Exorcising For Better Writing

February 21, 2013

Every one knows that writing can be good for your mental health, but can your mental health be bad for your writing? People have always used the medium of writing to get ‘stuff’ out of their heads. Just the act of putting a traumatic event or emotion down into words can help reduce the impact and put a better perspective on an unpleasant emotion – like a personal debrief. Most first novels draw heavily on the author’s personal experiences and the characterisations based on people they know intimately. A character so directly drawn from personal experience will be open to transference, or to explain, your character will be so directly effected by the feelings or knowledge you have internally of the person you are drawing from, as to not allow your fictional character to be true to themselves (which is the ‘themselves’ you require them to be in your story, unless you are writing a biography).

So – it is a good idea to treat yourself, for the good of your writing, to a bit of exorcism. There are various practises available, NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) for instance or EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), which allow for revisiting an emotion or trauma and reprogramming to see the ‘event’ at a comfortable distance, like watching a movie rather than being in the movie. Now you can see it, draw from it but chose not to be influenced by it, allow you, the writer, to take control of your characters rather than them controlling your writing.