Moody Writer?

Unless you are writing poetry, emotions will often betray the point of whatever it is that you are writing. It is a problem that writers often go through during the creative process. One minute you could be in an upbeat mood and pressing your story through a cheery line of events. If for whatever reason your mood changes though, it can be difficult to keep that story on the same pace. So what do you do when you don’t feel what it is that you want to portray?

Personally, if my mood takes a dive for whatever reason, I use that energy to practice poetry. However, while in such a mood, editing and rewording is not a priority! So if there is any display of skill that is presented as “above average”, it is simply luck, or raw talent; either way, I am still not interested enough to invest my good moods in honing the craft.

Hypocritically of me, I am not a fan of sad poetry. I do enjoy heartbroken verses from time to time though; as long as though they stay within the bounds of staying alive. (Say no to suicide!) With an art as diverse and boundless as poetry, it is hard to legitimately critique a poem. But if your poems can provoke an internal fear of being alone, I will probably avoid reading it. It was years ago when I first read Langston Hughes’ “Suicide’s Note”:

The calm,

Cool face of the river

Asked me for a kiss.

It still creeps me out. I mean, it’s cool. I guess it’s good. I just don’t like the feeling that I got after I read it. I remember thinking, “He must have been in a really bad mood.”

Another method that I try when when my mood isn’t up to par is skipping forward in the story that I’m working on. I will fast forward to where I think the story could go, and write a whole scene or chapter based solely on how I feel at the time. Then when I am back to myself, I will start back writing at the original stopping point and hope that the two sections will connect. If you are a writer, you know that everything is subject to change; so either the part written preemptively can be a checkpoint or it will be scrapped and that will be time wasted. So I try not to practice that route and use that energy editing — if I must work on the same project.

What I often turn to though, is the short story. I may write something that reflects solitude. In Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea”, I felt a sense of loneliness in his writing. I’m not saying that this is the case, but it is definitely the vibe that I picked up from it. As I got older and began to read more about Hemingway as a man rather than just an author, I can just about be sure that he was not a very “happy” man when he wrote that. Writing in a wishful state of desire can also be method of cheering myself up. So it may be rather difficult to distinguish what was being felt by the author when he or she wrote it. The feeling of my reader takes precedence over my own when writing. If I think too much emotional is bleeding into the work and could possibly deter what I want the read to get, I will scrap it altogether; or journal it.

I’m sure the methodologies for moody writing are infinite, but those are the three that I use. Whatever method you use is just fine as long as you push through and produce something. Writer’s block can only beat you if you let it. 🙂

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