Writers seem to be emotional people. We worry. We fret the details. We grieve and get down. We spin up on cloud nine. We have more empathy than most. Writers seem to have their hearts on their sleeves. Don't get me wrong, we're a tough lot also. Thick skin comes with being a writer after any length of time.
But it often gets me wondering a certain chicken or the egg scenario: Are we writers because we feel more or Do we feel more because we write? There is a slight difference. Does the fact that we have that large share of empathy turn us into writers and somehow make us fit into that profession? Are we just an emotional bunch and writing lets us express that and get it out of our system?
Or does writing so many difficult situations and hitting our main characters with so many emotional problems cause writers to suffer the corresponding emotions.
I almost never cry for myself. Rejections sting, and of course, make me get down on life, but it's not until I see someone else suffering that my emotions really come out. I sympathize and find it too easy to imagine myself in their situation. That's when my heart really grieves. It's even true for fictional people. I still can't re-read Grudging without shedding tears at certain scenes because the characters' heartbreak becomes mine. With deadly stakes and scenes of loss, just writing the series often puts the real me in a funk of dark thoughts. I laugh less during the months I write. I suffer along with the characters.
But I'm also the kind of person who cries at a heartwarming movie, or even a stinking commercial for goodness sake. Tears also come when I get angry and try to form that into words--basically whenever I feel very strongly about something. I wish it wasn't so, but it's part of what makes me. On the other hand, small things like seeing my favorite cosplay character or getting a book in the mail send me into happy dances. I've always been emotional.
I guess the answer doesn't really matter. Whether the writing makes the emotion or it was there all along, the important part is putting that angst into our writing. Being able to move other people with words is a true talent. We, as writers, make other people feel by sharing our own emotion on topics large and small. That can move the world.
Are you emotional? Do you feel a character's plight too much? Does it hurt when they die? Do you cry at movies and can watching the nightly news make you too depressed for words? Then you're probably a writer--rejoice!