Do authors, in general, suffer emotional issues and writing becomes a form of expression? So ask me anything about it.

Mike Sims
Jun 13, 2018

I ask this question because I once did an online interview where they asked me over 200 questions about myself and my writing.  The questions seem to constantly steer into my emotional well-being and mindset.  It was like taking a police entrance exam I did many years ago where you get the same question asked repeatedly in different ways.  In that exam, they did that to catch your true feelings about things.  For example, in the police exam I was asked if I was happy, well, of course, you are going to answer yes.  You want the job right?  Then some questions later it asks you if you had a million dollars what would you change in your life?  If you answer anything but nothing, it means you are not happy.  Then the next question again is if you are happy. 

 

So in this writer’s interview, I am constantly asked why writers commit suicide and feel depressed.  This was very odd why a general interview about me as a writer would need to dwell on this.  So it occurred to me that there may be a percentage of writers that write to escape or express themselves.  To create a world and live it and then need to write another book to express more.  So do you feel that writing is therapeutic and necessary to some?  In light of frequent shocking events with famous people taking their lives, maybe this discussion is relevant and timely as ever.

 

I know for me in my Vickie book series, harsh emotional issues are dealt with frequently.  As my books deal with it, I had hoped that it might help someone.  The lessons taught in the books is that we may not be able to lessen life’s pain but develop better tools to manage it.  Like a child that cries when they drop their favorite snack, to us being older it is just a nuisance.  So apparently the key might be not what life throws at us but how we react to it.  In my books, I tried to illustrate that people coping with issues are not weak or cowards, but are having a hard time categorizing what they deal with.  Like a car driving in circles not able to park itself somewhere.  Anyway maybe if writers, in general, do suffer from some kind of phobia, distress, books may serve as a way of reaching others and sharing.  What are your thoughts?

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Do you critique your own work? Are you too hard on yourself? Why or why not?
Jun 20, 4:22AM EDT0
Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?
Jun 20, 12:46AM EDT0
What should new writers keep in mind when writing about sensitive topics for a YA audience?
Jun 19, 9:05PM EDT0
How can author's approach to the emotional research and then integrate it into their story so the story flows and doesn’t sound too didactic?
Jun 18, 2:08PM EDT0

Your right, people don't like to be "taught" or preached to much.  I have found you can get away with almost anything through comedy.  I did an experiment once on a social media where I had two profiles.  One was a nice but preaching persona that tried to help people and another that was an obnoxious comedian.  The preacher got hate email constantly and arguments.  However the comedian got love email mostly and few hate emails.  Same message was presented by both.  So your delievery is very important how you do it.  

My character Vickie is kind of neutral belief wise but she has people that teach her that are from all walks of life and beliefs.  This does kind of a Cicero style writing.  Cicero was a Roman emporer that used to stand in front of crowds and babble every point from one end of the issue spectrum to the other.  It did not matter he was contradicting himself because he knew people would pick out the part they want to hear.  Sound familiar?  So when you write different characters stating their passion from their point of view, you appeal to a wide variety of audience.  Maybe, just maybe you might get someone from one perspective to kind of see and appreciate another perspective, and in that they might be more understanding.

Jun 18, 2:35PM EDT0
What’s the most useful piece of advice about writing you’ve been given?
Jun 17, 10:31PM EDT0

Keep writing.  

Jun 18, 10:49AM EDT0
How does emotional well being impact an author's decision about topics and issues to write about in books?
Jun 16, 7:59PM EDT0

I think it can give a perspective those not in that experience can read.  However the emotions could cloud the right way of categorizing issues.  

Jun 16, 10:09PM EDT0
Have you ever doubted your talent as a writer? If so, how did you work through your doubt?
Jun 16, 6:21PM EDT0

Self-doubt is frequent, however you have to push through.  It often is not as bad as you feel.  You can be your harshest critic.  Let others express their opinion.  

Jun 16, 6:57PM EDT0
Do you pay attention to others' strong reactions to your books? Does that affect you or affect the way you write?
Jun 16, 12:43PM EDT0

Very much.  Emotions are what drive people to remember and talk about your book.  It anchors them greatly.  What I hope is that it is beneficial to them.  

Jun 16, 1:00PM EDT0
If you could become one of your characters, which one would you choose? Why?
Jun 16, 7:02AM EDT0

There is a character from one of my short stories that traveled in time.  I think that would be fun.  Actually had a dream where I did that and met some famous people.  Turned out a much different experience than expected.  

Jun 16, 1:02PM EDT0
In terms of your emotional behavior, how would you describe yourself and, as a result, how has being a writer influenced that description?
Jun 15, 4:53PM EDT0

I was say I am a very easy going person.  I deal with a lot of stress in my life and can handle it well.  I have been through a lot of traumatic situations in my life.  I think those experiences have given me the insight and tools to write about some very harsh subjects.  Also though I write stories that are very appropriate for all ages and uplifting.  I have a deep sense of humor and between all that, I have a good range to work with.

Jun 15, 4:59PM EDT0
In what ways can the process of writing and being a writer contribute to the deterioration and improvement of one's mental state?
Jun 14, 12:26PM EDT0

While I believe expression is healthy and a writer gives themself an outlet when writing, I think it could also continue a bad state.  If they are in a depressive state, they could use writing to treadmill the same feelings and maybe invent more things to worry about.  However for the most part, I think it is healthy.

Jun 14, 4:19PM EDT0
Have you received any feedback from your fans telling you about how your portrayal of the issues in your books helped them deal with some of their own?
Jun 14, 8:57AM EDT0

Yes actually, very humbling too.  Had two rape victims tell me it was like reading their life event.  Others had expressed that it brings things into the light with what they have had to deal with.

Jun 14, 10:32AM EDT0
Do you believe there is are common definitive characteristics writers have, if so, how might one's writing affect one's general decision-making and communication style?
Jun 14, 6:22AM EDT0

Some say it is a way for introverts to express themself in words.  Or maybe to live as something through what they write.  I know for me at times I see something happen and think What Would Vickie Do?

Jun 14, 10:34AM EDT0
What are some of the struggles that many authors deal with that might not be known to the public?
Jun 14, 5:29AM EDT0

Most writers are very passionate about their books almost as if they are gospel.  Especially new writers that think as soon as they write a book a big publisher is going to throw a fat contract at them and they are on the fame/money rollercoaster.  So it becomes very deflating when nothing happens and the most books you have sold is to close relatives.  So you have the realization period in writing that things are not going like you hoped.  This is on top of any expressive release you used your book for.  The more emotion you invested into your story the bigger impact your first negative review has.  And you will get negative reviews, all books do.  I personally know one author that had a heart attack because of the way his publisher was treating him.  One of his fellow authors committed suicide over this publisher.  There can be pressures from all sides.  When someone asks me what being a successful author is like, as if I really know but can extrapolate a bit, watch the movie King of Comedy with Robert DeNiro and Jerry Lewis.  Jerry rants to Robert about show biz and what it is like.  That rant is close.  Strangely enough to use a movie as a book example.

Jun 14, 10:41AM EDT0
Do you think the emotional state of a writer affects the quality of their work for example if a writer is writing about something tragic and he's experiencing the pain of something similar that happened to him in real life, would that help him connect to the reader better and his scene to seem more authentic?
Jun 13, 6:56PM EDT0

I think readers can feel the emotion even though the words are the same as most stories.  I truly believe that feeling conveys in the text.  The more you draw from emotion, real or imagined, the more it will show in the reader's mind.  I know I have been told that they have had to put my book down for a while to compose themself.  My narrator for audiobook had a hard time getting through Vickie.  Those are the parts that were hard for me to write.

Jun 14, 10:43AM EDT0
Do you personally know any authors whose emotional state have been influenced by their writing for better or worse?
Jun 13, 6:52PM EDT0

I know writers that really enjoy writing for the fun.  They could care less if the books sell or what people think.  Some are very withdrawn and almost seemingly not wanting to publish once they have written something.  Some treat writing like a marketing campaign and try to engineer the best selling book.  I think one thing that is hard is if your book has political issues or deals with certain social issues and some group hates your book, it confuses the writer why the hate and bothers them greatly.  Most writers I think are passionate and try to open up issues to be examined by readers and really not there to make them mad.  However it feeds to the writer the same way it left them.

Jun 14, 10:49AM EDT0
What has been your personal experience with writing as an emotional expression?
Jun 13, 4:29PM EDT0

I think that the emotions translate from the page to the reader.  If you are just writing with no feeling, it comes across that way.  It helps to visualize the characters interacting to get down in words what you see.

Jun 13, 4:35PM EDT0
Which of your characters would you describe as having emotional issues and what scenes can you quote to illustrate your answer?
Jun 13, 1:40PM EDT0

Vickie has been through the most but she has a perservering spirit about her and her mental tools are very well developed to deal with situations.  Anyone else gone through what she has would have not made it most likely.

Tim is a predator but also a victim himself.  His issues manifested into action to hurt others but not really knowing why so much.  The loss of many things at the hand of Vickie and his own doing brought him to the bring of suicide if Vickie had not had stepped in to save him.

Dan is a very self-assured executive that had it all.  Married to a wealthy family, kids and great job.  Even a lover on the side.  He entangled with Vickie on a serious matter.  She brought him down to rock bottom as well but picked him to be a better man.

This is a constant theme with Vickie helping people.  Even ones she has tore down.  There are others that have other issues that manifest as well that are out of anyone's control.  

Jun 13, 3:10PM EDT0
What are some of your personal outlets when you feel emotional distress, who are apart of your support system as an author and how do they assist you emotionally on a daily basis?
Jun 13, 12:31PM EDT0

Family is a big one.  They keep you centered.  I have a close friend that is my cheerleader in life.  She keeps the carrot in front of me to keep going.  If it were not for all these elements, I would have never wrote book one.

Jun 13, 12:48PM EDT0

When talking about writers' emotional expression, why do most people assume it springs from tragedy or pain? Is it because no one wants to read how happy someone is?

Jun 13, 11:14AM EDT0

I think it is like reading a horror novel and thinking the writer is really messed up in the head to write this.  Same about writing emotional issues.  Like romance novel writers, sometimes people think they are starving for love.  For some writers it is just a story and not a reflection.  

I know I have had people ask me after reading something of mine, If I really felt that way or this way about things.  They equate your writing and character creation with how you believe or think.

Jun 13, 11:25AM EDT0
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