I think the title says it all. What with listening to the Pirates get knocked out of the post-season last night on the radio, the resultant loss of sleep, forgetting to call my sister back, and dealing with animals leaving various secretions all over the house (you really don't want details on that one), this is not my best of mornings.
So, when I'm not having a good day, does writing serve as an antidote to my mood? Can I escape into one of my fictional worlds to make myself feel better, or use my grumpiness as inspiration? Or does writing require energy and willingness to surrender myself to that flow, and a bad day in real life means I can't do that either?
The answer, which I'm sure will irk you as much as it does me, is that there is no single answer. At least, not for me. Maybe some writers find their writing always a cure for their unhappiness, or always a task which requires strength that only a good mood can supply. Mine is so variable that I have to take each case individually.
For instance, today, I'm brain-blasted. I can barely remember my own name, let alone those of my characters. Though I'm tempted to name a villain or two after some of the people I work for. How can three people have schedules so mutually exclusive that I have to go out two weeks to get them an hour together? But that's another story.
In any case, today may not be a day when writing would do me any good. All my words will drag, like I'm dragging, and that will communicate itself to my readers. I don't think you want to read a chapter, or a short story, where everything moves at the pace of a snail on Valium. It may be a good day to work on backstory, but not story.
On the other hand, if I'm in a more active bad mood, sometimes writing does help. Especially if the mood has been precipitated by writing, or by a response to writing, I can often channel that energy, that anger or defiance or what have you, into my words. It's my version of "Neener-neener, I'm not stopping and you can't make me!"
One of the best examples of that for me is how I came to write A Widow in Waiting (and you thought I forgot what day it is!). I've told the story before, but briefly, my mother gave me some candid feedback about my first draft. She was right about most of her points, but wrong in her final conclusion that I should abandon the world.
That conclusion made me so angry that I swore to write something so good in the Glenscar-verse that she would have to like it. I found a new starting point, fixed the problems she'd pointed out, and wrote 175,000 words in three months, and now she's sending me little "When do we get Playing with Fire?" emails.
So what am I saying, about my own writing and about yours, if it so happens that you're an aspiring writer? Try writing in all your moods, even if you don't feel like it. See what happens. It may be that when you're angry, you can't put together a coherent sentence. Or that when you're down, writing gives you an escape.
And actually, I may be able to (or even need to) write today after all. The caffeine is kicking in, on the good side of things, and on the bad side... eh, no tales out of school. Suffice it to say that at some point in my writing, a villain will appear who likes to look sweet, play dumb, and take all the credit for other people's work.
As it is Thunder Thursday, I might go back to Playing with Fire for a while, or possibly one of the side stories that I've written in the Glenscar-verse. Many of them are just scribbles to help me keep things straight, not really reader-worthy, but others aren't too bad. What do you think? Would you like to see some of them posted?
Next time, on Sampler Saturday, updates on Killdeer and In the Bleak Midwinter. Comments are always welcome, though please be sure to write them in the comment box, not the slot for emails. That cuts off after a while in the notification I get, and nothing posts publicly, so it looks like an empty comment... thanks!