can you write when you’re sad?

I’m sad today. I’ve been upset about happenings in the UK – the eviction of a Traveller’s site inhabited mainly by women and children through riot police and with what seems to have been an excessive amount of force – information by The Telegraph, BBC, The Guardian. Background information from the Human Rights Clinic of the University of Essex.

That’s not what I want to talk about though. After ranting, railing and crying all over my family’s house the whole afternoon, I calmed down again and settled down to do some writing. And I couldn’t. It’s not like my mind is running constantly on the unfairness that took place today. It’s not. It’s active somewhere in the back of my mind, but I’m not totally consumed by it (not anymore).

The problem is that I’m sad. I have this murky grey fog drifting around in my head and my soul, shrouding circumstances and feelings and leaving the cold, stark knowledge that the world is not a good place. It does not leave me freedom to write. I cannot create when I feel like this.

A question to all the writers – am I indulging my laziness and just find a cool sounding excuse? Is it possible to write even when you’re sad? Or angry? Or feel disappointed? Do you have to be happy and content to write? I need your opinions. Please comment.


About wordsurfer

writer, ex-teacher, human rights believer & fighter, traveller, adventure-seeker, freedom lover, global citizen. big on daydreams, less so on reality.

Posted on October 19, 2011, in day-to-day, surfing language and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. It depends if when you’re sad you want to spit everything out or cool it down. I can write when I’m angry or disappointed, but not when I’m sad, because when I’m sad all I think is only myself, while when I write something, it is usually about me and my surrounding.

    • Yeah, I was thinking something like that yesterday. There are two kinds of sadness, one is just sort of a melancholy, you feel a bit blue, but quite calm. The other one is a grey sadness, when you just want to give up because you feel like nothing is worth it anyway.
      Yesterday was the grey sadness, and I think you’re right – it’s probably because I’m too focused on myself when I’m this kind of sad that I find it impossible to write. Hm.

      All good again today, though. 🙂

  2. I write my best lines when I’m sad ….. strange!

    • Really? That’s strange. Sad lines? Or also happy?

      Maybe it’s to do with the two kinds of sadness I mentioned in answer to Fitri. Maybe your creative sadness is the melancholy, blue type?

  3. I know what you mean; I’m also despairing of the world and its inhabitants recently.

    My suggestion for clearing that murky fog is to write in a journalistic fashion. Sometimes I’m in no mood to write my novel, but I’m always in the mood to vent my feelings on paper!

    This will, in turn, ignite your creativity and get you back in that lovely writing zone 🙂 Try it!

  4. ^^ journal fashion, not journalistic!

    • Yeah, you’re right. Instead of showering my harmless family and friends with my outraged and “where is this world coming to”-style outbursts, it would be a lot better to put all that passionate anger on paper. Or pixels, or whatever it is that the keys get turned into when you press them. 😉

      It’s really hard when that deep sense of sadness grips me though. Then nothing makes any sense anyway. It’s just pointless. Sometimes I’m a bit suspicious though – I have the sense that my subconscious sussed out my reaction to that feeling and is employing it as a clever ruse to indulge my laziness. :S

    • Ehm, I wandered off the point there. What I meant to say was: yes, journaling is definitely a good way to deal with problems!

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