Writing What You Know

The Emotional Writer

What do you do to move people with your writing?

By Lisa Collazo, LCSW | Posted June 1, 2007 | Updated May 27, 2019

"The thing is, emotion — if it's visibly felt by the writer — will go through all the processes it takes to publish a story and still hit the reader right in the gut. But you have to really mean it."

—Anne McCaffrey, an American science fiction author best known for her Dragonriders of Pern series.

Have you experienced being so moved by a piece of work that you were surprised at how it pulled your emotions into different directions?

This experience happened to me a few weekends ago as I watched one of the final scenes of Little Miss Sunshine — a sweet little film about a flawed family learning how to remain true to themselves and their dreams.

(Spoiler Alert in the paragraph below for those who haven't seen the film):

My emotional experience as I watched the film occurred during the scene where Greg Kinnear's character had to make a choice: Does he help support his daughter by joining her on stage during her moment of glory, or does he give in to the pressure to whisk her off stage in the middle of her routine?

Suffice to say, the outcome of his choice brought tears of laughter to my eyes, and uncontrollable, deep and fulfilling belly laughs. I haven't laughed that hard in years. To my surprise, however, my feelings shifted quickly from joy to sadness. I felt an overwhelming sense of loss when just moments before I had felt happy. This experience left me curious about the effects writing, or any art, has on our emotions. It definitely inspired me creatively.

Food for thought:

  1. Think of one experience where an art form such as a written piece, a film, or a play took you on an emotional rollercoaster.

  2. What was it about that experience that touched you so deeply? Did it remind you of a person, place or event that was very personal to you?

  3. What do you do to move people with your writing? How can you use your emotion as a writing tool?

Copyright 2006, Lisa Collazo LCSW. All Rights Reserved.

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