Friday, October 2, 2015

Mood Swings

So anyone who writes knows the process is fraught with alternating manic joy and crushing depression. This has been going around the internet, and it pretty much sums it up:

Here's another, sweeter and fuzzier take:

It's pretty obvious what you should do in your high-as-kite moods: Write. Pour the sweat of your brain into your notebook, computer, voice recorder, cocktail napkin- whatever's handy.

Write. Write like the wind! Because inspiration and enthusiasm are at hand.

Write! Because it won't last.

A stiff breeze will blow you off that mountaintop. Sometimes these swings are triggered by feedback we receive, sometimes we do it to ourselves. Either way, that's when your brain goes:

And you step back and wonder if there's something horribly, unfixably wrong with your writing. You know something needs to be fixed or changed, but you don't know how to do it or it seems an enormous task... You're in a valley looking up and the mountain you've got to climb looks even higher from down there. You start wishing for a flash flood to come down and carry you away.

So what do you do?

No, really. How do you handle this?


(I'm asking for a friend)

You could wallow in it and self medicate, which, frankly, is often the most appealing option.

You could get out and exercise, even though your will to live is pretty much gone.

Some people would say write: Either tackle the problem or write something else. I've got two problems with this. First, maybe you're not ready to fix this problem. Maybe it needs to stew in your brain for a while. You may only get frustrated trying to get somewhere when you don't have it mapped. Second, writing can be hard when your brain is fixated on something else. You might produce crap (or nothing), leading you deeper into the pit of despair.

You could try listing all the positive things you've heard.

That only goes so far because what do those people know? They were your friends, not professionals. I'm sure they only said those things because they didn't want to hurt your feelings anyway. At least, that's what your brain responds with.

You could give your brain a break and just do what you want. For me, that usually means some form of carbs and watching or reading Jane Austen.

There's always kitten therapy.

Anyway, I'm fresh out of kittens and carbs aren't really a good option for my weight gain of late. I already exercised this morning and it's pouring rain so a long walk is not in the cards today.

I seriously want to know: How do you deal with the downs?

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