Life hurts sometimes. We lose people, we hurt ourselves doing stupid things like bungee jumping and trying to hug our mother-in-law, we get dumped and sometimes we do something so stupid that we don’t want to remember what we did but the hurt sticks around for a while. Sometimes…life…just…sucks.
At the risk of sounding like the glass is half full guy…sometimes life sucking is a good thing…at least for a writer. The quote above from Stephen King is very true. As a writer it is necessary to remember all the crap that hurt us because it actually makes us better writers. What better way to write about pain than having experienced it? I often take an event in my life that has left me scarred and I bestow it on a character in a novel. Scars give us character, they make us interesting and they help us grow.
Sometimes a scar may run too deep and in that case, don’t force it, but as a writer I have discovered that, when the time is right, even those deep scars are of use. I have a friend who was abused as a kid and for years she wanted to write about the abuse but just couldn’t get herself past all the scars. She shelved the idea thinking that it would never happen but then she had a baby and it changed everything. Suddenly those scars that had kept her from writing her own story burst wide open and she found that she couldn’t NOT write about it; the timing was finally right.
So don’t hide from those tough times in your life, use them. Use the scars to give your characters life, and, well, character.
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