Frozen Writer

So many times I’ve heard people talk about how some of the best writers struggled with depression, angst, anxiety, and a variety of other psychological disorders, and that their difficulties fueled their writing. This past 12 months have been hellish for me with various health scares and concerns and I’ve been struggling through the pits of depression and anxiety.

Apparently, I am NOT in the hallowed group of depressed performers. When I’m going through a rough patch emotionally or psychologically, I do not perform well.

In fact, what comes out of me is either nothing–from being frozen by my issues–or the worst junk ever to hit paper/screen.

Does anybody else agree with me on this? I think I’ve read a couple books on writing that agree with me, but history often says otherwise.

Without a doubt, my best writing comes when I am happy, upbeat, rested, relaxed, etc. Even the dark scenes come best when I’m mentally in a good place.

What about you? When do you do your best writing? Does emotional state affect your writing ability, or put you solidly in a freeze?

Happy writing, or, perhaps, any writing? 🙂

 

“The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.”
T.H. White, The Once and Future King

“Do you not see how necessary a world of pains and troubles is to school an intelligence and make it a soul?”
John Keats, Letters of John Keats

“Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say “My tooth is aching” than to say “My heart is broken.”
C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

Schizophrenic Writer

Mildred is driving me nuts the last few days.

Here I’ve been, trying my best to map out the arc of my fantasy book series, when all she wants to do is sit and write a sappy love story about a hockey player and a physical therapist.

Sound like someone we all know and (sometimes) love?

Yes, it’s true. I was blindsided by an idea less than two months ago about a funny romance book centered around my ultimate romantic dream. I know it’ll never happen, which is why it shall be immortalized in fiction.

I really should be working on my fantasy series, but now that book one is completed (although I know I’ll continue to edit it until it goes to print), all Mildred can think about is her little love story.

And the words just won’t stop coming! Not that I’m complaining too much. I think it’s helping me to step back from the immense project of plotting a series of books that contain an innumerable amount of twists and turns that leave even my head spinning, and I’m the one creating them! Sheesh!

Why can’t Mildred just get it together, huh?

Sigh.

Oh, well. At least I don’t have writer’s block. Nasty thing, that. For about four months in the fall of 2013, I wrote almost nothing. It was a miserable time, and even trying to edit my books did nothing to spark the creative juices.

But now, they won’t stop flowing, and I couldn’t be happier! I just wish they’d flow in a nice, organized rivulet, instead of crashing about like schizophrenic waves on the beach.

The love story is funny, romantic (of course), and CLEAN. I have never been one for fiction riddled with sex and foul language. I won’t touch Fifty Shades of Grey (Gray?) with a 100-foot pole!

I understand why people like stories like that. Sex sells, right? But I think there are far better ways to induce people into a love story without jamming it full of sweaty romps and laughable moans and groans as authors find imaginative words to describe male and female – uh – organs.

So, I suppose I’ll take Mildred back to her story and get it out of her (me) as quickly as possible. I’m glad she has so many interests, and that the outlines for books in multiple genres keeps her on her toes, writing-wise. It’ll definitely take a deft hand on ye olde typewriter to bring Mildred’s visions alive.

I can’t wait for the challenge!

“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”
—George Orwell

Norwegian Rhapsody

Have you ever seen the wild beauty of Norway? I haven’t – at least, not in person. And that’s a crying shame.

Norway is one of the settings in my middle grade book series, and I’ve been researching it for a long time. It’s beauty is captivating.

Have a look…

Image

Gorgeous, right? And what about this…

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I love this one! So much fodder for the imagination. Who does the boat belong to? What is the fog hiding? How would it be to hike up those mountains? What kind of magical creature could come from such a place?

Are there any countries/states/counties, etc. that speak to you? Whenever I look at pictures of Norway, I am filled with an intense longing to see it up close. I never cease to be inspired to produce a bounty of writing whenever I gaze at pictures like this.

Nature is such a part of who I am. Although I dislike bugs (yuck!), I feel much more comfortable surrounded by the wildness and untamed beauty of nature than the car-filled, smog-ridden streets of a big city. I will probably refrain from writing too many books centered in a big city. Moderate-sized cities only on the horizon. But I never say never.

Whenever I’m in a pot of writer’s block, I pull up all the images I’ve saved on my computer that reflect the settings I want to portray in my books, and off I go! Even if all that comes of it is a few sentences, it’s a step in the right direction. As Jack London so eloquently put it, “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”

I agree 100% with that statement. True writers write when they have nothing coming to mind. They write when they’re inspired, and they write when they’re not. They write in times of keen loss, and in times of overwhelming joy. They write because they have something to say, and they write when they have nothing to say (which sometimes produces the best results).

So what do you do to inspire yourself? How do you chase inspiration with a club? Are there any cities/countries/counties/states, etc. that leave you breathless with desire and passion for your work? Please, comment and share!

“The quickest, easiest way to produce something beautiful and lasting is to risk making something horribly crappy.”

– Chris Baty