There’s a piece of common wisdom about writing:
Some of the best creative moments are when you’re frustrated, angry or sad. The key is to channel those emotions into your work.
I don’t emotionally channel. I compartmentalize.
It’s been kind of a rough week (especially the weekend). Have I gone on a creative bender?
Mainly I’ve played a lot of System Shock 2 and watched King of the Hill. When I’m at work, I’ve been diving into tough development projects, keeping my brain busy solving engineering problems that have a solution.
I’m not saying that emotional experiences can’t be the inspiration for good work. But I don’t like the idea of using writing as a coping mechanism. I have used writing, including several pieces on this blog, to express thoughts and feelings I’ve been mulling over for a while. But when I write those pieces, I’m not doing it in the midst of the feelings I’ve been having. The closest I ever came was a year ago when my character was saying a prayer that at the time fit what I was feeling as much as it did for him. That might have been half a page.
Emotions should play a role in understanding how your characters are thinking and feeling in a situation, but the writing process itself is a fairly unemotional process (at least for me). If I wrote based solely on my moods I wouldn’t write at all. Discipline and daily exercise are what make for better writing (among other things).
Maybe there are pieces or projects that make sense to sink one’s emotional energy into. For me, that energy is better spent shooting cyborg ninjas and wondering when a scary female AI is going to betray me.
Do you “channel” your emotions onto the page?