The morning has a ethereal quality to it, as I'm still carrying the feelings from my emotionally-charged dream. So often my moods are shaped by what I was dreaming when I woke up that morning, and while the images sometimes don't make enough sense to hold on to upon waking, the emotion always does. I've battled strong emotions my whole life. Defined them, boxed them up, let them peek out in situations my forebrain deems appropriate. Sometimes they sneak out on their own, and that's mortifying.
Lately I've realized that's not healthy. Emotions are not a deformed and murderous twin who must be chained to the basement floor. They are part of me. So I've been working on feeling whatever emotion comes to me. Not necessarily letting it manifest outwardly, but looking at it, accepting it.
Well yesterday morning I sat down to write, and got that same old butterfly nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach. Sometimes when I get that feeling, I stand up and do something else without even thinking first, just my instinct telling me I need to run when I feel that dread. But yesterday I looked at it and wondered about it, and opened the document anyway. The next scene to be written was a hugely emotional one. When I finished I was drained and lonely, needed a hug so bad, but there was no one here but me.
Huge breakthrough. Because I'd examined my emotions at every step, I was able to make an important and previously unseen connection. The dread came from subconsciously knowing I would end my writing time feeling lonely and lost. All those emotions swirling around, yet there was no one I could unburden myself to. Even if my husband had been home, I couldn't very well expect him to understand what was bothering me. He would probably just tell me, Get over it, it's not your problem, it's your character. No wonder novelists, actors, and other artistic types seem to have so much trouble with substance abuse. We take on emotions which aren't our own, and which in the context of our lives have no ground. There's no event to pin them to, yet we carry them with us. It can make one feel quite bonkers.
But seriously, now that I've realized this, I can start working around it. How about you? Do you find that your character's emotions affect your life?