1. writesalot
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    writesalot Member

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    How do you keep them apart?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by writesalot, Jan 29, 2009.

    If you're in a really bad place in your personal life and you're really depressed most of the time how do you keep that from showing itself in your writing. I don't want my writing to be dark and cynical even if that's the way I feel right now. Are there any tips you can think of to help me?
     
  2. S-wo
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    S-wo Active Member

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    Just wait until you're not like that anymore.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Like any other kind of work, you have to push your personal life issues aside and keep your mind on the job. If some of your mood creeps into your writing, you may have to fix it in revision.

    In the workplace, your managment may have some empathy toward you if you have life problems, but the degree to which they will tolerate it affecting your work will be very limited. It as to be that way.

    As a writer, you generally have to boss yourself. Don't indulge your employee's mood. Tell him to cowboy up until he is on his own time.

    If your depression is chronic, you may need some manner of assistance.
     
  4. Rumpole40k
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    Rumpole40k Banned

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    Don't. Some of my best work (both in terms of how I percieved it and its success in the market) came from when I was working through my Grandfather's death. The work was moody, deep, but completely honest. Use it don't dump it.
     
  5. EyezForYou
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    EyezForYou Active Member

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    Personally, what I do in this situation is write it all down. All the anger, hatred, depression in a stream-lined funnel prose, and then, go back and reedit so it fits the content of the story. For instance, if there's a scene where a protaganist has insecure thoughts, feelings, and constantly doubts himself, I cut and paste my real life experience into the mind of that character.

    I use my own experiences to bolster the sense of realism and draw the readers into psyhic of the protaganist's mentality to build a bond between the two, and establish a kind of empathy, to give an honest, down-to-earth prose.
     
  6. hysteria
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    hysteria Member

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    You also don't just have to focus on the one thing. If what you are working on is light and you just cant do it at the moment. Write something with your feelings... write and release some steam and then get back to your other work after. The more you write the better! You can save your gloomy work for later too! Some of my best stuff is written when i was in a dark place..
    ....I hope you pull through OK.
     
  7. zorell
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    zorell Contributing Member

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    It's not exactly "keeping them apart," but, as a "moody writer," I try to match my feelings to the moods of the piece I am writing. When I find myself out of line with my MC or the mood, I reread it all over so that I can run the same gambit as my characters. Granted, that means I have to get a bit depressed when I was otherwise happy, but it helps me to mantain the correct mood to write the piece.

    I also tend to write a few pieces at one time, each with a certain range of emotion, that way, I can simply put something aside until I can reign myself into it again.

    ~may your words flow and your keys never strike back:)
     
  8. Penny Dreadful
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    Penny Dreadful Senior Member

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    I agree with those who suggest you use it.

    I've had a pretty rocky life, and I've been called on it before. Once someone actually told me that they envied me because I've suffered. They were sure it affected my writing, and I think it does. If anything, my work is less depressing for it. My lows are normal, but when I get a high, it's quite an event. It really taught me how to examine emotions.

    Of course, I still look forward to the day when I have most of these major issues in my life straightened out. Hopefully, things will get on track soon as I have plans (that are looking pretty good if my bf and I get the little house we're after - still waiting to hear back) to move out of a rather abusive household and to another state :D whooo! Better late than never... but I digress.

    The only draw back I've found from writing depressed is that I can't give ANY character a happy family life. If a character had a pleasent little family, they're dead. At best, they're allowed a caring sibling.
     
  9. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    When it comes to this sort of thing, I think you have to have the same mind-set an actor does. It's not necessary to push those emotions aside exactly. What you have to do is put your mind into the emotions of the scene you are working on, whether it fits your mood or not. In the Exorcist, you have a twelve-year-old girl doing and saying disgusting and vulgar things that you would never expect a twelve-year-old to to do or say. When asked about it, the actor said, "I'm not saying it. Regan is" (Regan is the character's name). I think that mindset fits for when you are writing a scene that doesn't fit your mood or a character you don't relate to well but you know the story needs it.

    On the other hand, if you are writing a scene that fits your mood perfectly, or a situation that you relate you very well, there is no reason not to channel that. I heard that J.K. Rowling came up with the Dementors when she was depressed, and they were an effective story-telling device. Actors can channel their own feelings if they are applicable to the scene. One example I love is in The Two Towers. When Aragorn kicks the helmet and screams, he is literally screaming in pain because at that moment, he broke his toe. On the DVD extras, they show the takes they did before that, and there is a big difference.
     
  10. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    I often can't write when depressed (I'm depressed often), BUT, when I do write, my depression and negative feelings never make it into the story. My story is not my life--in fact, I do everything I can to keep myself out of my stories. I've been doing this for years, so it's no longer difficult for me. I'm writing about my characters, not me, and even though I give them my emotions and get in their heads, I keep the two strictly separate. My characters have no clue I exist. It's best this way.

    I realize this probably isn't helpful to your particular situation.

    Rei also has some good suggestions. Sometimes, it's all about acting.
     
  11. writesalot
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    writesalot Member

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    thank you all for your excellent advice. I'll give it a try.
     
  12. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Writing can be therapeutic. It provides a pressure valve to let off steam. Who cares if you write something dark and menacing? If it helps you vent, it's a good thing! Writing can also be a great escape from the situation that is causing your depression. I find some of my most upbeat writing comes when I am most depressed, because I am writing about the world in the way I wish it was...happy and exciting.

    I guess what I am saying is that being depressed or under stress is likely to impact your writing, but it doesn't have to be a "negative".

    On the other hand, when depression prevents you from writing at all then it is truly counterproductive. And if it's so bad that it effects your ability to function in life, then, as Cog says, professional help is needed.
     
  13. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    What he said...
     
  14. Trevor
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    Trevor Member

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    Simple, engrorss yourself in your writing.
     
  15. Acglaphotis
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    Acglaphotis Contributing Member

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    I agree with the guy Lemex agreed with. Cynical and dark can be just perfect if done right.
     
  16. writesalot
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    writesalot Member

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    Other people seem to like the work I've done since I've been going through all this. Then again the people on that site don't often give criticism even if they don't like it. So they might have hated it and just not said so.
     
  17. g1ng3rsnap9ed
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    g1ng3rsnap9ed Contributing Member

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    I'm in the same place as of right now, I actuall prefer darker fiction so I've been chanelling a lot of that in my writing. I actually write a lot better when I'm feeling down.
     
  18. writesalot
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    writesalot Member

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    When I wrote this message I was speaking specifically about this piece of work:

    http://www.authspot.com/Journals/I-Didnt-Know.474261

    I was a little ashamed of it when I finished, but I was also speaking of the dark edge to almost all of my work since this had happened in my life.
     
  19. jammyjimmy
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    jammyjimmy New Member

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    Hiya,

    I'm new to the site, but what you're talking about is really familiar to me. I'm 35, and have been dealing with depression now for nearly 20 years.

    At various times I've used writing as an escape from reality - somewhere I can go hide.
    At others, it's been excellent material for characters or actions.
    Other times I can't write at all. I just don't see the point.

    I can't remember where I read it, but some famous writer said, "Write what you know."
    Some people don't know what its like to experience depression, and how difficult it makes everything. You do.
    Think of how much more additional depth that can give you as a writer!

    In the past I have written short one-off stories based around someone in similar circumstances to mine and what they did that turned their life around.
    It sounds kinda lame, but it worked for me. It's never for anyone else to read, but it kinda helped me get writing again.

    JJ
    :cool:
     
  20. zorell
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    zorell Contributing Member

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    Sorry, had to say this, Acgie and Lemex are agreeing with Rumpole40k.

    To writesalot, one of the best things about being a writer is the ability to sway people with your words. So, going with misery wants company, use your mood and create a sense of empathy and/or sympathy from the reader.

    Another great thing about being a writer, you don't have to share every one of your words. If you don't like something and don't ant to fix it, then don't show it to anyone;) You get your free therapy without criticism:D
     
  21. Dr. Doctor
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    It's harder to write when I'm not feeling up to scratch, but I try. I don't think I let too much of my every-day emotion seep into writing, but I do think I let passion slip in more and more when I'm clear of mind. That's probably a given.
     
  22. g1ng3rsnap9ed
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    g1ng3rsnap9ed Contributing Member

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    I think that this is common with all writers, Dr. Doctor. I was just thinking the other day that no matter what genre that I write, there will always be that irremovable sense of me at the core of every one. I will always try my best to write loveable/hateable characters, there will always be some level of violence/darkness/horror and I'm okay with that, and there will always be an odd sense of friendship because that is just how I write. I thinkt that if you are trying to remove yourself from you own writings, then chances are that you are doing more harm than help.
     
  23. Dalouise
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    Dalouise Contributing Member

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    If I'm in a black mood, that is when the more powerful scenes are written. That is, if I write anything at all - it's difficult when I want to put an axe through the computer (and everything else non-living) :(
     
  24. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    This may have already been mentioned, but....

    When I find that my mood doesn't match the item I am writing on, I write something else, or skip to a portion of the story where this mood will be put to good use.
     
  25. ModestKittee
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    ModestKittee Member

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    To echo what a few others have said... I typically write the best when I'm a bit depressed. Laughably, my angst filled teenage years saw the best fluidity to my writing. Words just tumbled out naturally back then. Now its actually harder for me to write because I'm more stable and happy.

    Perhaps I should write comedies. :)

    Anyways, good luck. Use your mood to your advantage.
     

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