There are incredible resources out there to get you writing, but psychology? Well, Faye Kirwin's got you covered. Today, I'm happy to have Faye Kirwin of Writerology. Last week, she invited me to write a post for her about writing fiction from real life. And today, she's here to talk about psychology and creative writing.
HERE’S YOUR INTRO QUESTION. TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF IN LESS THAN 70 WORDS.
Hey there! I’m Faye, a twenty-something writer with a passion for words, minds and tea. I blog over at Writerology, where I apply the science of psychology to the art of storytelling, and I run the Writember Workshop, a course that teaches writers how to start practising their craft every day. And when I’m not blogging? I write novels and flash fiction of the fantastical and steampunk variety.
YOU’RE A BLOGGER AT WRITEROLOGY AND THE SPRINT SHACK, WRITER AND PSYCHOLOGY BUFF. TELL US HOW YOU GOT STARTED.
I’ve been telling stories for as long as I can remember. As a child, when I ran out of fairytales to read to my sister before bedtime, I started telling my own. When I was 15 years old, I put pen to paper and started jotting down my first novel, an epic fantasy that sparked my love of writing. Seven years, four NaNoWriMos and a degree in Psychology later, and I’m still hooked. Must be something in the ink.
Let's put you to the test. In your opinion, how can writers use psychology to their advantage?
In so many ways. A great example is when creating characters. You can wrap layer upon layer of theories around your characters to build multifaceted personalities, crafting a cast that stands out in terms of depth and realism. For example, I like to use trait theory as a foundation for my characters’ personalities, then build upon that with forgiveness tendencies, love styles, and so on. The result: characters that, if anything, are more life-like and keen to have their stories heard than any others living in my head. It can get quite noisy in there.
Psychology also comes in handy when trying to understand yourself. Writers seem to face an eternal struggle with procrastination and self-discipline. Knowing techniques that boost your motivation, creativity and willpower—techniques that are backed up by plenty of research and evidence, so that you know they really work—can get you past those mental roadblocks and back on track with your writing. Less time saddled with writer’s block and more time spent writing? Yes please.
IF YOU COULD BE THE AUTHOR OF ANY NOVEL IN HISTORY, WHICH NOVEL WOULD THAT BE AND WHY?
You certainly did. Gosh, that’s a hard one. Honestly, I’d love to be the author of Sabriel, from the Old Kingdom trilogy. I love all of Garth Nix’s books, but this series in particular captured my heart with its originality and fascinating magic system. I only wish I could write something like that one day.
AND FINALLY, BEFORE WE LET YOU GO, WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE RECEIVED AND HOW DID IT GET YOU HERE TODAY?
Write—and write often.
I can’t remember where I first read about the wonders of writing regularly—every day, where possible—but my whole life has undergone a transformation since I started taking that advice seriously. In November 2013, I began a writing streak that’s still unbroken today, and the benefits have blown me away.
My productivity has skyrocketed, my skills have improved and I feel much happier, in my writing and more generally in myself. It’s truly changed my life for the better and got me where I am today. That’s why I created the Writember Workshop—so that I can help other writers to make a change that will transform their lives too.
Thank you so much for joining us, Faye!