It’s well known that there’s a close link between emotions and art. An artist throws in one or often many emotions into his/her work. In turn, that can translate to his audience, creating a stir of sentiments in them, as well.
Emotions are delicate, which makes what they inspire equally fragile. A sudden event can transform a masterpiece before its conception. For instance, Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” was inspired by his observing the blood red colored sunset and a faint creaking noise in the distance. The experience made him feel like nature was screaming out to him, impelling him to paint the famous scene.
Suppose he hadn’t heard that sound, and instead, maybe he heard a baby’s cry. Would we now know of The Cry or would the painting cease to exist? I doubt even Munch could tell us.
My point is when one isn’t feeling the proper emotions, it can all too easily impede his creative process. Those of us who are authors fear the notorious ‘Writer’s Block.’ Some may think this is a mental problem, but in my opinion, it’s an emotional one. When our writing is an outlet for our feelings, it only stands to reason that it’ll suffer if we don’t have any we want to express. Our creativity may still be there, but there’s no spark to bring it to life.
Sometimes, even happiness can squelch inspiration, as one may not need that escape to release their tender feelings if they have joy. In my decade of writing, though, I’ve run across the opposite more often. Like anybody, I’ve gone through various ups and downs, and the latter is a real inspiration-crusher.
My first experience of this came only a few months after I started writing, when two friends of mine were killed in horrific accidents nine days apart. So limited on experience, I took a longer period to recuperate and return to my manuscript than I ever have since. Other challenges—even one within the past week—have dampened my creativity, and I’ve learned not to be ashamed to take a short break to allow myself to heal.
Something else I’ve realized, however, is how writing can help in that healing process. Sure, it’s hard to go back to imagining fun stories when your world has imploded. Never underestimate, though, the power of one little idea. It can blossom into something you didn’t expect and get you right back on track where you left off.
What’s more, you can use whatever you’re feeling to breathe life into your writing. This happened to me as I was finishing Forgetting My Way Back to You. An upsetting development occurred at that crucial point, and initially, I wanted to give up on writing altogether. After the shock wore off, however, I chose to use the misery I felt to create what became—in my opinion—the book’s most powerful moment.
As this has highlighted, our emotions play a huge part in our works, and that’s what makes them live. When they end up hindering our process, we need to be patient with ourselves for a while…but not too long. Being uninspired can sometimes turn into just the inspiration you need. This very post is a testament to that!
See also: The Therapeutic Benefits of Writing