19 January 2013

Moody Writing

I know there are times when you look at your writing, look at your writing place, and your stomach churns.  Your mind goes anywhere but the story at hand.  Your focus rests with the dishes, the laundry, with anything but what’s right in front of you.

These days will pass.  They won’t be frequent unless you make them so, but they do pass.

If you manage to sit and write anything on these days, you’ll find it all disgusting, or maybe won’t be able to address the file for days, months, or even years.  It will feel like the worst possible indictment against your dream of that check from the publisher. 

Don’t let the depression from these days discourage you.

Let me offer a few anecdotes from my own life to give you an idea of what I write.

Winter kills my moods on many occasions.  The lack of light and the festive atmosphere work against my inner curmudgeon, making me a miserable snot from mid October until February.  (Some will claim it’s longer, others shorter.  Whatever.)  I’d entered this funk when NaNo 2009 rolled around.  It was my fifth try and I’d placed a lot of pressure on myself with the extensive concept I wanted to attempt, added to me fighting issues at my bill-paying job, home, and the holidays.  That year, it didn’t matter what my mind told me, I sat at the computer and forced the 2000 words from my fingers.  It was a strain, a drain.  By the end of November, I just wanted a hole to dump my carcass. 

In a regeneration move, I stopped writing and just tried to rebuild myself during December.  Everything clarified in January with a new position at the bill-paying job, the end of the holidays, and a calmer home life.  I breathed a sigh of relief and returned to writing.  When I considered opening the file from that month, I couldn’t do it.  Even once I’d returned to form, it took me almost three years before I could consider the characters and storyline.  It taught me to work through the exterior drama before I pushed forward writing.

This example proves you CAN write through the bad moods, the weird moods, the disturbances in our life.  Sometimes, the writing will fix the problem.  Sometimes, it won’t.

My other example comes from this past Christmas.  It’s still a very raw event, so I’m not offering a lot of details beyond saying I made a huge mistake.  My mind became stuck in the loop of what ifs with the drama of the situation.  It wouldn’t release me from the problem.  Prior to the issue, I’d had a positive holidays (for once), even made a few people stop and take notice at the company holiday party.  (No, I didn’t drink to excess.  Let’s just say this white boy has a bit of rhythm.) 

I’d let a personal problem become a life “Dramah!” which disturbed everything.  I’ve worked through the issue, for the most part.  As I write today, I find myself back to the good mood I had before the event.
While it doesn’t bring as much of the writing life to bear, I will say that by becoming real life drama queens and kings, it takes the play away from the page.  We need to work through things as writers, on the page.  I’m not saying keep your feelings in a box.  Just don’t let the feelings overwhelm everything else.

Obviously, saying that writing is our salvation is like telling a dehydrated man to drink water.  He already knows this.  Just as we know.

Writing won’t always get us out of our funk, however, so we may need others to help break our funk.  Writers are solitary, yes, but we are still human.  Find someone you can converse with that your secrets won’t spread like wildfires.  Even if it’s an online friend.  Have friends you trust, that you can go see whenever, spend time as a social person. 

Find a way to leave your drama with your characters.

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