Colors on a Palette | Guest Blog Piece for Prose.
Life is a series of plot arcs and twists that are as unexpected as they are challenging. Some of these changes are instigated by our actions while others are seemingly hurled on us without any provocation.
As writers, there is a part of us that has fallen in love with life. Not just the parts that are endearing, blissful, full of productivity and accomplishments, but the pitfalls, the sorrows, the darker corners we are more hesitant to bring up in conversation. Being creators of stories and characters, we not only want to make our tales as lifelike as our own, (or even more so), we strive to understand where the beauty comes in through the complexities. Through this process of self-actualization, we create stories both beyond and reminiscent of our struggles, simultaneously helping us appreciate the dark undertones of life. They are, after all, what make the lighter parts seem so brilliant.
Whether it was personal and utterly unrelated or directly related to the writing process, pain was my first inspiration for writing. A dangerous concoction of feeling misunderstood and alone pushed me to create characters who better represented themselves and could overcome their demons. All too familiar to the adolescent are these angst-ridden feelings, but as writers these feelings are not merely transitory, they are symbolic, rooted not so much in the realism of the events behind them but behind the emotions themselves.
Disregarding practicality, rationality, and perhaps even what some might call a healthy sanity, writers must see beauty in everything. If the bustle of day jobs and familial responsibilities wasn’t already enough, inspiration to craft complex narratives is as ephemeral as it is powerful. We’ve all had moments during the day when we see a story in an event, a scene in a bar of music, or lines of dialogue caught from the clouds.
How often do those pieces escape by the time we come home, exhausted and wearied by the day spent not writing but instead attending to our obligations?
We cannot be fastidious with our inspiration. We must not refine our palette, rather demolish our preferences. If we wish not only to craft endearing stories, but to craft them often and with an unparalleled diligence, we have to seek out every drop of perspective and variety in life. That is to say, if we are to write uniquely, we must first live, feel, and think uniquely. The uniqueness will manifest in the writing through the individual’s determination to sculpt herself out of her life’s struggles; such passion not only to write, but to live, will bleed onto the page. It will seep from the words.
Emotions are colors. Life is a canvas; paint with the colors given to you, regardless of their shade. Do not be picky with what colors are presented on any given day. If happiness is in profuse amounts, joy! But if melancholy clouds the skies, take that with just as much gratitude and appreciation. Tilt your head a certain way to see how the colors can blend into your writing.
This is not only empowering, to broaden our appreciation for everything that life throws our way, but it drives us to capture it all through our fiction. Instead of searching for the ‘right’ time to write or the precise inspiration that we normally chase, (or wait for), we instead find ourselves asking: “How can I get this onto the page? How will I turn this feeling into something a reader will resonate with?”
The deepest sorrows and despairs become another story and character desiring your utmost attention. The highest bliss asks for a temperance to put it down without frivolity.
It’s not about wallowing in emotion. It’s about embracing the entirety of the spectrum of human feeling. It’s about appreciating every little shade and hue, close enough to feel it, but far enough to not let it devour you. Conscious enough to feel every tone of its vibrancy without being shaken from awareness.
Between happiness and sadness, there are infinite realms to explore, and countless combinations of words to describe them.
Prose. is an incredible website for both serious and relaxed writers. It is a place to share, create, and read the gift of words from writers both renowned and in the shadows. I call it the twitter for writers, because there is an incredible amount of thoughtful poetry and flash fiction posted daily by writers, blended with the extremely active community. If you're looking to find an easy way to follow my most recent thoughts and writings, Prose is another great place to find me!