Kill Yourself to Revive Your Craft
Note to self.
As much as you need whatever knowledge and ideas you may have when writing, sometimes you need to take a pillow and snuff yourself out. When writing fiction, you might find your personality and ideals limiting the growth of a character or the development of the plot. Happens to me all the time. In those moments, I tell myself to shove my head underwater and only come back up when I’ve stopped breathing. Morbid, yes, but I think it’s essential for us to be able to separate from ourselves if we want to give life to characters and plots that aren’t merely shallow images of ourselves and our lives. It’s not fair on our stories if we don’t. It doesn’t make sense that all my female protagonists have to have long dark hair and a scornful tongue. It doesn’t make sense that I can’t let them miss the Fajr prayer. It doesn’t make sense that I can’t do justice to a certain side of a debate just because my heart is on the other side. That’s not how it should be. In some ways, this suicide involves separating the head from the heart, making a clear distinction between them. Our experiences and emotions should fuel our writing, but not snuff out its fire. That’s why I like to say I need to kill myself and free my characters from myself and myself from them.