Getting Into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn from Actors by Brandilyn Collins, discusses taking on your characters’ inner lives (their emotions and motivations) in order to write believable story people. If you first get inside them, you become those characters.
What if you could use this technique to become the motivated writer you want to be?
Acting “As If”
Steve Chandler, in 100 Ways to Motivate Yourself, discovered this technique of ”getting into character” was a great way to do just that.
“You’ll gather energy and inspiration by ‘doing the character’ you want to be,” Chandler says. “I took an acting class a few years ago because I thought it would help me with stage fright. But I learned something much more valuable… I found out that I could motivate myself by thinking and acting like a motivated person. With practice, the line between acting and being disappears.”
Mind Over Matter?
I’ve never acted on the stage, but his words rang true. When I first gave talks in schools and speeches at library functions, the only way I got my knees to stop shaking was to tell myself continually that “I’m having fun!” and to demonstrate it with the accompanying smiles and gestures. I was petrified and nauseated for nearly two years, but one day–in the middle of a speech–I realized that I actually was having fun! I was stunned.
Just suppose that you could harness this technique and use it to change your own character.
Take Your Pick
What kind of writer do you want to “become”?
- An organized one? A dedicated one? A motivated one? A super successful bestselling one?
- Okay, so how would you act?
- How would you think?
- What kinds of things would you say to yourself?
- How would you spend your time?
- How would you handle negative feedback from editors?
- Add to these inner changes the proper voice, walk, posture, and facial expressions.
I challenge you (and myself) to act like the writer we want to become. Recovery circles use this when helping people change, dropping destructive behaviors in favor of new healthy ones. “Act as if” and “Fake it till you make it” are commonly heard bits of advice.
As a Man Thinketh in His Heart…
I will never act on the stage, nor need to get into character for opening night. But often, when facing that blank computer screen, I guarantee you that I have “off-stage” fright.
Maybe I’ll begin right now getting into my “confident writer” persona. As Chandler says, “With practice, the line between acting and being disappears.” And won’t that be fun when it does!