Sadly Creative

Hello friends,

I need to ask, because I would like to know I am not alone with this one: Do sadness and creativity go hand in hand?

I find this to be a regular occurrence for me. If I am in a depressive state my mind I can conjure up a limitless amount of ideas from all walks of life; they just come to me in gentle wisps that land like freshly fallen snow in my mind. When everything is fine and dandy the ideas suddenly stop flowing and I end up with nothing. You may have noticed by now that a lot of what I write can get pretty dark and it is a sad state of affairs to think that my only life experiences are bad ones, thus this reflects my writing style. I would believe that, but I create happiness in my dark times too.

There are so many jokes and stereotypes about writers acting “woe is me” most of the time as their persona, but I think in actual fact I do fit that stereotype. Not that I want to, I just do.

I very much enjoy creating poems and writing ideas for stories and characters, but I do not want it to come at the expense of my sound mind. I hope I can find a way to channel these ideas into my happier state too.

I use an app called Evernote and this is where I keep all of my story ideas and there are tens of them on there that just appeared out of nowhere. There are all kinds of genres and plots and I really think I could do something great with at least one of them. My problem is I write from my depressed state and I can get very far into the things I write and they help me a lot mentally. When I read through them again when I have snapped out of it, I judge and I convince myself that the worlds I want to create are too big for me and I should give up, so I do. And that is why I have an app full of unfinished, untold stories.

This may sound strange, but I feel like if I ever managed to bring one of those stories to life, I too would come to life with it. Perhaps that pressure does not help my situation. There are also the obvious fears of nobody liking what I have written, or getting so far like I have done many times before and suddenly thinking it is a pile of garbage and deciding not to waste any more time on it.

I have been told, and I did not realise until recently, that I second guess myself a lot. I also seem to be intent on seeking approval and without it I have no confidence in the things I do. I need to find a way of letting go of the unrealistic expectations and go back to enjoying what I do, instead of expecting a masterpiece every time. It does not work like that and I think perhaps it is time to be realistic about that fact.

The NaNoWriMo challenge begins tomorrow and I think it is a great place to start. Maybe I need a new writing style that will allow me to finish what I start. If you’re interested in updates, I will be posting on Twitter. Follow me here.

Until next time, thank you for reading this.

-Sara

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199 Comments

  1. Sara! Don’t you think we are all in a La.La.Land? What else can we expect?

    Darkness
    Poetry
    EVERNOTE app(Seriously!?)
    Hundreds of unwritten concepts

    Man! I’ve realised, I am never the only one. This is such a splendid post and I’ve not seen a comments section, this beautiful.

    Thank You and loads of hugs.
    My wishes for the new style you’re planning to begin.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Can you please do a 101 to beat all the laziness and inability to write! That is the hardest thing. I need to complete a bigtime work i commited to, which will get me good people.. then a long work, which will be one experience. I just cannot set my mind to do it.

        Those works are ‘must do’ kinda works.😪

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Sara, I am not sure if it is all about just depression, but I do believe “state of mind” has a lot to do with what you write. For me, I have so many bits and pieces of all this creativity floating around in my head, but, all it takes is one happy, one sad or one contemplative moment to bring it all together. So, I believe emotional state, whether it is sadness, happiness or a philosophical state all contribute to what you write on a particular occasion.

    I think of it this way; I put myself in an actors role depending on what I want to write on any given day or when I want to “piece together” some things I’ve been thinking about.

    Like an actor, I put myself in the role (emotionally speaking) that I need to be in to write a particular piece. If you know what I mean.

    But, that is what works for me … you just have to find what works for you. But, as actors do, once you’ve accomplished what you wanted to write … you have to leave the role behind and not let it interfere with your mood long term.

    Hop I related my thoughts in a cognitive manner. Just keep on writing!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Totally relate. My pdoc tells me that mania was a big part of my creativity. Now that I’m stable I have no real desire to be creative. It’s a different world.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I feel I come up with my best thoughts when I’m feeling down or hurt or just alone. It really is weird, never fully thought about it before. When I’m happy I think of opposite things, but I can still write. However, creatively, I’ve been struggling with it for quite awhile, and I did some of my best writing in my worst states. So it really may be a factor

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Yes sadness and creativity goes go hand in hand. As when you are sad the mind tries to look for things to move out of that situation. The Mind does not want to be stressed it looks for ways of relaxation and hence for creative ideas. This is something I have discovered. So make use of the ideas in your sad times. I wish you not to have too many sad times. Love and Light from me 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Emotions brings out my creativity and I dont consider it weird, what ever my heart feels my ink bleeds. So through the sadness through happiness creativity always seep. However I think my best writing comes through sadness. Others well they create best when they are happy. So its a two sided thing.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Good Luck Sara! I do create what I consider to be better works when they come from a place of deep emotion. Sometimes that emotion is joy and sometimes it’s anger or hurt. The key for me is to focus on the DEEP emotion, not the type of emotion.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I never really thought to take note of my emotional state in relation to my level of creativity or productivity. Being a perfectionist, though, I go through a range of emotions during the many hours — even days — I work on a piece. But I think I usually start better when I’m up; when I’m sad I tend to wallow. Then again, maybe my muse is planting seeds during my times of sadness that I’d reject if I was in writer mode.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. If I’m in a deep state of depression, I can’t focus enough to write poems/stories or read anything longer than a paragraph. My best writing days are when my depression is low to medium, and the days I feel like I did before depression made itself at home.
    My anxiety doesn’t take the reigns until I start to think about submitting a piece of writing to a journal.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. I think that everyone needs something to feed the fire of their creative engine and it generally comes from an emotional place. some create from love, others use anger or fear to drive them forward, you happen to find your voice through sadness. I too sometimes find the sudden urge to write or paint or dance whenever I am feeling particularity down, as if by making something new I can let go a piece of the heaviness weighing me down.
    I also think that as artists we tend to feel things a lot stronger then other people. maybe because our craft is fulled by our emotions we are a lot more aware of them, perhaps even less afraid to pick the scary ones up and look at them closely. instead of turning on the t.v to drown out the sad voices in our minds we let them wander until they become words on a page.

    Don’t give up on your writing! good luck!

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Completely able to relate. Writing and creating goes hand in hand with my lowest days. Somehow though, writing makes me feel better. I also have a terrible time finishing projects. I have dozens of notebooks filled with unfinished stories and novels. :/

    Liked by 3 people

  12. my own experience is that when I am feeling really sad, writing out my feeling in short poems help…longer pieces seem too hard, takes too much effort. I too have ideas that’s just sitting in a stack of not yets, but there’s a few ideas I have born to life. I think as long as we keep writing and creating, things will flow out of us when it needs to.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. An oxymoron….me thinks:) I can only write poetry when I am forlorn. I can only sketch when I am in isolation. I do think however, that when it comes to writing? I can write in any mood-but is my material better when I am angry or sad? You betcha. Much love Sara.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I recognise your creative difficulties. They match my own. Having read advice from successful novelists, it seems the idea is to just write a first draft and don’t worry about quality. That can come with rewriting and revision. Once you have a THING to work with then, like a sculptor, you can chip away merrily. Word processors make this feasible. It is easier to make something better than it is to make it in the first place. Even if you abandon it, you will still have achieved a ‘product’ and you will have gained experience and skill, which will help you in the future. Good luck and keep writing!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I always used to think my most creative thoughts came during my darkest moments. But now I really enjoy writing with humor- although they say most comedians are tortured souls. One thing that struck me in your blog entry was about your writing was “…getting so far like I have done many times before and suddenly thinking it is a pile of garbage and deciding not to waste any more time on it.” It made me think of Stephen King and how he threw away the manuscript for Carrie, which was the first book he got published. The only reason it did get published was because his wife Tabitha dug it out of the trash and sent it off. When you start second-guessing your work, keep going. As they say, it’s better to try and fail than never to try at all. And using Stephen King as an example again, he wrote many, many short stories and novels that were rejected before gaining any success. I think of lot of us are afraid of embracing failure; but it is through our failures that we learn the most. So share your work, finish it, send it out to publishers. Fear not, for you are a talented writer and your day will come!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. You mentioned needing validation and thinking your work is no good. I have had these same feelings when I write. My biggest fear has always been, is anyone going to like this. Even the part you wrote about writing when you are depressed and having the words flow. I believe this is common for a lot of writers. You certainly are not the first I have heard any of this from. I think this is a common thing among artists. What I have done and it seems to help me a little is to write the story for myself. Don’t worry about writing for your fans. Write what you like. Something else I do that helps me write is to not know what I’m going to say next. I’m not kidding here. When I’m writing and someone asks me what happens next in the story, I tell them I don’t know. The characters haven’t told me yet. It keeps me excited about writing the story. i don’t know if any of this will help you or not, but remember you’re not alone.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. I can relate to this quite a lot – I find my writing flows more easily when I’m not in the best frame of mind. I suppose all art, including writing, is emotional at its core, so it sort of makes sense that being in an emotional state encourages creativity. I hope your NaNoWriMo attempt goes well!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. We are forced to be happy, cajoled to be joyous. Happiness is the place to be, we are told. Look at the adverts. We are told to stop being sad. Don’t be so miserable, they shout at us. Maybe, that is the problem. Being sad is not negative. Being sad is being sad. For some people sadness brings out the creativity. We have been conditioned to think that sadness and the darkness of our thoughts are bad. Take darkness: a seed germinates in the darkness of the soil and not in the brightness of the sunlight. Plants grow in the night, not in the day.

    As for your uncompleted works, think of them as a basket of yarn. When you are ready you will knit a scarf or a jersey or something to your liking. In the meantime, keep collecting them, through Evernote. There’s is no rush.

    I, too, have taken the NaNoWriMo challenge. I’m currently having a character rebellion. I will have to do the Sean Bean early exit trick. Maybe then, the rest of the characters will toe the line. But, good luck with yours.

    Keep up the good writing.

    Namaste

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Depression, when not debilitating, can be a source of creativity, but I think this is because we are wired to reflect and take stock of our lives in response to negative experiences. I find that other times when I am open to creative impulses are just before going to sleep and right after waking, or when I am in a daydream-like state. A great way to get into this state is to write and inhabit the world you are creating, so keep on writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Hi Sara-thanks for visiting Chickens Consigliere. Is that your art work above? I really like it and some of the other pieces on other posts, as well. I use the note app on my phone to jot down my ideas (as well as grocery lists, reminders of things I’m interested in, dreams I had). Sometimes, for laughs, I go back through them and try to make sense of some of the more cryptic notes. Here’s one: “Commercials where families dance together”. Yup. That’s it. What does it mean? I don’ t know.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Like yourself I use to only be able to write when I was depressed. It seemed that all my ideas came to me than. Once on meds they seemed to fly out the window. However having said that, this time, I started writing before I went back on meds and leveled out. I feared that I would not write creatively again. It seems though that a wellspring of imagination and inspiration was buried deep under my depression. I hope this makes sense.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello …

      Sometimes I find it difficult to accept the ebb that comes after the flow, but I still feel the need to put something on the page – this feels a little bit like collecting the ingredients and figuring out the recipe later. It doesn’t always work out like that, but there are usually fragments that I can or might make use of. To use a simple analogy, once you’ve found your own voice (often the hardest part) singing in the key of your choice becomes a lot easier, in my experience. As a poet friend of mine is often keen to remind me – “Power to the pen!”. It has just occurred to me that the response to that simply has to be “Let the ink flow!”. I hope this helps … and please keep writing.

      Love to y’all,
      Paul

      Liked by 2 people

  22. Yeah, I actually wrote a beautiful peace of poetry – my first one ever – because I was sad. But if you read it it’s actually not depressing although i was in THAT state.
    For me, when my mind is full of thoughts and i think about them over and over again, I like to get them out in a piece of writing and then never think about them again. If this makes sense.
    I think you are right, I get a LOT of ideas when I’m sad. BUT i also get them before sleeping. Usually entire scripts just conjure up in my mind.
    Anyways, I guess i have gone off topic but…eh!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Writing or being creative is a tough gig at times. That feeling of loss when nothing happens on the page is odd, but can be creative itself. I suppose it might be a question of how much it matters. I used to run a lot – I loved it … the solitude, the birdsong, the emptying of the day into a pot of time. Now I can no longer run, I miss it. But it was never the only thing for me – I like to do other things: reading, playing guitar (sometimes well, sometimes badly).

      What I discovered was that there is nothing that can replace the joy of running, but other delights more than compensate. I’m fortunate to have a garden, and I can empty the day into a pot of time by mowing the grass or digging the soil and watching the Robins waiting for me to stand back and let them feed on the fruits of my labour.

      I write a lot, but don’t always turn it into something. I can’t throw it away, so it just gathers electronic dust somewhere in the cloud until I stumble across it and remember the low or the high of the moment when I wrote it. What has made the biggest difference is accepting that high or low for what it is, and maybe sharing it if the words decide to club together and go on an outing of some sorts, returning with a poem that actually works (or will do when the shock has worn off!).

      Finally, I think that having the bravery to share a feeling, a thought, a memory, a story is an amazing quality that we all seem to be capable of demonstrating, and long may it continue.

      Love to y’all.

      Paul

      Liked by 2 people

      1. wow dude! thanks for such long reply 🙂
        “being creative is a tough gig at times” yeah, I can add more to that….
        being creative is like a mood, you know. You can never rely on it. On top of that when you choose this field as a career!!!!!! poof!! It’s hard, gutsy and risky. And requires a patience with a whole bunch of other stuff. In addition to all of this, from an economical stand point, it doesn’t hold a lot of value. However, this is what I think: If you are truly a creative person, then that or any thing else will NOT stop you from choosing it as a career and dreaming out of the line and dreaming big.
        I think that creativity obviously comes hand in hand with dreaming and making THAT dream possible.

        Liked by 1 person

  23. Mmmmm I think so! I just listened to a Joe Rogan podcast on the drive home and he was talking about how all of the funny comedians he knows are ‘crazy’ in some way. There’s definitely a stereotype of any creative types (artists/actors/musicians/writers etc.) as the more brilliant you are, the more of a mess your head is. I have found the same as you – that when I’m really happy, the ideas don’t come as often. Sometimes I think it’s because when I’m happier, I do more, so I’m more excited about other things and more likely to procrastinate? I read recently about just writing for half an hour a day for the bin. Just a conscious stream of thought. Doesn’t matter if it’s complete garbage and all gets binned – the idea is that you’re training your mind to write, even when you’re feeling ‘block’ and the more you do this, the better ideas get…. Hope that helps!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Sadness and emotions on that far reach of spectrum give you a sort of liberty to immerse in lines of thought that sometimes being content and happy distract from. Most times when we’re happy we don’t get to indulge on​ the reasoning for things and those small details are usually enough for those wonderful sparks of creativity.

    Liked by 1 person

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