Do not force drama and depression and misery into your life; do not feed into it if you think it deems you a good writer and fuels your creativity. You don’t always have to set a melancholy, somber mood for your readers in order to convince them what you’re writing is worthy enough to be noticed and that your writing skills are simply dripping in RAW emotion. Sadness isn’t the only emotion that should be, and can be, sewn through your words.
Adult World (Emma Roberts, John Cusack, Evan Peters) is a movie that depicts an example of writers’ obsessions with the dead and famous, and their struggle to become a well-known writer. Roberts plays an aspiring poet who is obsessed with Sylvia Plath (like, obsessed) and hopes to trace her career through this obsession. She works in a sex shop to make ends meet. She also meets a renowned poet who ends up telling her that her writing is shit.
I found myself annoyed with Roberts’ character throughout the movie. Like, why the hell does she need to constantly quote Plath, why the hell is she associating her need to be famous with her need to constantly be all “woe is me”, and why the hell does she let herself glamorize depression and death and sorrow? I think it’s because she thinks this is how all famous poets come to be – through their sadness and suffering.
It’s healthy – even for the happiest of people – to occasionally sit down and explore the depths of their minds and their hearts, picking out and finding the things about themselves that they like to ignore or that they never noticed, and to write it all down in raw, blatant detail. This helps in mindfulness.
I’ve always been a fan of Hemingway’s Iceberg theory and I apply it especially when I want to write about my sadness, and not so much through essays, but through poems. I believe that minimalistic writing with implicit meaning is a great way to go about displaying sadness because I feel like it is too genuine of an emotion to explicitly write about all the time. But with that being said, I always believe that my writing doesn’t have to set a sorrowful mood or consistently be filled with sad content. My essays don’t have to depict my sorrow only to thrust it upon my readers as something I believe to be okay and normal, and something I believe to be good writing. It isn’t okay to let your writing (and yourself) dwell in negativity and darkness all of the time – unless you’re willing to sacrifice your life and mental stability for unlikely fame (not everyone can be Poe or Plath or Twain).
When I do choose to write about my tribulations, I turn it into something else for readers. A lesson, a realization, an understanding. I want people to take something away from my writing. I do write about happiness and knowledge, but it is the happiness and knowledge that I have gained from being sad, and working through it. It is truly amazing the things you can write while you are the best version of yourself, and it is truly amazing how analytical and open your mind can be if you take care of your mental health.
Writing is also an emotional release. When I am upset I try not to write about how I am feeling, but about ideas and thoughts and opinions that can take my mind away from that dark, sinking pit and put my life into perspective. My writing used to be so flagrantly sad, especially when I was going through depression. I slowly stopped writing essays and started writing poems and diary entries that I thought were so beautifully macabre. When I read over them now, some are quite scary and some sound just stupid. I’m not sure where I would be or who I would be if I let myself travel along that path.
For the sake of mental health and for living life in the best possible way, I think that your sadness shouldn’t have to always fuel your creativity. One of the best things about being human is that you’re filled with the ability to feel a lot of things and to experience different emotions, and I think that if you’re a writer or an artist or a musician or someone pursuing creativity in any type of form, you should take advantage of those emotions and try to depict all of them in the best ways that you can and to never let yourself completely submerge into the depths of depression and misery. Dip your toe in every once in a while.
Happiness is the best way for me to fuel my creativity. When I am able to be myself – to think freely and to speak freely and to act freely (without hurting anyone, of course) – my writing is harmonious and releasing, and I feel clean and powerful. Writing isn’t the same type of experience for everyone, but my best advice is to explore all of the parts of who you are, and who you would like to be, and to try to find the best version of yourself.
* Also, for those of you asking – I don’t want to be a writer! I plan to pursue Economics and International Relations. Creative writing on this blog is purely a hobby and emotional release. My academic writing is SO different and so when I do write a book, it will be nonfiction: refined, opinionated, and visionary. Or just boring.
* Although it isn’t officially summer yet, I am posting this in the summer category since it is ~summer vacation~
Quote: “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” – Mahatma Gandhi