A reminder: This post courtesy of Julie Jarnagin’s 101 Blog Post Ideas for Writers.
81. Writing through difficult / stressful situations
Two words: use it.
Of course it’s not always going to be as easy as all that…there are going to be difficult or stressful situations that are so difficult or stressful that you can hardly function as a human being, never mind forcing yourself to write. But when you are able to pick yourself back up enough to do some work again, I think the best thing you can do is to use that stress to produce something a little different from what you’re used to.
The thing is, emotion absolutely affects the way you write, so writing under different stresses can produce different results, and that might turn out to be a good thing. A death scene, for instance, might not come out so hot if you write it while in the best mood of your life, but it might be the best piece of literature you’ve ever written if you happen to write it after suffering a loss of your own. That might sound a little cold and callous, but why not put some use to these emotions if you’re going to be stuck with them anyway?
I’ll be honest: some of the best writing I’ve produced has been stuff I wrote while depressed. I’m not talking about angsty emo poems or anything like that…I’m not even necessarily talking about sad scenes. Some of the stuff I’m talking about was downright cheerful. It’s just that for some reason being down in the dumps makes me write better. I consider the words more closely, put myself in the character’s shoes more fully. I know I can’t be the only writer who reacts this way, and I actually think this phenomenon might be part of what makes writers tend toward being so eclectic. We need to be able to put ourselves in our characters’ shoes, so we use our own emotions to foster them, and inversely our emotions are affected by our characters.
I’ve gone off on a bit of a tangent here, but the point is that if you can grin and bear it and force yourself to write through a difficult situation you just might be surprised by what you accomplish.