Using Your Characters to Improve Yourself

Jon Snow - Self Improvement for a Writer

As writers we enjoy creating characters. I prefer those on the evil side – like David in the novella Dr. Meg and I just finished. But we also write noble, admirable characters. Sure, they have some flaws, but they are brave, in charge, confident, ethical. They work out, eat right, do their jobs well.

At the same time, we as individualsΒ are often not.

Writers like us tend to be escapist. We live vicariously through our characters. THEY are the ones who are beautiful, wise, confident. We enjoy sitting in our underwear, drinking coffee, eating donuts.

But I wonder…what would happen if I started “pretending” like I was one of my fictional characters? If I adopted in my own life the standards that one of my brave, noble characters displays?

My character has standards I do not have. He watches what he eats. He works out religiously. He is kind even when he is treated poorly. He is noble.

I wonder what would happen if I adopted those same standards? Can I become the heroes I write about? Read about?

I’m ponding this today and I believe the answer might just be yes. Your mileage may vary.

 

 

 

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44 Comments on “Using Your Characters to Improve Yourself”

  1. Cool idea, I’m thinking of joining you! They also stop smoking because they want to live a long and healthy life. I’m pretty sure they do anyway

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Yeah! What Diane said! I’m taking up martial arts as soon as I’m back from vacation. First I have to find myself a Romanian trainer to be my mentor/stalker/fatherfigure/love-interest…..

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Fictional Kevin – I know you are just dying to become one of your characters you write! I think you’d make a great Anton, and you are probably more like him than you think. Who is that strapping man you posted with this post?! 😊 oh, guess what!…I had a day date yesterday…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh and that’s Kit Harrington from Game of Thrones

    Like

  5. I wouldn’t want you to be anyone other than yourself. Why fix perfect? πŸ’‹

    Liked by 1 person

  6. If I acted like my characters, I’d be put in jail!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Indeed! Our characters can very much inspire us to improvise ourselves! The female lead character in my first novel is a runner. As much as I used to like the concept of running, I never took the effort to go out and try. But writing about how much it ‘relaxes’ her and how she feels after running, made me want to try it out.
    Signed up with Runners World and now I run at least 3-4 times a week, my speed is not great as compared to the seasoned runners but like Meg said we run to achieve out personal best!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve tried to do this… And actually succeeded on some points but failed on others… especially the one I cannot fix no matter how disciplined I am. Age.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Elizabeth Helmich says:

    Interesting thoughts. Since I’m writing my first actual small novel (which is sort of exciting, and terrifying at the same time), I realize that I’m putting traits *I wish I had* into my main character. I want her to be sort of the epitome (to me) of a strong, moral character.
    Though it’s also been super fun (perhaps even more so) creating some awful, devious characters in my Deadly Sins flash fiction. I love the dark side too, it’s so delicious.
    As for quitting month – good luck with that! Ugh. The hubbs & I overdid it just a tad last night…but I’m not convinced that it wasn’t totally worth it. Especially since the night ended with GOT. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    • Waco and I got back at 8:30pm last night from her birthday celebration weekend in Gatlinburg. We were pretty whipped. We turned on GoT and she fell asleep before it got too far. We’ll probably watch it tonight (I watched the whole thing, but I’ll pretend to be surprised when Ned Stark is resurrected for her sake…oh, wait, SPOILERS.)

      Quitting has not gone exactly well. Life is messy, we’ll figure it out.

      We had lunch with Meg and Harry this past weekend in Gburg. They’re on a week-long getaway. We talked about how female authors often write the “ideal” self and that I enjoy writing the “worst” self. Harry said he finds the evil characters most compelling. He’s not* my bro.

      *Edit: Not “not”, “now” – typo…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Elizabeth Helmich says:

        Yeah, my Birthday is coming in quick, and I already know I’ll be smashed. Hope it was fun! She sounds like me last week with GOT, I couldn’t believe I fell asleep! Aggg!
        Don’t get my started on Ned. I’m still pissed at Sansa, but I must say that I finally think she’s been punished enough.
        I might meet Meg this week, I saw she was in the area (I’m in Asheville). Hopefully we’ll get to have (guess what!) a beer or two.
        Harry sounds like my husband, the dark characters are always his favorite. As for me, I go back & forth. Since, you know, I’m a fickle woman. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      • You should message/email her. They’re going to Asheville this week. Harry is awesome. You’d like him.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Elizabeth Helmich says:

        Yeah, she’s going to message me later I think. Perhaps Wednesday, I’m going to try my best to make it happen! So glad you two got to meet, and that’s great you enjoyed her other half as well. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      • He wasn’t as awesome as I, but he’s OK

        Liked by 1 person

      • Elizabeth Helmich says:

        You are something else, I think I may need to meet Meg if only to hear her report on you!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • You may. She will tell you I’m awesome

        Liked by 1 person

      • Elizabeth Helmich says:

        I have no doubt. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person


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