Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Writing For Your Mood

Writers are a fickle bunch of creatures. Sometimes it seems like everything has to be just right, or we can’t possibly write. If the sun is at a weird angle, no. If it’s an odd numbered day, no. And heaven forbid, we run out of coffee. The wondrous nectar of life. We can’t possibly write without the nectar of life. I kid, of course, but sometimes writers fall into traps. The trap of superstition. The trap of fear; that you’ll suddenly just forget how to write. The trap of trying to write two thousand words every day when really all you want to do is crawl under that rock and pretend like the world doesn’t exist. Or maybe you’re stuck and you just can’t bring yourself to write another agonizingly painful word that makes you want to set what you wrote on fire, only you can’t because we now write with these high tech newfangled things called laptops. And you can’t burn your laptop, because, like, it cost a lot of money. Especially if it’s Apple. Because Apple thinks they can charge ridiculously high prices and people will pay it. Which they kind of do. But that doesn’t help you. What helps you, is writing for the mood that you’re in.

I’m not saying you just start writing whatever you want whenever you want (unless that works for you). It is good to focus on a main project and continue to make progress and someday actually finish it (believe it or not, people do that). But I find sometimes when I’m bothered by something or I can’t get into the right head space to work on my main project, I find it easier to work on something else that is suited to my mood. Like if I’m angry I can write a violent scene. Or if I’m sad a sad scene. Or even if I’m feeling cut off from the world I could write about a character that is feeling distanced from everything in her world. Or I could even write something for my main project but just a scene that might come later that is more suited to my mood. I think writing like this helps the writer in two ways. It can create wonderful scenes, and it is also therapeutic for the writer.

When writing for your mood, the scene that you are writing can easily become emotionally charged, because you are already in the head space for that kind of scene. If you’re already angry, and you write an angry scene, you can imagine much more easily how your characters are feeling. You can connect to them on a deeper level. Of course, you can write an angry scene when you are calm, that being said, feeling the anger might give your scene that extra little boost to set it apart. This can also lead to inspiration because, once again, you’re already in that headspace. You’re already feeling angry reactions. And if you’re already feeling what you’re characters are feeling, then you can more easily imagine what they would do next.

The other reason writing for your mood can be helpful is that it can be therapeutic. It’s no secret that writing can be therapeutic for people, but I find this is especially so when one is upset. I find that if something is bothering me, it’s hard to put it aside and work on my main project, but if I use what’s upsetting me to write a different story or scene, the words flow much more easily and I’m able to work through my emotions in a way that is also constructive. It also beats punching a hole through your walls. Wall abuse is bad. Not to mention costly. Anyway, it’s a way to let your emotions out, and also get some good material for your story.

You don’t have to be emotional every time you write. That probably wouldn’t work out very well anyway. But if you are feeling a little emotional, maybe take up a pen or a keyboard, and see what happens. Have you ever written something when you were upset? 


  1. Well done, appreciate you sharing

  2. The topic always reminds me of one of my favourite writing quotes - "if you wait for inspiration to write, you're not a writer, you're a waiter" Dan Poynter. Great post!

  3. Great article Emily. I featured your post in my weekly "This Should Go Viral" list post on my blog. Great job!

    1. Thank you! I really appreciate the support!