Monday, December 12, 2011

Hard Times, Good Times (for Writers)

Most of the friends who've hung with me the longest are artists. And all of my serious boyfriends/husbands have been musician-songwriters.

I don't know why--whether we just get each others' mercurial personalities or if I just have a strong aversion to money. As Michael Scott says, "Mo money, mo problems," right?

(Yes, I know it was Damon Wayans.)

Anyway, I thought of this because when we were in college, we debated how hard it is to be creative when you're happy.

What do you guys think? Yes/no? Were we simply listening to too much complaint rock at the time?

Regardless, it got me thinking. Things aren't currently ideal for me. And lots of other folks--in some cases worse.

In my case (new bleeps), over the summer we did a major relocation, and as is typical with such things, the adjustment period... well, it's a tough time fraught with stress, frustration, denial, anger, bargaining, depression...

But I was also thinking this can be a great time for writers.

Think about it: as writers we need hard times to draw on for future projects. If we never feel the extreme bad feelings, how can we possibly conjure them authentically for our characters?

Back in the day, writers used to put themselves in all sorts of terrible situations for their art. I do not recommend that practice. But I've decided to take advantage of this opportunity.

I'm headed back into the cave, and for the duration, I'll be blogging less.

I'm cutting my schedule down to once a week, except for special occasions like blogfests or announcements.

So my schedule is now Mondays only. And this Friday, I'll do a post for DL's Deja Vu fest (link).

In the meantime, I'll be thinking of you, and wishing you all the best. Naturally, I'll be making the rounds on Mondays as well, so I hope to stay in the loop.

Have a great week, reader- and writer-friends! I'm working, and when I'm not, I'm writing. Til Friday~ <3

42 comments:

salarsenッ said...

I concur with your struggle and wish you all the success in your writing cave. :) Life seems to be speeding up, more bombarding us on a daily basis. Pulling back, even more, is something I've considered too.

Sarah said...

I certainly understand this! I use writing to cope, so I do tend to get a lot done when I'm dealing with ick in my real life. I hope you have a renewing, productive time, and cutting back a little does make sense!

Laura Pauling said...

I think once a week is fine! We have to do what we have to do! I've read that too - that most artists are depressed in some way. Interesting.

Jessica Bell said...

Ah! I knew you'd do this eventually :o) It'll be good for ya! I take advantage of the bad spots too. It's sad, but my creativity is excellent when I'm depressed. I think that's just a given with us "artists" lol :o) xoxo

DL Hammons said...

Thanks for making an exception for the blogfest! Whatever schedule works best for you...is okay with me. Turn that lemon into lemonade! :)

jerzey72 said...

Well I do think going through hard times makes for good writing. I will also say happy times do as well.
Both emotions comes with there own unique set of tools and perspective.

Thanks for the post.

Creepy Query Girl said...

A surge of emotion is always great for creative spark. I usually write best when I'm bored out of my mind and looking for an escape:)

Pat Hatt said...

True, the bad times can bring on some great character development and writing possibilities. I guess that's one good thing about them.

Vicki Rocho said...

You might be on to something there. As an eternal optimist, I have a really hard time making things tough enough on my characters to keep it interesting for the reader.

I don't wanna torture myself for art though. LOL

Old Kitty said...

Oh LTM! I must be happy to write! If for whatever reason my inner balance is out of synch I cannot cannot cannot find my writerly mojo and spend the whole time just wanting to be in the dark, sulking! LOL!

I doff my cap to all those who are at their most creative when scraping the bottom of the emotional and physical barrell!

Take care
x

Sarah McCabe said...

I used to think that you had to be suffering to be creative back when I was a teenager. Lately I haven't been able to be creative when I've been stressed or depressed.

So I guess it really, like most things, depends on who you are and where you are on your journey through life.

Theresa Milstein said...

I've written both ways. One way I can't write is if I'm exhausted. I have to have a clear head, busy or not.

I clearly didn't marry for money. I think $ can alleviate plenty of problems! I'm so glad we're past the struggling stage, which lasted for many years.

Clarissa Draper said...

Let us know what happens when you enter your writing cave. I know I sometimes write better when happy because I feel like writing. But, I'm very creative when sad.

Carolyn Abiad said...

I understand. <3 My last move was the reason I sat down at the computer. Got lemons:make lemonade.

Lindsay N. Currie said...

I think this is a fantastic idea! Use up the good writing time while you have it and at the end of the day, everyone who reads your blog will understand and adjust to the new schedule. good luck!!

J. A. Bennett said...

I wrote a post about this same thing once. Use all that angst and pour it right into your work! (and make sure to keep the complaint rock going, it's like crack for sad people) Anyway, good luck with your writing and I hope you find a happy medium :)

walk2write said...

Maybe that's why I'm having trouble getting a novel going. I'm trying to keep all of that negativity I used to cultivate out of the garden, so to speak.

I want your work to go well, but I hope you don't suffer too much for your art:)

Lydia Kang said...

Writing has to take precedence over blogging. Good decision, I say. :)

See you at the Deja Vu blogfest!

Dawn Ius said...

One of my mentors used to say if I wasn't writing from a place of angst, I'd probably toss out the pages. I'm not quite THAT dramatic but do concur. Sending you good vibes - creative and otherwise. xo

M Pax said...

Sorry the adjustment is tough, Leigh. But I agree that in adversity there is opportunity.

Last fall was really tough -- for many reasons. I kept a journal and wrote down my feelings on things. It's been great fodder for later.

Best on returning to the cave.

Elle Strauss said...

hey, a little of you is better than none at all :) You have to do what you have to do to keep sane. Enjoy engaging in "real" life. ((hugs))

Tracy Jo said...

I am thinking of you friend. You are right about the hard times and if you have to be in that mind space...might as well use it...right?! I always write better, deeper when I am in a dark place. I even wish I would have written more a few years back when I was in the middle of it. I asked Santa to give you a BIG HUG and Ho, Ho, Ho! :-)

LTM said...

@Laura--I should be able to keep touch, and artists. What to do with those guys? :D <3

@Jerz--It's true, yes? Happy and sad round it all out. Best~

@Sarah--You are so right. Different strokes for different folks. :D LOL! Good stuff!

@Lindsay--Thanks, honey. It's also a bit like hanging out at the water cooler instead of hitting the grindstone. Time to get back to work. More soon~ <3

Jolene Perry said...

i just love the ability to use my bad moods to help me write :D

Lynda R Young said...

yep, I think cutting back from blogging might be a good idea. It's so easy for blogging time to take over from writing priorities.

Amy Jarecki said...

I have to admit, I'm a happy writer too. I have the most wonderful husband in the world - he's a pharmacist, and though he has a scientist's brain, he definitely has a creative side.

But life wasn't always that way...possibly the bumps along the journey helped me to be a better writer. I hope so, because choosing to be happy is much more fun.

Wishing you and everyone else happiness and love :-)

Amy

Stephen Tremp said...

I write, therefor, I am. I write regardless of the mood. Coffee and wine help too. But I write because its a passion that supercedes my emotions.

Lisa Gail Green said...

I'm sorry things are tough right now. But I'm also really glad you found the silver lining (how cliche of me). :D

Pk Hrezo said...

lol... i hear ya, sister. I've never been drawn to men with money. Unfortunately for me. Or maybe not. Jury is still out. But I didn't grow up with tons of money either, so no biggie. I always knew I wanted to be a writer, but from an early age I knew I needed experience. So everything in life so far has been stuff for stories. You bring up a great point--that as writers, we can find value in any situation good or bad.
Good luck on your work! I've gone down to blogging twice a week at most lately too... just too many other things to do!
Hope you and your fam have a wonderful Christmas and I'll see ya for the blogfest!

LTM said...

@PK--you are as wise as you are beautiful, my friend. :D Thank you, and you have a great holiday! What's that saying about good friends? You're never too far apart? Til Friday~ <3

Summer Ross said...

Take care and I hope you get lots of writing done!

Christina Lee said...

Considering an new change myself--so good luck! And happy writing!

LTM said...

@Summer--thanks, girl! And I hope all's well with you, too~ :o) <3

Stina Lindenblatt said...

This has got to be the healthiest approach to dealing with the stress in someone's life that I've seen yet. Most people don't try to make the most of it. Most just complain more. *hugs*

I hope everything gets better for you soon, Leigh, and that you're able to squeeze everything out of your feelings now while you can.

RaShelle Workman said...

Hey Leigh - I think you're right. We, as writers, need to FEEL so that we can share those feelings through our writing.

Plus I so understand about the moving - Ugh, that's why I've put it off so long. I don't want to do it. But... it's going to happen, so I've put my big-girl pants on and cowgirled up. =D

Matthew MacNish said...

I went through all my bad shit years ago, so I've got no problem writing while happy, since I've got plenty to draw upon.

LisaAnn said...

The end of 2010 and the whole of 2011 have been bad news for me, too, in many ways. But I completely agree that sometimes this is when the best creativity appears... even IF it's a form of escape. I will be keeping my fingers crossed that things perk up for you soon!

Adam said...

I'm more creative when I'm happy, I'm too worthless when I'm depressed.

Theresa Milstein said...

I lied. I wrote just under 600 words and I was exhausted. I've concluded that there is no rhyme or reason to anything I do.

DWei said...

Honestly I'd say it varies per person, there is no set method.

I find that I'm most creative when I'm tired. Though, it's also harder to write coherently when tired.

LTM said...

@Adam--see? Everyone has his/her own method! Whatever works, right? Best~ :o) <3

erica and christy said...

I haven't been in the greatest place lately. And it's made me withdraw quite a bit. Thanks for the reminder that my characters are mine and this time can be spent with them.

Merry Christmas and good luck!
erica