Friday, November 7, 2008

Blog Chain Blatherskite

Some people argue that creative people need “angst” to produce good work. Do you? What emotions drive you as a writer?

Do I need angst to produce good work?

That seems a bit subjective to me, since most writers would like to think that every time they pen something that it will be considered good at the very least. I will say that had it not been for angst, I would not have started writing again (it was a very hard time in my life). Now whether what I wrote was good...let's just say it was, um, a start.

This question came at such an interesting time for me. October is my favorite month of the year. I get so excited, and by the end of the month, I was riding high . So many good things happened last week, that it was inevitable that once November started, it would be a supreme let down.

Enter my fall state of depression. So many people say that fall is their favorite time of the year. In Oklahoma fall comes late. The leaves are just now turning. November marks the beginning of a melancholy period for me. I wouldn't say that I journey into a downward spiral of depression that requires medication, I just tend to become far more subdued than normal.

That being said, it is about as close as I come to having a serious case of angst. And NO! I don't write anything well while in a mood that tends to lean towards gloomy. I get complacent, I have to use my energy to function at a normal level. It's as if some of my spirit drains along with the green in the leaves and the grass. I hardly feel creative.

What emotions drive you as a writer?

Hmmmm, this is a head scratcher for me. I never thought of any emotion driving me. The creative juices start flowing so fast I had to have an outlet. I controlled the emotion that I was pouring into my work by my song selections. As so many before me in the chain have admitted, listening to certain music often sets the tone of the written work. Whether it aids in the mood or makes those emotions stronger using auditory stimulation is anybody's guess. That is only one tool that a writer can use.

Drawing on a past experience, or an emotional scene from a movie, even feelings evoked from a favorite book, are all things that a creative mind can draw on. I do try and feel the same emotions that a character is feeling. It makes it easier to share that with a reader if you are putting yourself in the character's own mood.

This question has been my favorite so far. It came at such a great time. To be able to reflect on the swing of emotions that we all feel from time to time has been an eye-opener. It also forced me to write, which I haven't done at all this week.

Even though October is over, I still have ghost stories that I could share, and I will try and round up a few for my next post. Until then, you should really go to the beginning of this chain and follow it. The members of the blog chain are all far more talented at conveying their thoughts on this subject, and I must say that it really sucks to have to follow them!

The chain started with Archy , Elana was before me in the chain , and Leah follows my post .


Sandra said...

Ha! I wish every word that came out of my keyboard was good. Oftentimes, I wind up throwing out my first draft and starting over, and even then I have to revise it extensively.

And I agree that it's hard to write when you're feeling down. Hope things turn around for you soon!

celticqueen said...

Ahhh, I am one of those people who love fall. Not sure why exactly. I love that little nip in the air, and I love that the weather is cool, but not cold - love the leaves turning, the almost Christmas time feel.

You are right about the down moods though - sometimes it does take a little more energy to turn that mood into some "good" angsty writing :) Great post! Hope things are looking up for you :)

Archetype said...

My favorite thing you said was that this was your favorite question so far. ;-)

It's interesting that you create less when your mood slumps in the fall. (Wide-spectrum light, which you can get through lightboxes can help a lot with that.) I wonder what you'd see if you charted your productivity throughout the year. Like, I wonder if you're particularly productive in the early summer months when the light starts to be really good.

Great entry, Terri!

bloggingexperiments said...


I agree about writing when your some extent. Sometimes, I find the escape in writing that helps turn my mood around.

I love that you try to put yourself in the same feeling as the character. I find I do that a lot. Especially when I am writing dialog.

Super post!


Mrs4444 said...

I just need a quiet Sunday morning to write my best, assuming that I have written "best" stuff. (I hope I have.) I could never write well if I was getting paid to do it; too much pressure. Looking forward to more ghost stories...

Vodka Mom said...

I love to read about how writer's think. For me, thoughts just sprout in my brain, like little seeds, and roll around until I have time to put them to paper. My friend gave me two little notebooks- and I have one by my bed and one in my purse. I HAVE used them to jot down ideas, phrases and sentences that have popped into my head. I"m feeling VERY nervous now that my paper has decided to PAY me for my monthly column. I think I'm fucked.

Vodka Mom said...

p.s. I'm trying to put you into my google reader- where's your subscription gadget, girl????

H. L. Dyer said...

Great post, Terri! I don't think you need a smitch of worry about following anyone else. :)

TerriRainer said...

Okay, I think I added a subscription gadget if you scroll all the way to the bottom.

:) Terri

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

Great post, Terri! I also agree with having trouble writing when feeling down - and you explained why perfectly - because most energy is going towards just getting through the day. Really insightful posting - thanks!

Mary Lindsey said...

That's really interesting about your annual fall slump. I wonder if it is weather related, like you suggested or fixed to an event.

I have a monthly depression! :D

Christy said...

I can relate to the melancholy you feel at a certain time of year (mine happens in the winter when it's cold, gray, and dreary.) I can also relate to how feeling that way can suck away any hint of motivation to write or do much of anything else.

Much of my writing comes from reflection. Whenever there's something significant that's happened, and I either have gained some perspective or desperately want some perspective, I usually have a lot to write about.

I can't wait to read the rest of the chain--thanks for the link!

Rhea said...

I do love fall, and it comes late here in Texas also.

Inspiring nature works for me, as do certain movies or books. Harry Potter always works. lol

I'll have to think about this more...