Everyone has good days and bad days. Some people’s bad days are worse than others. And sometimes those bad “days” last weeks, months or even years. In traumatic times, writers often turn to their craft as a way to deal with things. But the therapeutic nature of writing is complicated.
Writing can help – but not always
When you’re overwhelmed, it can be very cathartic to write about how you’re feeling. Pouring out your anger, your sadness as the bare-faced truth or abstraction can lift the weight from your shoulders and let you let go of these feelings. But sometimes continuously writing about emotions and re-living them can have the opposite effect. It can serve to intensify rather than abate what you’re feeling. So it may be best to limit your time writing like this.
Despair does NOT equal high art
There’s a persistent myth that contentment is the enemy of creativity. Turmoil, internal or external, can lead to a release of creative energy such as that which drove Van Gogh or Sylvia Plath. But you don’t need it to create, so don’t leave yourself in mental distress thinking it’s necessary to become a true “artist”.
Sometimes it’s enough to try
Writers don’t always feel like writing at the best of times, but when you’re really not feeling like it, it’s ten times as hard. Still, sometimes it’s worth giving it a go. You don’t have to carry on with a work in progress, just write whatever you want, however you want. There’s no pressure to be perfect, and if it’s not helping, simply stop.
So, can writing make you feel better?
You can’t dictate when you’ll feel down and you sure as hell can’t find a magic cure for it. My personal experience is that writing of any kind, be it a blog post like this, or my WIP, or just some random drabble, usually makes me feel better. It’s not guaranteed, but I try to write a little bit every day nevertheless, to keep me on an even keel.
What are your thoughts? Do you think you feel “better” when you write? Let me know in the comments.