On writing

How does your mood affect your writing?

How much does your personal mood affect your writing?

When you are depressed, are your characters depressed too? When you are happy, do your characters sing and dance and do happy things?

There are two types of mood when writing. Your own personal mood—are you happy, sad, grumpy, and your characters’ moods—are they happy, sad or grumpy? The two don’t always mix.

The second mood is the one you need to attain.

When I, personally, am down, my writing tends to be worse. The people in the story become more self-pitying, often dropping out of character altogether. If I am writing non-fiction it tends to be negative and critical. The writing is sloppy, with lots of unnecessary adjectives.

When my characters are down my own mood becomes more melanchony, but it’s a pleasurable kind of sadness. [Melancholoy to me has always evoked a more enjoyable sadness. An overcast day gloom, rather than desperately unhappy.]

But … writing is a cathartic process. The very act of writing can change your mood, and usually does, in the same way that reading a good book can turn depression into pleasure.

It doesn’t matter that what you have just written is rubbish. You can go back and change it. That’s what editing is for. Nothing is set in concrete until the book is published.

Really good writing comes from getting into the mood of your characters. It sounds really strange, but there’s nothing better than writing a sad part of a novel and howling all the way through it. You are feeling what your characters are feeling.

That is magic.

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