Perseverance is an important trait among writers. The reasons why are obvious if we check out the definition:
“to persist…in spite of counterinfluences, opposition, or discouragement” (Merriam-Webster)
“continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty or with little or no prospect of success” (Google)
“to persist in anything undertaken; maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement; continue steadfastly” (Dictionary.com)
As writers, no matter the climb up the learning curve, we continue to push ourselves, to learn new skills, to strengthen our craft—despite the potential discouragement, lack of support, and small chance of success.
We might need to persevere through writer’s block, query rejections, poor sales, and promo expenditures that don’t earn back. We might need to persevere even though our friends or family aren’t as supportive as we’d like. We might need to persevere through life’s chaos that eats up our writing time or makes finances difficult.
And through all that, we persevere. It’s enough to make us realize how awesome writers are. *smile*
Let’s Talk Mental/Emotional Wounds
Sometimes perseverance refers to physical struggles, but for writers, we’re often referring to mental or emotional struggles. In fact, during our career, we probably become experts at persevering despite… Whatever.
Those of you who follow my blog might have heard about my horror stories of health issues over the past year and a half: a half-dozen surgeries, a dozen rounds of antibiotics, debilitating side effects (not being able to walk, or barely move), not-one-but-two antibiotic-resistant infections—and no solutions.
I used to jokingly answer the question “Jami, how do you do it all?” with “I flail randomly. I don’t recommend it.” But after all these problems (and not enough spoons), my feeling now is that my flailing is an attempt to not only juggle everything on my plate but also tread water—while I’m drowning. Every day I don’t drown is a success…on some level. Yay?
Yet despite all that, I’m still running my blog twice a week (with a lot more guest-posting help—thank you, guest posters!), I edited and released one book, and I’ll be participating in NaNoWriMo starting next week. That’s not heroic, just an example of perseverance.
I won’t be “winning” NaNo by getting 50K words in, but any words are better than no words. That’s what perseverance is all about—continuing the best we can even though things are difficult.
You probably have similar experiences of persevering despite something—because that’s life. So it’s no surprise that the characters we create must learn to persevere despite hardships as well.
The WHW #WritersPersevere Event!
To help us develop those struggling characters, over at Writers Helping Writers, the wonderful Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi behind the Emotion Thesaurus book and the One Stop for Writers site have just released their newest addition to their Thesaurus collection—The Emotional Wound Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Psychological Trauma.
This book looks at the difficult experiences embedded in our character’s backstory which will shape their motivation and behavior afterward. To help them celebrate this release, many of us are posting stories about some of the obstacles we’ve overcome as writers.
Despite frequent discouragement, #WritersPersevere, and we are stronger for it. Click To TweetAs we all know, this isn’t an easy path. Writing is hard, and as writers, we tend to struggle with doubt.
So people are sharing their stories this week about how they worked through their challenges to keep writing, and I wanted to post about it as well because your encouragement has meant so much to me throughout my struggles. Many of you reached out and shared your frustrations with your own struggles, and sometimes just knowing that we’re not alone and others are there with us in the trenches can help.
Although I wish I didn’t have to go through all the crap I’ve experienced lately, it’s also meant a lot to me for Angela and Becca to highlight an important aspect of overcoming difficult circumstances: It can make us stronger. It never hurts to have that reminder. *smile*
To mark their new release, they’re celebrating the perseverance of writers. In the words of Angela:
“Hi everyone! When you set out to find examples of inner strength, you don’t have to go very far. Right here in the writing community we see it every day. Writers more than anyone understand the swirl of emotions as we work toward publication.
We dream of making it and seeing our books in the hands of readers…yet doubt and frustration can be a constant companion. For us, there is a lot to learn, much to steel our nerves for, and unfortunately, a host of real-world problems that can try to derail us. And, even as we slowly move forward and grow, we can sometimes feel like impostors. This is a tough road.
But the fact that writers face this battle, day after day, and KEEP GOING…this should be celebrated! We need to be reminded that we are much stronger than we sometimes believe. We dream, create, and force ourselves to keep striving. Through the ups and downs, we persevere!
“The Emotional Wound Thesaurus looks at the hardships our characters face. So, we want to celebrate the courage and strength of writers who face difficulties and overcome obstacles as they pursue publication. As we all know, this career is not easy. We often doubt and struggle. … Sometimes reading someone’s story of perseverance is just what we need to keep our own feet on the path!”
The WHW #WritersPersevere Giveaway!
As part of their release celebration, they’re also running a big event under the hashtag #WritersPersevere to fill social media with our stories of strength, complete with an awesome giveaway!
“Join Becca and me at Writers Helping Writers from October 25-27th, where we are celebrating writers and their stories of perseverance.
We also have a prize vault filled with items that can give your writing career a boost, so stop by Writers Helping Writers. I would love for one of you to win something that will help you get closer to your goal!
If you struggle, remember to reach out to others. We are in this together, and by supporting one another, we cross the finish line together (and then keep going!).
Angela & Becca”
The giveaway is open only through October 27th, so enter ASAP. And don’t forget to share this post using the #WritersPersevere hashtag so more prizes will be awarded!
Understanding the Psychological Impact of a Character’s Past Pain
Readers connect to characters with depth, ones that have experienced life’s ups and downs. To bring realistic, compelling characters to the page, writers must know them intimately—not only who they are in the present story, but also what made them that way. Of all the formative experiences in a character’s past, none are more destructive than emotional wounds. The aftershocks of trauma can change who they are, alter what they believe, and sabotage their ability to achieve meaningful goals, all of which will affect the trajectory of your story.
DIG DEEP TO UNCOVER YOUR CHARACTER’S PAST
Identifying the backstory wound is crucial to understanding how it will shape your character’s behavior, and The Emotional Wound Thesaurus can help. Inside, you’ll find:
- A database of traumatic situations and events common to the human experience
- An in-depth study on a wound’s impact, including the fears, lies, personality shifts, and dysfunctional behaviors that can arise from different types of trauma
- An extensive analysis of character arc and how the wound and any resulting unmet needs fit into it
- Techniques on how to show the past experience to readers in a way that is both engaging and revelatory while avoiding the pitfalls of info dumps and telling
- A showcase of popular characters and how their traumatic experiences reshaped them, leading to very specific story goals
- A Backstory Wound Profile tool that will enable you to document your characters’ negative past experiences and their aftereffects
Root your characters in reality by giving them an authentic wound that causes difficulties and prompts them to strive for inner growth to overcome it. With its easy-to-read format and over 100 entries packed with information, The Emotional Wound Thesaurus is a crash course in psychology for creating characters that feel real to readers.
Each wound entry includes:
- examples of causes
- how this wound could affect the character’s needs
- the false beliefs they might embrace
- what they may fear
- how they might respond
- personality traits that might form
- triggers that might aggravate
- opportunities to face or overcome the wound, etc.
If you want a taste of the insights we can gain from this level of information, check out some of the posts Angela and Becca have written about emotional wounds and how we can use them to develop our characters more deeply:
- What Is an Emotional Wound?
- Why Is Your Character’s Emotional Wound So Important?
- How To Uncover Your Character’s Emotional Wound
- Using Dysfunctional Behavior to Reveal Characters’ Emotional Wounds
- Understanding Character Wounds: A List Of Common Themes
- The Connection Between Emotional Wounds and Basic Needs
- How Your Hero’s Past Pain Will Determine His Character Flaws
- How Your Character’s Failures Can Map A Route To Self-Growth
Welcome to the Thesaurus family, Emotional Wound book! *grin*
See? Writers are the best. *smile* In the words of Angela and Becca, “It’s okay to question and have doubts but we shouldn’t let that stop us.”
Have you encountered something on the writing road that made you question yourself? Have you faced an obstacle that required a force of will to get past? Do you have a story to share, or some advice for others? Do you struggle with knowing how to develop your character’s backstory wound? Do you think the information in this new book might help?Pin It