When you write, regardless of whether or not you write alone, you are going to have good days and bad days. Now, I’m not talking about days when you write a lot or write very little, although those are good and bad days and still technically kind of count.
I’m talking about days when, no matter how much you write, you’re going to have your own personal highs and lows. Maybe you have high energy, maybe you don’t. Maybe you have high emotions, maybe you don’t.
Maybe you’re like me. Maybe having emotions that register high enough to count at all are a thing you’re not used to, a thing that scares and stresses you more than you can safely handle. Maybe you lash out, maybe you go hide in a corner. Sometimes you can write yourself back to a functional level. On my twentieth birthday I was so horrifically depressed that all I could do was write, and that writing became one of my most popular at the time. It’s an easy coping mechanism for writers, but it doesn’t always work.
Maybe you go talk to someone.
I’ve been trying to do that these last several years. My friends all say I can talk to them when I’m emotional and distressed. They encourage it, even.
I forget all my friends are online and can’t tell that I’m emotional or distressed by my words a lot of the time. I don’t talk to people when I’m upset, partly because talking to people while I’m upset makes me very pointed and bristly, I can’t handle critique, I can’t handle helpful words, I can’t handle gentle pats and nods of encouragement. I get defensive, I get angry.
When my hormones fluctuate, I spend a lot more time riding emotional highs and lows, and they both result in the same thing.
Some of my friends know that when I rant, I call it “cutting teeth.” I don’t think I’ve ever told them why. Some of them probably figured it out.
Used to be I dealt with every flux of emotion purely by writing. Sometimes I fall off that train. Sometimes I actually make the mistake of trying to diffuse an argument before it happens by warning people that I need to back off or that the topic needs to change before I get too involved and emotional. I did that today. Oops.
Let me tell you I was not expecting the universal slap in the face I got back. Ow.
I forgot why I don’t ever manage to keep friends. Turns out that by trying to keep them, I tick them off instead. Talk about the biggest personality flaw I don’t want.
Now, I’m not saying don’t talk to your friends when you’re upset. By all means, do! I’m just saying, this happens to me. And this is not a thing that happens only in real life. Look at your characters, and their friends, and remember that things are not always going to be sunshine and daisies. They’ll have emotional highs and lows, and they’ll fight. They’ll have issues with each other, about the way they speak and the way they interact.
People aren’t always a perfect match. Reality doesn’t work that way.
Friendship– any sort of relationship at all– takes time and effort and understanding on all parts involved. It’s not easy.
I’ll say I’m sorry to my friends when I calm down, although I’m pretty sure they’ll still be angry. They’ll probably be angrier if any of them read this blog. I can’t help it.
I write when I’m upset, and this is, I think, decent advice to myself and people.
Make your characters real. Remember that they, as you, are deeply flawed. Remember that you have emotions, and so do they.