- Books, Literature, and Writing
Moods in Writing
So, you write 2000 words a day for thirteen days and you take a day off. You deserve it, right? All that non-sweat equity you built up must account for something.
On day fifteen, you run into difficulty putting your seat in the chair. Something - football, hedges, illness - something retards your movement to perform what came so easy 36 hours prior.
What prevents writers from getting back at it. I wrote 25,000 words from November 1 to November 13. I felt like an athlete on top of his game. My fingers nimble, mind agile and words to be cherry-picked all through my brain, I figured a day off would give me some rest.
Rest I did. I attended my daughter's twenty-eighth birthday bash, watched an excellent football game and gorged myself on some outstanding cuisine. Once home, I headed straight to bed, slept in the next morning and promptly fell flat on motivation to write.
I've observed that as we write and get caught up in a rhythm, confidence flows and grows and keeps us sniffing for the next subject like a hound on a fox hunt. While I was keying those first thirteen days, nothing got in my way.
My four children met the brick wall of writing as did the phone, my wife, the lawn and all other outside activities and people. No distraction held power, in fact it was as though I had a boulder of kryptonite in my office and the 'super-distractors' were crippled mid-step.
One day of relaxation and poof, now I'm staring at the useless kryptonite as all my distractions come to bear on my psyche.
I'm positive this is all psychological. After all, I'm no wiser (or less so) than I was Friday when I keyed my last hub. Sure, I know that the Gators won their ballgame and that my New York Jets managed to lose again, but that knowledge is trivial.
What made me so wise 36 hours ago and such a bumbler today? Me. Moods. I find that even though I love what I do (writing) and I love sitting behind the keyboard, convincing myself to pursue this enjoyment can be a struggle.
Moods can be so illogical. You would think I would be the foot on a dragster gas pedal, giving the engine all it can handle and anxious for the brake to release. You would think I would be thrilled to have a Sunday to get back on track as there are less daily required acts to perform. You would think.
Instead a mood grabbed me like a Doberman on the neck of some tasty prey. Pinned to the floor of inaction, my confidence flagged and all the sudden, I wasn't sure I could produce anything positive or worthwhile.
I decided to take my own advice that I give to writers when they can't think of anything to write - write whatever's on your mind. After all, that's where most of my writing comes from anyway - and look - I'm writing.
What I'm writing is the experience of knowing I can, should and will write once I sort out my mood and deal with it. The blue mood I am experiencing tells me not to write. Who the hell cares what you think of the writing life? Who cares that stupid moods can stifle your creativity and cut your writing off at the keyboard not allowing anything to hit the screen?
Ultimately, writers care. Writers run up against this mood monster daily if not more often. We struggle with whether we can, we should, we could, we will or any other form of self-doubt. It's times like these when we need to step up to the keyboard and make things happen. We need to get our groove back.
The only way I know to do that is to write. That spark of motivation and acceleration I had going the first thirteen days of the month ended when I stopped Saturday. Oddly, discouragement set in today as I battled the writing demons for control of my fingers. Logically, having keyed 25,000 words to this point, I should have been more upbeat.
The power of our moods can propel us to a writing high, then turn around and squash our motivation with a feather step. As I ramp myself up to get back to sentences, paragraphs and hubs, I throw out this caution to anyone else considering a day off - get yourself a re-entry plan.
Set up a time, a place and a topic to write on and look forward to writing it while you're off. Roll over in your mind varying viewpoints and considerations with respect to your topic so that by the time you get back at it, you'll be so anxious you might forget to eat.
Then tell me if it works...