Friday, February 27, 2015

Famous: Writing From Pain

I am obsessed with the song Famous by Kelleigh Bannen for multiple reasons.

One, because it's country. Two, her voice is so edgy. Three, the song lyrics totally resonate with me.

"I'm gonna make you famous/tell 'em all about you/gonna all know what your name is..."

Heck yeah.

A lot of people say that they deal with life by writing. For me, though, writing is synonymous with life. I don't think life needs to be "dealt with". Rather, writing is the fulfillment of life. I pour my life into writing and I pour writing into my life.

Basically, this is how it goes:

When I mess up. Good writing material.

When I'm hilarious. Good writing material.

When I hang with my besties. Good writing material.

When awkward moments happen. Good writing material.

When I say dumb stuff. Good writing material.

When I have to let go. Good writing material.

When I have to be confrontational about something important. Good writing material.

When my heart is broken. Good writing material.

"Good writing material" is basically my response to life in general. At the beginning of my freshman year, over two years ago, I emailed my cousin Faith (check out her extreme epicness here) about some things (by things I mean people) I was struggling with. Among lots of awesome advice, she told me that, if anything, at least I was gaining good writing material.

Upon reading this, I stood up and put my hand in the air, exclaiming, "PREACH SISTA!" In my mind, at least.

This concept was not new to me, but Faith's email reminded me that all the things that happened to me were mine. I could do whatever I wanted with them. I could let them fester, let them make me bitter, and drown in self-pity.

Or I could just acknowledge the hurt, give it to God, learn from it, and write it out.

From experience, the second option is much better, for everyone involved.

Some people are just too perfect (for better or for worse) to keep out of the pages of my book. My current MS is dripping with characters that are pulled together from people I've encountered. As writers, we're supposed to write about what we know, right? We're supposed to write realistically, believably...I've found that the best way to do that is pull from past experiences.

When I write, all the things I've always wanted to say just come out. I can fix mistakes. I can heal my heart. I can be new. Justice gets served to the people who've wronged me. When I write, I'm not different. I'm who I am supposed to be.

As for the song Famous, it has become my writing theme song. Especially when it comes to my villains-I-mean-people who've hurt me. Write it out, y'all.


  1. Oh, I'm glad that email helped. The best character I ever wrote was also the only one pretty much entirely based upon one person whom I was having a very hard time dealing with. The funny thing was that as I wrote and developed her character, I started to understand and feel for the real person more. It was a reminder that God gave us imaginations for many reasons: to make stories, yes, but also to try to put ourselves in others' shoes and imagine where they're coming from. So all the more reason to put our enemies into stories, huh? I wonder what someone did to Jane Austen to deserve to be Lady Catherine, hmm? :) (But what would Pride and Prejudice BE without Lady Catherine??)

  2. Oh, I just had to add this random story:
    When Mark was about four, he told his babysitter (who he greatly disliked) that he was going to be a policeman when he grew up so that he could put her in jail. He's decided since that being a writer is a much better way to get even...but it all stems from that same strong desire for justice. :)

  3. While not many of my stories contain direct expressions like this, some of them do, and those are typically my favorite ones to write. Nice post!

  4. Hi there!

    I just stopped by to check out your blog. I've signed up for yet another year of the A to Z Challenge and look forward to reading many, many posts next month...;~)

    Take care,

    Donna L Martin
    author of THE STORY CATCHER (Anaiah Press 2015)
    coauthor CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL: ANGELS AMONG US (Simon & Schuster 2013)