In my follow-up to the “Why Write?” post, I would like to discuss a little further Morrell’s concept of “self-psychoanalysis.” As a former therapist, I would like to be very clear from the outset, that if you or someone you know suffers from anything other than the highest quality of life, it is well worth the time and money to search out and talk with a therapist to sort out those issues that are keeping you from having the quality of life your deserve.
OK now that the disclosures are out-of-the-way let’s examine what Morrell means by “self-psychoanalysis.” He speaks to those issues that time and time again impinge on your life. They manage to rear their ugly head at the most inopportune time, often adding, “injury to insult.” Why are these “inner demons” great plots for stories and novels? Simple, they are at its purist form conflict albeit your personal conflict. As we all know character + conflict make for a great plot for stories.
The second part to which Morrell alluded to, if you read between the lines, is how to find them and then get them out on a page. He called it that gnawing feeling that you can’t quite get a look at, but it you feel it. That’s just it, it is a feeling you have.
I offer to you a way to get a glimpse of that little demon, journal it. Start by writing, “I feel…” and stay with the feeling whether it be sad, glad, angry, hurt. Then once you totally describe what the feeling is, the next part which is equally as important as the first, write how you personally experience those emotions, whether it be through rage, yelling, screaming, biting, cutting; you get the idea. Be honest with your self and write it down, remember it’s a journal, no one will be reading it, so allow yourself to be brutally honest about what you feel and how you experience those feelings.
After you complete this exercise look at what comes up for you, in other words try to analyze what these relate to, some sort of experience you may have gone through. If you can relate it to specific events or circumstances you have accomplished something truly valuable, not only for you personally which you can now begin to heal and make another choice, but you have discovered your voice for a character and a conflict for that character. Now all that’s left is what does that character want and what barriers are keeping that character from achieving their goal.
Now I’m not advocating you write your personal character and rewrite your story; as Morrell states that would be extremely tedious, but create your story using what you learned from this exercise in developing a plot for a story.
Until next time.