Tuesday, February 25, 2020

What’s Your Emotional Posture? By Sondra Kraak

Sometimes I think I could advertise my emotional life as a ride at an amusement park. If only I could transport you into all the ups and downs of my feelings. It’d be a crazy ride.

I know I’m not alone in this. We could open an amusement park with all our emotional rides.

Some of us experience emotions as tidal waves that ebb and flow through us each day. Ocean emotion (don’t you love that ring?).

Others of us experience emotions as subtle undercurrents that course through us, carrying our moods and minds instinctively. River emotion.

Still others of us are so unfazed by emotions that we are like lakes on a windless evening, only the occasional ripple disrupting the surface.

I’ll be spending my 2020 guest posts focusing on emotions that wedge their way into our writing and cause disruption.

Discouragement. Loneliness. Fear. Jealousy.

But first, this month, what’s your posture toward emotion? What I mean is:

~Do you pay attention to your emotions, or do you bury them?
~Do you trust your emotions to speak wisdom into your decisions, or does skepticism keep you deaf?
~Do you welcome a variety of emotions, or do you specialize in a select few?

Psychologists refer to something called emotional intelligence. It’s the ability to understand and process our emotions in a constructive way. Google it, if you dare (rabbit hole warning). The point is, emotions are a valuable tool, and more so, a gift and blessing to us when we are in good relationship with them.

But again, what’s your posture toward them? The first step of emotional intelligence is recognizing our preconceived ideas about emotions and our responses to our emotions.

I challenge you this next week to pay attention to how you respond to different emotions, particularly in how they relate to your writing. Are you experiencing discouragement, loneliness, fear, or jealousy in your writing career? Another emotion? Keep a record of how your feelings flow into your thoughts and how those thoughts and feelings lead to actions. If you’re not someone naturally in tune with your feelings, begin with your actions or thoughts and go backward. What emotions are fueling those beliefs or responses? Can you see the connections?

Here are some examples of how thoughts and emotions might work together with actions. Only you can prayerfully discern which emotions or thoughts are driving you.

Thought: I’m not good enough to be a writer.
Feeling: gloomy.
Action: lethargic toward writing because, what’s the point?

Feeling: indecisive.
Thought: I want to do it all.
Action: writing anything and everything without specific focus and jumping at whatever options an agent or critique partner throws at you.
Result: not finishing anything.

Action: pulling out of fellowship or community with other writers.
Thought: No one understands my writing.
Feeling: jealousy.

The bottom line is intentionality. Let’s look our emotions in the eye and be honest about them. Let’s include them in our writing, both as we make decisions about our careers, but also as modes of empathy and inspiration for our stories. How can we write characters with emotional journeys when we’re not in touch with our own?

It’s okay to have emotions. It’s okay to listen to them. It’s okay to feel buried beneath confusing or frustrating sentiments. You were created with a heart, soul, mind, and body, and these are woven together in a beautiful way.

I’ll be back in April with thoughts on discouragement.

How can we write characters with emotional journeys when we’re not in touch with our own? @SondraKraak @MaryAFelkins #amwriting #seriouslywrite #emotionalintelligence #characterbuilding

Sondra Kraak, a native of Washington State, grew up playing in the rain, hammering out Chopin at the piano, and running up and down the basketball court. Now settled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, she enjoys spending time with her husband and children, Instagramming about spiritual truths, and writing historical romance set in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She delights in sharing stories that not only entertain but nourish the soul. Her debut novel, One Plus One Equals Trouble*, was an ACFW Genesis semi-finalist and the winner of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference Unpublished Women's Fiction Award. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook and join her newsletter for a free short story and information about special devotional series.

Connect with Sondra
Instagram www.instagram.com/sondrakraakauthor
Facebook www.facebook.com/SondraKraakAuthor
Website www.sondrakraak.com

*One Plus One Equals Trouble on sale February 23- March 1 for $.99 on Amazon!

3 comments:

  1. This will be a fascinating series! Thanks for tackling it, Sondra!

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  2. This is so true, Sondra: "How can we write characters with emotional journeys when we’re not in touch with our own?" My own heart search is a critical and foundational part of creating my character's lie, fear and wound. Great post!

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