I remember this vividly. I was in sixth grade. I was confused about my attraction to a girl who made no secret that she loved another boy. Still, she paid a lot of attention to me and told me I was “cute.” So, I invested quite a bit of emotional energy paying attention to her and attempting to increase her feelings for me.
One morning I woke with a fresh idea. I should somehow document how much I love this magical girl, then on another sheet write down all the obstacles in her/my way, starting with the fact that she freely admitted “loving” another boy. I mean, the solution must be there, right? Maybe if I wrote it all out I would somehow come up with a solution.
I put pencil to paper. Ultimately, I broke down in frustrated tears. The situation seemed too impossible and incomprehensible to put into words. But I did put it into memory.
Flash forward four or five years to high school. I was more fortunate during those days. I actually found a girlfriend. I dated her for over a year. I saw her nearly every day. We exchanged rings. We were a couple. She was the best kisser of my life and smelled like fresh flowers and clean laundry. I thought I was in love. Maybe I was.
Then, suddenly, she left me for another boy, one of those “bad boys.” As it turns out, she had been seeing him secretly. Later, she would later marry him.
30 years later, I crossed paths with her again. She was divorced from the guy she had left me for… and had little memory of us dating at all. That might have hurt more than the initial break-up.
As a writer, I force myself explore these feelings, seeking meaning and modes of expressing them. The odors and feelings from those times in my past remain within me and have bubbled up in a few books when romance and doubt mattered to the characters.
As I wrote those scenes and pulled those emotions from my past, I did not find it to be a pleasant experience. But I had to write the story. Maybe some writers give up at this point, feeling out of control, but it is not the real emotions that should stop you, it is the fake ones you attempt to portray in your writing.
The would-be bards of our profession say “write what you know.” What they really should say is “write what you survive.” Or, perhaps, write what you can confront.
Bottom line: Don’t be afraid to search for the memories found in your tears. Your story will be real and meaningful to your readers.
Discover more thoughtful and unique creative and business writing insights at http://www.writershock.com, where you can also link to Tim’s books on Amazon.
About Tim Schoch
Tim Schoch (shock) is the author of ten novels, four for preteens, two of which have just been converted to ebooks on Amazon. He’s a marcom professional and senior copywriter. His background includes acting, stand-up comedy, and a rock-and-roll band. Interests include golf, video gaming, reading, and writing. He is the winner of multiple industry press and writing awards.