Crying while writing. Crying while editing. And even crying while thinking about writing, as the scenes, both happy and sad, play out in my mind. It’s no wonder I’m sometimes dehydrated!
So, am I the only one?
Tell me I’m not.
I can’t be.
Emotive writing is, just that. Springing from emotion. Causing of emotions. If the writer isn’t fully immersed, how can the reader ever be?
But then, I read other things, sensible things really. Like, when we market our books, they should be regarded as ‘products’ and we should not be emotionally attached to them. This is meant to work well. It makes better ‘business’ sense. And we should write to a ‘market’ and design covers to a genre stereotype. The first one I can maybe manage, at least while marketing, but certainly not while writing. The rest, no. It all flows fast and organically out of me and I have no choice but to go where my heart takes me.
So. I sob on. The latest line, from SISTERS, to set me off was: In the midst of great loss, the newness of a baby helps.
I’m welling up just looking at the line now, overcome by all that it references.
This emotional aspect of writing is one of the many reasons good, thorough, even brutal, editing is so important. We, or at least I, need someone less attached, someone who did not write the words and scenes, to look at the work objectively and say: this could be better, this is not clear, were you under the influence of one of your stronger prescription drugs when you wrote this? Because in our, or my, invested blubbering state, we might not see it. We might not know.
The book is on its way back for edit three soon (GWL did spoil me with their three editing process, and I won’t do less now), so all is well there.
It is possible that illness is making me worse, crying-wise. I feel a bit pathetic and vulnerable. But that will pass. I will get stronger again. And you’ll get nice sensible and scenic posts about castles and standing stones 🙂
But for now, I recover – from both medical conditions and writing – in the garden. Among the flowers. With a candle.
On a happier note, one that doesn’t make me cry anyway: I’m doing a signed book giveaway over on Instagram. See it here. It runs all week (June 19th- 26th 2022) with one of each book up for grabs and it’s a worldwide competition.
FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE was inspired by the 18th century kidnapped children of Aberdeen.
Set in an Aberdeenshire castle, THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR features the Scottish witchcraft accusations and a love story.
Paperbacks and kindle: Amazon UK or Amazon Worldwide
“Filled with excitement and suspense…” Historical Novel Society Editor’s Pick
About page updated
77 Replies to “Crying While Writing: anyone else do this?”
No, you’re not alone in this regard. I found myself wiping tears when I wrote of my mother’s death at the hands of a drunk driver and as I wrote of my father. As someone once wisely said, “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.” Emotions in the writer have a way of coming out in the form of tears when the writing is best. Without that deep feeling and consequence, we can’t expect our readers to feel anything approaching our own feelings. So, no–you are not alone!
I am so sorry to hear of your mother’s death dlpedit.
My wife does. I just yell at the computer. A typically manly response. Beautiful photos.
Just as emotional 🙂
I am so glad you ARE immersed in the work.
The business side I find abhorrent.
Best wishes, you give hope for the future.
Thank you 🙂
You’re not alone! “If the writer doesn’t cry, the reader won’t cry.”
It’s a great indicator of what a feeling person you are. Cherish it!
Yes, thank you 🙂
That is such a beautiful notion and a lovely post as always!
Thank you 🙂
I definitely relate to this. I think it is a sign of passion and purpose ❤️
A good way of looking at it!
Hi Alisha, I like you comment that you are unlikely to move your readers if you as the author have been unmoved yourself! So keep shedding a tear or having a sob if need be! As a retired Christian preacher the same was said about sermons! I hope you get well soon – Psalms 4:8
In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, LORD,
make me dwell in safety.
The Scriptures, at times, move me greatly when I teach the Bible to others, thus, I cry often when doing so.
Thank you Matthew.
I cry while writing, reading or ‘writing in my head’ as I do the dishes, weed the garden, gaze upon the beauty of my land, the sunset, etc.
To me? Crying is a stabilizing/releasing/balancing tool for our entire being – the science of tears is an interesting read, the beauty and power of tears in traditional medicinal lore, is also an interesting read –
And maybe….just maybe? Your medical conditions, the inner workings that cause you physical pain/discomfort? needed ‘flushed out’ and ‘be gone!” with – 😀
Here’s a toast to you and the blessings of crying/tears…. <3
Thank you TamrahJo. I like the idea that I might be flushing something unwanted out.
I was told that I should have someone else taking care of the marketing and selling of my book because the artist in me is not good at this and can’t be objective. I’m a dreamer and as one it is hard to keep my head in the clouds and do earthly things as well. No, you are not alone in this. I wish you full and fast recovery
Thank you 🙂
Cristina B. – the first step to finding the ‘right someone’ to be the other ‘side’ that is mutually beneficial to you both…to my mind? Is finding that person that realizes the opposite of what you have….”Sigh – I love artists….I, myself, will never have that spark, but by gummy, I’m durn good at this – and if I can’t be the blazing creative on this? I can put my ‘good at skills’ to support those who are – the world NEEDS more of that!
May you find your ‘biz soul mate’ soon is my wish for you!
I’ve cried when I edited a novel where a protagonist (fictional) dies. It caught me unawares, which is ridiculous as he didn’t exist before I wrote the novel.
They become so real to us that their deaths are terrible.
You’re not the only to cry while writing. I do, too. I will also slide into a deep funk when my point of view character just can’t seem to get ahold of herself.
Yes, the emotions associated with writing can affect us in so many different ways.
You’re not the only person to cry over something they have written. I have a published story that still makes me cry.
*Hands over a tissue*
Yes! I always cry when I write! I wondered if others do. I only retired from marketing, not from writing, reading, crying… it feels so good to blubber through creative. And now I can’t wait to read your new book.
I knew I wouldn’t be alone 🙂
I suppose it makes sense to write as if your book is a product. However, I’ve found the most impressionable books for me has been those that I am able to connect with the writers emotionally.
Most of my writings are motivated by the emotions I feel. I pen my raw thoughts & feelings. Leave it, then go back and polish it. If I lose the emotional connection to my writings, I don’t force it. I wait until I can feel those emotions then go back and finish it.
Just my thoughts.
Indeed, the books I like best are those that I connect to emotionally too.
Problem is when I don’t cry or experience some sort of emotion. Then I feel my writing is dry
Yes, that would be hard.
I have cried a time or two while writing certain scenes in my work. It happens when you write from that place deep inside, I suppose.
Writing to a market does not sound very creative to me. I always thought that art came from inside oneself, as one’s own expression. I cannot imagine a good piece of art of whatever genre can be created without emotions.
When I translated my husband’s political thriller to English, I had many moments of high blood pressure and heart pounding, although I had read the book in Danish and already knew what would happen.
Translating sounds rather emotive too!
Yes, I found it so.
To write about a character going through something intense, you have to imagine you’re that person and how you would feel. (At least that’s what I do). While writing “Return to Sleeping Bear” I had to imagine how it would feel to have to give up your daughter to protect her. While writing that portion of the book, I felt hopeless and depressed and I’m usually an upbeat person. I hate to tell you, but you sound normal to me.
Yes, getting down and dirty with the characters on the page… feeling their feelings… Thank you for the normal-ness 🙂
It’s a great sign if you are deeply involved with your story. If the writer doesn’t care why should the reader. I hope you will get better soon. Thanks for sharing and have a nice day.
Thank you 🙂
I totally cry when writing a scene that I just put a character through. Glad I’m not the only one! Lol thank you!
Definitely not alone!
I do, yes. Frequently. “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.” ~Robert Frost
I cry every time I read Onyx dying in Tales from the Gishlan Wood
I rarely cry when I’m writing but oddly enough, if the topic is sentimental, I’ll choke up while reading it aloud to my husband who listens to most of what I write.
Still a great emotive connection.
No, you’re not the only one 🙂 Get well soon, I am missing the stone circles and castles, and walks on the beach (still: writing and publishing (almost) two books while quite ill, it sounds like, is an amazing achievement).
A bit of a struggle at times! Hopefully back to be beachy things soon too…
Sometimes I have cried gallons and often I am not sure where the emotion came from, but I believe it is a good thing. I wish you improving health.
Thank you 🙂
Nope, you’re not alone. Though what struck me is the need for an objective other to read one’s writing. I’m not great at receiving feedback on my stuff even when I know in my soul the feedback is right.
Writing just for oneself is rather wonderful too. Relaxing in comparison to books that will be read.
You are not alone. I do that too. Writing is my therapy. It calms me down.
That’s good. Sometimes it calms me, sometimes the opposite. I suppose it depends what we’re writing 🙂
Interesting stuff! I’m glad your grandfather survived 🙂
Thank you very much, kind of you to say. My grandfather died when I was young, he was fifty, kind of young, too. One of the few things I remember, other than his scratchy stubble on my neck, was his comment on the Imperial Japanese Army: “Those men were brave soldiers too”. These words, scented with enough beer to let the truth out, have informed my opinions on war, duty and patriotism. His sacrifice and his humanity are my example of how a man should be.
I’m crying a bit right now., more gratitude than grief. Thanks again for inviting me back to this place. It’s beautiful, even through the tears.
He was obviously a very wise man.
Agreed. Cry on if it moves you. Ursula Leguin said, “This is art. We are not peddling some commodity like deodorant. “
What a wonderful quote 🙂
Alish – assume you’ve read Steven Pressfield’s “War of Art” about what for him has been the process of writing. Your post makes me think there is a tension between process and emotion, and the struggle there is interesting. Regarding “marketing,” there are probably another few tensions worth exploring Thank you for your post!
No, I haven’t read it. I’ll look it up. Thank you for your insight!
I got emotional writing the last scene of a play I wrote, called P.A.L.S. about 4 kids growing up on a council estate in England. It’s different from writing a book in many ways, not least of which is you will get instant feedback from a live audience. There were FLOODS of tears from the audiences too, so I think it’s a good thing!
That must be a powerful experience. Your play sounds fascinating.
I’m not much of a cryer, but I have finished many sessions and have been exhausted as if from a fever dream. I suspect if it doesn’t happen to make for good writing it certainly makes for good therapy.
It can be emotionally draining, yes. I’m yet to be convinced that deep investment in writing is actually therapeutic. Cathartic, certainly.
Lovely post. And yes, sometimes I take myself by surprise and cry, even over scenes I have edited a dozen times!
Me too 🙂
You are certainly not alone! I KNOW I get dehydrated because of all the crying and the never ending tears!
Oh yes! Drink plenty water 🙂
You are not alone. Alas, most of what I’ve written while weeping will never be read by anyone.
What we write for ourselves is just as important.