Friday, September 17, 2010

When Writing Is Therapeutic...And When It Isn't

Last night, I was in a particularly bad mood.  I'm one of those nighttime depressees.  Come daylight, I'm fine.  I cried and I didn't try fighting it.  {this is NOT easy for me to admit.  I hate crying, especially when I'm caught, but I needed the example} I knew I'd feel better once I was done.  And I did feel better.  At least a little.  After that, I got my notebook from off the floor, turned to a new page, and started writing.  It's a new poem, on my WDC.  "The Hunter."  It's not about what was wrong, not entirely anyway, but it was something I had been wanting to write.

I felt truly, deeply cleansed when I was finished.  It's short, and it was scattered.  When I created the item on WDC, I put the stanzas in the order I wanted them.

My best writer friend, Lacey, writes when she's in a bad mood and in need of therapy.  After a few sessions, she feels better.  Writing has proven therapeutic for many.

But what about when it has the opposite effect?

Back in July, when I first started the current draft, something odd happened.  It was a conversation between Naren (our protagonist) and Alandra (the antagonist).  Naren was annoyed.  Incredibly annoyed.  I started getting annoyed.  I was thinking, "Why doesn't Naren just kill her now and get it over with?"

Whoa.  Back up!  I was getting annoyed at what I was writing?  In hindsight, it makes sense.  I've cried (oh, dang, I'm just admitting to it a lot tonight, aren't I?) several times when I was writing.  Just ask my friend, Amanda.  She's caught me crying while I was writing!  When my characters were happy, I was happy.  When they were sad, so was I.  When they were angry, I was angry.  When they didn't know how to feel, neither did I.

I don't know if this is necessarily a good thing, though.  Yes, it's good that I can get under my characters' skins, but is it good for my feelings to be affected as well?  I'm supposed to feel better after a good write, not like I want to kill someone.

But I'm certain I'm not the only one.

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