Peggy Bechko: Writers Writing For Pleasure


by Peggy Bechko

“Never write anything that does not give you great pleasure. Emotion is easily transferred from the writer to the reader.” ~ Joseph Joubert

As a writer have you ever thought about that? Do you believe it?

Personally I do.

Over the years as a writer I’ve discovered the more emotion I put into the writing the more it connects on a very deep level with readers. Thus my general agreement with the statement above, though I’m not quite sure ‘pleasure’ is the right word for it unless referencing to the actual act of writing itself.

Getting caught in the thrall of a story, fingers racing along the keyboard as it spills out onto the screen (knowing all the while there’ll be some heavy editing later).

As to the rest, the roiling, spitting, balled-up, pacifistic, loving, hateful emotions, I wouldn’t call them pleasure, but more like the intensity scale. Different emotions evoke different feelings, obviously. You aren’t going to write a gentle love scene with a backdrop of hateful and cruel emotions (at least not in most circumstances). You probably won’t have a murder backed up by the equivalent of violins and roses.

What we have to consider as writers is our life’s experiences (no doubt where the ‘write what you know’ phrase came from). From birth we experience the whole human range of emotion. As we grow we experience illness, injury, loss, love, physical and emotional pain. We absorb it and express it in a great variety of ways. The trick for the writer is to draw on that life experience that fits with the scene being written and inject it into your story for your reader to be drawn into the world you’ve created because he or she has ‘been there’.

And in that Joseph Jourbert is correct. When you dig deep, when you strike the right vein, you know it. And when a reader tells you “it was just like being there” or it was ‘stirring’ or your writing made them cry, or laugh, you’ve hit paydirt.

So from all of this we garner today’s writing tip and it’s nothing so straight forward or simple like how to edit or grammar or how to use your spell check properly. Nope, this one is a lot more heavily on you, the writer. This time I’m suggesting the need to take the time with a story; to sit back and consider what parts of yourself you can inject into the writing. What experiences you’ve had that you can pass on to your characters and breath real life into your writing. And how it needs to be written so all of those feelings, all of that experience, comes across through the written page to touch the reader’s heart and soul.