A class discussion the other day brought up the idea of unconscious writing and whether or not it exists. Do we write consciously, or are there parts that simply can’t be explained except through writing with more than our present mind? There may be varying opinions on this, but this of course is mine.
In finishing a few books it has come to my attention that sometimes writing does more than we expect. While we may set out to just write a fun interesting novel, it can sometimes turn into so much more than we expect.
My first book I really started had that feeling to it. I never finished the novel, but the deeper I went into the story, the more it seemed to come alive and bring meaning to itself and more importantly myself.
For years I have tried to lie about what writing really is to me. I consider it a hobby, or a passion, or a dream…or something I do in my free-time. But writing is something that awakens and engages my soul. I don’t even know if I can really find words to explain what writing a book is to me, but I know as I have looked back at past works I have realized the depth goes far past words and pages.
Almost all of my characters have a bit of me in them. Some reflect inner turmoil, others the peace of the moment. I catch bits of personality that arise in some or even an odd experience that may seem like one of mine. But only a few really seem to capture a piece of my soul.
The second novel I finished was written in a time when I was struggling, almost drowning in my life circumstances. It was written when I had decided to push away my past beliefs and when I was confused about where my identity was placed. Though I didn’t intend it, my protagonist absorbed many of my personal issues, insecurities, doubts, and struggles. And though I intended to simply write a story, I instead created a self-reflection.
This is Nalin. He doesn’t remember his last name. He doesn’t remember his family. In fact, his face has been stolen by a witch who’s cursed him to look like someone else. He hates mirrors, hates any reminder that he has no idea who he really is. And he’s had a hard past filled with rejection and abuse.
He may seem vastly different from me, but in reality there are some things we have in common. We both are out in the world on our own, separated from the identity we might once have known. We both struggle with past hurts, sometimes feeling unable to fit in. We share a very similar personality deeply based on feelings and rooted in relationships. Sure, there are a lot of things we don’t have in common, namely gender, but there are parts of us that feel the same. Nalin means lotus, a flower that grows in murky waters showing that beauty can rise even from the depths of ugliness, something I want more than ever to portray to the world.
Other authors may not do this, but I do. I write characters that manage to pick up on my emotions and on my troubles. I write with my soul, putting characters into my thoughts and my feelings, though perhaps not intentionally at first. My writing is open to the world of my deepest thoughts and desires. And in doing so my writing comes to life and has greater meaning to myself and perhaps to others than it might have had otherwise.
I wrestle with this sometimes. I struggle to know if I’ve done the right thing. My writing isn’t always pretty when I’m writing this way, but it’s real in a way that much of my other works aren’t. And I love that realness, the connection I feel with the work when I’m done.
So I suppose I challenge other writers to do this, to write with open heart and soul. See where your writing goes. See what unknown thoughts and feelings rise up in you. There will be negatives as well. You may realize some things about yourself you don’t like. But in writing you discover so much more, and open yourself up to be honest and vulnerable upon the page.
Does anyone else find themselves doing this? Am I alone in my desire to write with my soul? Give me your thoughts, dear readers. I have already given you mine.