Drabble · Life · mental health

Drowning

I’m drowning.

I’m constantly sinking under the incoming waves. The panicked thrumming in my chest is matched by the shaking of my hands as I try to keep myself afloat. I didn’t want to go swimming but somehow here I am, sinking in an ocean of adrenaline and distress.

I’m not a poet, and I’ll probably never be one, but how else can I explain the heavy weight on my chest, the fear, and the sense of being completely adrift? I’m isolated by my own biochemistry and even if there is someone reaching to me from a life raft, I can’t see them for the water in my eyes.

Every time I drag myself up from the depths of the darkness, I’m only more exhausted, weight down by the seaweed and debris I found at the bottom. It’s not a relief anymore to reach the surface. The air burns my scarred lungs. The blue sky is just a reminder of the work it will take to stay above.

Little white pills like water wings go down daily. But water wings in the ocean only help so much. So you try and build a raft; you try and organize your life to keep too busy to notice the water seeping into your lungs. You try to stop planning in advance to avoid the inevitable failures, but that only tires you more. You try to meditate the ocean away, a drop of a time, to drink it down and accept it. But it is just too much. Always too much until your belly swells and your body collapses.

Being lost at sea isn’t something you can FIX. You can only manage it, float half submerged in it. You can only survive it.

It makes take a deep breath of salt water seed so appealing. The air already feels thick in your lungs, how much worse could the water feel for the few fleeting moments of consciousness?

At least that would be effective.

Others try and help, but most of them are drowning too. You can gaze across the horizon and call to one another, but no one can navigate your ocean but you. Where they have an island, you might have a kraken.

But sometimes, sometimes I get up and above for long enough to feel the sunshine, and to remember what it’s like to actual live with ground firm beneath my feet. I stay above long enough to hear the encouragement from the people in their own oceans, to feel the hands reaching down to try and help me up.

Sometimes I laugh with my husband and mean it. Sometimes I play piano and feel it. Sometimes I write something and actually post it.

Sometimes it feels a little less like drowning.

Sometimes I’m strong enough to swim.


I wrote half of this while half asleep a few days ago in the depths of an extended anxiety attack. The last year’s been rough, but I’ll keep trudging through. Sometimes it’s just nice to get it out in words. (In other words, don’t panic, I’m okay.)

Drabble · Stories · Writing

Out of the Box: A drabble

Zi stared down at the tiny box, eyes narrowed in concentration. There had to be a trick to opening it and getting at whatever was inside. It was small, barely the width of her hand, and the wood dark and smooth with age. It had been two hours now, and she was nearing the point of simply carving in some very illegal sigils and letting the thing explode. There was no latch, no seam in the wood’s perfectly uniform sides. Her instructors hadn’t even told her what was hidden in the box, just dangling the mystery in front of her like a carrot. She pushed a stray strand of dark hair back behind her ear.

Maybe I’m not supposed to open the box, but just pretend that I did. That wouldn’t be out of the ordinary. Her memory echoed with Agent Larch’s constant refrain of “think outside the box!”

She grinned suddenly, glancing around the small, bare room. Each corner had its own set of engraved rings, adjustable standards ready for most spells. She grabbed the unopened box of chalk, standing and making her way over to the closest set. Why should she try and unlock the cage, when she could just move it out of the way, instead?

The chalk dropped into her hand, and between the outer two rings she drew crow sigil. Crow, her mind offered absently. Sign of the tricksters; of travel, change, and illusion. The tiger was a more finicky sigil, and she took her time making sure the angles were perfect. The tiger; strength, stability, wealth and treasures.

Filthy hands left streaks of white on her jeans, but Zi barely noticed, reaching down deep into the earth to pull at the power she could always feel buzzing beneath her feet.

Whatever was in that box, it was hers.

Just a little drabble as a homework assignment. Zi is a character from a novel I’m working on though. I do like her quite a bit. 

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S.J. Penner

Author of the upcoming series #Tyrant, artist, and inveterate dabbler. Creator of #guiltfreeswag for writers and gamers at Coffee Ink where 100% of proceeds go to Red Cross Emergency Services.

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Stories · Writing

Knock. (A Short Story)

Someone is knocking at the door.

The sound came to me in slow, pulsing waves of sound. Tap. Tap tap. Tap tap tap. Each strike scrapped against the edge of the cocoon of silence I had woven around me. My ears clenched against the intrusion, the first flex of muscle since I had laid down yesterday. The day before?

No more than three days, surely.

The visitor rapped against the wood again and I blinked slowly, eyelids scrapping across my corneas. I tried to swallow but my mouth was dry as paper, dry as the wood the shivered and sang under each sharp knock. It hadn’t rained in weeks, and I hadn’t moved in days.

The world and me, wasting away into dust and drudgery. I watched the constellations of glitter the woken dust made in the air above me. I blew a breath out, my throat screaming at the sudden rush of scorching air. Had I swallowed sand again, before I slept? I thought I had moved well past that by now.

I had started out as all those grieving do. Denial packed my bags, and drove my feet day after day. It brought my radio, which was filled to the brim with static and white noise.

Anger was written on my hands, in the scars that riddled them from the mirrors I had shattered. The carnival had been closed, quiet as the graveyard down the road. Rainbows of fluttering flags waved to me as I crunched across the gravel. The house of mirrors had been full, though, the moment I stepped inside. Full of gaunt, expectant men in stolen, luxury suits, staring back at me with my own red-rimmed grey eyes.

I destroyed them all, my silent companions.

The begging came later, sitting on a dock, staring out across the ocean. I begged then, for a boat. For an escape from the madness and the loneliness. The silence had begun to fill my ears, even then, and I could barely hear the rush of the waves over it.

Give them back, I pleaded. Give them back, or take me too.

I don’t know who I was asking, but no one every answered. Or at least I didn’t think so.

Someone is knocking at the door.

A blanket of inertia keeps me pinned to the luxurious mattress, but I let my head fall sideways. Across a sea of shatter plates and remnants of life, I stare at the source of the slow but steady thrumming in my chest.

Tap tap tap. My heart vibrates with the sound, and while my muscles lay atrophied and useless, my nerves stretch, my mind peering through the fog of disuse to watch the wood.

Depression had struck me like a physical blow. The ruins of my hotel room scattered around me; the mirror shattered, my dinner thrown aside, the maps, radio and camping equipment in useless pieces. Like puzzles, all their pieces thrown together in fury, and abandoned in despair.

The weight of being alone struck me down. I lay amidst the satins and silks of the five star room. The candles I had lit flickered and died, and my soul had followed the light into the darkness. The sun rose, and I didn’t. The world was too large, too empty.

There had been no bodies. Maybe if there had been, it would have been easier to understand. If I had watched the world die of sickness, if I had seen them kill each other, or waste away amongst the radiation, maybe I could have been stronger. Maybe I would have lasted longer.

I had woken to an empty world. My wife’s place beside me in bed was empty, our infant daughter’s cradle cold. The phone lines were still connected, for a few weeks, even the tv worked for a while. It was like humanities last grip on the world; remnants of technology slowly blinking out with no one to care for it. No one but me.

I had finally accepted it, last night. Or accepted the depression, maybe. I’d been depressed before, in my previous life, the one surrounded by seven billion people. I had felt isolated and alone, even in a crowd.

I had been an idiot.

That wasn’t isolation. I could have spent a year in an igloo in Antarctica and it wouldn’t have been isolation. There is an energy that humans have, a hum of life that you can only feel when it’s gone. No one has ever been as alone as I am. No one has ever been truly lost.

There is someone knocking on the door.

Tears are hot on my cheeks, my unused muscles clenching in response to heavy rapping. My body is heavy, the weight of the empty world resting on my chest, but somehow I stood. Like Atlas, the world on my shoulders I walked towards the door, my footsteps matched to the rhythmic pounding.

Knock.

Someone is knocking at the door.

Knock.

I find myself gasping, tears blinding me in their furious descent.

Knock. Knock.

The doorknob is cool beneath my fingers, my trembling hand gripping at it with white knuckles.

Knock.

I can’t hear the turn of the lock, the slide of the mechanism over my gasping breaths.

Knock.

The light blinds me, the early morning sun the only proof that the world is still turning, once the clocks all stopped. I blink away the spots and the tears, squinting at the dark figure. My heart beats a rapid staccato in my chest.

“Oh.” My voice is sandpaper. “It’s you.”

This was just a short story I wrote during a weekend of writing with friends and family. I hope you liked it!

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S.J. Penner

Author of the upcoming series #Tyrant, artist, and inveterate dabbler. Creator of #guiltfreeswag for writers and gamers at Coffee Ink where 100% of proceeds go to Red Cross Emergency Services.

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Examining Emotions for Writers · Life · Writing

Examining Emotions for Writers: Love (Part 1)

Almost every story out there touches on love of some kind; romantic, platonic, familial, the list goes on. So today we’re going to examine some of the more nitty-gritty details of love to help burgeoning writers make it convincing! This is part of a new series I’m working on, Examining Emotions for Writers. So lets get going.

Now, the problem with ‘Love’ is that it comes in so many forms. So for this particular examination, we are going to break it down into the four greek types; Eros, Agape, Philia, and Storge. Each of these elicit different physical reactions, and come about in different situations. Today we’ll be examining just one, and we will touch on the others at a later time.

EROS: love conceived by Plato as a fundamental creative impulse having a sensual element

This is the typical first though when people hear about ‘love’ in books. This is romantic, passionate, sexual love. The love someone has for a spouse, or the instinctive ‘love at first sight’. Paris and Helen; Aphrodite, Eros (Or Cupid) were all examples, harbingers, and victims of eros.

Lets look at some of the typical reactions to eros people have.

Physical: Warmth, heightened blood pressure, dry mouth, tingly appendages, increased heart rate, heavy tongue, flushed cheeks, shifting, squirming, leaning towards the object of their affections, craving physical contact, unsettled stomach.

Mental: Agitated, excited, thoughts disappearing, inability to form coherent sentences, anxiety,  obsessively examining interactions, obsessively planning future interactions, constantly considering the other person while making decisions.

Now, these are probably the nervous/excited emotions that you expected. The problem is that a lot of writers STOP here, but emotional responses are wide ranging and change from person to person. So while one person may get tongue tied, another may spout off tirades of facts, or come across as overly charming. Don’t limit yourself to television stereotypes of love. Examine you character!

The other thing that most writers seem to forget it that this type of love doesn’t stay the same. I find this is a big problem in a lot of novels, but also in real life. People expect to feel butterflies every time they see their love. Forever. As someone who has been married for five years, and together with her partner for ten, I can tell you, this is not the case.

This doesn’t mean I don’t feel a sexual and passionate love for my husband. Admittedly we are edging closer to Storge here, but I feel like it’s important to distinguish. Passionate love changes with the length of relationship. You can’t expect your main character to get tongue tied around their partner of years!

So what are some reactions people have to a familiar romantic partner?

Physical: Lowered heart rate, warmth, casual reaffirming physical contact.

Mental: Increased confidence, lower anxiety, affection, lowering of mental/verbal filters.

The key here is comfort. You are comfortable around your partner, and find them and their present comforting.

But wait, don’t you get excited around your partner? Of course I do. He can still make my heart race, and my hands tingle! But that isn’t what I feel all the time. Like I said, this can probably edge closer to Storge, but we’ll discuss that one again later.

Love at first sight:

Alright, welcome to my pet peeve. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike the trope of ‘love at first sight’, it’s over used but fine in certain situations. My issue is when that is all there is to it.

I was commissioned to ghost write a romance novel for a client. Before I do that, I like to dig into their head and make sure I know what exactly they expect. He wanted a ‘love at first sight’ story, similar to Borne Identity. Boy accidentally drags girl into dangerous situation and they fall in love.

So I asked, ‘Why does he find himself attracted to her?’

‘Because it was love at first sight.’

‘So is it just physical attraction?’ I tried to clarify.

‘No, he fell in love with her, it isn’t just sex.’

‘But he is a very practical man, and she’s just a random girl from the southern states. What is it about her that he’s attracted to?’

‘He’s attracted to the fact that he’s in love with her!’

…needless to say the final product was lackluster at best, and horrifically trite at worst. People don’t risk their lives because of ‘love at first sight’. They fall in love with a persons optimism. They are attracted to their body. They become obsessed with a conflicting worldview from their own.

Don’t fall into this trap! There is nothing wrong with love at first sight, and nothing wrong with love based initially on physical attraction. Love is attraction based on qualities; figure out WHY your character is intrigued. Don’t be lazy!

Lastly, lets look at a few quick examples;

One of the characters I spend a lot of time on is a vampire named Morgana. She was abused for a long time, and convinced that love wasn’t something she deserves. This means that when she loves, she compulsively tries to become worthy. She takes care of her partners, brings them gifts, and goes to extraordinary lengths to ensure they have anything and everything they want. She is often upset when they try and return the favor, feeling as though that somehow negates her own efforts. She often looses her ability to understand or notice sarcasm in her desperation to find more things to be able to ‘provide’. This is exacerbated by her vampiristic/predatory nature; she provides for her coven and protects them, to the bitter end.

cynthiaOn the other end of the spectrum is Cynthia. Cynthia is a bard, a performer, and dramatic as all get out. She’s spent her entire life as the center of attention as the daughter of the Countess of a small town. She is talented, gifted even, and adored by her father and many of the locals. She is used to people falling for her charms with no effort. So, when things don’t go her way, her temper is epic. When she’s in love, she expects to be loved in return. This expectation means that she will flare up dramatically when she feels she isn’t the center of her partners attention. She is extremely confident, so when she gives gifts they are often things she has written, or gifts of her time/attention. When she feels she’s been wronged, she expect people to grovel at her feet for her forgiveness. When she is flustered, she doesn’t stumble over her words, she simply becomes a character of herself, pulling pretty speeches from every play and song she’s ever performed.

So, what are some things to note about Eros for writers?

  1. Everyone feels love differently! Don’t go with stereotypes – examine your character and think hard about how they would react and WHY. The why is the most important part.
  2. Love changes! After ten years, your day to day interactions with your partner are different, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t still passion.
  3. Examine your past relationships! I bet the love your felt for each of those people was different. Make a list of physical and mental reactions you had to each and compare it. I bet it’ll be interesting.

That’s all for Eros. Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know!

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S.J. Penner

Author of the upcoming series #Tyrant, artist, and inveterate dabbler. Creator of #guiltfreeswag for writers and gamers at Coffee Ink where 100% of proceeds go to Red Cross Emergency Services.

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Uncategorized

Dealing with Drugs: A Writers Lament

I’m on drugs! How many of you assumed they were illegal? Silly people.

Alright, serious face, guys. I am on drugs. Every morning along with my Vitamin E (Which keeps my skin clear, seriously try it), Choline, Fish Oil, and Vitamin D (which was also prescribed by my doctor), I take a little white pill. It used to be pink, when I lived in Canada, but here in the US of A, it’s white.

That little white pill is Paxil, a brand name version of Paroxetine, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). It tastes horrible if I don’t swallow it right away, and it’s really easy to loose in the carpet if I drop it.

Paxil can be used to treat a number of things; for me though, it’s to help with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Panic Disorder. It also helps with my sporadic depressive episodes, and my chronic nightmares. Paxil takes almost two weeks to really settle into your system (it can’t be used as an emergency correction), creates pretty awful nausea and dizziness for those two weeks, as well as if you miss a dose. I took 10mg/day for almost ten years, but lately I’ve been taking 20mg/day.

So, why am I telling you this?

A few days ago I packed up a backpack at seven in the evening and drove to a hotel two hours away from my home spontaneously, on a mini-photography vacation. I talked about this in my last blog post, about trying new things. I had a lot of fun, and am currently sitting in a Starbucks caffeinating before I head home. There was only one major dark point to this outing.

I forgot my pills.

I already mentioned the nausea and dizziness that come when you miss a dose, and that part sucks. What sucks worse though, is the crippling inability to function like a normal human being. Writing this now is like pulling teeth. Each word grinds against me, each thought bumping up against the next, making everything muddled and foggy. My hands are shaky, my eyes are blurry, and I’m exhausted by a night of extensive nightmares.

And that still isn’t the worst bit. The worst bit is the guilt. The feeling of inadequacy. Why can’t I be like normal people? Why can’t I manage to go one day without medicating myself? Why can’t my brain just work-

Stop.

I bet a lot of you have those thoughts too. That you aren’t normal; that you’re broken; that you’re somehow less then people who don’t deal with what you deal with. I have them all the time.

Why though? Okay, well, the obvious answer is that I have severe anxiety, so my mind latches onto any insecurity and extrapolates. The sad thing is though, I’m not the only one who thinks these things about me. The stigma against psychological issues is slowly lessening, but it is still absolutely, horrible, painfully real.

“Just deal with it.” “Everyone gets nervous.” “Stop worrying so much.”

We’ve all heard it, even from the most good meaning friends. As writers and creators, there is an addition layer of complication. There is this frustrating myth that being depressed, anxious, neurotic somehow makes you a better artist. That being broken means your work will be deeper, more original, and just better. So people suffer through it for their ‘art’.

This, my friends, is bullshit. If you have clinical depression, it is no different than having diabetes. It is biological, chemical, and unhealthy. So you go to your doctor, go through the painful process of admitting you can’t handle it alone, and they hand you some pretty little pills. You take those pills without question, and suddenly you are uncreative, blank, and boring. So you have to make a decision, be ‘happy’ without your art, or be miserable with it.

Well, you’re on the wrong dosage. Or the wrong pill! The treatment of depression and anxiety is still new in the grand scheme of things, and it’s harder to measure than other things. Most people have to go through tons of different dosages and drugs to find the right balance. And that can CHANGE, as your get older. You might need to change it again later if it stops working.

If you are on the right dosage, you shouldn’t be dull, you should be calm and focused. If you found the right drug, you shouldn’t be uncreative, you should be able to work without having a meltdown every few hours.

We as creators need to DEAL with this. The stigma of mental health issues is improving, and that’s great. But the stigma of ‘suffering for your art’ is still alive, well, and frankly ridiculous.

So here it is. I have GAD, Panic Disorder, and depression, and that is okay.  I take 20mg/day of Paxil, 1000mg/day of Vitamin D, go to therapy, meditate and control my diet in an attempt to keep my mental health stable, and THAT is okay. I want to be happy  and love myself while I create, AND THAT IS OKAY.

Chart your own path. We only get to live life once. Don’t let stigma, or old wives tales, or history dictate who you are, and what you can do.

Be brave.

I’ll be right here.

 

Show the world that it’s okay to be a creator AND to take care of yourself with a mug. 100% of proceeds go to the Red Cross Emergency Services. 

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S.J. Penner

Author of the upcoming series #Tyrant, artist, and inveterate dabbler. Creator of #guiltfreeswag for writers and gamers at Coffee Ink where 100% of proceeds go to Red Cross Emergency Services.

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Life

Do Something Unexpected: Three Ways I’m Going Out of My Comfort Zone

I’m not a impulsive person. I’m decisive, yes, and when I decide something I hate wasting time fluttering about. If we decide to paint the walls, it’s done by the weekend. If I want to read a book, I’m done by the next day.

I’m also obsessive. I dive headfirst into things and once I’m set on something it’s rather hard for me to pivot. Ask my collab partner that I mentioned in my last post. He can definitely tell you how ridiculous and all consuming my obsessions can get.

But this means that when I get set in my ways, I get set. Change drives anxiety, growth is terrifying, loss is crippling. So if I spend a week, binge reading/writing…well…there is a good chance that is what I will be doing for the next month, and getting out my front door for a change of pace is a struggle of epic proportions.

These aren’t traits that are unique to me, by any extent. Everyone gets stuck in ruts at some point. Some more often, some less, but we all do it. The last few years I’ve been working really hard to take steps to get out of those ruts, to stop letting them define me, and where I’m going in life. So, here are three things I’m doing to get out of my comfort zone. I’d love to hear what yours are!

  1. Eating New Foods: I have always been an enormously picky eater. Cooked vegetables? Nope. Tomatoes? Nope. Anything mildly smooshy or slimy? Heck no. But over the last few years I’ve been working to change that. I’m taking it one step at a time – I can’t handle sushi, so I started with rice balls. Then rice balls with seaweed. Then rice balls with seaweed and cucumber. Tiny, little baby steps. I have to try everything I get a chance to, even if it’s the tiniest bite. It seems like a silly goal, but surprisingly I find it to be a huge boost in confidence when I can say “Yeah! I’ve tried that!”
  2. SkiingThis summer my husband went to buy new ski boots. He’s been skiing since he was knee high, and I had been all of once in my life. Falling terrifies me, and I am always one to avoid potential injury. But while he was trying on different boots, suddenly I realized my mouth was telling him that I wanted to go skiing with him this year. He was thrilled, and we’ve gone 4 times this season already. It’s terrifying, and amazing, and the views are phenomenal. Every time I go is scary, but I still go, because being at the top of the mountain and looking up after, knowing I made it all the way down, is amazing.
  3. Just Going: We’ve lived in California for two years now, and I’ve barely seen any of it. We’ve been making an effort, but my husbands job is a 9-9 and exhausting, so we really only travel on weekends. But today, just today, I asked myself; why can’t I just go? So I am. I’ve booked a hotel in a little town near a beautiful wildlife sanctuary, I’ve packed up my photography gear, and I’m heading out tonight. It’s absolutely liberating.

So many people tell you ‘not to be afraid’, but that’s bull shit. Be afraid. Be anxious. Be whatever you are. Embrace it, examine it, and face it. Just go out, and do something unexpected.

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S.J. Penner

Author of the upcoming series #Tyrant, artist, and inveterate dabbler. Creator of #guiltfreeswag for writers and gamers at Coffee Ink where 100% of proceeds go to Red Cross Emergency Services.

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Life · Writing

3 Important Requirements for Collaboration

Not everyone writes with a partner. Actually, it seems to be a rarity, and I absolutely understand why. Each person has their own process, and it can be frustrating to work when they don’t align. Or if the other persons ideas of how a character develop differ. Or if they spell it color instead of colour (Yes, autocorrect, I understand you are American, but I am Canadian. I’ll spell it how I want to).

Both of the novels I have finished were written alone, for the most part, but I have a collaboration partner who can definitely take a lot of credit for the fact that they happened. Our first collab was all the way back in high school. We clicked easily, but it was still weird, and awkward, and hilarious.

Now, ten years later, we still work together to develop stories and characters. So I thought it would be a good idea to share with you all the top three requirements for a healthy collaboration.

1.  TRUST

This one seems obvious, but I think it’s the hardest to actually manage. My partner and I have had more than a decade of friendship, and years of practice. Even now there are things I think, “Will he think this idea is stupid?”

Trust is hard to build, but once you’ve got it, miraculous things can happen. My advice for this one – don’t rush it. Don’t pick some hugely intense, emotionally draining or exposing project for your first collab. We started with a silly project that is still available, though paused indefinitely, Of Passion and Apathy. We loved the characters, and what started out as a light hearted joke turned into a project we still pick away on, almost 11 years later. Don’t be afraid to start light, and delve deep as your grow your trust.

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(All images are (c) S.J.Penner. Do not repost separate from this blog.)

2. EXPLORATION

There is something to be said to sticking to a project, even when you don’t feel inspired by it at the moment. I agree with that, and you do need to realize that writing isn’t something easy, and pushing through is require. But sometimes, with a partner, you need to let yourselves explore a bit further. It’s a way to build that trust we just talked about, and to get a feel for the other persons style and interests.

Our second project is an ongoing BEHEMOTH. At the moment the world we developed has four ongoing novels, a pathfinder game setting, drawings, comics, and a ridiculous amount more. There are tons of different little stories, characters, and ideas that we ran around with, running with some and discarding others. This means that we have a world that is intensely fleshed out, which makes any writing we do within it much more intense and immersive.

So explore together! Find new lands and new characters, even if they aren’t part of your core narrative. Have FUN!

3. HONESTY

Honesty is integral, as partners. There are two sides of it. You need to be honest in your critique, but also honest about yourself. The first is pretty straightforward.

If you hate a character, or if you think they are reacting the wrong way, you need to say something. Discuss it, let them explain their side and explain yours. If you don’t, your flow will be thrown off, making a long and amazing process slow and painful.

The second is harder. You need to be honest with your partner about yourself. A writing partner (especially a long term one) is almost like a spouse. They will see you excited, energized, and creative. They will see you annoyed, petulant, and frustrated. They will see you at your worst and at your best, and the better they understand WHY, the better they can help you through it.

For example; let’s say they want a character to have been sexually abused in their past. For some people, this wouldn’t be a problem. But for many of us, it can be a touchy subject, either because of personal experience, or because of someone close to us. It might make sense for the CHARACTER, if it happened, but maybe it isn’t okay for you to have to write it.

You absolutely, positively need to be honest. If you have hard lines about things you are comfortable with, you need to tell your partner. They can’t avoid something that they don’t know is a trigger.

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(All images are (c) S.J.Penner. Do not repost separate from this blog.)

Writing delves into the darkest parts of humanity, so TRUST your partner, EXPLORE your boundaries, and be HONEST when you reach a line you don’t feel comfortable crossing.

And write. Just write. Collaboration can be hard, painful and frustrating,  but I can tell you from experience, it is also a way to find your best friend.

 

Writing is so much more fun with friends! Remind yourself with a mug! get a mug? 100% of proceeds go directly to American Red Cross.

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S.J. Penner

Author of the upcoming series #Tyrant, artist, and inveterate dabbler. Creator of #guiltfreeswag for writers and gamers at Coffee Ink where 100% of proceeds go to Red Cross Emergency Services.

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