It’s not easy to be married to a writer. Just ask my husband.
Picture it. I’m deep in the writing zone, so deep that I’m practically tearing up as my character shares his deepest fear and my husband comes to me asking if I’ve washed his socks. I get snappish and weepy and beat myself up for not having bought him more socks the last time I was at the store.
Or I’m writing the scene where my good character has to figure out how to defeat her nemesis who’s using Kung Fu skills when she’s been trained in Krav Maga. I can’t simply describe the fight moves or I’ll lose my readers’ attentions. I have to dive deep into the emotions of the character to write the scene well.
Right in the middle of that, my husband walks in to give a sweet kiss on the top of my head and he nearly gets a karate chop. Not really. I’ve never contemplated hitting my husband, but I do jump when that kiss is planted.
Again, super silly. But real.
When I write, I need to dive deep into the emotions of my characters. That often means I reach back into my past and find a relatable circumstance. Is my character dealing with death? I reach into that time of my life when I had to deal with death. Is my character dealing with anger? I have to remember those visceral reactions.
This isn’t easy. It’s like diving into a well. A monstrously deep well filled with all manners of unknowns: unknown memories, unknown reactions. I can’t even dive into the well without God there with me. He’s held my hand and guided me through tremendous healing as I’ve dived again and again.
But one important part God has shown me is that I need to climb back out of the well once the writing session is finished. I need His help to do this more often than not.
When I climb back out of the well again I function like a normal human being, not overly emotional basket case.
One of the reasons the world needs writers, storytellers and poets is that we’re the well divers. We jump into the terrifying wells of churning emotions and difficult memories. It’s a place that is often dark and claustrophobic and full of primal instincts. But the writer, the storyteller and the poet bring up with them treasure troves of words that resonate with others. The writer dives in feeling like the only one in the world. The reader dives in with the characters and the writer, emerging with that feeling that he or she is not so alone in the world.
That well is a dangerous place to live full time. In my own family history there’s a writer who dove into that well and didn’t emerge except to grab another glass of whiskey.
It’s a dangerous place to live, but an important service to offer. Yes, dive into the well, but climb back out again! Ask God to dive in with you and to bring you up for air again. And tell your spouse about this process! Sometimes it’s helpful for him or her to know.
Precarious Yates Bio:
Precarious Yates lives in Texas with husband, daughter, sheep, dogs, chickens, rabbit, lizard and by the time you read this some other exotic creature her husband or daughter has brought home. She had studied the plight of and worked toward the abolition of modern slavery for over a decade before sitting down to write Revelation Special Ops. She was further inspired by the work of her sister-in-law, who helped to found Love146, an organization that works to raise awareness about human trafficking and builds safe homes in vulnerable regions. Yates spent several years overseas as a missionary in Ireland, and also did missions work in India and the Philippines. Her passion for literature has become her means of further educating young adults of the realities of modern slavery, while producing hope through the power of Christ Jesus in us.