Many writers are introverts who internalize life’s ups and downs, rather than venting. Independent authors have an extra degree of separation because we work alone.
Most of us are familiar with the old saying, “A burden shared is a burden halved.” Conversely, carrying our problems alone multiplies their weight in our minds.
To help overcome the isolation, I belong to a few Facebook writers’ groups. This past week, one of the members of a group shared how she was feeling overwhelmed with personal issues, making it difficult to keep up with her writing and promotional work. Immediately, several other members offered support and shared experiences.
I can’t stress enough how important it is for writers to make connections like this. However, this is not the only tool at our disposal.
While we may be reticent to share our troubles in person, we are free to hand them off to our characters and play with various solutions or scenarios.
When I’m feeling lonely, I can have one of my characters either share that feeling, or I can surround her with friends and loved ones and experience the fellowship vicariously. If I’m having problems with a difficult person in my life, whether someone in my immediate circle or an unhelpful clerk at the DMV, I can write the character into my story and say all the things I would never say to that person’s face. Heck, I can even kill them off if I want, with no danger of ending up in jail for my crime.
Psychologists often recommend journaling to their patients to help them work through their feelings, but writers don’t need to see a therapist; we have a ready outlet, with the added bonus of making our writing richer and more authentic, just as real sour lemons can make the most refreshing lemonade.