Wednesday, October 3, 2018

ISWG: October

It's the first Wednesday in October, so it's time to celebrate with the Insecure Writer's Support Group. This month's question is:

How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?

This is a good question, coming as it has a week or so after a death in the family.  

I tend to be a very disciplined writer, so major life events often disrupt my regular routine.  Which leads to me not writing when life throws me a curve ball.  Only after the chaos has ended do I get back to the writing.

But those major life events are often great inspiration for stories or characters or finding new ways to express emotions.  So while I don't often write myself through a crisis, those events almost always find their way into my work in some way or another.

Fiction, even if you're writing fantasy or historical fiction, needs to be based on genuine human experiences to resonate with readers.  Major life events force writers to live through new experiences and emotions which can later be mined to give depth and veracity to the stories we write.

We can imagine how things might feel (losing a parent, giving birth, winning a major award), but until these things have been experienced, we can't fully understand them.  And it shows in the writing. An addict who has been through withdrawal can describe the sensations and sickness far better than someone who has only observed someone withdrawing.

So while major life events don't tend to send me scrambling to my laptop to write my way through them, when the dust settles, each of them adds to my understanding of life and human experience.  Which in turn allows me to write more rounded and realistic characters.


  1. The death of someone close to us is never easy to deal with, but we somehow manage to get through it.
    "Fiction, even if you're writing fantasy or historical fiction, needs to be based on genuine human experiences to resonate with readers." Great advice :-) Happy IWSG day!

    Ronel visiting on Insecure Writer's Support Group day: Course Correction

  2. Sorry about your loss.
    I feel the same. I can't write through life's curve balls, but I often find myself noting things for when I get back to writing.

  3. I'm with you. Life experience gives us the depth required for true character.

  4. Writing can be a comfort, or it can rip up old wounds...

  5. I've done both -- written through things but also written about them later. One results in more raw, angsty writing and the other is deeper somehow.

  6. I'm very sorry you lost a family member.
    Some things we'll never experience but what we do, we can use.

  7. If something totally unexpected happens, I can't write through it. But afterwards, there is always a place for it in the writing somewhere.