In literature, the Romantic Hero is an eternal optimist. They somehow know how to turn even the most desperate of situations into an opportunity and—to the outsider at least—may appear to rebound quickly from setbacks. In truth they keenly feel every bump and bruise. They just stubbornly choose to believe that the heartache is worthwhile, that each obstacle and roadblock is temporary, and that their eventual victory will be all the sweeter for all the tears.
Cress and Winter from The Lunar Chronicles are two of my favorite examples of romantic heroes. I love the way that Marissa Meyers took two fairy tales about damsels in distress and transformed them into examples of women of substance. Despite the cruel abuses they suffered at the hands of a wicked Queen, they still held onto their hope of seeing a better world for their people. They didn’t just work within the system they lived, they found ways around it—not to benefit themselves in the short-term, but to benefit others in the long-run.
“[The queen’s] words carried too much weight, but Winter didn’t try to decipher them. She was busy nudging at the girl with her toe, gesturing for her to get into the crate.“—Winter, Marissa Meyers
One thing I’ve noticed about the Romantic Heroes is they are world-changers. They’re the community builders who are constantly looking for new ways to welcome others in, to feel seen, and to be heard. And they’re willing to do whatever it takes, even if it means risking a bit of personal pain along the way to do so. But they’re sympathetic natures can also take on extra emotional burdens that they are not meant to carry, which in turn can leave them feeling exhausted, helpless, and overwhelmed.
What helps them? Discovering the kindred spirits in their community. Knowing they do not stand alone. And feeling like they’re being supported by others who see and care for those who are marginalized or who are unable to speak for themselves.
Please note that being emotionally invested is not the same thing as being emotionally over-extended. As Romantic Heroes, it’s important to learn the importance of healthy boundaries. Recognizing that you can’t fix everything and help everyone is not only vital for your well-being, it’s also vital for your creativity. When looking at a list of all the things you could be doing to with your time, ask yourself, “Is engaging in this activity the best the way to use my time and physical/emotional resources?” If the answer is No or Maybe, set aside knowing that you can still make a difference in other ways.
The Romantic Hero as a Writer
Writers who identify with this type of character often present their best face to the world. And while they truly do look like a rainbow in the storm, they might not always be the best at spotting where the storm has caused damage in its wake. As a result, they might not be aware of a trouble spot in their writing or in their personal life until it’s too late. And since they’re so great at putting on a smile, others might not recognize their need for help until it becomes a crisis.
If this sounds a bit like you, I have three tips that I hope will help aid you on your way.
- Practice self-care. Remember it’s okay to acknowledge your hurts when things don’t go as planned. By recognizing the pain you can determine the cause and look for ways to work around it or through it in a timely and healthy manner.
- Share your concerns/fears with a kindred spirit. You aren’t being a burden by asking for help. In fact, your friends and support team would love it if you would!
- Write through the process. Not only will it help you understand what you’re feeling in the moment, it may end up being exactly what you need to bring a ray of light into someone else’s storm down the road.
- Bonus: Befriend a Reluctant Hero. These are the writers with a cautious nature that stems from a desire for stability. Their calm and loyal nature can serve as a safe haven when life feels overwhelming.
Got your notebook and snacks ready? Good! Let’s answer some questions!
- Who are some of your favorite romantic heroes in literature, TV, or film?
2. What is it about their story that resonates with you?
3. What is one way you can use your writing to bring hope or healing to a hurting world this week?
You’ve got this!
Hi! I’m Jen. Before launching my freelance editing business in 2017, I spent 10 years working as a copyeditor and managing editor in magazine publishing. I’ve worked as a ghostwriter, have edited training materials and informational resources for internationally respected Non-profits, and have been published in magazines, anthologies, and other publications—including the Christian Writer’s Market. I’ve also been a finalist and semi-finalist for the Oregon Cascade and ACFW Genesis writing contests for my unpublished YA fantasy writing.
My clients include award-winning, traditionally published authors, as well as previously unpublished writers who have gone on to successfully self-publish their work or receive full submission requests from agents/editors.
You can learn more about me at www.thewriterswellspring.com or by following me on Instagram: @thewriterswellspring or @j.e.lindsay.