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scheherazade
11-14-2008, 09:28 PM
Some people use writing as an outlet to deal with the problems of life. Other people let a depressed mood keep them from writing. How does your mood affect what you write about and how productive you are?

For me, every time I get into a funk I feel compelled to trash the novel I've been developing for the last 11 months. When I'm down I can't write. When I can't write I get down. Then I feel like tossing my WIP into a drawer somewhere and just avoiding the whole cycle.

How does your mood affect your writing? Do you do anything to prevent a bad mood from trashing your novel, or to harness a great mood into helping you churn out pages?

StoryG27
11-14-2008, 09:32 PM
Bad moods used to propel my writing, now they freeze it. It's like my creativity just locks up, it's there, I just can't use it. I read a lot when that happens. I read books by authors who have always inspired me to write and it may take months, but it never fails to pull me out of the funk. Even with that inspiration, I still have to force myself back into it once I have that little shove, I really have to dig to keep going, then it comes easier. I also do a lot of revising and editing when I'm in a funk, which often leads to rewriting, and then helps me to get that new writing wheel rolling.

scarletpeaches
11-14-2008, 09:34 PM
One of the best pieces of advice I ever heard was 'write through the pain'. I used to avoid writing about certain issues until I was over them, but now I use them when they're raw to make my writing more realistic.

I went through a pretty bad few weeks recently where everything in life seemed to go wrong, but I kept on writing. Looking back I can't see any difference in what I wrote compared to previous projects so maybe I've mastered the art of detachment and actually can write through a depression after all.

But when it comes to writing through pain as opposed to depression - it's hard as hell, but it works. For me, that is.

So my mood affects the way I feel about my writing - of course it does. But it doesn't stop me writing, that's the point.

Although I've noticed recently I can't write smex scenes unless I'm, uh...raring to go myself. If I'm tired and I try writing such filth, it reads flat. So I need to be alert, rested and perhaps, yes, listening to 30STM at the same time to maintain the fizz.

Overall, writing no matter what my mood helps lift my mood. It's my favourite thing in the world...uh, wait...no, scratch that. But it's in the top ten. Why would I avoid something that makes me feel better when I'm depressed? No. Writing always helps.

Angelinity
11-14-2008, 09:51 PM
i'm terribly moody and so's my writing. we try to get things done in between moods...

when i'm down, nothing but poetry comes out. to write any prose worth its salt, i need to be level headed or somewhat happy.. which seems to be kinda of a challenge right now. even harder with novels than short stories. meh.

Alpha Echo
11-14-2008, 09:52 PM
When crap's going down in my life, and I'm upset...I mean really upset...and only in one area of my life really....I can't write. I just can't. Everything goes on pause, and I have to wait for things to get a little bit better before I continue.

inkkognito
11-14-2008, 09:56 PM
My mood doesn't usually affect my writing, but that's probably due to the fact that I'm a cognitive counselor. I consider writing to be a job, and I wouldn't allow personal mood fluctations to affect my work for an outside employer. Thus I hold myself accountable and set mood aside to concentrate on my work.

maestrowork
11-14-2008, 10:02 PM
I can't write when I'm in a bad mood, in a funk or depressed. That zaps every ounce of creativity I have and I'd rather do something else or lie down and die.

Soccer Mom
11-14-2008, 10:09 PM
My mood doesn't stop me from writing, but it does effect what I write. I can't write a happy or funny scene if I'm in a funk. I find that my mood bleeds into the scene and if I'm feeling pissy, the next thing I know, my characters are all fighting and sniping.

selkn.asrai
11-14-2008, 10:46 PM
I've got to be honest, so many people I know hold writing as a standard when feeling depressed, and I always felt like the odd man out. But it seems like a lot of us here can't write in such conditions, and I feel a bit better. If that's mean, forgive. :P

Sadness kills my writing drive--it pretty much paralyzes me--and the sadness perpetuates itself because I get angry that I can't write my way through. I don't suck it up and forge ahead; I indulge myself for the day by relaxing, and tackle my writing with more determination come the next day.

Cranky
11-14-2008, 10:53 PM
I can write when I'm tired, angry, confused, elated, you name it.

Depression kills the urge, just squashes it flat. Stress does the same thing, when it's gotten bad enough.

Mostly, though, I find that I just get in my own way with a lack of self-confidence more than any mood I might be in at the time.

Topaz044
11-14-2008, 11:04 PM
If I'm low-to-mid stressed out, writing often is an outlet for that stress. If it's high stress, like personal problems or just a really bad day, I can't often write.

Clio
11-14-2008, 11:13 PM
When I'm depressed or angry, I actually need to write it all out of me. But I deliberately stay away from any WIP and channel the negativity into journal-type ramblings just for me. This has worked for me for years. So, although the stress/depression stops the flow of my creativity for a novel or story, I do find the actual process of putting my emotions into words very therapeutic. It clears my head and I feel much better for it.

dirtsider
11-14-2008, 11:19 PM
I've been finding that I tend to write or at least focus more on my writing when I'm frustrated, if I can actually get my butt in the chair. But if it's really bad, I tend to crochet rather than write. Crocheting is more mind-numbing. Then I can write. But a lot of it comes down to building up the discipline to get my butt in the chair and keeping it there, even if I don't do much or just re-write the last few lines that I've written.

SPMiller
11-14-2008, 11:22 PM
Recently, I've been experimenting with writing while angry. So far, it seems to boost both production rate and quality of my prose, regardless of the POV character's personality.

But it just can't be healthy.

kuwisdelu
11-15-2008, 12:16 AM
I can write when I'm tired, angry, confused, elated, you name it.

Depression kills the urge, just squashes it flat. Stress does the same thing, when it's gotten bad enough.

Mostly, though, I find that I just get in my own way with a lack of self-confidence more than any mood I might be in at the time.

That describes me pretty well.

Although, the thing with me is, there's a fine line somewhere in depression and sadness which defines whether I can write out not and how well. There's a point at which dejection fuels my writing like none other, and gives me incredible inspiration. On the other side of that line, I just can't write at all.

Strong emotions are great for inspiration for me, but for some reason, they plateau out to a point where either I'll write furiously or I plain can't write.

The confusing part is, I'm not sure which side of that extremum is which. I don't know whether a little sadness or a truckload of it is better for my writing.

I also find that when there's hope of it getting better, it's harder to write. I write better when I'm in a pit and I see no way out. I can be a pretty masochistic writer.

The worst feeling for me when it comes to writing is boredom. That's my biggest problem right now. I live in a boring town in a boring state, studying at a boring college with a boring major. I want the city. I want anger. I want hatred. I want insanity and fear and rage. Like I used to have.

Ennui does nothing for me and it clouds my thoughts like nothing else.

Ultimately, I tend to induce myself into a certain mood before I can write it. If there's nothing immediately around me relating to that mood, I must seek it out. Sure, imagination is great, but it's nothing like experience. Maybe method acting is dying, but I'm just starting method writing. Me and Kerouac and Cassady.

That should make everyone feel warm and fuzzy when my more morbid stories become famous. :D

kuwisdelu
11-15-2008, 12:17 AM
But it just can't be healthy.

Who ever said writing was about being healthy?

(Says the writer who drinks and smokes heavily and wanders around the train tracks at 4am to get a feel for his characters.)

C.M.C.
11-15-2008, 01:17 AM
I find melodrama to be a well of poetic lyricism.

Inkyhoof
11-15-2008, 01:33 AM
I tend to feel pretty inspired when I'm down, though granted, my writing is never very good at such times.

I think it's best whenever I feel... content. And happy.

And inspired, of course ;)

Polenth
11-15-2008, 01:38 AM
I'd rather be happy when I'm working on things. I get more done. But I'm rarely sad for longer than five minutes, so it's not a big deal.

I've found physical pain and illness doesn't stop me writing. One of my better flash fiction pieces was written whilst I had flu. I'm careful not to push it though, as getting better has to be a priority.

NeuroFizz
11-15-2008, 01:52 AM
I guess this all boils down to whether you control your moods or you let your moods control you.

A.L. Wright
11-15-2008, 02:28 AM
I'll add myself to the list of people who write compulsively when stressed. It's my catharsis. I actually discovered this very recently during a particularly rough period of my life. (Long story short: My relationship with my then-boyfriend was going sour and I couldn't bring myself to end it. We lived together, so I was constantly stressed out.) Unfortunately, I found that after I got myself out of that situation and went through a creative dry spell, I had no motivation to work on anything I had written during that time. Of course, my hard drive crashed not long after that, so it didn't matter anymore.

Nowadays, I still write a lot when I'm stressed, but it's the good kind of stress that comes from college rather than the bad-relationship stress.

Cybernaught
11-15-2008, 02:53 AM
I'm feeling fairly diffident tonight and don't feel like writing because I don't think I'm any good. This is going to change tomorrow of course (hopefully). Happens every once in a while.

My current WIP that I was enthusiastic about is very personal for me, something I haven't really played around with before. Hopefully I'll get my confidence back again.

tehuti88
11-15-2008, 07:35 PM
Some people use writing as an outlet to deal with the problems of life. Other people let a depressed mood keep them from writing. How does your mood affect what you write about and how productive you are?

...

How does your mood affect your writing? Do you do anything to prevent a bad mood from trashing your novel, or to harness a great mood into helping you churn out pages?

I must admit I do not like the word "let" as used in "people let a depressed mood keep them from writing." :( That kind of minimizes the whole issue, like people let depression make them feel miserable or keep them from socializing or whatever. I'll continue with my post in the hopes that this meaning wasn't intended.

I can write when upset, but when it's the kind of upset that has me crying, I can't, because when I'm upset enough to be crying, one of the main thoughts that always pops into my head is, what's the point of even writing? Nobody's going to read it. Naturally that's a big deterrent to working so hard on something, if nobody but myself will ever care. Writing is an escape or outlet for me, sure, but even it doesn't work when I'm feeling truly miserable, merely because I want to connect to OTHER people with my writing, and that hasn't happened yet. (Meaning, the one thing that brings me the most joy is the same thing that makes me feel lousiest.)

Other than that, there's no real effect on productivity, volume of output, subject matter, or even the tone of what I write, because I don't write about my life, so if I'm depressed I'm not going to write something depressing if there isn't currently something depressing happening in the story. I just write what the story warrants. And I try to write a certain goal each day (about 1700 words) so...*shrug* If I'm unable to write, then I won't write; if I'm able to write, then I'll write approx. 1700 words, no more, no fewer.

Likewise, if I'm in a great mood, it doesn't really affect my work that much either (though it might be easier or faster going to get it done).

The mood that does help most is if I FEEL like writing--whatever mood that is. It's not an emotion, it's more like a mental state.

scheherazade
11-16-2008, 09:31 AM
In retrospect now... on the other side of a dark mood tunnel, I think I'm realizing that focusing an emotion can help. When I'm depressed, I tend to feel deflated, and that prevents me from writing. I can't even read when I feel this way, or even pay attention to a movie - all I feel capable of doing is lying around in the dark listening to music.

But yet it takes very little for me to channel that melancholy into angst - typically self-angst but often redirected to my friends and family, people around me, circumstances, whatever. But I can also use angst to become productive - I've written some interesting, acerbic poetry and prose when angsty. Angst can get me to the gym and get me through a spinning class or other physical activity that churns out the endorphins.

So I think - for me at least - it might be a matter of learning to channel that emotion, reinterpret it in some way that fuels the art or whatever. Angst isn't necessarily the best answer, but if I can transmute deflation into angry inspiration, then I'll go with it. Or if I need to take that time just to lie on my bed and listen to music, I'll take it as an opportunity to recharge and take a break from writing for a little while.

GeorgieB
11-16-2008, 05:20 PM
Some people use writing as an outlet to deal with the problems of life. Other people let a depressed mood keep them from writing. How does your mood affect what you write about and how productive you are?

How does your mood affect your writing? Do you do anything to prevent a bad mood from trashing your novel, or to harness a great mood into helping you churn out pages?

I belong to a writing group where 12 or so attend the regular meeting. We're allowed to read 2 1/2 pages max, and most times what's read are personal confessions where you can tell the author is struggling with some personal demon. I've heard diatribes against mother, father, siblings--confessions of throwing children out the door and others. All these written and read at the meetings.

There are two others (besides myself) that write and read our fiction. I don't know if we've unconsciously decided to provide the uplift in spirits needed to counteract the downers from the others, but we usually provide some relief. What I read can be described as my attempts at O'Henry stories.

I can't write when I'm in a bad or sad mood, as infrequently as that happens. I think I'm the world's most optimistic person, and can usually see or feel the good in even the worst possible situation.

steveg144
11-16-2008, 07:42 PM
I was laid off about a year ago, and was out of work for six weeks. I was surprised to discover that I was blocked solid the entire time I was unemployed. Within two weeks of going back to work, I was back to my old self again. I honestly didn't expect that, I just assumed I'd look at it as a great opportunity to go on a writing blitz while I looked for work. Didn't happen that way. :Shrug: