How to Turn Pain into Inspiration

Emotions are powerful things and they can be used to your advantage. As a writer, some of my best ideas struck me during my weakest moments. As an actor (or student actor), the best portrayal came about as a result of something genuine and powerful that I was channelling. I encourage you to feel (but avoid fueling) your emotions. If you put fuel to heat, what would happen? It would cause a fire, right? Emotions are helpful tools but use them wisely, otherwise you could find yourself derailing and it may be hard to get back on track. When confronted with a difficult feeling such as sorrow or rage, take a step back and think twice before you do something that you will regret later. Instead, put those feelings to good use. Are you an artist? Perhaps a writer. Maybe you’re a musician. Wherever your passion lies, you can find your next inspiration for it by accepting that you are in pain and using it to inspire you, rather than drag you down. I will give you an example.

I was practising a monologue from a Shakespeare play and it wasn’t coming along very well – I wasn’t feeling it. The lines were flat and I couldn’t understand the character’s pain. I sucked. That’s how I felt – I can’t act, I totally suck. But then something wonderful happened out of something painful. It was a few days later and I was feeling terrible. I wasn’t sick physically, per se, but I was in deep psychological pain. Depressed, one could say. I knew I couldn’t sit and do nothing so I decided to work on my monologue. I went back to it and tried again to connect with the character. Due to my emotional state, I could see where the character was coming from. Suddenly, despite the imaginary circumstances and difference in the time period of the play, I could relate. I was her and I needed to say these words out loud. I needed to connect with the other character in the scene. Now I could understand what she felt and why she said the things that she said. It arose from a need, a need I now possessed. That pain helped me to connect with the scene, its character and its emotions. Out of something painful, I found my voice, so to speak (no pun intended).

When it comes to writing, it’s the same principle. Notice how many great ideas come to you when you’re in deep emotional anguish. If this has never happened to you, it’s probably because you’ve never used emotions in this way. Next time you’re in pain, I suggest you try this trick. Close your eyes, feel your emotion (don’t try to fight it but stay calm) and allow your imagination to take you wherever it chooses. You may just find your next idea or something that you’ve been working on may suddenly click.

So you see, pain doesn’t have to be a bad thing and it sure as hell doesn’t have to be permanent. Tell yourself that it will pass. Tomorrow will be another day. If you still wake up with that dreaded feeling the next morning, then try again the following day. Never quit on yourself.

Have an awesome day! Just like magic, you have the choice of turning something painful into something beautiful. It’s in your hands. XO. Nina


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