What is it that you feel a lot of, every day?
For me it’s fear. I grew up with fear, fearing to be hurt, to be punished, to be abandoned. That was the fear of physical and mental pain. My other fear was that of starvation (hence my experiment with six days of no eating). I was afraid there wouldn’t be enough food. Some days there wasn’t enough, and I learned the terrible, sharp pangs of starvation (I wasn’t quite one year old when I had to have a blood transfusion in a hospital to survive from severe malnutrition or dystrophy—from what I’ve been told, my father gave me his blood because my mother didn’t feed me—what was the truth? Who knows).
My other daily emotion is anxiety (again, a version of fear) leading to gluttony. The feeling of not enough. The feeling of wanting to gorge myself until I burst. Again, it started with food but then grew into everything else—shopping, friendships, obsessions. I overspent. I overburdened my friends with my presence. I obsessed over whatever interested me at the moment, losing sleep.
My other emotion used to be feeling playful and funny, often leading to biting sarcasm that had hidden anger underneath it. I was very good at this It was my primary defense against those who were stronger than me. My words. Words could hurt, and I’ve used them plenty for this purpose. This has mellowed out a lot in the last few years.
And the final emotion for me, not too long ago, was being sad to the point of depression and suicidal thoughts. At that I became quite an expert.
This is what I know very well. Fear. Anxiety. Hunger. Sarcasm. Depression.
This is what I can write about. Very well. Because I know these guys. Intimately. I’ve lived with them my whole life, and they’ve been my friend and my enemies and my teachers.
My point is, every day when you struggle with something—with a particular overwhelming, debilitating, infuriating and logic-blotting feeling—USE IT.
Use it to make you money.
Make those who hurt you be the ones who lost, not you. Make it your victory. It was because of them that you first experienced this soul-crushing … (insert your emotion). And you can gleefully flip them a finger when despite their self-serving, violent trouble you’ve managed to live a happy life with all the freedom to do whatever the hell you want—because you never again have to worry about money.
By writing that feeling that seems to cripple you into such powerful stories, no one can pass them by and not read them, and so you’ll make sales and prosper. Yes, you can.
Look at Stephen King. He’s my inspiration. Always has been since I’d read his first novel when I was 20 or 21. It was a turning point for me. I identified. Oh, I knew all about the horror he wrote. Guess which book that was. Of course. It combines BOTH of my strongest feels: fear of hunger and gluttony. It was Thinner.
King made a living from writing about the emotion he knows so well. Fear.
I know it well too. And I intend to make the best of it in my upcoming thriller, The Dacha Murders.
What about you? What’s that emotion that you don’t seem to be able to overcome, daily? Payback is a bitch, they say. Or so I learned they say in America. Well then, do it. YOU CAN. The ideas are already stirring in your mind as you read this, aren’t they? I thought so.