Last week I snuck off to a matinee with my husband, enjoyed a laughter-filled dinner with favorite writing pals, and two fun people joined our writing group. Our family went to ice cream day at the State Fair, I got the laundry done (even folded!), and for some miraculous reason my house stayed clean. And I still had long, uninterrupted writing time.
So how was I going to deepen all the rejection, pain, and sorrow my character experiences in Chapter Sixteen? I sat in my sunny living room trying to channel despair. Yeah--not happening.
To the diaries! I've written in my journal almost every day since my early teen years. Sure, I've recorded a lot of boring, ordinary days, but when the tough stuff happens, the words flow and flow and flow.
So which volume to read? My sixteen-year-old self's angst (my character is almost sixteen)? No, I went for recent rejection. Mostly because I knew I could find some deep pain in the pretty yellow journal with flowers and butterflies embossed on the front.
Writing always makes me feel better (I filled an entire two-hundred page journal during my daughter's spine surgery). But it's also a record, not just of events in my life, but of the emotional ups and downs. Reading about the fear I felt before college--will my life finally begin for real?--reads almost the same as the years I spent nurturing young children--will I ever feel like myself again?
Human emotion is fairly consistent. Rejection pretty much feels the same at sixteen as it does decades later (kind of a bummer, but true).
So that's my revision tip this week--keep a journal. It's never too late to start! Record your thoughts and emotions so you can tap into that deep stuff later--because sometimes life is as wonderful as eating four scoops of ice cream before dinner at the State Fair.