Writing 101: Emotionally Involved

There are probably a few Greek myths about some sculptor who fell deeply in love with his creation, to the point of pure madness. I think every author has experienced this type of insanity at least once. Right now, it's my turn. I made a mistake with my newest book. I became emotionally involved.

Heart of Stone

To be a good writer, you must connect with your characters. You must care about them. You should laugh at funny scenes, cry during sad ones and root for the hero to win the day. You have to pour your heart on the page, bleed over every word, wrest all emotion from your soul and spit it out in whole sentences.

Then, you have to turn it all off. You should absolutely care about the story you tell...but under no circumstances should you feel emotional about the book that results.Walking this tightrope can absolutely drive you insane if you let it.

While you're writing the story, it's just yours. But once that story becomes a book, everyone else in the world has the right to rip it apart. If you're not emotionally prepared for that, it can destroy your self-confidence. It may even shatter your hope. And let's face it, most of the time all authors really have to go on is hope.

So now for the really hard part: how do you stop caring about something that made you sweat, bleed, laugh, cry, hope and despair? How do you turn all that off and avoid becoming emotionally involved?

Often, the best thing to do is start a new book. Get emotionally involved with the story, turn it into a book, and then move on to the next project. Once it's a book, it's not just yours anymore. So don't put your heart into it anymore. Save your emotions and your heart for the story, because that's private. Keep moving on to new projects to avoid getting too attached to any one book, and don't get emotionally involved. 

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