Yup, even the worst ones. For the Conscious Writer
Let’s just start out by saying, You are amazing. Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about writing.
The title says you and your characters are equal. How can that be? We create them from scratch and define who they are and who they will become.
If, however, you want to write a character from the ground up, a character who is as real as any person living, yet wholly your own creation, then there are three aspects you need to know in depth: the physical, sociological and psychological.
Yes, this is true. We create our characters by collecting tidbits of information from all around us. We grind away at our characters until they are uniquely their own and separate from us.
What about the bad guys? What about the ones who do evil for no other reason than to do evil? (or to move the plot forward)
Ah! Morality has finally arrived.
There is this thing called Moral superiority. It means those that choose the higher road are above or better or more worthy than those that choose “evil.”
Are they no longer human? They’re still human. Humans don’t morph into aliens when they do evil.
This doesn’t mean I don’t believe in punishment. This isn’t a debate on what evildoers deserve. This is simply a reminder that your most well behaved and most evil character are both as human as you.
So yes, even your worst character is equal to you no matter what terrible choices they make. No matter how much they should be punished for their bad and terrible and mindless decisions, as a conscious writer, they are still your equal.
Even if you find the bad guy generally repulsive, you need to be able to put yourself so thoroughly into his shoes while you’re writing him that, just for those moments, you almost believe his slant yourself.
— K.M. Weiland
This doesn’t mean you are an exact replica of all of your characters. This doesn’t mean you’d make the same choices as all your characters. It simply means they are as human as you.
Let’s be clear, you are not your characters.
Our characters are gathered from the many pieces of us. They are from us. From our thoughts and experiences and what we observe. But they are not us. There are lit theories that explain that the author needs to be separated from their writing. In other words, if a writer is writing a story and a character says a derogatory term which is completely in context with time and character. It should not be assumed that the writer agrees with that character’s choice of words. The use of honesty in our characters is important. Who is permitted to use these terms? That is another debate. But I do strongly feel that while we are equal to all of these characters that we’re creating from scratch, we are also a completely separate identity with completely separate set of life experiences and moral belief systems.
Why is it important to know that your characters are equal to you?
It’s important to know this because you want real living breathing how-ever-many dimensional characters. You don’t want boring characters that act and think like you. You want them to come in all shapes and sizes and you want them to be themselves even when no other character is looking. This makes for memorable characters.
This mindset also allows you to shift into the different shoes of your characters.
These articles are geared toward the conscious writer. Not all writers have to understand their characters in this way. As conscious writers, this mindset helps us to have unconditional love in for those in all walks of life. This helps us grow and meet others where they are in their own life.
I’ve added a list which will help any writer become a conscious writer.
To help you out, here’s a list of ways to write consciously
Anyway, here’s some things to consider, while you’re writing, that will make you feel more connected to your work as if it is a work of art.
1. Self Reflect
This is the cardinal rule. “Know thyself.” Self reflection helps you to be more understanding of other’s who are in similar situations. Self reflection is the entire point of artistry. Don’t get me wrong, people who don’t self reflect can sell great art because art sales is a business. But creating art, that’s not just business, that is creating and business. It’s both, it’s so much more than sales. Creating something timeless requires some understanding of our internal workings. Know yourself, know your art. They go hand in hand.
2. Know when to fuck what they say
With my first novel being experimental fiction, I’m all for bending the rules. I love movies that don’t follow standards. I love writers that don’t either. But there’s an art to it. Some things are worth listening to, especially if they are in line with your values. But experiment, try new things, listen sometimes, tell them to fuck off other times. There’s no real balance, we’re all learning here.
Meditation calms my nerves and lets me see where my writing can take me. It refreshes my imagination and gives me peace and stability in myself. There’s something about meditation that beings me back to myself in the midst of chaos. It helps me focus on the right thing, my art.
4. Have a go-to beverage
Red Bull, Tea, Coffee, Water, it has to be one of these. Your mouth doesn’t move while you write words, so you should have a beverage to give you a break from clenching your jaw. Ah, here’s a reminder, you can unclench your jaw now.
5. Resolve your biases
Any unresolved biases will come out in your writing. It might be in a subtle way like where you put characters in the workplace, or nicknames, or the way a character speaks. Resolved biases give us the chance to be honest with ourselves and our reader. This creates a strong connection. Works of art that connect with viewers in this way, draws them away from all the madness. We all could use those moments.
Journaling is an artistic thing. It keeps us connected to our work, it helps us flesh out problems, create new ideas, and let’s us know where our thoughts have left off. It helps with resolving biases, meditation, self reflection, and learning to know when to bend the rules. Trust me, journaling is worth it.
7. Write poetry (terrible or not)
Poetry is like cleaning the filter of your vacuum cleaner. It lets out the symbols, the rhythms, the metaphors and (un)conscious thoughts.
8. Make a fool of yourself
The best way to be an artist is to be afraid of making a fool of yourself and doing it anyway. It’s showing courage for the work you’ve put in. Get out there and bare it all. That act alone is considered foolish these days. Be yourself. Be so unapologetically you, that you get the taste of freedom just at the tip of your tongue.
Chances are, if you made it this far, you’re already an amazing writer and you just need to trust yourself and your characters.
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