Does sadness really equal creativity?
As a Psychology graduate, studies about the link between the two have interested me greatly. Whether due to a cause and effect scenario or basic correlation, there have been many cases of great thinkers and artists who were undoubtedly depressed.
Where do I fit into this scenario?
It comes as no surprise to my friends and family that when writing certain emotional scenes in my books, I often take on the feelings and characteristics of my characters. In such cases my sadness is the direct result of my creativity. Then again, there are other cases when a specifically bad mood may cause me to go on a writing binge (see One and Done) so in that case my mood really did affect my creativity.
Why am I telling you this?
Well, it’s no misnomer that emotions can greatly affect one’s level of creativity. These effects may be for the better or may be for the worst. With me, it’s more of a hit or miss.
It’s true that in exceptionally sad cases I’ve been known to lock myself up and write my heart out. In fact, I’ve come up with many story ideas–most I still have to write–because of this. That being said, sometimes when I am exceptionally depressed there is no budging me. My mind won’t work. I can’t think. All hopes for creativity are thrown out the window.
In late 2013 my husband and I began our journey to start a family. After years of being told that sex=pregnancy, imagine my surprise when I found out that it isn’t always that easy. Month after month flew by and still no bun in the oven in sight. Cut to 2014, I was officially diagnosed with fibroids and endometriosis. We had to put “trying” on hold for a couple months as I prepared, had, and recovered from my laproscopic surgery. If you’re interested, you can read about my experience in my blog: Painting with Robots . Anyway, after going through that particularly difficult time, I felt uplifted and we began to try again.
I had my first positive pregnancy test. I was ecstatic! I was over the moon! Then almost as if it were some cruel joke, I lost the pregnancy. Chemical Pregnancy – I hate that term with a passion. Regardless of how early a miscarriage is, it’s still just that–a miscarriage. I know it’s the medical term or what not, but calling it a Chemical Pregnancy just rips the emotion from the loss, doesn’t it? It makes it feel sterile and robotic. Trust me, it’s not. Many, many, tears were shed. Feelings of anger, sadness, worthlessness, despair (I can go on and on) flooded through me. In fact, in my despair, I confused the times of an Author Event, which I NEVER do and missed my time slot! Sadness was definitely not fueling any sort of creativity for me then…
Now here I am.
January 2016 and still on this painful journey. I’m not saying I’m sad or depressed 24/7 as I have so many blessings to be thankful for, but sometimes the smile on my face is definitely just a mask.
So again, why am I telling you this?
For therapeutic purposes, I suppose…
Also, I wanted to let you know that sometimes writing breaks are completely necessary, but not something I particularly like to take. In fact, after my early miscarriage I took about a month to just compose myself and read. That’s not saying I didn’t have many story ideas fluttering in my head. In fact, despite my deep sadness I’ve manage to accumulate about 6 unfinished manuscripts and finish 4 more by the end of 2015.
All in all, writing is my therapy. Reading is my therapy. Daydreaming, imagining and creating different worlds are my therapy.
Writing takes a lot out of you and despite wanting to take a few breaks, amidst the sadness there is no denying the pull towards it.
Writing is my drug.
So, next time you pick up any book, whether it is full of tears or maybe even laughter, take a minute and imagine what the author may have been feeling at the moment it was written. It may be that those characters were exactly what he or she needed to be pulled out of a funk.
Does sadness heighten creativity? I’m not sure. But creativity definitely helps diminish sadness.