Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Feeling and Writing

I slept in today. It doesn't happen often. I usually wake up before the alarm-clock dares to screech, but it happened today. Each time it happens I wonder why. Usually it has to do with my mental state. Watching too much about Katrina -- or maybe there isn't too much -- left me, in one word, sad. I escaped into my bed knowing so many were left without one. Yes, I feel guilty. I wasn't responsible for Katrina, and yet I feel like there should have been something I could do. But I'm no super hero...

My writing, or should I say, my ability to write is directly related to my state of mind. I know that for many, writing is a form of escape. ME Strauss, for example, explains why she writes. It's a great post, but it doesn't work for me because before blogging (a new thing in my life) I had never had a journal and didn't use to write my own feelings down. Before blogging I wrote only fiction and the occasional article. One could argue that writing fiction is expressing feelings and resolving issues. Perhaps, but I'm not certain I would agree with that because I actually find it hard to write (fiction) when I'm down, just like I find it hard to function at work when I'm down. And I mean really down. Like divorce/break-up down, or family member sick down, or death down. I'm usually a happy person other than these exceptional occasions so not writing doesn't happen often.

But it happened yesterday. The events affected me too much and I couldn't write worth a damn. Yes, I wrote a personal post about my feelings (something I've started doing in the past couple of weeks but I'm not sure I like), but I didn't write write.

Today will be different I promise. I will tell you the results tonight.

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Carter said...

Good luck. Sometimes just freewriting is a good way to get things started. Let your feelings flow. If you're writing on a computer, just erase the document when you're done.

ME Strauss said...

Hey Melly,
Great post. Your clear, concise and beautifully written. Thank you for quoting me.

I don't just write about my feelings by any means. I write to find out what I'm thinking. "Writing is thinking made visible" is a famous Guidon cartoon. It's also an open book that shows the world how organized your thinking is.

Carter is right. Freewriting is a good way to get started, but I found it hard to do on a computer. I was too consious of the words looking back at me. I only freewrite with a pencil . . . but I've gotten some amazing things down on paper that way, almost effortlessly. It's also a great thing to do while waiting on a virus scan or other such to get done.

You might check out a post on my blog called "No One Can Help Me Write." It was prompted by something Hunter S. Thompson said, and there were quite a few insightful comments that were added to it.

Thanks again for a good read and the mention.


Melly said...

It's nighttime now Carter and seems your good luck wish helped :) I'll try the freewriting thing next time I'm this bummed out.

Liz - I'm blushing - thanks.
I read the post you recommended - wonderful and insightful. I'm glad you mentioned it here for others to see. And if you suggest the freewriting too, I'll just have to try it then.

Gone Away said...

I'll use just about any excuse I can think of not to write - I don't feel right, I need another cup of coffee, I have to read all the blogs first, anything.

The spur for me is time. I need a deadline and that is why blogging is so good for me. When the post is due, it has to be written, regardless of how I feel (and usually at the last possible moment, too).

Not that I suggest anyone else try this method. I think I just hate pressure so much, I'll do anything to get out from under it. Even write...

Melly said...

Gone, couldn't agree with you more actually. I love deadlines and work best under pressure. That's why I like writing articles. There's a set deadline. It's also works with short stories where there's sometimes a reading period or something of that nature.
My problem is mostly with my novels. No deadline (and I could only wish I'd be at that stage where I have one). I give myself deadlines, but it's not the same.

Pat Kirby said...

I'm avoiding the news. First, as usual, much of it is sensationalized. Second, it really doesn't do any good to know every little crisis, blow by blow. Better to send prayers/keep folks in LA/Miss in my thoughts, and send donations.

I'm naturally loopy, so depression is part of me and sometimes the fuel for writing. And I admit, I put a lot of myself in my work.

I save most of my brainstorming stuff: sort of free association, where I ask any story-related questions that come to mind. No worries about punctuation or spelling. Very freeform. This is how I develop much of my backstory and plot.

Melly said...

Pat, you're probably right and I shouldn't hang on to the news the way I did.

Yes, we put ourselves in our writing, but I found out I that couldn't write when I'm depressed. Just like I can't function normally when I'm depressed (really depressed I mean).
I do a sort of a brainstorming as well but without much writing. Just main points. Maybe they need to be developped just slightly more like you suggest and of course saved.
Thanks for sharing your process with me :)

ME Strauss said...

Thanks Melly about the post.
I agree with you and Clive--deadlines help a lot. In fact that's why I started a blog, so that I would keep to a writer's discipline of writing every day.

One thing that helps me when I don't feel like writing is to walk. It' gets me out of my head and the words seem to start to flow as the scenery changes and the blood gets going. A walk around the block will do it for me. Sometimes just a walk acros the room. But I'm dead if anyone talks to me.

Great blog, Melly.

Melly said...

Oh, Liz, I'm blushing, thanks.

Yeah, walks work for me too, but what works best for me is if no one is around (home).