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 individuals 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.





Benz the Wonder Dog

Benz is back from two stays at the doggie hospital. He’s Waco‘s long-term companion and my friend, romantic adversary and writing partner.

He had two bouts of serious illness over the last couple months. It was touch and go. After the first I intended to publish this update, but he was soon ailing again and had to go back.

Now he’s rolling around on the bed, climbing the stairs as well as his tiny body can and sleeping in my overnight bag.

Yorkshire Terrier Benz sleeping in my overnight bag

I guess he missed me too.

Rain Run

I have a deal with myself to do at least a 1.5 mi run 3 days per week. This weekend I will be doing a 5K.

Today it was raining. And cold. Did I mention it was raining and cold?

I am trying to be accountable. I have asked Waco to mercilessly bust my balls if I don’t send her a screenshot of my workout. This week, however, I am giving her some space to spend time with her fam while we cultivate missing each other.

I was tempted to use that as an excuse to not run.

So I am posting my run pic here – in fact, I might start doing that on a regular basis so you can give me a hard time if I don’t do the run.  If you don’t see me post a run on Wednesday, feel free to fire away. The threat gives me that little bit of extra motivation to go for it again.

1.5 mi run December 21, 2015