Friday, July 1, 2011

Does your Mood Affect your Writing?

I have noticed that my writing is  largely affected by my mood. Whenever, I am over stressed, anxious, worried, sick, perhaps I may have had  a tiff with someone, or someone has hurt me, my writing suffers. And, it suffers big time. Though, I continue to write whatever my mood, it’s not my best writing that emerges during those times. And whenever I am relaxed, happy, have kind of tackled my anxieties, doubts and fears that keep cropping up at regular intervals, my writing comes out lucid, clear and definitely my better pieces emerge.

I don’t know why, I have to shed all my negative emotions when I am writing. It’s like the negative emotions clam up my creative cells and suck my creative juices dry. Many times, I try to switch off from  both: people and things that irritate or drive me crazy, but, its not always possible to do so. Real life is inhabited by people  and is full of situations that are not conducive to writing.

As writers, we have to write come what may. There are deadlines, both professional and personal to meet, and editors to answer to. I have now decided, that due to being a complete worry wart (courtesy mom’s genes) and a big brooder ( thanks to dad’s generous genetic inheritance) its never going to be possible for me to be completely relaxed, completely free of worries, or at peace with myself. Both: brooding and worrying is a part of my D.N.A  makeup and runs through my veins.

 To write well, I  have to create a happy atmosphere  deliberately. I do this by listening to lots of peppy music which instantly cheers me up and drives away the emotional blues. Even long walks help clear away the emotional cobwebs, but its not always possible to walk  anytime, so listening to music is the perfect answer. And my prayers help me out. Then, I am ready to tackle my writing.

 Does your mood affect your writing? Or, are you all  the lucky ones whose moods have no bearance on their writing? Are you all the blessed ones who come up with awesome writing inspite of being down in the dumps? What do you do to drive away the blues? Do you have any method to pep yourself up, so that your writing does not suffer? Please share the secret to your good writing mood with us?

23 comments:

  1. I find this to be true also. When there is a lot going on in my life (particularly emotionally) it can be a challenge to let the creative juices flow. My perspective shifts, however, when I spend time in the Bible, listen to uplifting music, and fellowship with other writers. Quality family time helps, as does chocolate in moderation.

    Have a wonderful weekend! :)

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  2. My mood affects my ability to get going, but it doesn't affect the actual writing itself, once I get into it I forget what mood I'm in, kind of zone out. Although when I finish I generally feel pretty good.

    Mood
    Moody Writing
    @mooderino

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  3. I produce my most inspirational work in fits of mood tinged by some amorphous sorrow and yearnings of repentence for actions I cannot remember.

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  4. I know exactly what you mean. If I'm upset about anything I really struggle to produce anything I'm satisfied with, but during long, settled spells I can be so much more productive. Sometimes you can switch your mood with music or doing some different kind of activity, but it depends what's at the root of the negativity I guess.

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  5. I have good and bad writing days, but I don't think that's because of any kind of mood. Sometimes it just happens. But I am more productive when it's warm and sunny because that makes me feel happy. So I think quantity is probably affected by my mood, but not quality... I hope!

    And actually when I'm wearing cranky pants, writing makes me feel better. I think it's the process of creating and imagining that puts me in a better mood!

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  6. As Mooderino says, a rough mood may affect the ability to get going but not the writing itself. I can lose myself in another realm completely and often find it cathartic if I'm being a real grumpy-moo.

    Sometimes I'll write down exactly how I'm feeling and what actions I'm doing (chewing lips etc) to use at a later time when a character needs it.

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  7. @ Karen... my emotional upsets produce my worst writing, they close the door, so creativity cannot enter.

    @ Mooderino...once I get past my moods, then I am unstoppable. I try various ways to get past the emotional upheavals, like prayers, listening to music and going out with family and friends.

    @ Anonymous...many writers are said to have written their best pieces when they are wallowing in the throes of sorrow.

    @ Joanne...thankfully my emotional lows last for a very short time, during those times I catch up with my reading.

    @ Laura...weather too has an effect on my writing. But, once I start writing I tend to forget everything.

    @ Margo...I don't know why, when I read what I have written in the rough patches I tend to hate it. Though it may not be bad, but it doesn't appeal to me at all.

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  8. I try not to let my mood affect my writing. Each piece of work has its own mood and tone due to the plot, so I try to get back into that, especially if I've taken a break from my WIP. The tone and voice of a project has to be consistent as much as possible I think.

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  9. Absolutely, my mood affects my writing. But I must say, my personal experience is that my sad moods sometime give voice to some of my deepest felt passages.

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  10. Yes, it does initially but once I get going, writing cheers me up.

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  11. My mood absolutely affects my writing. My solution is similar to yours-- I have to listen to music before I start writing to get me in the proper mood. It works better than anything else!

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  12. I doubt there’s a writer on the planet who’s not affected by mood swings but let’s say you’re a plumber and not a writer. You really can’t imagine your plumber turning up to fix your blocked sink and saying he’s not in the mood can you? Or you bring him a cup of tea and finding him starting out of the window looking for inspiration and sighing forlornly. If you write for a living – which, thankfully, not so many of us have to do otherwise we’d starve – that is a luxury you can’t afford. Illness is another matter but even there it can be turned into an excuse – “I’m depressed, I can’t write.” I wrote my first two novels when heavily depressed. In fact if I’m honest the bulk of my prose have been written suffering from some kind of mental ailment. What you need to do is understand your moods and find the sweet spot when you are at your clearest and work then. Most mornings these days I can’t do real writing so I use that time to read blogs and answer e-mails. In the afternoons I’m usually at my sharpest and so that’s when I work. It wasn’t always that way. I used to do my best work in the early hours of the morning – I’d wake up after a couple of hours sleep, refreshed and alert and could get a lot done – and a lot of writers deliberately set the alarm a couple of hours earlier because they’ve learned that that is the best time for them. If you can’t rearrange your life around your writing then you need to be able to maximise the time you have and that’s where you need to remember the plumber.

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  13. Oh yes, moods do me in. And I've learned how to tackle them by finding the triggers...and dealing with that. But at times nothing works, except prayers and meditation.

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  14. I am definitely the same way. If I have worries or stress hanging over my head, it's hard to concentrate and even write at all. When I'm feeling good, writing comes far easier, and I feel my best stuff comes then.

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  15. There is no doubt my mood affects my writing, although I'm not naturally a moody person, so I don't tend to get down to often. But when I am, I listen to some inspiring music or phone a friend for a good gossip. Usually one of those will work!

    Ellie Garratt

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  16. I definitely find my mood affects my writing. I write better when I'm relaxed and happy.

    Sometimes I find that music, reading something uplifting, taking some exercise etc. can lift my mood, and sometimes I find that nothing I do will fix it. I'm glad to say the latter is not too common though :-)

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  17. I'm not sure that it does. I know that when I sit down to write I have a good idea of what I need to do. So regardless of my happy face or my frowny face I'm going to write some really good stuff.

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  18. I know exactly what you mean -- and I'm just the same way. If something is stressing me out or I'm worried about something, it is very difficult for me to concentrate on writing. Unlike you, there is very little I can do to shake the feelings, and my preference (if at all possible) is to wait to write until my mind is clearer and more settled.

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  19. Interesting. No matter what mood I'm in, if I have to write, I'll get the job done. It's a good way to take my mind off whatever might be going on at the time.

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  20. yep, definitely, my moods change my writing. My characters want to run when I'm annoyed or frustrated. I tend to take it out on them hehehe

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  21. Hehehe I'm a brooder too. On the one hand it sucks, because that means that negative stuff do prevent me from writing.

    On the other hand, if I wasn't as pensive, I probably wouldn't have been so good at characterization.

    So when I'm down, I wait for the worst to pass and start again. Because nothing lightens my mood more than writing.

    :-D

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  22. Oh I can so identify with this, though when I was feeling ill with a stomach bug it helped me write my college piece on death LOL! I find the weather has a huge affect on my mood and creativity :O)

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  23. Great write-up! Writing is a talent, and it must not be wasted. As with everything that we had been entrusted, we should let it grow and share it with the world.>self directed education

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