- Is your mood affected by whether you have a good writing day or a bad writing day?
- When you’re having a bad day, do you conclude that your entire life must be somehow defective?
My answer is a big fat yes: YES!
Especially to the first question. I’m extremely foul to be around when the writing isn’t going well and a total delight when it’s going swimmingly. On good writing days there are rainbows everywhere, the birds sing, and a large bowl of fresh mangosteens shows up out of nowhere. It’s magical, innit?
In fact, I’d be really surprised to discover writers whose moods are unaffected by how the writing’s going.1 I imagine this applies to most other professions. Very few of us can get home after a crap working day and just shrug it off.
I cannot tell you how often I have had the following conversation with my various writer friends:
Me: How you going?
WF: My life sucks! Everything about it is misery and woe. I might as well kill myself.
Me: Writing not going well?
WF: It is the WORST BOOK EVER WRITTEN! Anyone who claps eyeballs on it will contract the most horrible disease known to humanity! Or they will cease to be able to read. Or die. My book will kill them DEAD! My book is the end of civilization as we know it! Why was I even born?! Aaarrrggghhhh!!
We writers are a neurotic whingey bunch.2 When we are in that kind of state it’s best not to remind us that the day before we thought it was the best book ever written. All you can do is nod and smile and make sympathetic noises and offer us food or liquid we find particularly comforting.
Only when we’ve calmed down is it safe to mention that we have expressed similar sentiments in the past. That, in fact, we have said the exact same thing about every book we’ve ever written. And yet we managed to finish those books without the world ending.
The only time the good writing day = joy; bad writing day = horror isn’t true is when I’ve been working too hard. Writing every single day, for long hours, for weeks, for months on end to meet a deadline can do my head in. As it goes on and on and on, even when I’m happy with the words I’m producing, I become increasingly grumpy until I finally send off the
millstone manuscript and earn myself some writing free days, at which point the rainbows, singing birds and mangosteens reappear.
Only to disappear when I go too long without writing. And repeat.
How about youse mob? How say you to these questions?