How to Improve Your Ability to Write From the Heart
Want to stir emotions in your readers? Writing from the heart is one of the best ways to accomplish that goal.
For readers, the particular situation feels real to them because the writing is pulled from the emotions, experiences, and imagination of the writer. The readers get to see what the writer (or the character) cares about. They get to see what makes him tick, what problems or situations are keeping him up at night. What feels real to the character feels real to the reader.
If you're wondering how you can improve your ability to write from the heart so you can capture the emotions of your characters and thus stir emotions in your readers, here's a big tip.
Work on Being Fearless.
Isn't fearfulness a common trait in writers? We're afraid of what people might think when they read our writing work. We're afraid of offending someone or having a reader (family member or friend?) think we're writing about them when we're really not. We're afraid of rejection and never seeing our work in print. We dread comments and questions from nonwriters – you know the ones like, "So…have I read anything you've written?" or "How's your little internet business going?" or um, "When are you going to get a real job?"
We're afraid we'll get rejected, but then we're afraid we'll succeed. What if we hit it big but then we have to break out of our happy, introverted comfort zones to speak in front of a live audience?
The thing is, if we're holding ourselves back because of fear, we're not going to give it our best efforts. We're not going to give it our best shot.
To write from the heart, to invoke certain emotions in our readers, we have to be fearless enough to tap into what the heart is telling us. We have to be willing to get our hands dirty and get to know our characters inside and out. We have to care about our characters the way we want our readers to care about them.
Becoming fearless can, without a doubt, happen overnight. But most of us aren't willing to take that step. I don't want to discourage anyone from that opportunity – it can be done (all it really takes is a decision and determination).
But I also want writers to know that it's okay if they're not ready yet. I'm not. I'm still holding onto some of my fears. And that's okay. But I am working on them. I've shared a great deal of our story in recent years, and some of the things I wrote about I had never talked about openly before. It takes time, and we get to that "finish line" when we're ready. One small step at a time will still get us where we need to be.