The Writer’s Mindset

What if every emotion is legitimate, and there’s no such thing as coincidence?

In essence I believe this is the writer’s mindset. As a writer struggles to find the words to tell a story, this is really what they are struggling with. In a fictional world, every emotion expressed has some kind of legitimacy, or the writer wouldn’t include it. And if there’s a coincidence that doesn’t pay off, a reader will feel robbed. Easy enough in fiction, but what about in real life?

In hard sciences, like physics, we are taught that coincidences should be treated as random and unconnected events until proven otherwise. But does this hold true for the human (soft) sciences or human interactions? If two things happen, should we ignore the implications and wait for proof that the reality they point to is real? What if the ‘heart’ somehow knows the truth when it comes to human interactions, and we spend a whole bunch of time denying it or not believing it because the coincidences and emotions point to something unbelievable, overwhelming, or even scary? Are we rationalizing the reality because we don’t want to ‘see’ it? The hard sciences and the soft sciences are different in this regard because with human interactions emotions and gut feelings are part of the process.

I remembering when studying writing and communication theory, there was an idea that communication between two people can only happen through stereotypes and archetypes. Writing and storytelling is the process of presenting a series of stereotypes, one after another, until enough information creates a shift where the stereotypes collapse and a more fluid picture emerges. The way this applies to getting to know people is that a point comes where another person stops being a rocklike “stereotype” and becomes more fluid, like a river. The people who “get” us are ones who think the most like us—we get fluid with them a lot faster because we’ve known their type before. I suppose it’s the same with people who become a nemesis, we fill in the blanks with bad things that have been done to us by other people.

When I get stuck in rationalization mode, I know that I am not letting the coincidences speak to me, and I am shutting down my emotions. In the long run though, it’s always better to accept the unbelievable and deal with the scary. I inevitably end up wishing I had listened to myself sooner and trusted my intuition.

If we take this idea of the writer’s mindset as true — every emotion is legitimate, and there’s no such thing as coincidence — then our whole approach to life changes. We begin to look for ways that everything fits together and makes sense rather than casting off pieces or suppressing emotions that don’t seem to fit somehow. With this approach, we can move beyond the stagnation of stereotyping and get to a place of being more fluid. Sounds easy enough, but it’s not easy because we run into ‘uptight’ people who practice the shadow arts. We run into The Writer’s Nemesis…false attachment.

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Intro: The Writers New Clothes
Part 1: The Writer’s Mindset
Part 2: The Writer’s Nemesis
Part 3: The Writer’s Journey
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