Pay It Forward · Tips · Writing

Writing What You Feel



Do you write?  Poetry?  Novels?

Do you ever feel like you shot yourself in the foot sometimes?

I’m on chapter 15 of a novel (currently called Without You) that I never realised is extremely personal.  I’ve written another novel, (currently called The Burden of Secrets) about 26 chapters long, that was a college romance with the added aspect of having one of my main characters diagnosed with cancer.  I used my own experiences to write TBOS, and it’s only now, writing WY that I realise how vague I actually was.

I used a similar timeline, diagnosis and treatment to my own in TBOS and it felt very real at the time.  Now I can see that I glossed over many of the very important emotional aspects of the story. Maybe I wasn’t ready to write it so explicitly at the time, or maybe I was just so focused on showing the view I had, that I never realised what I was doing.

I’ll admit that when I was in hospital with cancer, everything blurred into one.  It was spend the week in hospital, get the weekend home.  Wake up, get blood tests, eat, read, write or watch TV, eat some more, sleep.  That was my day as I saw it.  Mostly I remember sleeping, missing out on things, time passing in a really odd way and feeling disconnected from everything.  That is what I put into TBOS.  But now, on chapter 15 of WY, I’m realising it isn’t enough.

To really connect with a story, you need emotions.  For some reason, all these memories are coming back to me as I’m writing.  Silly things, like feeling inadequate, being suitable in high school for boys to be friends with but never to date, feeling like I was on the outside of everything interesting that was happening.  I don’t know why it’s happening now.  Maybe it’s this story…maybe it’s just my frame of mind and I never noticed…maybe it’s because I’m not very well at the moment and things are feeling far too familiar.  There’s a lot of unanswered questions about my health just now and that might be part of it too.

Whatever it is, it makes me feel sad.  For the memory, knowing I went through it, knowing someone else is going through it right now somewhere, knowing that sometimes things happen for no reason, with no explanation or solution.

It’s the same with the story in a way.  I had it sitting on my laptop for years, as a high school/college romance.  Just two teenage kids dating, with a secret holding them back from being entirely honest with each other.  A secret that could tear them apart.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Suddenly, I decided to change the ending and it became about one of them getting sick.  Before I knew it, one of the characters, no matter how I spun the story, just had to die.  There was no way to keep him alive.  It was never supposed to be personal.  And yet somehow it is.

Somehow, while I’m writing, the words are just flowing out with no provocation.  No idea how it happened, no reason why.


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