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emphryio
February 14th, 2006, 05:03 PM
It seems a lot of people talk about how they like to write when they're really in a bad mood. It would seem to me that such people will never really consistently write. Because they're writing in large part to help them get out of a bad mood and so the very act of writing will get them out of the mood to write.

This has been the case for me. The most I ever stuck with writing was when I got fired and had my professional career destroyed and managed to stay in a really bad mood for a few months. Finally I quit stressing and then I quit writing. Otherwise it's always been just here and there; very sporadic.

I was wondering if any consistent writers out there could answer for me: does your mood even play a role? Surely you can't just always be in the same mood. Do you still feel like writing as you go from mood to mood each day? Surely willpower doesn't play a role? You must just enjoy writing all the time.

Sorry that this thread is certainly somewhat redundant.

choppy
February 14th, 2006, 06:34 PM
People write for all sorts of different reasons. And the same person can write for different reasons at different times.

Writing can be a very powerful tool for dealing with issues that confront the writer in everyday life. It's a way of organising thoughts, escaping reality, working through decisions, experimenting with new ideas, fantasizing about things that the writer can't do in real life (or simply doesn't want to). It can help the writer to relax, or to shift mental focus, or to express ideas that may otherwise have to go supressed.

As you've pointed out, often people not only write, but do some of their best writing when they're in bad moods. The question then arises - if they want to continue writing while harnessing that emotion, is it necessary to maintain a miserable state?

Someone once said that there's a reason why society keeps its artists destitute. It might have been Margert Atwood.

I would argue against permitting negative emotions to drive anything. What you're asking is akin to saying that someone who's angry will be stronger than someone who's calm. And while this may be true for the common person on a given day, look at Olympic athletes. They excel in their chosen sports because of dedication, training, study, and motivation (in addition to raw talent). Mood is essentially no longer a factor.

You have me curious now. Sports psychology is a very interesting field. I'd be curious to look at how high calibre athletes think and see if I can draw any parallels to the "intellectual sport" of writing. I have some reading to do.

simon woodhouse
February 14th, 2006, 07:56 PM
I've never really thought about this before, but now I've given it a bit of consideration, I don't think I've ever been in a bad mood when I've been writing.

Sitting down in front of the keyboard seems to have a calming affect on me. The only emotion I feel is gratitude grateful I'm in a position to be able to write, and that the motivation and ideas haven't dried up. I know that sounds a bit cheesy, but it's true.

I tend to feel more emotional when I've finished writing. I often walk away from the computer feeling the same way as the characters I've just written about, and sometimes this can linger for ages afterwards.

darrenreid
February 15th, 2006, 03:24 AM
that's a tough question - i guess i wouldn't wite when i was angry or upset - i need to be motivated, like waking up in the morning and going for a run or to the gym, it's the same sense of drive (and later accomplishement) that drives me to write. Maybe everyone's different although i wou;dn't recommend trying to loose your job to get some motivation ;)

All the best with your future writing

Darren

hU$h3rN7242c
February 15th, 2006, 05:54 AM
I was wondering if any consistent writers out there could answer for me: does your mood even play a role? Surely you can't just always be in the same mood. Do you still feel like writing as you go from mood to mood each day? Surely willpower doesn't play a role? You must just enjoy writing all the time.

Sorry that this thread is certainly somewhat redundant.
Well, I originally started writing as a stress relief. So there were definitely times where I was angry or upset and would sit down to write. Those pieces are some of my worst work, but some of the most gruesome in the terms of the horror genre they were created in. (I aspire to write a dark fantasy/sci fi fusion.) Over the years, it has moved from writing when I'm angry, to simply writing. I followed the advise to write at least fifteen minutes a day. Once I committed to that and began following through, I had to learn to simply write no matter what I was feeling.
At that point, I began using music to feed mood or motivation. I eventually found music that kept me inspired and writing. Eventually, I found myself feeling the emotions of the characters, but more importantly, seeing what was happening so that I could describe it.
Let me give you an example of "prepping" my mood or doing research. I have an infatuation with combat situations that involve helicopters. So if I'm going to write one of these, I start watching documentaries on helicopters and pilots. I look up information on the choppers I want to use. I watch movies that may have an entirely different concept, but help me picture and choreograph the scene in my head. Once I feel enough research is done, when I sit down to write, it just goes. And when I'm done with it, I feel like I've just done something very good.
Once you get that sense of accomplishment that you've created something, even though it needs tweaking and editing, you begin to have less issues with sitting down and writing.
Sometimes, I sit down to write, and end up forcing myself. Once I realize I'm forcing it, I need to stop. To me, forced writing is never as good as writing that flows from your subconcious. I also think that the characters that I've created have voices that need to speak. I simply channel those part s of my creative ability. I also find it helpful to pick a time of day to write, and stick to it. That usually helps you look forward to it, and produce better results.

Ok, I'm done droning.

David Forbes
February 15th, 2006, 07:37 AM
I write regardless of mood. I consider it my profession, so I write five days a week, eight or more hours each day, just as if I were going to work. I have done this for most of my adult life, long before I got a book contract. Your mood doesn't keep you from going to your job, does it? I mean, it might have an effect on it (you're not as productive as usual, for instance), but you don't just stay home because you're in a funk, right?

I am in the middle of a divorce, which is incredibly draining, but I still get my writing done.

If you treat writing as a hobby, then sure, if you don't feel like writing you won't, or you do it to fill time when you don't want to do other things. There's nothing wrong with that, either -- you just need to realize what your attitude about writing is.

Obawok
February 15th, 2006, 12:52 PM
I would say that I write an average of three hours a day, and that's only because I work two other jobs and don't have time to do any more than that. But my mood has little to do with what or how much I write. There have been times when I've been so stressed that I've forced myself to take a break from writing.

Also, I don't know why, but I have a harder time finishing something than I do starting it. Because of this, there have been several projects that I would not have finished without forcing myself to sit at my keyboard night after night until it was done.

emphryio
February 15th, 2006, 05:45 PM
I would argue against permitting negative emotions to drive anything. What you're asking is akin to saying that someone who's angry will be stronger than someone who's calm. And while this may be true for the common person on a given day, look at Olympic athletes. They excel in their chosen sports because of dedication, training, study, and motivation (in addition to raw talent). Mood is essentially no longer a factor.
They excel because of genetics. But what keeps them training is knowing they are improving themselves as a result. I don't see how I can quite apply that to writing.

emphryio
February 15th, 2006, 06:03 PM
Sitting down in front of the keyboard seems to have a calming affect on me. The only emotion I feel is gratitude grateful I'm in a position to be able to write, and that the motivation and ideas haven't dried up. I know that sounds a bit cheesy, but it's true.
But what is the motivation?

simon woodhouse
February 15th, 2006, 08:57 PM
But what is the motivation?

Simple really I like writing.

I like the simplicity of it, I like the fact you don't need anything more than a paper and pen. I like the solitude me alone with my thoughts.

I'm not out to prove anything, or write the best book ever. All I want to do is give people something good to read. Most people's time is precious, so if they stop to read something I've written, I want to make sure I've made it the best I can. This sounds even more cheesy than my first post, but it's true.