Writing while happy (and other things I didn't think I could do)
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13-08-2015, 08:03 PM
Writing while happy (and other things I didn't think I could do)
Some writers seem to have always known they were writers. For me, it wasn't quite like that. Sure, I had a vivid imagination as a kid. I always came up with some new idea or other for my brother and I to act out, had my head off in the clouds in a daydream half the time, and I loved to read, but the idea of putting stories down on paper in any kind of fashion just never really occurred to me.

My first dip in the pool was with poetry. Shitty poetry, but poetry nonetheless. It was a means of getting my feelings out, and the primary emotion I was putting on paper was pain. I won't bore y'all with the details, but the point is, there was no muse quite like pain. My teenage years were full of pain. I wrote a lot of shitty poetry. Smile

And then for a time, I got happy, and the poetry went away. The well I'd drawn from so readily for so many years had dried up. I can't recall if I was saddened by this unexpected development, but I'm certain I was. It seemed happiness and creativity did not mix.

Time passed, things changed, and the pain returned. So did my writing. Only this time, it did come in the form of stories. First as a fictionalized version of my own life, and then in the form of an original story.

Again, it was an outlet. And in many ways, it was my only outlet. I wrote a fuck of a lot. Didn't matter where I was, or what I was doing, the stories I was writing (and the characters telling them) would not let me rest.

I'd get an idea for a new scene at work and have to scribble it down somewhere just so I could get back on task. During our company's busiest time of the year, I would stay up until 2 in the morning some nights, get a handful of hours of sleep and go to work only to scribble thoughts here and there and everywhere and then come back home and stay up late again. There was no shortage of ideas.

Happiness, however, was in short supply. I'd lost my faith, my marriage was falling apart, and when I couldn't escape into my writing, alcohol worked as a stand-in. I think I can safely say this was the lowest point in my life. One night in a drunken haze I 'wrote' (with my index finger) the lyrics of Soundgarden's "Boot Camp" in the steam that'd fogged up the bathroom mirror while the song itself played in the background. (Real fucking emo, I know. Rolleyes Tongue) Another night of drinking had me curled up in the floor of my closet and when my husband discovered me there, I begged him for a divorce.

That closet episode did me in. Things had to change, and they did. I got out of that relationship, and then I got happy again. Big Grin And once more, my writing seemed to suffer. What had happened? My characters weren't talking to me anymore. I had shitty ideas if I had any at all. The muse had abandoned me once more...

There's this notion among some artists that they are incapable of writing, painting, making music (or whatever it is they get up to creatively) unless they are sad or angry or otherwise down and out. The words don't flow (if they come at all), the paint dries on the brush having never touched the canvas - so on and so forth.

I believed it myself. Of course I did. I'd lived it, hadn't I? When I was in pain, I could write like nobody's business. Get happy and well... zip.

I still liked writing, still very much wanted to do it, but the ideas just didn't seem to be there anymore. Given the choice, I'd rather be happy and unable to write than miserable and the most prolific bitch on the planet. Still, it was upsetting, losing this aspect of myself once more.

But I am fortunate enough to have a wonderful boyfriend and wonderful friends who each encouraged me in their own ways to keep at it. It's taken some time, yes, but what I've found is that I *can* write while happy.

Is it the same way I wrote while in pain? No. Whereas pain so readily supplied words and ideas, I must work at them now. I can't just sit at the keyboard and immediately expect words to come flowing straight from my brain onto the page. My characters don't bug me while I'm at work or really any time at all. Now I must track them down and practically beg them for just a moment of their time.

But I am writing, and I am happy.

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13-08-2015, 08:59 PM
RE: Writing while happy (and other things I didn't think I could do)
Art created in pain is usually dull to those who did not create it. It may have been the venting that satisfied you.

When I look at most great artists, most do not seem depressed. Duke Ellington? Happy. So happy he wrote over 2000 pieces of music!
Miles Davis? Pissed off but happy and in control. Just did too many drugs.
Frank Zappa. Laughing at the stupidity all around him.

Most authors seem to have been happy. Stendahl? Unsure. Hugo? Unsure. Dumas? I reckon happy.

The point is great art does not depend on depression. For example, I much prefer Beethoven before he went deaf.

There is nothing wrong with being happy. I was incredibly happy during my musical career. Everyday I appreciated it and art gave me the best moments of my life.

Good luck with yours. Thumbsup

NOTE: Member, Tomasia uses this site to slander other individuals. He then later proclaims it a joke, but not in public.
I will call him a liar and a dog here and now.
Banjo.
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13-08-2015, 09:25 PM
RE: Writing while happy (and other things I didn't think I could do)
Hug There is so much of myself in your post. Such a gift to be able to have your audience identify with you. Could be that...you and I actually have a whole helluva lot in common. But that doesn't diminish from the fact that I'm always interested in everything you have to say. Shy

I have my own characters, lingering in the background, waiting for resolve. Just can't find the time to write them down. Plus. I'm happier now. Even though I haven't had much romance in my life (although, after tonight...whew...that could be debatable...), I've always kind of known where I want them to go...but maybe that's why I'm not a writer. It's not far off from my own dreams. I don't know how to write for other people, just myself.

"If there's a single thing that life teaches us, it's that wishing doesn't make it so." - Lev Grossman
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13-08-2015, 09:51 PM
RE: Writing while happy (and other things I didn't think I could do)
I sometimes find it difficult to share a meaningful contribution on these forums, let alone when writing in solitude. I commend those who can write proficiently from the perspective of others, and those who can tell stories through characters (which I guess share similarities).

I'm at my best when writing on topics I'm passionate about, whether or not I have direct personal experience or its something absorbed through observation.

I wrote more music when I was a bit more angst filled a few years back, but now I've found a solid enough balance to tackle the underlying social issues which move me the most to discuss.

I decompress through conversations littered with dry sarcasm, wit, politically incorrect humor and random philosophical thought.

You'll figure out that continual balance that motivates you best, and sometimes it lies in the present (though we may not see it). All the best in your continued endeavors! 😀
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24-08-2015, 07:11 AM
RE: Writing while happy (and other things I didn't think I could do)
I had the very same experience with writing. It took me 15 years to learn writing without depression. But even now - writing is a war for me. Even when I'm happy, I need to go to a dark room and shut myself there. To make sure I'm alone with the page and nothing else exists in the world. I think it helps, at least for me. But all those sleepless nights etc. sometimes make me a little bit miserable when writing, but I love it nevertheless.
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