Creativity Interrupted

There’s something I have to talk about and it’s not a subject I like to really talk to most people about. This is usually the only place I can be truly vulnerable about it and that’s writing and depression. I don’t know how many of you out there have to figure out how to write while you are battling through a depression episode but I feel like we as writers don’t talk about this enough. There’s this inherent notion that writers, well artists’ in general, are constantly suffering through some sort of emotional crisis and that emotional turmoil is what then fuels their writing and I really used to think this was just a horrible myth that I wanted to ignore. Now I’m starting to wonder if there isn’t some truth to it, mainly for two reasons.

It’s not that we creative types just have some type of genetic disposition for depression or emotional breakdowns but rather, I think it’s because we tap more into our emotions in order to write as well as taking on the emotions that we attribute to the characters that we are writing about (because yes, our characters are real people to us and they have real emotions that we must convey).

The second reason I somewhat buy into the myth of the artists struggle is more to the point of this post. It’s possible that writers or creative types in general are overly emotional, and are prone to depressive moods because we hold onto our emotions and don’t let them out. I mean sure we can use our writing to let out some emotions but that is a solitary act and it can still leave you feeling alone and as if your emotions and feelings don’t matter.

It is true that writers are known for, and most of the time, enjoy their solitude because it’s typically when the best creating gets done. However, that does not mean that writers don’t enjoy being around other people and venting or sharing their feelings with people that they care about or trust enough to be vulnerable with. If we don’t get those feelings out we tend to go further inside of ourselves and that leads to getting into a funk or a mood that may not in fact be productive or good for their creativity.

For me, it’s sometimes hard to detach myself from my emotions because I think that my emotions are what make me a better, more in tuned writer. On the flip side of that when I am going through an episode of depression, because there are so many emotions that I am internalizing and holding in, it’s harder for me to write.

I think that we artists have to stop holding things in and thinking that we’re just supposed to endure whatever feelings we’re having by ourselves. We have to be just as vulnerable with our own feelings as we are with the feelings of our characters because if we want to remain effective writers we have to learn to let go of some of that solitude that we hold so dear.

So if you’re feeling in a bit of a funk lately, a bit depressed maybe, try finding that one person that you can be open with and getting all of those feelings out. I think that you’ll be surprised at how freeing it can be and how good it will feel to get those emotions out and oddly enough you fill find that it will allow you to be more vulnerable in your writing and in expressing the emotions of your characters. Until next time… #BeVulnerble #BeOpen

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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The Writer’s Myth I Love to Ignore

Killing the Myth.png

Every writer has there own methods and ways of doing things. They have their rituals and their habits (sometimes bad ones) and strategies that work for them. Typically writers go by very broad rules of the trade that are spread across the masses and for the most part I will say there is truth to those habits and rituals and ways of doing things. However, there is this one myth, this very big no-no that writers, or any creative type really, aren’t supposed to be doing a lot of if they actually want to get any substantial and quality work done. Watch lots of TV.

For years I have been trying to find some justification and arguably some back up to my inherent belief that watching a lot of television as a creative (in particular a writer) does more good than harm and I think I have finally found it. I stumbled upon a blog post the other day (okay it wasn’t a stumble, I regularly follow her blog) in which the blogger acknowledged that while her love of binge watching Netflix has quite possibly halted work on several writing projects, it also added value and perhaps even a bit more passion into the projects that she was able to complete.

Now I do not have Netflix (Yes I know, I’m about the only person left in the world who has no desire to have a Netflix account), however, I do have an extreme love of watching television. I have my regular nightly shows, mostly police procedurals or any drama with a bit of mystery to it (like Law & Order SVU, Chicago PD, or Criminal Minds to name a few), and I also have my hospital dramas (Grey’s Anatomy and Chicago Med, and I’ll throw Chicago Fire in here too because I don’t know where else it would fit). I even like my political dramas (Scandal, Madam Secretary), and of course the all important Soap Operas (Young & the Restless and Bold & the Beautiful). Also I like my comedies (Big Bang Theory, etc) my history channel shows, and my cooking shows… Okay you get the picture, I have an interest in pretty much every aspect of television and that’s not including my love of movies. It goes without saying that I watch a large amount of TV and I have to have the TV on to go to sleep at night too (I need the noise).

To my point, I have been told countless times that people in writing, or any creative avenue really, are more productive when they watch less television. I have balked at this theory ever since I’ve heard it because it just doesn’t make sense to me, or rather for me. I mean I know that there are quite a few largely successful people who write for television and own television companies and don’t watch TV so I know that it clearly works for some people but it baffles me how you don’t watch the very medium you create for. Just as baffling to me is a writer who doesn’t read books (and believe it or not there are some) because how can you create for an audience when you don’t partake in what you are in fact producing.

Needless to say, I am the opposite and perhaps the exception because I don’t focus very well when I don’t have something on my television, and it can’t just be anything, it has to be something that inspires me when I’m writing (and yes I actually write while I watch TV—so see I’m still being productive during my TV time) or even just something that inspires a new character, or a new subject I want to write about. Television doesn’t just inspire me, it also calms me, and it is my relaxing place for when I’m stressed and worried and need to just calm down or if I’m just feeling really anxious or depressed and I need to laugh. In all actuality, sitting in silence, without the TV will probably lead to a less productive day for me because silence drives me a little crazy and I don’t concentrate very well in it, thus leading to lack of productivity.

So if you have a method that’s not supposed to work for you as a writer but somehow it works, just go with it. I know it may seem to not make sense to anyone else doing what you do, and it may just go against all of the rules of the trade but aren’t rules sometimes meant to be bent a little. At least bent to work just the right way, and in your favor. The wonderful thing about being a writer or any creative is that your out of the box thinking can lead you down a path you never saw coming, and in the best most possible ways! So go forth and buck the trends and laugh in the face of the myths!

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

https://write-2-be.com/

http://write2bemagazine.com/

http://unpleasantlyplump.wordpress.com/ 

http://www.facebook.com/people/Jimmetta-Carpenter/1069480310

https://www.facebook.com/Write2BeMagazine

https://www.facebook.com/confessionsoftheunpleasantlyplump

https://twitter.com/jcladyluv 

https://twitter.com/write2bemag