This week I had the opportunity to attend a business conference for staff in higher education. All of the sessions included the topic of communication, and all highlighted the importance of understanding your own emotions as well as those of the person with whom you are talking. This ability to understand emotions is vital to the Business Relationship Manager (my profession).
As a writer of romantic fiction, handling emotion is also vital to craft a believable and engaging story. The most helpful book I’ve found is The Emotional Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi. Writers naturally have to identify not only the emotions we endow our characters with, but the reasons behind those feelings.
One of the conference sessions pointed out the usefulness in listening to metaphors you are hearing the other person use. From a very scholarly person I partnered with I heard a lot of military metaphors: arming for battle, vanguard, under fire. Clearly words we hear in business every day, so was he employing over-used terms or showing his feelings?
In my fiction I need to consider the metaphors my characters will use that suit their backgrounds and mindsets. This is “deep story point of view” in action, and Ann Charles’ Deadwood stories exemplify a highly skilled use of this technique in her engaging characters and dialog.
Once again, skills necessary in both my professional and personal life are closely aligned, drawing on each other and benefitting each other. What a happy balance!
Listen for your own metaphors this week. What do they say about you?
Well, not much writing got done, but I did step up to the barre (not a typo as we’ll see later), and conquer a lot of things I’ve been putting off. It feels good to get those done, and gives me a better body and mind.
The first thing I did was start PT following thyroid surgery I had last December. My neck ROM hasn’t returned yet, but after just two PT sessions I’m already seeing excellent results. Not being able to turn my head fully is now the exception rather than the norm. Sessions are three times weekly with a lot of daily exercises, but just for a month and the bonus I’m getting is training on how to do a lot of exercises better. Best of all, I learned super planks. Awesome, just awesome!
Second I finally went to the local high-end mall and canvased for raffle basket donations for our ECWC conference. I’m only situationally shy, and this is one of those situations, but I did it and made personal connections with a lot of the people I spoke with–practicing my relationship skills for both writing and my day job–another bonus!
Finally, I signed up for barre classes, and the first one I tried was Pure Barre. Wow, that’s a workout, and I’m no slouch when it comes to exercise! Next week I’m trying Barre 3 to see which one I want to continue with.
I had to jump into these things and toss procrastination aside. But accomplishing them has given me confidence and more determination. I did find time to do some plotting and thinking about how to develop the relationship for h/h in my story in the early hours of the morning today.
Time will be a huge challenge this week, but I know somehow the important things will get done if I stop worrying so much and just get started.
If one is to follow the advice to “write what you know”, what better reason to get out and have experiences! Being shy all my life and raised to believe that I’m not as good as other people, I’ve held myself back from experiencing a lot of things. Now in the second half of my life, and thanks to my desire to write stories, I have the best reason to bury all of that thinking and try new things(and burying things plays an important part of my family history mystery)!
A recent writing class gave me insight into what it is like in a commercial kitchen–excellent knowledge to gain since one of my characters is an assistant to a very successful, high-end caterer.
I’m considering writing for a Kindle World series, and one of the things I enjoy most about cozy mysteries is feeling like you are right in the location where the story takes place. So this weekend hubby and I went on a Savor Seattle tour–yum and fun! Wanting to write this story really makes me think about what I would want to bring to someone who is experiencing Seattle between the cover of a book. A fun exercise in itself!
One of my other characters has an emerald green thumb, a few chickens (named after the three Greek muses), and a bee hive (that she rents until she feels confident enough to manage it on her own). This weekend Seattle Tilth had a fabulous “Chicken Coup and Urban Farm Tour”. We were able to see several yards where there were bees, chickens, and gardens. Educational not only for my story, but my own life.
The wonderful experiences I now allow myself to enjoy are making me a better writer, and a more confident person. Yes, you can learn new things–a lot of new things–later in life.