It’s no secret that writing is most effective when you’re channeling some kind of emotion. Whether it’s joy, anxiety, or pain, words have more impact when they’re powered by a strong underlying feeling.
I don’t know about you guys, but my go-to emotion is sadness… Maybe because I listened to the Cure a lot when I was younger. But it’s definitely my go-to emotion as a lot of my writing is fueled by feelings of despair and regret.
When I was young, my emo fuel came from my feelings of isolation in school, the alienation of not completely fitting into either of the two countries I was raised in, and of course, the epic heartache from The One That Got Away. These days, it comes from the turmoil of giving up animation, the helplessness when I was unemployed with a baby on the way, and the clichéd feelings of abandonment due to an inattentive parent.
I really believe in this too. When I started writing as a kid, I wrote screenplays driven by what I thought movies were supposed to be about. It was the action and drama of saving the world, based on clichés and other stuff I’ve seen in other movies. Quite frankly, I didn’t have anything worth saying so needless to say, my writing was really shallow and boring.
Over time, as I had more life experiences, I found that I had more things to express, like deeper feelings of regret and loneliness. I started channeling this into my writing, and my work had more substance because of it. The sadder I was, the more I wanted to write.
I kept diaries back then (sadness made me write more, remember?), and whenever I needed to get into that emo zone these days I would read back and borrow and paraphrase the raw emotional words into whatever I need to write. Of course, I’d probably listen to The Cure a lot too.
Pain and sadness is my fuel, but I’m sure you guys have other emotions that you call upon to. Please share, and let me know what inspires you to write. I’d especially like to hear from someone who’s power emotion is happiness, the polar opposite of mine!