Have you noticed how much your mood affects your writing – or even your ability to write?
We had some bad news in our family yesterday, not devastating end-of-the-world type news, but it was bad enough to cause stress. When I sat down in the evening to write I just couldn’t. My mind froze up, my chest hurt and my fingers wouldn’t work. I’m a curious mix of pent up aggression and utter lethargy with nothing in-between. It will get better, things always do. It’s the natural ebb and flow of life. You get the highs and the lows with a whole bunch of grey areas in the middle. The writing works best during the grey areas I find.
There is the school of thought that one can use the harsh realities of life and take that into their manuscript. If you can manage to channel your anger and upset into the plot and characters, then it’s almost guaranteed to come out as a much grittier and realistic version of what would be written during a chilled moment. Similarly, when going through a period of good news and happy feelings, you can pump that word count up and pen some uplifting moments in the book.
I find there is a fine line between using real-life mood to enhance a story, and the real-life mood getting in the way of actually writing the story. Right now I’m unable to write. The emotion is too raw and the stress of the moment is too recent. The sensible part of my brain knows this will pass, all I need is a bit of patience and to stay mindful of anxiety levels, and hopefully in a few days I can get back to it.
To all my fellow writers who may go through something like this in the future, all I can advise is this-
Give yourself a break. You’re only human. If you can channel the stress into your work then do so, otherwise close the document down for a while and focus on yourself and your loved ones.
Even the foulest mood is temporary, and the biggest setback can be overcome.
All you need is time.