Life isn’t a series of tidy little silos, with everything tucked away into their respective containers. It’s a messy, interconnected web of chain reactions, constantly shifting, changing, and growing. Writing spans all of it, especially when fictional characters are involved.

It’s so easy to say, problems with writing can be solved by practice and persistence, but reading and writing won’t always work. When they don’t, your writing problem may not be a writing problem. It may be a you problem.

In other words, you’re the protag in the middle of your novel, trying to take down the antag (IE become a better writer) without having vanquished your inner demons yet. You’re stuck in Act 2, and won’t get past it until you sort out what’s holding you back.

For me, that challenge is relationships, whether romantic, platonic, or familial. I’ve always been alone, have never had that one close friend I’ve known for years, and don’t trust anyone. Consequently, most of my characters lack the human interactions that makes them truly human. I don’t intentionally leave them out, I just forget about them.

Learning from films and novels will grant a very different understanding when compared to experience. Right now, my experience pushes me toward independent, self-sufficient characters who prefer isolation and question the motives of everyone they meet. This isn’t a bad thing until every character has such a personality.

I can’t go back in time to change my childhood and give me a life-long best friend, but that doesn’t mean I can’t start learning now. And who knows–maybe writing through this challenge will help me break my own social isolation.

What kind of deep-rooted challenges do you face, in writing, art, or anything else? Or have you already overcome it?


About Squishy

Writer, dancer, gamer, and admirer of all that is beautiful.

Posted on December 19, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. If there’s one thing that I’ve always found amazing about writing, it’s the way that it can help us sort through and conquer our real life problems.

    My inner demons were once depression and self-image issues. While they sometimes try to snag me with their claws, they don’t have a grip on me anymore. Only a couple of times have my characters dealt with the same self-image issues I did, but I found that, instead, I tended to cope by creating strong women protagonists who were like me but possessed those qualities that I wanted. By helping them fight, I found myself more able to fight. So, between that, prayer, and determining to think better of myself (and literally tell myself that I was beautiful or whatever I need to know in the mirror), I’ve been free of those issues for a couple of years now. Of course, this doesn’t mean that I don’t have other battles that I face, but those problems are easier to tackle now.

    I’m so sorry that you’ve been hurt in the past. I know how hard it can be to find trustworthy people and how hard it can be to trust new people when you’ve been hurt in the past. (Goodness, even if you’re more introverted and haven’t been particularly wounded in the past, it can be hard.) I hope that fighting through this with your protagonist helps you to conquer this demon. Over the past few years, I’ve seen the strong woman that you are. I know that you can conquer this. : )

    I know I live several thousand miles away (just gathering from other things I’ve seen here on your blog before), but if you ever want a long-distance friend, I’m here. : )

  2. I can certainly relate to those feelings of isolation and loneliness. Although in my case, they seem to be very much self-imposed, because I can say with certainty that there are lots of people out there who care about me. Maybe that’s just proof that I have become much more open when compared to the past, but there are still times when I isolate myself from the rest of the world.

    I’ve always felt you are a strong and caring person from your blog and your comments in the past. I know it’s different from real life (whatever that means), but it gives me belief that you have what it takes to break out of your isolation.

    Interestingly, I have a very different approach than Bryna when using my writing to deal with my issues. I tend to bring my protagonists down dark paths, so they get lost within their feelings of isolation. Somehow when I write that, I can think to myself: I could have been this person. But I’m not, because I chose not to.

    As for the lack of human interaction on your stories: that may improve anyway with practice. Try writing a couple of scenes with a protagonist who is completely different than you.Forget about plot, descriptions or whatever else for a minute, and just focus on how this character interacts with the world.

    I also followed several courses at the Writer Studio which focuses quite a lot on different type of narrator. How it works is we read a short scene with a specific narrator with a specific tone of voice, and we try to emulate this in your own exercises. Obviously it works better if you have a teacher to guide and critique you, but it’s a great way to practice your writing with different characters.

    Lots of luck with your writing and your other challenges in life! And I second Bryna’s comment. If you ever need a long-distance friend, count me in!

  1. Pingback: •ρ• Muddled Mind « Reflections on Reality

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