Creativity Fueled by Darkness

My creativity is without a doubt fueled by the dark things in my life just as much, if not more, as it is by the good things in my life. Raw, unbridled emotion that leaves you exhausted and mentally spent is one of my greatest weapons when it comes to writing.

I used to feel cheap admitting that. I used to feel as if it would make me no better than a reality television show, using the drama to paint words across my screen. Using the drama and the hurt and the pain to darken a story and give it just what it needs, what it was lacking.

Now, I embrace the darkness. Without that darker tone to my work, I wouldn’t be able to say that I write stories that are “edgy, bold, poignant, and raw.” I’d only be able to say, “I write stories.” The darkness brings depth, and depth in any story is good. Depth is what keeps me – as a reader – engaged. Depth is what keeps me – as a writer – writing.

My darkness has made it so that I can’t fully appreciate stories without a struggle, especially from myself. That’s just who I am. I scoff at those stories, because nobody that I know has ever had anything worth having without a struggle – even the good things.

But above all, I do it for therapy. Writing the “bad parts” helps me appreciate all the good parts in my life. Weaving those “bad parts” into my stories, making them become fictional characters, brings me relief. It’s then that I can paint the way, through words, that I want my characters to go. They can still ultimately end up with everything I want them to have – they just get a little bruised along the way, and they grow. And I hope that my darkness, those bad parts that add dimension and grit to my stories, will inspire someone who’s struggling, to grow, to keep fighting.

In my upcoming release, I wrote about something so poignant and raw to me. I didn’t openly spill for the world exactly what it is, and I won’t do that here either. I will say that a character in this book experiences a similar situation to what I experienced, and I spilled a lot of hurt and resentment in there as a way of not only coping with those emotions, but of freeing myself of them. It’s not the central theme of the novel but it is pertinent to the story. There are jagged pieces of my broken heart in that book.

And that’s really scary…terrifying, even. It’s scary to admit that my work contains prominent bits of my soul. The insecurity, the naïve nature I sometimes still have, and a whole lot of darkness and resentment. It’s scary and exhilarating to think that in a few short months, this story will be out there.


J.C. Hannigan is a married mother of two in her mid-twenties. J.C. is addicted to coffee, Instagram selfies, Cadbury Mini Eggs, and Dill Pickle chips (only not together, because that would be gross). She has been blogging for nearly 10 years, and won a Bloggie award some time ago. She writes new adult romance novels and currently has two books published, Collide and Consumed. You can find J.C. pretty much everywhere; except, it would seem…in the laundry room.

Visit J.C. on her website.

5 thoughts on “Creativity Fueled by Darkness”

  1. I do the same thing. I can’t really enjoy stories that have no depth—though I do like a good, fun beach read now and then. I’m always terrified when I release something, because every one of my stories and characters contains a piece of my own darkness. It is definitely both frightening and exhilarating. I kind of make it a challenge: What can I get away with hiding next? ;)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Melancholy is necessary for good writing, in my opinion. It’s what sets our work apart from those dime a dozen romance novels or those shoot-em-up “thrillers”. I am excited about the upcoming release of your new book!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I hate seeing people in pain, and it was hard for me to put my characters through genuine misery. But one day I was rewatching a series when it came to a part where a character is devoured alive. I HATED that episode so much… until I realized it was exactly why I liked the show.

    Even though I didn’t want to see people hurt, it directly correlated to the strong feeling of empathetic happiness and relief later on. Seeing them miserable, watching some characters die, benefited my feelings more when they were happy or managed to survive.

    It helped my writing a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

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