Every writer should use the so-called Reflecting Writing. Reflective Writing is especially necessary and advantageous in the case of the author of a psychological novel. What is Reflecting Writing? At the end of the article, I include some links to know what it is. It is not the same as keeping a diary, about which, the article "Celebrated Writers on the Creative Benefits of Keeping Diary" is an excellent inventory of accredited opinions. It is not a Bullet Journal, either. Apparently, Reflective Writing is not very common among writers. At least in my case, it is indispensable. I have always done it. Only now, I know it has a name.
When I write, I tend to get involved in the story and I do not mean to make it anecdotal but to make it personal. The preparation of a story is for me a period in which I read everything I can about the subject. What I read affects me and leads me to think about it not only in terms of the story I write but also about what it has to do with my personal life.
My fantasy novel implied a significant amount of reading and prolonged hours of reflection. There were three months in which I did nothing but thinking. The novel has to do with the mythical conception of life, the path of the hero and the most ancient ideas about destiny, among many other topics. The reflections on this material, although they served me to connect distant concepts and give shape to the plot of the fantasy, also induced interior transformations including all my points of view regarding life and destiny. Undoubtedly, the writing of the novel had great influence on my inner being, what I believe and what I do not.
Now, I find myself reading material related to my next novel where the psychological treatment of the characters is the main axis of the plot. I have found that meditation on new information is very necessary and that writing a psychological novel is doubly arduous. Its difficulty lies in that there are two lines of thought running through my mind simultaneously.
My character is a historical character. I am building his personality from his actions that took place centuries ago. Because of the degree of subjectivity this implies, I am literally "inventing" a character. His personality, though, should be consistent. I am understanding and creating it through the readings of books and articles on psychology.
When reading about psychological analysis, it is almost inevitable to think about oneself, instead of thinking about the character being created. In trying to remedy this, one finds himself suddenly, thinking of both at once. Given the information that "the more unrealistic the goal for their abilities and environment the less esteem and more likely the Depression", I wonder what could be the possible frustrated goals of my character. At the same time, I am questioning myself if I have set goals for me that were just too high.It is very difficult to distance oneself from the reading. As soon as I read about a psychopathological symptom, instead of focusing on the character I am building, the first thing I ask is, "What about me?" When I read "... in a state, prior to the depression, the lost object and the Self merge and the subject feels the loss of said object as a loss of the Self," my mind searches in the history of the character for keys that indicate at what moment a material loss or any unsuccessful aspiration could trigger his depression. At the same time, another part of my thoughts, seeks in my personal history, wondering even if it is okay or not to feel attachment to possessions.
Reading this kind of material to write a novel is very intense because it moves hidden things within us, deeply rooted feelings or conveniently forgotten episodes. As I read this kind of information, the thoughts about my character and about myself are mixed. They occur simultaneously. They get blended. The danger I face as a writer is that I can lose objectivity and project on the character I am creating my own conflicts or ignore useful information (from the narrative point of view) because it hurts me in some way. In other words, I may fail in my goal of constructing a psychology for my character and end with an incoherent personality formed by parts of me and parts of him, like a psychological Frankenstein.
For these reasons, meditation is absolutely necessary whose written expression (Reflective Writing) clarifies, separates and helps to digest what has been read. Also, other advantages are obvious such as organizing the gained knowledge, providing a sense of progress in the work of writing even though no page of the book has been written yet. This tangible and intellectual organization of the information gives us a sense of seriousness and efficiency in the construction of the character, which drives the acquisition of greater knowledge because we know we are building a character as coherent as possible.
I hope this is useful for your writing projects.