Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Harnessing Feelings for Creative Projects

Ever get the feeling that nothing you do, or can do, really matters?
I’m thinking of something different from futility. It’s not that anything anyone does will not make a substantial difference. Other people seem effective and even powerful. It’s the sense that your own endeavors don’t amount to “a hill of beans,” to quote an old colloquial expression, made famous by the movie Casablanca.
Another word for this feeling is helplessness.
It may be the primary feeling of childhood, and one of the major themes of children’s literature. It occurred to me that rather than wallow, I could use it when I write.
A younger voice is never more effective than when we harness these feelings and work them into a story.
While our protagonists solve their problems, we solve ours. A writer’s main problem often amounts to the lack of a compelling and authentic narrative voice.
From voice comes character, and from character comes a plot. That’s a lot of birds hit with one sling. Yes, I chose an expression that connotes power to end this post.
Now go get ‘em.


  1. Helplessness is definitely a feeling that everyone experiences at some point, if not at many points in life.

  2. Alright, Miss Mirka! I needed to hear "Go get 'em" instead of dawdling ...

    1. Your calling me "Miss Mirka"^ reminded me that when I taught Hebrew School the kids called me "Miss America," the closest sound from my name to something they recognized. I should have relished it more ;)

  3. Funny (your response to Vijaya). I like that your hill of beans is made of coffee beans. And yes, I have that thought, or some version of it, every single day of my life:)

  4. Nice. And a good reminder to be more aware of our feelings--and how we can use them. :)

  5. Good post, Mirka! And I enjoyed your response to Vijaya.

  6. I just got back from a family vacation and have been feeling the familiar writerly insecurity few days ago. Nourish. Try our best to nourish to get back in the game. As for our protagonists, yes, I do need to get my current one (a client's project) to feel quite helpless!

  7. Thanks for this thoughtful post, Mirka. I have had similar feelings lately, and it is refreshing to have this topic "aired" for discussion with other writers. And your "go get 'em is the perfect encouraging ending!