As a writer, and here I speak of fiction writers, I have the opportunity to slip my mind into dozens of costumes and play a myriad of rolls. It is a gift. Sometimes, I forget that it has changed who I am – has changed my life.

Until I have to write something from the heart.

Writers, as much as we hide behind our keyboards and grammar books, are not dealers in words. We protesteth wildly. Any fanboy or fangirl who has wept over the death of a character will tell you: writers deal in emotion. Often we’re introverts, busy sculpting the insides of our brains into something habitable for our spirits. This provides the base of our inner lives. We write fiction and it demands from us articulation of emotion. And that provides the practice.

Other people don’t do this, guys. We’re freaks. Because we don’t talk about gratitude, we talk about thanking someone from the bottom of our broken hearts. We don’t say “I’m sorry.” We say, “Please, I beg of you, forgive me for being wrong and defiling your sacred trust.”

I believe it has something to do with how we sit down at our keyboards or notebooks and think through the darkest moments of a fictional story. How do you convey the freedom a prisoner feels when first released from prison? How do you show your reader the grief of a father losing a child? Can you write a mother’s love?

So… the next time you jot down a heartfelt thank you note, one where you want to really convey the emotions of your heart, are you really surprised when it hits home? I know I always am.