Today’s guest post is by writer and blogger Jackie Johansen:
You are writing your book, and you are excited thinking of others reading it. You understand what your characters are feeling, and you understand what you want your readers to feel.
You know what it is like to feel something from a book. The books that stirred you stick in your mind—they mean the most to you, and they often changed your thinking about ourselves or the world.
You want this for your readers. You want this for yourself.
Often the books that end up on best-seller lists carry a heavy emotional punch. Books that lack emotionality fall flat. When that emotionality isn’t infused in our work, our characters fall flat. The work as a whole can fall flat, and unfortunately the result will be an unmemorable novel.
Luckily, creating a strong emotional response in your audience is easy to do.
First, you have to keep in mind that emotions are just energy in motion. They have the ability move from you and transfer to the words on the page, then come alive in your readers. If you approach your writing feeling uninspired or doubtful about what you are saying, your words wont have the strong emotional impact you intend.
For example, we have all had moments of anger, sadness, and joy. When immersed in big feelings, we might write in our journal or write a letter to process what is going on inside us. If we reread what we wrote, we are taken back to that feeling. It is captured there on the page.
The most powerful writing comes from a writer really feeling something.
Connecting to the emotionality of your experience and writing from this place allows you to be in your creative power. In this state the words will flow effortlessly from your fingers because the energy of the emotion is propelling the work forward.
Prep yourself first: get into a writing mind
Doubt, resistance, distraction, and feeling ungrounded can negatively affect your writing. To help, pump yourself up before approaching your writing practice.
Plan to let your words flow no matter what. Give yourself a pep talk, make a commitment to write, and create with confidence and beautiful vulnerability.
Pull forward the creativity, wisdom, and aliveness that are innate in you. Feel the expansion of your emotional capacity, mirrored in your rising chest, as you take a deep breath and dive into your work.
When you want your writing to have more emotional depth, you need to feel what you want your readers to feel.
If you want readers to experience joy and elation, pull up a memory that makes you feel these emotions. Feel them in your body. Feel them running through you. Write from this state.
If you want to create a feeling of sadness, or elicit tears from your readers, take some time and get to a space when you are writing from a sadness that is palpable for you. Let this experience pour onto the page.
We have access to a wide array of emotions because we are emotional beings.
Often the various feelings that you want to bring to your work are ones you already experience at some time during your day.
When away from your writing desk, notice when various feelings pop up, and allow yourself to feel them. They are always in movement. You don’t have to dwell in them, but rather, experience them for what they are, and allow them to pass through you.
The more you tenderly notice your emotional states during the times you are not writing, the more gracefully you will bring depth to your work and readers’ experience.
There are many emotions captured in written language, but we are most familiar with only a small handful of them.
Don’t limit yourself or your writing. Google a list of “emotion” words to help bring awareness to various emotional states. Notice the nuances of the common feelings (anger, sadness, joy, etc.). Notice the subtleties and the similarities of different emotional experiences.
When you want to bring more of these feelings into your writing, tap into the wisdom of your body.
We have all experienced how our bodies change when we are feeling sad versus happy or confident. Our bodies and emotions are connected. We can use our bodies to shift our emotional state.
When writing, take on the posture of what you want your readers to feel. This quickly shifts your emotional state, your writing, and your thinking. Be present with the felt experience of what you want translated onto the page.
Trust the knowing that emotions are a universal human experience.
What you’re feeling will translate into your work. What you are feeling will resonate in the hearts of those receiving your words.
When you are open to experiencing different emotional states, you and your work will take on a powerful creative momentum. You will have taken control over your work in a new way. By surrendering to the feelings coming up for you, and the feelings you want your readers to feel, your work becomes more solid and alive.
Jackie Johansen is a writer and soul seeker. She writes at Finally Writing, where she combines personal development with actionable writing strategies to help you write the words that will inspire the world. If you are ready to unleash your inner writer and get writing from the inside out, start the free 21-Day Writing Challenge.
Want to master the emotional craft of fiction?
Dive into the online course Emotional Mastery for Fiction Writers!
In this course, you’ll be given tools to show emotions in your characters. You’ll be given techniques to help spark emotional response in your readers. What is going to bring it all together for you is practice. Study and practice. And you’ll have exercises in this course to help you put into practice what you learn.
There are two facets of emotion in fiction: conveying what your character is feeling and evoking emotion in your reader. We’ll look at these two facets separately and in depth. Yet, they are intrinsically connected.
Emotional mastery requires writers to set up the dynamics of a scene in such a visual, textural way that readers can’t help but feel what they are meant to feel. Understanding that emotional mastery requires a twofold approach—the emotional landscape of both the character and the reader—is the first step.
Want to learn how to become a masterful wielder of emotion in your fiction? Enroll in my new online video course, Emotional Mastery for Fiction Writers.
You’ll get lifetime access to all the videos and more than three dozen downloadable assignments. And with a 30-day money-back guarantee, you have NOTHING to lose by jumping in. Sign up NOW.
This course will challenge you to become an “emotion master.” Are you ready and willing to go on this journey deep into emotional territory? If you want your characters to move your readers, take the plunge!