How to Write When You’re Feeling Down

How to Write When You're Feeling DownPhoto license

It’s hard to be creative when you have the blues. Lucky for you, writing is mostly perspiration, not inspiration. If you’ve been writing for some time, practice may have given you the habit of continuing to write in any mood. I’ll assume that’s not the case or you’d be skipping this article. If you can’t generate new ideas when you’re down, the answer is simple. Work on writing you already have in progress. How does that work?

Multiple draft methods allow you to write in any mood

In case it’s new to you, here’s a brief outline of the multiple draft method. These stages can be used for any kind of writing.

Ideas – Whether scraps of paper or well ordered computer files, all writing starts with an idea. This is that small amount of inspiration. Even when you’re down, you will find ideas. You may not know how to put them to good use, but you can still capture them.

First Draft – You don’t need to worry about writing a good first draft. All you need is to write your story or explain the information. It can be your worst work ever and it doesn’t matter.

Second Draft – You work your way through the first draft and add information. Along the way, fix any problems that jump out at you.

Final Draft – This is the most important draft because it’s the only one that others will see. This is where you review your work several times in a quest to eliminate every error. It’s also time to cut long sentences, long paragraphs, and digressions that don’t contribute to what you want to say.

Writers who are aware that life has its ups and downs will try to have some work in progress in all of those stages. Up times are great for generating new ideas and working on final drafts. Down times are good for first and second drafts. When one stage of writing isn’t working, you switch to a different stage and get something done. Success is a great mood elevator. But how about those times when you can’t even get yourself to the keyboard?

How to improve your mood so you can start writing

Most of the time when you get into a bad mood there is a cause. If you can’t identify the reason you’re down, you may have a chemical imbalance and should consult a professional for medication. Before going that route, make your best effort to find a cause.

When you do find a cause for being down, you will discover it exists in only one time.

If it’s something that happened in the past, it’s over. The problem is not here now. There’s nothing you can do about it. Choose to think about something positive from your past. It’s very difficult to stay down while remembering good times.

If it’s something you’re worried about that will happen in the future, it’s not here now either. What will you do when the time comes for that negative event? You may go through the bad time you fear or everything could work out. One thing is certain. Worrying about it now only increases the amount of negativity associated with it and the chance you handle it badly. Remember that you’ve gone through bad times before and come out the other side back into good times. Make the decision to worry about it when the time comes.

On the other hand, the negativity may be present now. A noisy neighbor or visit from an irritating relative, for example, must be dealt with so you can get back to work. If extreme emotions are blocking your ability to deal, exercise will reduce the emotional effect. If the problem is in your environment, you can leave. Deal with the problem so you can get back to writing.

Beware of using pleasure to get in a good mood

If you weren’t trying to accomplish something, a pleasurable activity involving exercise could help. Exercise helps with both stress and depression by reducing the strength of your emotions.

You want to get writing. Heading to the beach for a few hours of co-ed volleyball won’t work. You don’t get any work done and more time has passed. The benefits of exercise get canceled out by the stress of being even further behind. Idle forms of pleasure are worse. Snacking or watching TV don’t even give you the benefit of exercise.

Ease into writing

It can be tough to stop thinking about a problem even when you know there’s nothing you can do about it in the present. Trying not to think about something makes you think about it more.

The answer is to get busy with something else. Write a paragraph. Now you’ve accomplished something. Now write another. Your work is advancing. This is like the recovering alcoholic’s one day at a time. One paragraph at a time and eventually your focus is your writing instead of the negative thought/s.

I hope this helps. I used some of these methods myself to write this article.

Article by Ivan Izo.


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