You’ve been deeply distressed about a number of things going on in your life lately. At the same time, you’re creating a character who is going through a crisis.
You’re euphoric about a new job, a new partner, a new plan that materialized. At the same time you’re writing a book about how to be happy.
When I am extremely happy, I find that I’m fidgety. I can’t sit in one place to type. My mind keeps darting about everywhere. I can’t keep my thoughts on one idea. I don’t create well.
When I’m depressed, my thoughts run on the same tracks over and over again. This may be good for creating one mood, melancholy, but it lacks the shades to add a good texture to my writing. There is no conflict, no objectivity, no nuance. Moreover, I find that the words don’t come although I can feel the mood itself.
Feeling a situation intensely is no guarantee that you will be able to write about it. In fact, it interferes with the writing process. Yet, not being a feeling human being at all precludes the possibility of successfully writing about people and creating stories.
But how do you compose under the influence of different moods?
What if you’re too sad today to write? What if you’re too angry tomorrow to have coherent thoughts? What if you’re so happy the next day that it’s a shame to stay locked up in your room?
This is the paradox of being a good writer. You need to be able to feel deeply and yet not be influenced by the feeling as you write. You need to be the one in control. You have to be distanced from your writing, consider it as work like any other work and feel what others would have felt in the same situation, not just you.
The ability to distance is what separates professionals from amateurs I guess and the productive from the unproductive, the disciplined and dependable from the sporadic writer.
It’s a difficult lesson to learn but one that blogging consistently over a period of time is helping me practice. I wonder how long it takes before one masters one’s own moods and achieves discipline without becoming too predictable.