The sensitive author

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When I was little, I was a sensitive child. A very sensitive one.

If another student at school was feeling miserable, I was that kid who gave a piece of my chocolate to her, hoping to see her smile. That’s who I was then, and it’s who I am today.

My parents told me I was too sensitive. I know they were right, but it was hard when I was easily influenced by energies around me – positive, negative, people on highs and lows…I took it all in, and you know what? It affected me.

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Let’s go forward to today. I’ve learned to harness my sensitivity with time and experience.

Harnessing sensitivity

I block negative thoughts and feelings, putting up an ice barrier, kind of like the wall from Game of Thrones. Hey, it works brilliantly, which is why I thrived doing the crime and court rounds, which could be gruesome and disturbing when I wrote for newspapers.

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In situations when I am out of my comfort zone, I’m the quiet person who listens rather than talks, asking people questions, preferring to remain a little mysterious. It’s a technique called deflection.

Deflection means that you’re passing something over to someone else in an attempt to draw the attention away from yourself (cited in https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/psychologists/what-is-deflection-psychology-explains-this-defense-mechanism/).

However, I make sure my voice is heard when I want to speak up. That’s important.

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Embracing sensitivity

Things are extremely intense when I see, feel, hear, smell, and taste things.

When I’m in the woods or at the beach staring at the ocean, everything around me is so rich. The rolling waves roar at me. The scent of the sea is like a smorgasbord of seafood delights (I love seafood). The wind blows viciously, sinking its icy teeth into my skin.

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This is great for me when I write my stories. Writing descriptively using the five senses and drawing on cultural references was always one of my strengths. A few friends call me a “sponge,” absorbing everything around me, including cultural references from the past and in the present.

Another advantage of being a sensitive writer is I get to know my characters quickly and in great depth. They become real, and I sense them wherever I am. I’ve learned that my protagonist Sapphire Blake, who is normally an introvert, becomes very open and chatty when she’s with her friend, Vera, from my novel Lessons on Seduction, published by Black Velvet Seductions. This is great for dialogue in the sequel, which I’m working on.

It’s too real at times, so I have to snap back and put that wall that blocks fantasy from seeping into reality.

Dealing with the cons

There is a downside to being sensitive. Sometimes it unleashes incredibly strong feelings, from fury, rage, and sadness to overwhelming joy, mirth, and other emotions when there’s a trigger. If you show me something funny, I can laugh for days.

Noise affects me – television noise, social media noise, and the noise of people talking loudly as I sit and write this blog article. That’s why I have a noise-canceling headset and listen to music that I enjoy.

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I’m sensitive to people’s energies. So much that I won’t hang out with someone I feel has a lot of negativity coming from them. We all have our issues, but we shouldn’t rain on other people’s parade is my take. In other words, I use my sensitivity to avoid negative people. I’ve learned that I cannot fix others – they need to fix themselves.

Now, I hate crowds. There’s way too much noise! Ironically, I end up in crowds a lot. I have my friends to thank. And, when you get me started, I can be extremely social, not being able to shut up.

Still, too much noise affects me, and that is why I end to shut off from the world to recharge my batteries.

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How about you?

Are you a sensitive writer? I’d love to hear about your experiences.

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21 Replies to “The sensitive author”

  1. I’m more of a bull in a china shop, honestly… But I am fairly observant, constantly taking in sensory input and reading people’s personalities. I suppose you and I kinda meet in the middle that way. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. I donโ€™t think of myself as a sensitive writer or an overly sensitive person. I do have to have a certain psychological intimacy with my characters even before I sit down to write my story though. Like you, I donโ€™t like crowds. Also like you, I sometimes try to deflect the conversation away from me. But to my dismay, my close friends will point blank tell me to โ€œknock the shit off and answer the question.โ€ Lol.

    1. Thank you, Suzanne. The psychological intimacy with your characters in your novel “The Brute and I” had an effect on readers – we felt psychologically connected to them too. I loved the book. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Super sensitive over here as well. Has it’s pros and cons like you say, but I like the pros..

  4. What a great blog, made me think of how sensitive I am as a writer. in many areas of my life, it really doesn’t pay to be too sensitive. there is more than enough criticism floating around and if I took it all to heart I would not be able to function. Yet I think there is a hint of sensitivity in all creative people. We are all just that little bit vulnerable, some of us just disguise it better.

    Great blog Estelle, it really made me think… Thank you

  5. Wonderful blog. You had me comparing myself to you the entire time. Deflection used to be my best friend. I was the one keeping the conversation going by asking questions. I still do that sometimes.
    I’m a sensitive writer and person in general. My family jokes about me being overly sensitive. They tease that even a commercial, could set me off.
    It can become overwhelming. If one cares too much they start to feel the other persons pain, sadness, and joy. Been there done that. Still do. Ugh!
    When writing if something touches me that I’ve just written I get choked up, laugh, sigh, etc. My husband hears or sees it on my face and asks what’s wrong. When I tell him he chuckles and walks off knowing that I’ll be fine.
    What I found works best for me is to not hold onto to what is happening in that emotional moment. I let it in for a few minutes then I let it go. That way I stay happy 95% of the time including when I’m writing.
    You’ve always come across as a sensitive person it shows in your sweetness and kindness. Which is lovely.

    Callie

  6. Great post. It gives me such insight into you and your writing. I am also ultra sensitive, but I have not quite learned how to shut out the negative. I will try your ice barrier technique.

  7. Great post Estelle! I wouldn’t consider myself very sensitive… but I am sensitive to other people’s stress. I can always tell when someone is stressed or when there is tension between two people, even if they try to hide it. I have to remind myself that their stress is not my stress, and not to let it affect me.

  8. Great post Estelle and very interesting. I must admit I am not a great one for crowds and noise, a rock concert is my ideal of hell, although, like you, I can be social when I get going. I’m a listener rather than a talker so it’s difficult to know when I am practicing deflection or just listening.
    You said you get to know your characters in great depth – have you ever had to kill one off? How does that make you feel? Someone suggested that to me the other day when I was stuck with what happens next and, even though it was not the main character I sent them abroad instead.

  9. Great post Estelle and very interesting. I must admit I am not a great one for crowds and noise, a rock concert is my idea of hell, although, like you, I can be social when I get going. I’m a listener rather than a talker so it’s difficult to know when I am practicing deflection or just listening.
    You said you get to know your characters in great depth – have you ever had to kill one off? How does that make you feel? Someone suggested that to me the other day when I was stuck with what happens next and, even though it was not the main character I sent them abroad instead.

    1. Thank you, Simone. Yes, in a teen fic draft that I tested with beta readers, I killed off a supporting character. Readers wanted him back but and it was a sad decision, but it’s a reflection of the reality of life – death, grief, and loss.

  10. I do get overly sensitive at times. When I was a child, just knowing I had disappointed someone was enough to send me into tears. Not much actual discipline needed! As an adult, I tend to avoid being around negative peopleโ€”itโ€™s too easy to pick up their attitude and thatโ€™s always bad. Still, itโ€™s good to acknowledge all of our feelings in our writing. Good article, Estelle!

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