Mood and the magic

In the beginning of August I went through a rather difficult, upsetting period.

No worries, gentle reader, I am not going to bare my soul here on that subject. Enough soul-baring is happening in my writing, I dare say.

What struck me very clearly though, in that period, was that I could not write. Not even the first days after the situation had been dealt with. Oh, I could sit down, start up my trusty copy of Writer’s Café and type words, but that was not writing. I tried it more than once, and I threw away more words in those days than I care to think of.

I was not lacking things to write, I usually have two or three stories underway and also some never-ending editing, but it did not work. Whatever I wrote, it fell in the category of blurb, mess, junk, no-goodness. Have you been there? Do you know the mountain of detritus that remain when you finally manage to escape from the mood?

This, gentle reader, has never happened to me before. Usually when I do not feel good, I tend to write my misery away. It may end up as dark fantasy, stuff that is so grim I don’t even want to put it out for others to read, but this time it was… nothing. Just words.

I once read somewhere that “a professional can deliver his best even when he is not feeling well”. I am sure that applies to another kind of professional. In my daytime job I can do that. In my writing, I discovered, it just does not work. There is obviously too much emotion involved in writing. When emotion is blocked, or takes too much energy to be dealt with, it is hard or even impossible to focus that on creativity.

5 thoughts on “Mood and the magic”

  1. I am a firm believer in the muse. I had modes where I would write feverishly, page after page of character driven activity, and then it would slowly corrupt into a milieu of random ideas, and at long last peter out into nothing. No inspiration, no patience for writing, and even less for editing.

    I have dwelt in this space since the end of Last November. I go into phases of talking to myself, dialog forms, environments appear, and I am inspired, but then I sit at my desk, and all I want to do is read Facebook, or play video-games. Everything that came to mind has gone poof into the ether.

    My wish is that my brain would create when I was at my desk, and focus long enough to complete a story, but it refuses to cooperate.

    Some of the best stories are inspired by emotion, feelings, my writing is most vibrant when I experience an emotional attachment to the events of my stories, but when that is gone, I am bored with what I write, and I have been very detached for a few months now.

    My last real burst of inspiration was for a fan fiction for Avatar (James Cameron) and Avatar: The Last Airbender, but even that faded when my passion for the movie or the characters in my story faded.

    http://www.fanfiction.net/~cpnelson

    1. Without the proper inspiration and ‘drive’ it is very hard to produce something. Writing is, for me, something that requires input from the heart and if that lacks, nothing goes.

  2. The only thing that has ever blocked my writing has been illness and even then I’ve been able to write, just not usually fiction. I started my blog when I was in my worst state mentally and suffering from burnout like I’d never experienced in my life so bad it took three years to get back to anything like normal. I don’t believe in muses or inspiration in the Romantic sense. I think inspiration is a good idea and if you don’t have a good idea then any old idea will do. That said I also believe that writing is not just about writing, the physical act of scribbling words onto a scrap of paper. Writing is an ongoing process. I used to weight train when I was in my twenties and there’s a routine you follow: you eat, digest your food, exercise, rest and repeat. Writing is very similar: you take in information, process, write, edit, rest and repeat. Neither is as cut and dried as that but I no longer get frustrated with myself when I go for longish periods without writing. I wrote in a novel once, “Writers don’t have lives, they have ongoing research,” and I believe that. The longest time I went without writing was three years in my early thirties. Up until then I considered myself a poet and that was mostly all I’d ever written. After those three years I assumed I was never going to write another poem again and so I sat down at my dad’s desk as it happens and tried to write something, anything. Three months later I’d written my first two novels. In my mind I’d taken what I’d stored up over those three barren years and it all came pouring out on the page. Now that is a romantic notion so I can be romantic. Incidentally I wrote those novels when I was going through my second bout of depression-with-a-capital-d. Nowadays as long as I’m being productive with my time I don’t sweat the small stuff. At the moment I’m not writing, I’m up to my armpits in promotional work – that needs to be done too – but I’m thinking about writing all the time, planning, preparing, waiting. When I was young I didn’t believe in patience. I said I only knew of three definitions of patience: a girl’s name, a game of cards and an opera by Gilbert and Sullivan. Now, even though realistically two-thirds of my life is gone all that urgency has vanished. Odd that.

  3. No, I’ve never written for a living, not in any capacity. I’ve been a civil servant, a shop manager, an IT trainer, a service administrator, a database designer, a delivery driver, a draughtsman but never a writer. Now I have landed in the fortunate position where I don’t have to work full time for a living and so I have all day to write but I don’t have enough to say that I need to write all day.

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