Today I was reading a post on an agency blog (Dystel & Goderich) that so got me going I found myself writing a long comment. My comment kept growing until finally I thought, this really is not a comment, it's a blog post.
The gist of the D&G post was a question (and it refers to ANOTHER post here, so we have a real blog chain going now)...
Is it easier to write when you're happy or sad?
I have been wrestling this issue for months.
I made it to almost 40 "wanting" to be a writer but writing only sporadically. My first real fiction effort (not counting those two doorstops from my 20s) was written during the darkest period of my life. It was therapy for me, as well as inspiration. I wrote it in 6 weeks. (Then spent 2 years unwriting and rewriting it, but that's another story.)
After hyper-analyzing the inside of my own head (because that's what writers do!), I realized that during dark (or even just dull) times writing is an escape for me. It's my own little world I get to control. I make those characters as unhappy as me, and then, because I write romantic stories, I make them blissful.
Reminds me of this great Ray Bradbury quote someone tweeted recently:
You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.
Now that is dark. But there have been times in my life I have felt this keenly. For a lighter take on it, remember when you were a kid and stuck your fingers in your ears and closed your eyes and chanted "La, la, la, I can't hear you"? That is how writing helps me cope when my cope meter is on empty.
So I am grateful I had my stories and all those imaginary people to help me through those times. But there's a downside. I struggle to focus on writing during happy times because not only do I not need the escape, I don't want to miss out on any of my real life.
With the new contract, writing is no longer therapy or escape, but a business. I am working hard on that transition, and I think the key will be sticking to a regular writing schedule. Meeting regularly with my new writing business partner, Mac Freedom, who helps keep me honest. Shutting out those voices of doubt that creep into every writer's head once they've been at it long enough to realize what a BIG SCARY MYSTERY it is where all this stuff comes from...But I digress.
What's your story? Do you write up or down? (Non-writers can play too! I suspect this applies to ANY creative endeavor.)
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