It’s not really much of a secret. You’ve probably heard it before. Today I ran into someone who didn’t know why her memoir read like a timeline without emotion. I told her it was because she wasn’t feeling the emotion as she wrote.
And that’s the secret. As writers we need to feel the emotion as we’re writing or the reader won’t feel it.
This is true across many art forms. We see it most clearly with acting. An actor that hasn’t entered the emotion they are trying to convey puts on a weak performance. A piece of art that is created from a strictly intellectual space may be interesting, but won’t make us feel. And it is feeling that attracts us and makes us want to continue experiencing the piece.
Emotions are powerful energy that move us and bring color to our lives. This pulse of energy within drives the work we do in the world. It enlivens us and therefore the work so the work can in turn enliven others.
Embrace what you feel. Conjure the emotion you need for a character in your novel or relive the time your heart was broken for a personal essay. Draw on the powerful energy of emotion to move your work and hence the reader. Art is about connection. We only connect when we are authentically ourselves. Good writers use both their writing ability and their emotions to craft a moving experience for the reader. Art lives in the space where the two meet.
If you’d like more helpful content like this to come directly to your email every week, sign up for the Pro Writer Newsletter and also receive a number of free resources to help you get the writing done.