writing exhaustion pic

What if I stop writing for a while?  What if taking this hiatus is not because I have no choice but precisely because I do?

About a month ago, I’d reached writing and creativity exhaustion, so much so that even when I’d forced myself to write at least a few sentences or a paragraph, nothing but stale, dry, lifeless words settled on the page.

You see, at this time, I’d finished my current revisions and my editor had done her thing in supplying me with superb proofreading, editing, and suggestions for my characters and plot for my novel, Passage of Promise.

But at the same time, I’d entered my subsequent university course in fascinating American Art.  It was one of the required general education exploration courses available for me to choose. My courses are eight weeks long.  By mid term, the college load was like swimming in an ever deepening pool, and the massive reading assignments and associated linked reading material were pulling me under.

drowning underwater pool

Overwhelmed by keeping up with my novel’s plot additions, blog posts, essays, and colossal pages to peruse and jot down notes, it was time for me to slide one of these on the shelf.

Permanently? you ask.  I sure hope not.

When you struggle with general anxiety and menopausal symptoms that trigger it (along with blood sugar issues), your brain can only take in so many mental activities at a time.  I’d reached my limit.

When this happened, I closed up my manuscript on Word, and dread hit me as I remembered the eighteen-year hiatus from writing that was broken in September 2014…not so long ago.  Was I going to end up disconnected from my writing another eighteen years?

This concern prompted me to look up information on authors/writers taking breaks.  I found a couple of articles that gave me a great sense of relief.

What I learned is breaks are not only acceptable, but necessary to regenerate your creative juices and thought processes.  And we writers make the choice on how long that break will be.  It could be a day, a week, a month, or months.

I know this is alarming and sounds close to anathema considering how often we hear and read in the writing world the mantra stressing writing at least something daily.

But please keep reading.

Via a Writer’s Edit article, it says, “If you are at the point where you are forcing a story, take this as a sign to take a break from it.”  This gave me a chance to exhale.

cartoon girl sitting in hammock

(credit:  GetDrawings.com)

The author of that article also stressed not losing the joy of writing.  Well, I’d forgotten the joy of writing.  It had become the equivalent of cramming for final exams since it was juxtaposed with my college course load.

However, another reassuring perspective came from The Writing Cooperative’s author, Ryan J. Pelton’s article on this subject, stating, “You are not weak, uncommitted, and not a true writer if you take breaks.  You will not forget how to write.”  I could sit back calmly with this tidbit.

These breaks can be used for relaxing and cleaning out your brain, for continued reading for pleasure, and an upcoming chance for new, fresh characters and storylines to surface that can be noted for later.

My plan at this time is to pick up on my novel and other writing projects after I graduate from my university at the end of October.  Then I will be free to pursue my writing without college assignment pressures.  This is my tentative schedule, and each of us makes our own.

So, if you’re feeling burnt out, or you have nothing left, take a much needed break that is as long as you choose, and look forward to sparkling, vivid tales in the very near future.

 

~*~*~*~

 

Works Cited
Writer’s Edit.  “Why Taking Writing Breaks Is Important.” writersedit.com.  https://writersedit.com/fiction-writing/taking-writing-breaks-important/
Pelton, Ryan J.  “Put Down the Pen and Step Away (rest for writers).”  The Writing Cooperative.  https://writingcooperative.com/put-down-the-pen-and-step-away-rest-for-writers-44a98971db4b

 

The Importance of Your Creative Work Space

desk and windows

I’m sharing a post by fellow blogger, Nicholas Rossis, who shared a guest post about your work space and how it can help and improve your creative writing.  Until today, I’d been sitting on my bed writing, and well, that wasn’t really the best place to be a creative writer.  So, these tips helped me to change that, and I’m now sitting in my living room/library at my desk, and I already feel better having the space to type and write and  the fortunate treat of being able to look out the picture window that I believe will help to inspire me to create many imaginative characters, settings, and stories (God willing!).

I hope this shared post is beneficial to your writing.

This is a guest post by Jade Anderson is an experienced In-house Editor at Upskilled. With a background in online marketing, Jade runs some successful websites of her own. Her passion for the education industry and content is displayed through the quality of work she offers.

6 Tips for Making a Workspace Conducive to Writing

No matter what type of content you’re writing, whether it’s fiction, investigative journalism, feature pieces or academic articles, the environment that you write in has a big impact on how well you put that piece together. Writing takes skill, for sure, but where you write can affect how you write because if there are distractions in your workplace, your writing is likely to reflect that. As a writer, your workspace should be inspiring and comfortable in equal measure. It should be somewhere you can focus and reflect. Here are five tips for creating the perfect writing workspace.

2. Make Sure You Have Privacy

One criterion for success when it comes to writing is consistency. Often, this means writing something every day. But it also means trying to work in the space every time you write. In order to find a space where you are going to be able to be productive most days, you need to consider the level of privacy you will have. Choose a space where you’re able to be alone with your projects and your thoughts without being distracted by background noise or other people. This can simply mean working in a room in your house that has a door or finding an area where there is little to no foot traffic. Having a private, dedicated area that is yours allows you to have a distraction-free workspace.

3. Consider Your Desk And Chair

How comfortable your desk and chair are, are important factors that affect how productive you are. If you feel cramped or uncomfortable, you’re far more likely to get distracted and want to stop working. Chances are, you’ll be sitting and typing for long stretches of time, so you need a space that is ergonomic. Make sure that your desk and chair are at the right height so you don’t have to strain or hunch to work on your computer. You need a chair that will support your back and encourage good posture. As for your desk, it must provide enough space for everything you need.

4. Declutter

It is hard to work amongst clutter. Physical clutter can cause mental clutter, leaving us feeling distracted and unfocused. Getting rid of unnecessary mess and creating a clutter-free space is one of the key steps in creating an environment conducive to writing. While decluttering can take some time and hard work, it pays off. Set aside a day to declutter the space you wish to work in and decide what items you will throw out, what you’ll donate, and what you’ll keep. If you have furniture, files or belongings that you want to keep but don’t necessarily need right now, consider putting these things into storage. Using community storage is an affordable and convenient option should you find yourself in this situation.

5. Make It Yours

Your workspace is a space for you. You want it to reflect your personality and to be a place where you feel comfortable and at home. While you shouldn’t fill it with personal belongings that may be distracting or cause clutter, you should put some effort into personalizing the area. This can be with artwork, photos or other decorative features that you feel express your personality. As a writer, you may wish to personalize your space by filling it with your favorite books or quotes from your favorite authors!

6. Go For Natural Light

Regardless of your industry, natural light has been proven to impact productivity. The sun boosts your mood, gives you energy, and can stimulate creativity. For these reasons, natural light is particularly important for writers. If you’re working from home, it might be difficult to find a room with natural light to work in. However, even if you can work in front of a window or in a room with a skylight, this is better than nothing. Adequate light is important no matter what time of the day. If you’re working into the evenings, ensure that you have artificial lighting so you can read and write without straining your eyes.

7. Have What You Need On Hand

In order to work productively in your workspace, you should have everything you need to work on hand and ready to go. In the digital age, this might mean having all your tech accessories, chargers, and screens neatly arranged by your desk so they are easily accessible at all times. For writers, having two screens can be particularly useful. This allows you to have multiple windows open if you are researching and writing at the same time. If you still like the traditional pen-to-paper method when you’re figuring out your ideas, ensure you have plenty of supplies at hand in your desk drawers or on your desk.

 

 

~*~*~*~

 

Attending a Writers Conference

workshop pic

On Saturday, May 19, I attended a writers conference in my town.  I am a member of a writers’ organization called Pennwriters because it is an organization for writers in the state of Pennsylvania.  This was my first ever time attending a writers conference, and it was well worth the money and time!  The program was a three-day event, but I only attended Saturday’s sessions from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., which included a delicious breakfast buffet and just as delicious lunch.  There were many workshops to go to and choose from.  In the time period I was there, I went to four of them:

  1. Story Shrink: Writing the Synopsis
  2. First Pages
  3. Agent/Editor Panel
  4. You, Too, Can Write Killer Plots

I’m going to share with you a few of the tips I got from the speakers, agents, and editors that I think will be helpful to my fellow writers.

Writing the Synopsis:

  • Write in present tense.
  • The main character(s) should be introduced in the synopsis in all caps.
  • Embed transformation into the synopsis.
  • Use emotion words.
  • Center synopsis around the main character, not on supporting characters.

First Pages — A few Do & Don’ts in the first page of your novel:

Do:

  • Have a strong, consistent voice.
  • Be true to your story.
  • Start in the middle of a scene.
  • Build your world by showing what life is like from the point of view of your main character.
  • Hit the emotion right away.
  • Know your reader/audience/editor/publisher wants to be entertained.
  • Trust yourself and your voice.
  • Use teasers and hints of what’s to come in your story.

Don’t:

  • Mislead your reader on what your story is going to be about through the pieces you reveal in that first page.
  • Be provocative just to be provocative.
  • Forget the context of your story.
  • Overwhelm your reader.  Don’t give away the whole plot and story, just leave bread crumbs of the things to come.
  • Tell, but Show.

Agent/Editor Panel

Five reasons you need an agent:

  1. Contacts.
  2. Contracts.
  3. Money–directed on how to get money from editor.
  4. Guidance.
  5. Subrights.

A few warnings:

  • Don’t write about fads or trends.  By the time your book is published, it will likely be out of fashion/passé.

Tired, overused themes and character traits:

  • Middle school petty relationships between girls. Let’s have some real, strong bonds between middle school girls.
  • Women characters who are prostitutes or very close to that.
  • Dystopian themes.

Writing Killer Plots:

  • Superb plots reveal characters and who they are to the readers.
  • When plot and character are interwoven, this is the best type of story/book.
  • Plot is cause and effect.
  • A series of choices make up the plots.
  • The antagonist actually is the one that drives the plot.

So, in plotting your story, you’ve got to have a story and the right characters for the story in mind.  The plots are the incidents and twists that happen to the protagonist throughout the story.  The plots have to fit the characters you’ve created for the story.

All of the workshops were helpful to me, especially the first, second, and fourth ones.  I needed help on writing an synopsis, how to spice up and get my reader’s attention on the first page, and even the first few sentences on that first page.  I also needed help in plotting.  This one always seems to be a struggle for me.

I look forward to attending more writers conferences in the subsequent years.  If there are ones around you, I’d highly recommend you go. 🙂

I hope these little tips aid you in your writing journey as I know they will for me.

 

~*~*~*~

 

 

 

 

 

How Creative Writing Can Boost Your Intelligence (Guest Blog Post)

This is a reblog of my fellow blogger, Nicholas C. Rossis’ guest blog post.  I thought it was important to share.  Credit goes to Nicholas and guest blogger Sally Keys.

 

This is a guest post by Sally Keys. You may remember her from her guest post, Creating The Time And Space You Need To Write Your Best Work. Sally is a professional freelance writer with many years experience across many different areas. She made the move to freelancing from a stressful corporate job and loves the work-life balance it offers her. When not at work, she enjoys reading, hiking, spending time with her family, and traveling as much as possible.

How Creative Writing Can Boost Your Intelligence

Globally, the average IQ has increased by 20 points over the last 100 years. Many reasons are given for this and all, no doubt, play a part. The fact is that we live in a very different world to the one of 100 years ago. By examining these differences and comparing them to research into intelligence, we can determine ways to boost our own IQs. Creative writing can play a major part in this but only if you are pushing your writing standards to the limit.

What Is Different About Today?

Globalisation has led to multiculturalism becoming the norm. Diethas improved dramatically and, along with basic medication, we have all but eradicated many of the illnesses that struck us down in childhood. Film, television, and mass production of books have all played a part in increasing our exposure to new ideas. Computers for communication, leisure, and research all provide a range of inputs that simply did not exist in the past. New stimuli are known to stimulate the prefrontal cortex (an area of the brain linked to intelligence) and our increased globalization and technological development make novelty a regular occurrence (despite how counterintuitive that may sound). Diet and healthcare help our brains develop further (especially at an early age) and free us from having to fight infections or deal with malnourishment.

What Has This To Do With Writing?

There is some evidence that 5 simple steps can help to boost your intelligence. Each of these can be achieved through creative writing if you approach it properly.

The first, seeking novelty, has been mentioned already. By writing about unfamiliar topics, doing research into another country, trying new foods and so on you are pushing yourself to experience the new.

You are also achieving step 2, which is to challenge yourself. Increase your challenge (and introduce more novelty) by stepping out of your comfort zone. Write a chapter in iambic pentameter or in verse, try a different voice for narration, or find any of a million different ways to push yourself. You could challenge yourself further by taking IQ tests. By taking tests before actively pushing yourself when writing, you could experiment and take the tests again at the end to see if you’ve improved.

The next step is the one most obviously linked to writing – think creatively. The simple act of writing fiction is sufficient stimulus to cognitively challenge your brain, but if you want to boost it, you need to think outside of the box. Take your creativity to the next level by remembering to seek novelty and by challenging yourself. Whilst our novelty-rich modern world has boosted our intelligence as a species, there is something to be said for doing things the hard way. Old-fashioned methods often bring their own cognitive challenges, especially as modern methods become more familiar.

Which leads us to the fourth tip; to do things the hard way. Write your first drafts long-hand. Turn off the grammar and spell checkers when you write it up and edit manually. Do some of your research from books instead of the internet. Taking the longer, slower route brings with it new challenges that cause new stimulation.

The final tip takes us back to one of the ways in which the modern world is different to the old, but it also turns it on its head. We live in multicultural societies and interact with people from across the globe, but do we really know people as well as we used to? The concept of communities seems to have gotten lost along the way. As a writer, the final stage of your work is to share it. If you aren’t taking this step, then you are missing out on the 5th tip, to network. Sharing ideas with others who have faced similar challenges and getting to know them both in person and through their work, will help you increase your intelligence – and improve your writing.

 

My Muse, My Inspiration

muse of wonderment and writing

I’ve discovered my muse. Her writings inspire me and give me mental motivation in my ability to write these days.  Not only that, she writes about topics and relationships that I have great interest in and have wanted to write about.  The muse is author Jodi Picoult.  You may have read at least one or two of her books if you like women’s fiction.  I wonder if she realizes what an inspiration she is to fellow writers.

The last novel I read of hers was the best.  It’s called House Rules.  If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. Loved it!

house rules novel cover

Synopsis:

When your son can’t look you in the eye . . . does that mean he’s guilty?

Jacob Hunt is a teen with Asperger’s syndrome. He’s hopeless at reading social cues or expressing himself well to others, though he is brilliant in many ways. But he has a special focus on one subject—forensic analysis. A police scanner in his room clues him in to crime scenes, and he’s always showing up and telling the cops what to do. And he’s usually right.

But when Jacob’s small hometown is rocked by a terrible murder, law enforcement comes to him. Jacob’s behaviors are hallmark Asperger’s, but they look a lot like guilt to the local police. Suddenly the Hunt family, who only want to fit in, are directly in the spotlight. For Jacob’s mother, Emma, it’s a brutal reminder of the intolerance and misunderstanding that always threaten her family. For his brother, Theo, it’s another indication why nothing is normal because of Jacob.

Any time I read her works, ideas flow from my mind onto the paper freely without constraints, and the writing isn’t half bad.  In fact, it often comes out beautifully!  Kudos that I’ve found my muse, my inspiration for aiding me in my creative writing endeavor.

champagne glasses

But when I’m not reading her, when I’m reading other authors’ books, my creative writing isn’t as rich.

I have heard that depending on the type of writing style and its brilliance or less brilliant form, voice, structure, character development, and flow of whatever authors you read can and will affect how good and creative your own writing will be.  Should I continue reading others’ books and settle for a mediocre spark of creativity? Perhaps I’m learning something else from these authors’ writings than from my muse’s writings, that can help my writing techniques in some way.  I just haven’t discovered what that is yet.  If and when I do, I’ll write a blog post on it.

Therefore, I won’t stop reading other authors’ works that I like.  After all, I do know that my first novel was written before I’d read anything by Picoult, so I know I can accomplish this.  I just need to stay motivated and continue to practice my writing and continue reading the genre in which I am interested and in which I write.  That’s part of being a writer.

idea writing

Incidentally, as I’d written this, new ideas popped into my head on additional dialogue and descriptions (in which I’d turned into written revisions) to my first novel, Passage of Promise.  I’ve been revising and deepening its protagonist, antagonist, and supporting characters’ relationships for the past week so that I can send it back to my editor in a couple weeks to re-edit and give any other suggestions.

Wow.  Who would have thought a blog post on writing abilities via one’s muse and the concerns about lesser creative abilities when not reading their works would lead to ideas sprouting like pea shoots in my head.  I think the creative writing of my muse lingers in my mind like the sweet smell of incense from Orthodox Church services I attend that cling to my clothes and hair, and keeps God in my thoughts for the week.

So, what are the solutions to this struggle of the muse and the lesser inspired readings to aid me in my writing?  Well, I will…

  1. Continue reading works from Picoult.
  2. Take daily walks. They give me peace, spur creative ideas, and nostalgic memories.
  3. Write, if not daily, every other day (I try, people).
  4. Do other creative activities. I’ve read they help spark ideas for your writing.
  5. Try not to worry about losing my writing abilities.  I’ve got to stay steadfast and believe in my writing.  And truly, writing is in me (has been since my childhood) and part of who I am.

Who’s your writing muse that helps inspire you?

 

~*~*~*~

 

 

Literary Humanness

books and flowers

The literary package—reading, writing, and analyzing literature—is quite crucial in the life of not only a writer, but also a reader and a student studying to become a good fiction writer (or creative non-fiction, screenwriter, etc.).  When we authors write our creative fiction works, it is a sole project in which we delve into our own minds filled with images, ideas, strings of words and sentences, and the bellowing of our carved-out characters.  But in essence, once our work is out there in print and ebook, we connect with the readers, and ultimately humanity.

In writing my stories, I’ve always been drawn to human emotions, the human condition, and the light of hope, to which I weave into my creative works.  Creating fictional characters’ journeys in dealing with real life issues, their relationships with others, and how they get through conflicts and come to discovery and resolution, is something every human being can relate to because we’ve all gone through difficulties, joys, and sorrows in our lives.

renoir dance pic

(Renoir’s Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette)

I don’t have a high self-esteem or much confidence in myself, even with the recent accomplishments in my writing this year. I still wonder if my writing is good enough.  But with all the things I’ve learned, it has only taught me I still have more to learn and that it is an ongoing process that will probably continue throughout the rest of my writing life.

Analyzing and reading the classic and modern stories I’ve read in World Literature, Fiction Writing Workshop, Intro to Creative Writing, Shakespeare, Romantic Literature, Nonfiction Writing Workshop, and most recently, British Literature, have helped me in structuring my novels in the proper manner for the character arc, and appreciate a deeper understanding of the characters.  Delving deeper into the characters revealed the utter humanness of them, their flawed selves, broken and fragile, and I think how brilliant the authors were in creating such compelling characters and their stories.  For example, the most recent paper I wrote was on Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein. The character of Victor Frankenstein depicts clearly the brokenness of human beings.  And through Frankenstein’s and other fictional characters’ choices they make, cause either joy or sorrow and success or ruin for them.

frankenstein outside darkness

Literature also helps us to understand people who have different perspectives than our own, by stepping into these characters’ minds, lives, cultures, watching them deal with their bad habits, and struggles with relating to others.

Having relationships with others makes us truly human. And I believe that’s really the central struggle and most difficult endeavor for many human beings (me for sure!  Introvert here) in this life.  Generally speaking, it’s easier for us to have relationships with and love our pets than other people.  But it is through communion with other people that we become whole.

It is my hope that my writing touches the hearts of my readers (hopefully I’ll have some when my books are published!) and that they feel inspired and satisfied when they are done reading my works.

In wrapping up this blog post, I wish and pray for continued striving and success for all of us writers because writing is one hundred times harder than we thought when we first started out in the craft.

 

~*~*~*~