Let’s get personal. Once a character’s been created, they need to experience conflict and drama. And that’s going to put them through a lot. Sometimes, when we write from experience, the pain our characters experience can be frighteningly believable. So how do we, as storytellers, psychologically deal with that?
When writing characters, we often become them. We spend so long trying to relate to them, and think as they do, that we’ll often imagine ourselves in the situations we’ve deliberately created for them. Eventually, we are no longer imagining these characters experiencing fictional trauma, but understanding that it could be us in that situation. When I write, time becomes irrelevant. Emotionally, I don’t just become attached to the characters, but I also become attached to the writing and getting something written. A lot of the time, my emotional state can be influenced not only how my characters are feeling, but by how well the writing is going, in terms of how much is being written and how “good” it is.
When writing for long enough, the characters become simply one element of the writing. The characters are the story, and they influence each other. If the story is going well, the characters are being written well. And if the characters are being well-written, then the story is being well-written, also. It’s not that I become overly-attached to my characters, but too all aspects of the writing.
Normally, with these things I’m able to offer some sort of advice or solution to a problem. But this seems like a pretty open-ended problem.