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If your boss vomits his bad mood on you, note the details in your journal

Today my boss barfed on me his unhappiness at having to come back from vacation. And of course, as my stomach clenched, I couldn’t help but think about what great material I was getting out of the situation.

As writers, we must suffer for our art. As my blood pressure climbed, I watched how his face turned scarlet – noting what was red from the sunburn he’d brought back from his vacation and what was due to his meltdown.

I observed his wide-eyed look as he assured me that he knew exactly what it took to do my job, had done it many times, and couldn’t understand why things were the way they were.

I read these emotions from his body language and words:

  • Confusion
  • Frustration
  • Fear
  • Insecurity

Later, all my coworkers had a moment where they said, “J.R’s in a bad mood today.” Apparently Mr. Sunshine was casting his golden rays over everyone in the office.

The next time I’m try to describe these emotions in a character, all I’ll have to do is recall this day when my boss decided to use me as his stress release valve.

Exercise: The workplace, with all its personalities and politics, is a prime place to spot human drama. Be diligent about observing your co-workers. Next time you go to a meeting, along with your notes about the meeting, jot your observations about the mood and emotion in the room. Note body language, where people sit and any mannerisms they exhibit.

One Comment Post a comment
  1. Ruth #

    Love that you could use this “bad moment” to get great writing ideas.


    May 25, 2012

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