Write What’s Real

Hi, reader.

I know, I know. I’ve been a baaaaad, baaaaad author. But the good news is that I’ve hit a stride, and I’m writing a lot more now. Yay!

I’ll be honest: I wasn’t writing the entire time. I have been slacking off, though I have a good reason. Everything I tried to write felt off, as if I was forcing a kidney stone from my forehead instead of really connecting with this story and the characters.

So, I did what I’m wont to do when I do this to myself: started over, spun my wheels, got obsessed with structure, kept trying to write in the way I thought I should write (thus ignoring my own advice), then got so fed up that I just quit for a while.

Then I realized that the reason why I was having problems: I wasn’t writing something real.

I don’t mean real as in factual. C’mon, this is a novel where a main character is a woman who transforms into a wolf. As far as I know, not a lot of those sorts of women running around nowadays.

I mean real as in coming from the place of my own internal truth. As comforting as it would be to weave illusions about a protagonist who’s as strong and free as I’d like to be, the truth is that I’m still grieving the loss of my father, I feel deeply insecure and powerless most of the time, and it’s a struggle to keep bitterness at bay sometimes because my life is not not where I think it should be.

As long as I ignored those feelings or tried to keep them out of my writing, I wasn’t able to make progress in any satisfactory way. But when I allowed them to exist, when I let them be part of my story, I was happier with my writing, even though the feelings I wrestled with in order to write it weren’t pleasant.

That being said, although there is a cathartic component to expressing all that in my writing, that doesn’t mean those feelings will go away by the time I write, “The End.” What it does mean is that when I finish this draft, what I created will have the ring of truth that adds depth and richness to the story.

How about you? How do you put your own internal truth in your writing? What results did you have?