Thursday, June 24, 2010

Does your mood affect your writing?


I learned something very important from the latest writing contest I entered.

So goeth my mood, so goeth my writing.

Literally.

Here’s what happened. I sent in three chapters from a book I worked on last year. Written during a year I was probably the most discouraged as neither my husband nor I could find work. We were at the end of our desperation rope. Depressed is a kind way of saying how freaked out we felt some days.

Anyways. It showed.

One judge remarked that my opening was good—set the mood—you know all that stuff. Then the second chapter moved along but by the time they got to the third chapter, they told me I needed to stop the depression for heaven’s sake. (that’s my interpretation) Enough already. My characters needed to move forward! Yeah—wish I could but hey, I’m not in my books.

So I waited awhile and went back to look at it. After my miffed attitude relented and let me.

You know something? They were right.

It shows. Our mood can affect our writing if we aren’t careful. Whether we’re feeling playful or down or really romantic. It shows.

So what to do? I don’t want my ups and downs to dilute every character I create!
Here’s what I’ve been doing.

Step back and wait awhile before submitting. Sound advice but something I don’t always do.
After this last eye-opener, I have become very conscious of it.

How does your mood affect your writing or your blog?

41 comments:

Lynda Schab said...

My mood totally affects my writing. Mostly in the sense that when I'm in a bad mood or stressed out, my writing stinks. LoL. I can't get inspired or find the energy to even sit down and write. I've been in that mode a lot lately, which tells you about my personal life. ha! All the more motivation to "renew my mind" as the Bible teaches and learn how to pull myself out of a "poor me" funk. I think chocolate helps, too. Boosts endorphins and all that. That's gotta help with the emotional writing thing.

Diane said...

Our moods affect everything else, so it totally makes sense. Now that you're aware of it, you'll take more notice. :O)

Journaling Woman said...

Mood affects everything we do. But mood is normally something we can adjust...change...or get medication to help. :) Knowing mood affects your writing is great.

Chocolate may be the cure. You might want to try it.

T

kathy taylor said...

Oh you are so right. Decades ago my journalism professor warned us: "Tired writing makes tired reading." I have found that to be true also.

Lisa Jordan said...

Yep, mood affects my writing and my ability/inability to write. Sometimes that mood is great for particular scenes. When I need to perk up, I listen to happy music or read something that boosts my spirits. Or usually a friend will call or text at the moment when I need a heart hug.

Rose Mary said...

Yep, my mood definitely affects my writing. There are some days that I don't need that to happen. I usually put on some music that is the 'theme' of my story and it does help. Also, I sometimes just take a break for a day or two and get the story and myself in perspective.

Lin Floyd said...

interesting, writing also can change your mood-perhaps time for some therapy writing before hitting the project? lol!

Lynn said...

Lik Lin said writing can change my mood. When I'm struggling with a situation, the methodical methods for creating an essay, short story or non-fiction piece can be therapeutic.

Nehha said...

I would say writing affects my mood and vice-versa. I try to write my mood out. Most of the times it works. You can try it as well. Just make sure you write exactly what you feel at that moment and try not to alter your mood even a little bit ;)

Sassy Granny ... said...

It sure does! And, believe it or not, that's even scriptural, for out of the abundance (or the overflow) of the heart, the mouth speaks (and the pen flows). Matt 12:34, Luke 45.

I'm very careful not to trust what emanates from a troubled mood. That's not to say it isn't valid, or even worthy of probing. It's just that fear, or worry, or sadness can color a situation in ways that aren't permanent, even though they feel like it at the moment.

I think, feel, act & write best when my heart is at peace.

Hugs,
Kathleen

reading. writing. revolution. said...

I think fiction writing is very much about emotion, so you have be in the right mindset and emotional state to write that scene that you want to write. I help myself a lot with that by setting the stage at home -- lights off, a candle burning, the right music, maybe a movie with the right feel/theme/colors on the TV (sound off). I also help myself by kinda acting out the scene, getting into character, if you will. it's all about emotions, so yes, my mood affects my writing.

Mohamed Mughal said...

Mood has a PROFOUND effect on my writing. When drafting fiction, you always have the option of going back in for multiple re-writes to get things right. Where I have to be careful is in e-mails :). If I send something while angry or upset or tired, the tone says as much.

Lydia Kang said...

My mood affects my writing, and I think lot of others. I know listening to certain songs/music puts me in a certain mood and it affects my writing, usually for the better!

I gave you an award on my blog, btw!

Deborah said...

My mood does affect my writing, but for a song writer that can be a good thing...unless of course my mood is always depressed....still, a sad song can be therapeutic!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Terri -

I sent a story in to A Cup of Comfort when they were doing an anthology for the grieving. My submission did not make the cut.

Although the editor did not respond personally, on her blog she said she went through umpteen Kleenex reading the stories. Obviously, grief came through more than the restoration process.

I'm still trying to write about those times in a more positive light.

Blessings,
Susan

Maria I. Morgan said...

My mood definitely affects my writing! Not sure if anyone could honestly say that it doesn't. It's difficult as a devo writer since I write from my perspective, rather than a character's. Taking a step back and looking up (getting my focus where it needs to be) helps tremendously. Thanks for this post, Terri!

Beth in NC said...

(((hugs))) You aren't alone. I'm sure everyone's mood affects her/his writing. It would be hard to separate.

Jessica Nelson said...

Hmmm, I don't know if my moods affect my writing. I almost think my writing influences my moods. I've noticed each book of mine has a certain tone to it and when I get into the story, I usually feel stuff. Then again, if I'm bummed, I might procrastinate on writing, so then it won't affect anything. lol

Helen Ginger said...

Our moods can bleed over into the writing, for sure. Try adjusting your mood with music to fit the mood you need to be in to write, or watch your favorite funny/sad/action movie, talk to a friend on the phone, take a walk, whatever works to change the mood and put you into the one that fits the scene.

Sometimes, just reading what I wrote the day before gets me back on path.

Straight From Hel

Karen Lange said...

Good advice. My mood does affect my writing as much as I try to step around it. So I let it rest and come back, (when I can) and have a look at it when my perspective shifts.
Happy weekend!
Blessings,
Karen :)

Carmen said...

That is so true!

Julie Musil said...

My mood is totally reflected in my writing. Good, bad, serious, funny, whatever!

Linda Glaz said...

My best murder scenes were always PMS scenes. Hopefully you can all relate. Now, at 60, I really have to work harder at those scenes. Go figure!

WritingNut said...

Oh my mood definitely affects my writing. I find if I'm sad or upset, my writing will take a darker spin (sometimes when I don't want it to) than when I'm happy.

Great post and thank you for stopping by my blog today!

Rosslyn Elliott said...

Like a few other posters, I'm the opposite. Writing affects my mood more than the other way around. And if I haven't written in a week - watch out! Ha!

Now sometimes I just won't feel like writing if I'm down, but if I sit down at the keyboard and start, I soon get lost in the work.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I agree. Our moods affect our abilities in every aspect of our lives...whether it's writing, socializing or exercing...

Rita's Random Ramblings said...

Moods, it certainly does affect my writing, and anything else I may be doing. Attitude is so important! Love you blog posts, I see a some reading to do! Hugs to you!

Sande said...

With hopelessness, it becomes suffocating.

With hope, it feeds me and those whom God put's in it's way.

Kathryn Magendie said...

I'd have never been able to let Virginia Kate's voice come through if I'd have not risen above, and resolved, and stepped away from, etc, certain things -seen them from a distance....because if I was still full of that angst or anger or hurt or whatever, MY voice would show through -it would have turned into my story, not hers.....

so, wise advice. WHen I used to edit novels, I could always tell when someone was angsting over something or something unresolved was stirring in their guts and minds - it showed, and sometimes it showed as "rants" or long passages, or just going on and on about something. I always adviced them to go ahead and rant about it if they needed to, but, to take it all (or most) of the rant and only leave in what is real to Their Character, not themselves :)

Great post!

Jill Kemerer said...

When I'm tired or too on the go, my blog posts suffer. If I'm in a really bad mood, I won't write on my book because I know it won't work.

patti said...

Oh, MY, such a GREAT post...
THere is the flip side.

Sometimes that melancholy mood adds just the touch that a WIP needs.

Sigh. Hard to extricate the good emotion from the overdone emotion.

Crit partners, round 'em up and move 'em out--the overdone part, that is!!!
Thanks!!!
Blessings,
Patti

Rachna Chhabria said...

Terri..my mood totally affects everything, writing included. That's why the moment I am out of the blues I read everything I have written and make changes before submitting.

Nancy said...

I'm usually upbeat when I create fiction. I don't have to do it, so I'm usually in a good mood. If a book gets long or I'm not feeling like I can do it right then, I take a break. I know everyone can't do it the way I do.

Edie said...

I try not to write on my blog when my mood is "off". I just know I'll say something wrong. :)

Oh I know about those meltdowns too. :)

Just wanted to say hi and see how you are doing. I am keeping you in prayer still. He is faithful. Keep stepping forward.

Love to you my friend!

Heckety said...

This is absolutely true! When I'm yuck I try not to write posts, or else, if I'm trying to distract myself then, like you say, I don't post until my mood is up-er and I can re-check.
But its bound to be so, if you think about it- our writing is us, its not like we're just trying up lbusiness letters for the company, or something!

Amy DeTrempe said...

My mood always affects my writing. I've even written scenes in a book out of order so I can graps the emotion I am feeling at the time. Tense, sad, so happy I can't stop grinning, or wherever my emotions are at the moment.

Deb Shucka said...

What a huge awareness for you to come to. I find as long as I'm clear where I'm at emotionally I can usually write from a clearer place. But then again, sometimes I write to find out what I'm feeling or to get the feelings outside of myself so I can move on. Then I move on to work.

Katie Ganshert said...

It's a symbiotic relationship....my mood and writing feed off one another. Sometimes one leads, then they switch and the other leads.

And good for you, adding 20K to your wip!!! That's amazing, Terri! Woo-hoo!

sarah said...

this is interesting...I know when I feel strongly...it comes out in my writing...I have a tendancy to be too dark and usually need a friend to tell me to add in the fun...and the good...Stepping back a bit is great advice.

BECKY said...

Hi Terri! Since I write personal essay-type things, my moods ARE my writing. I'm also working on my book, which is part memoir and part current thoughts and observations. I can see where our moods would definitely affect different areas of writing! Great post!

Just Be Real said...

The only writing I do is on my blog and whatever I am going through that particular day will undoubtedly affect what I write. Thanks Terri for a great post. Blessings.