“Getting Closer to Fine”
What do you do when anger and frustration encroach upon your ability to write? This week’s entry examines potential remedies for climbing out of that rut known as negativity.
Now, as I posted last week, I’m angry. About what? Well, everything really. This normally wouldn’t be a problem for me- I’d wait it out- do some writing to calm myself down- but that stopped working.
When the one thing that always makes you happy feels like one more burdensome chore, there’s a problem. How does one get back on track? What kind anti-negativity weapons are in our arsenal? Here are a few things that have helped me out in the past:
Try new food (I tried peanut chicken- it was delicious)
Increase social time with friends
Warm milk and cookies- or comfort food of your choice
Read a new book
Play video games (killing CGI zombies is a good way to relieve frustrations)
Hike/walk in a new area, and, last but not least,
Take a break from writing
I also reached out and asked others to comment on what works best for them. A fellow writer, Anjasa, was one who commented, and left some great advice that certainly helped me out this week:
“Honestly, the only thing I can really do then is put all my energy towards getting myself out of it. I watch funny movies, I listen to upbeat music, I play video games. I can't read when depressed because it's too lonely and too passive of an activity for me, so I try to stay really busy.
If the weather is decent, exercise is a really good way to blow off some steam and it helps with depression, stress, anger and negativity in general.
Other than that, it's a matter of letting things go. Do you find when you're angry and can't write that makes you angrier? Yea, it's a matter of letting that go. Of forgiving yourself and moving on. We're not going to be perfect, we're not going to meet all our deadlines, and we're all doing the best we can with what we have.”
Another writer, The Poet Herself, also chimed in with some great advice:
“Best advice I can offer is to save drafts in separate files. When I'm in a mood like that, I end up killing off big portions of what I've written...and regretting it later. Not a great move. I've started forcing myself to save each session of editing as a separate file so I can resurrect the victims of a bad day, if necessary.”
Here is a list of remedies I tried and my findings:
Cookies and milk did nothing but make me feel fat- I am a girl, after all. I felt down that this remedy did not work this time because it has helped me loads in the past. I guess this new rut was just that big.
I followed a new path along the Meta-comet trail. This did clear my mind a bit; however, by the time I got home I was too tired to write! I think I’ll try an abridged hike next time.
Counting the hike as my exercise, I came to the same conclusion as listed above: a little too much can be a bad thing, especially when all of your writing energy has been zapped by the time you get home. Again, I’ll limit my work out on days when I know I want to get a good amount of writing done.
I give credit to Poet’s advice. I did copy all of my work to a USB device and put it away in case I got the itch to delete my entire WIP (which is above 65,000 words at the moment. This was a good thing because I almost dragged a few MS Word documents into that nasty little trash icon in the bottom right hand corner of my mac’s screen. (Did you know that when a person examines a piece of art they almost always look at the bottom right hand corner of the canvas first? That’s a bad, bad place for such a destructive little widget.)
Next, I tried Anjasa’s remedy and listened to some new/fun/calming music. I started listening to the Piano Solo station on Pandora; at first it didn’t do much for me, but as I continued to listen and allowed the clarity of the music to calm my nerves, I found myself more focused and less wound up and scattered. I’d recommend the Piano Solo station to anyone as it also helped with feeling less stressed at work and at home.
What worked the best, actually, was Anjasa’s advice about just letting go. Although, I had to be a bit more extreme than only letting go of my feelings and gripes. Instead, I let go of writing completely.
For the hardcore Author, taking a day or two off from work might seem like an insane waste of time. We have novels, Screenplays and poetry to finish, right? Well, sometimes it’s simply worth the sacrifice. From Wednesday-Thursday of this week, I took two days off and didn’t even glance at a blank word template. I shut writing out completely.
And you know what? That was the remedy that worked best! When I woke up Friday morning, I wanted nothing more than to write. I completed five thousand words yesterday, a good number when compared to the zero words I completed during the first five days of the week. After taking a holiday from writing, it was a passion again- not just another stressor.
Am I still feeling negative about some things? Of course I am. I never thought any of these remedies would be a fix-all in five days or less. Work and school are still stressing me out, but the good thing is that writing again has lifted a lot of the burden off of my shoulders; I can now stand tall and know I’ll make it through this rut that I’m in.
Sometimes, friends, you just have to let go. There will be times your writing will suffer and there’s no getting around that. Remember: being angry because you’re angry only begets more anger. So if writing is starting to feel like a chore versus feeling like a blessing, try taking a day off to recharge your creative batteries. As for me, letting go has helped so much that I am eager to complete this entry and get back to my WIP!
I hope my own journey will help you should you ever fall into the same place. Know that getting over these feelings isn’t an overnight process, but there are combative measures you can take to help put you back on track and make you fall in love with writing all over again.