Writing When You’re Angry. Does It Work?

I was wondering recently about the affect of ones mood on their writing. Does it affect our work? As professionals, I’m sure we’d like to think we’re above our temperaments, but I’m not so sure. I was in quite a bother and was too angry to write. So I wondered, how do people do it?

I guess it depends. It would be effective if you are writing about an antagonistic character for your story and you want to go deep into how that character feels and react. If someone makes you want to breath fire and turn him into ashes, then write. Get raw, feel the pain, seethe and spill it on paper. You will have a believable character and your readers would be drawn to the story.

And I guess if you are writing about a feud and you need to create the tension and conflict in your story. Then write about that argument that you have in your head that’s waiting to burst like a volcano.

Some of my friends swear that writing in their journal about their anger works. They vent on paper, vomit all atrocities using their pens like vacuums that suck molecules of anger out of their bloodstream. They feel light at the end.

It doesn’t work for me. When I’m hot and bothered, what I produce on paper turns out to be vicious, full of garbage and I can hardly write two paragraphs. I feel lousy. Worse, my thoughts will be on the source of my anger. The whole day.

Instead, the best antidote for me is to recite the dzikir (remembrance of Allah’s names) or do some mindfulness exercises. I also do these things here to break my writers block.

I can only write well when I’m calm, had a good night’s sleep, showered, sitting at my favourite spot where I can hear the birds exchanging morning gossip. Only then will the words flow like honey drooling from a bottle. It will work for you too. Here’s why:

Hot Cocoa with a book

Your mind is open to inspiration

Which doesn’t come easily. Inspiration comes in fleeting moments. That’s why you have to be alert, wanting it. Once you do get it, grab it then mould it into a story. Even when you’re free writing which is writing continuously without self-censorship, you will realise that your fingers are light and there’s nothing that will hold you back from penning down your clear thoughts.

Creativity comes easily when you are relaxed

Think about the time when you want to show and not tell. Suddenly, the clouds don’t look like white stuff in the sky but shreds of cotton wool or spilled milk from its carton. Describing a scene or a person becomes easy and you have more reason to toss out clichés and write about the angry man who looked like someone who left home without ironing his face.

Man relaxing with coconut

You embrace writing as a pleasant experience

Which is important to all writers. You write for yourself and for your readers. Writing should not be a chore or a punishment for yourself. Write because you want to, not because you have to. So, create that pleasant atmosphere as how you would create a romantic candlelight dinner. Writing should make you want more. And that requires effort.  

All your senses are awakened

This can only be achieved when you are at peace with yourself. Only then, you will be able to taste the frothy pengat pisang or feel the steam from the cooked rice on your eyelids while you write about the murder scene that’s about to take place in a kitchen.

Classic typewriter

You can write more

It’s because you have emptied the toxic bin in your head and filled it with love for yourself, your time and appreciation for the simple things in life. Let it go. You will be more focused and aware that your brains are ticking, fingers clicking and words swimming in sing-song sequence that make you smile. At the end of your piece.

What you write is a reflection of what’s in your head.

If you’re stomping around your room, fuming about that silly email or WhatsApp message that you’ve binned days ago, then that’s exactly what you will end up writing on paper. Only positive thoughts can produce something inspiring. It’s like a magnetic pull. So, think about what you’re thankful of. Then write.  

So, if you’re having a bad day then take some time off. Get moving. Pound lemon grass with a pestle and mortar or pull off the weeds in your garden. Do something. But don’t gorge someone’s eyeballs out (even in your head).  

We need more stories that are spiritually uplifting and motivating that makes us reflect. Then and only then, can we be at peace with all especially with ourselves.

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