I don’t always. Some of my best writing memories include riding in a car with my crazy, writer brain-twin and passing our laptops back and forth in complete silence so we could live-read what the other was working on, sitting in a room full of creative women who were alternately researching the assassination of JFK and working on various novels, and reading aloud my work to various and sundry audiences. And then, of course, there is the collective madness of NaNoWriMo.
But there are days when you have to write alone.
Like yesterday. Yesterday was not for sharing, nor was it for easy writing. Yesterday, there was death in my character’s world. My protagonist felt completely isolated from her husband, her brother, her family, all because of this death. There was no emotional breakdown. There were few tears shed by any of my pen-and-ink creations. And, yet, I could not have written this scene with someone else in the room, and I’ll tell you why.
One of the reasons I am a good writer is because I have a very high degree of empathy. For everyone, everything, and pretty much all the time. I have so much empathy that I occasionally have a hard time distinguishing my emotions from the emotions of people around me. The result is that I understand human emotion, and a learned skill has been to manipulate it in a fictional setting. I can empathize with people I invented.
Sounds kinda like a superpower. I should research if this is a superpower. It didn’t feel like it yesterday, but I’m sure it could be a superpower.
Yesterday, I was sitting in my chair, writing my chapter, with tears rolling down my face. I was not upset about this character death – I was upset with my protagonist’s feelings about this character death. I typed and I cried and I just kept on writing. I probably cried more than any of the characters did.
I have to write the funeral next, and I’ll write it by myself, but I just had to wonder if this bizarre self-torture was something anyone out in the blogosphere was familiar with. How do you pull yourself out of it? Chocolate? Do you blog about it or talk to your mom? Do you just work through the emotions and come out the other side smiling? (Get out, you emotionally mature person! You must be joking!) Or do you keep writing until your characters are okay and somehow you’ve managed to write yourself a little more okay, too?