The Writer’s Emotional Break #writers #writerslife


Whilst writing an intense and heart wrenching scene some writers will find themselves getting emotional. As tears roll down their cheeks and plop onto their writing desk they will feel like taking a little break to work through these difficult emotions. This is called the Writer’s Emotional Break.  Some might say that it’s yet another form of distraction for the writer and they are probably right.

The writer in this post’s image is in the middle of taking a Writer’s Emotional Break. After writing a tough and gruelling scene about two characters breaking off their engagement she staggered over to her window, pressed her head against it and wept. Looks like she will be there for a good half hour and it may impact her daily word count target.

An Emotional Break usually occurs after the writer has written scenes involving:

  • Characters falling in love and out of love.
  • Characters who are in love but cannot be together.
  • Characters who disliked each other at the start of the book and up getting married at the end.
  • Characters who are sick or dying.
  • Characters grieving about another character’s death.
  • Characters writing other characters heartfelt letters.
  • Characters enjoying a happy ending – after twenty four chapters of pain and suffering.

There are several stages to the Writer’s Emotional Break:

  1. Character Attachment. There is no magic formula for this as you can’t force yourself to get attached to characters. Some characters that you create will do nothing for you, but there will be a few special characters who will climb into your heart’s cockpit and take the controls. In my experience these are usually the characters who are a little bit vulnerable and have a refreshing human side to them. Basically you get emotionally attached to these special characters which means writing becomes a very pleasurable experience…until you have to cause them some pain.
  2. Doing The Unthinkable. You know that to make this story come alive you need some suffering. These special characters need to go through some sort of life drama or inner turmoil. Doing the unthinkable i.e. making your characters suffer requires some mental fortitude on  your part. It has to happen because if it doesn’t you will be left with a dull book and an array of poor reviews on Amazon. Sigh!
  3. Doubt. This stage is where you doubt yourself. Are you doing the right thing? Do you have to send these characters into three chapters of inner turmoil? Can you really write about their suffering when they mean so much to you? Cue several hours spent sweating over whether you should create a such scene where your two characters have some sort of life drama making it almost impossible for them to be locked in a passionate embrace by the end of the book. After a few tense emails with a writer friend, who is a lot tougher than you, the scene starts to take shape.
  4. Writer’s Emotional Break. As you write the heart wrenching scene you can feel a lump rise at the back of your throat and your eyes fill with tears. Cue your Writer’s Emotional Break! As the tears for your characters start to fall you put the laptop down and decide how you are going take this special kind of break. There are some writers out there who will prefer to not make a fuss and will simply snivel quietly into a tissue at their desk.  There are some writers out there who favour a dramatic Writer’s Emotional Break and like to press their head up against a window and sob…loudly.
  5. Hope. Once the tears have dried up the writer will return to their laptop and carry on writing. They may have puffy, red eyes and be a little pale but they will feel better on the inside. It will be tough carrying on with their project but they will know that things will get easier in chapters twenty and twenty one.

Take it easy out there Writers!

Photo: Pexel

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Lucy Mitchell lives in South Wales with her husband, her two teenage daughters, a giant labrador and a gang of unruly cats. Lucy is the author of the award winning blog, BlondeWriteMore and was a Featured Romance Author on Wattpad. When she’s not working or writing, Lucy can be found listening to audiobooks in a muddy field with her dog or sat outside her local pub in the sunshine enjoying a glass of wine. Her debut novel Instructions Falling In Love Again is OUT now and already pulling in some fabulous reviews ❤️

34 thoughts on “The Writer’s Emotional Break #writers #writerslife

  1. Ooh aah … got up early to continue a climatic chapter which emotionally exhausted me last night … climbing back into my story’s heart’s cockpit … now there is a phrase of yours that won’t leave me for a long time!

  2. I recently had to kill off a character and then deal with the other members of his team mourning him. The mourning scenes were the more upsetting! Not only did I cry when writing the scene, I cried each time I edited it or reread it for basic checking. I do a lot of checking, and each time it seemed more horrible.

  3. If you can make yourself cry because of your writing you’re probably a very good writer. ^.^ Or just really emotional. :p I can’t tell which! Haha! Though, I personally love writing the scenes that not necessarily make me cry, but cringe. Hee hee! *is so weird*

  4. There was a scene I wrote a few years back. Nothing came of it, but I experienced that emotional break. I think it was brought on by the fact I was going through some personal drama and wanted to escape, but not in the best way. So I wrote down my emotions in this scene where my character expresses his disgust with his family, then decides to off himself. I felt that strongly for him because I wanted to do the same thing.

  5. I was shocked when I made myself cry writing book three in my YA trilogy! I’d been quite emotional at certain points in the second book, but I actually let out a rather loud sob this time! I couldn’t read it back for ages – chocolate helped! Great post, Lucy 🙂

    1. Thanks Shelley. In my latest project I was a teary mess whilst writing about Pippa, my main character, reading a letter from Dan, her late husband, telling her how much he loved her. I had to go lie down after the weeping stopped! My husband was like ‘WTF Wife?’

  6. Been there. For another break – check my blog and help me write a story one paragraph at a time

  7. I certainly mourned the losses of characters in my novels…. but I write military science fiction and kill them off by the battalions!!! If I pulled a JK Rowling and tried apologizing for every death…… Well, it is all I would write from here to eternity! And my wife? Well she said “get over it, you’re the one murdering them ya know!” THEN she went on to say ::gasp:: that they weren’t real anyway!! The nerve!!!

  8. Valuable thoughts. It’s also hilarious. We writers are so sensitive (it’s a gift) so we get attached to fictional characters. We feel. Best line, been there: “Looks like she will be there for a good half hour and it may impact her daily word count target.” Wham!
    I’ve learned to be less invested in the immediacy of some of my writing. Not so swept up. At other times I must still be swept up, because that’s were the good stuff comes from. But it can be debilitating when it gets to be too much.

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