Are Writers Unhappy?

I know there have been some studies saying that creative people (and writers in particular) are more susceptible to depression and emotional disorders. I’m not sure of the statistics and I don’t qualify as someone who has ever been clinically depressed. But I do have to wonder sometimes if writers inherently need unhappiness in order to write compelling tales.

I say this because I know quite a few writers, brilliant writers, who struggle daily with personal situations that would drain the life from many people. Physical disabilities. Relatives with autism and/or Alzheimer’s Disease. Writers who had an extremely tough childhood, are bi-polar, or clinically depressed.

Me? I live with someone who should be clinically depressed, has been treated for it before, but isn’t taking any meds right now. And you know what? It sucks.

I personally have never been diagnosed with any kind of mental or emotional issues. I tend to bounce back quickly from strife and have a positive outlook on myself and life. But I swear, I must be either a masochist, or I just like to invite unhappiness into my life, because I always seem to find myself with people who bring this sort of thing with them. In college, my roommate had a breakdown (nearly pulling me down with her) and was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Incidentally, my aunt is also schizophrenic, and it was very creepy dealing with her when I was young. I’m pretty sure I have low level ADHD myself. Squirrel? But anyways, I can’t think why I always seem to find myself with people who for one reason or another are unhappy. It makes me unhappy as well.

And yet it seems like the times when things are most unhappy in my life, I produce the most writing.

Coincidence? Or maybe just a simple cause and effect such as “you can’t write what you don’t know”–if you haven’t experienced suffering, how can you write about it? Or maybe I write more in those times as a means of escape?

I don’t know. What I do know is that I’ve been having a rough last two years, and yet in the last two years I published my first novel (under another name), finished another one, and am now well into writing a third. Plus short stories and novellas on the side.

This will probably be one of the most personal posts I make in a long time, because I tend to be a private person by nature. But after two hours sleep, I just had to put a few thoughts down on paper. (Or a screen. You get the idea).

My partner has told me on more than one occasion that I seem to like conflict and drama, that I act in ways which create it. She could be right. The inner drama of my stories might be manifesting as real life drama (or the other way around, not sure).

All I know is that when these surges in creativity happen, I just try to ride them for as long as possible.

And hold on.

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Playlists and writing

emo1

I’ve often talked with other writers about what music they listen to when they’re writing.

I don’t always get to listen to music–sometimes I’m hurrying to get a paragraph or two written during my breaks at work on my Surface tablet. I also don’t always want music, particularly if it is a difficult scene where I have to pay attention to details rather than emotions.

However, on some projects I do create playlists to help me get into the mood to write emotionally packed scenes. I’ve noticed some characters more than others seem to demand their own music.

That’s the case with my latest project First, I’ve renamed it–the series will now be called “The Oddities Series” and the first book will be named “Murder One.” Each book will be titled with a different crime, but that one fit the first book perfectly. I’ve already shown my visions of what the two main characters look like, but now I’m learning their musical tastes as well.

Elliot seems to like Emo and Punk. Derwin, on the other hand, tends to go for solid 70’s rock. He also likes musicals like Les Mis, of all things. Go figure.

So among some of the songs I’ve been downloading lately, here are several:

  • Soundtrack to Moulin Rouge (that was Derwin’s fault)
  • 17 Crimes by AFI
  • Bulletproof Heart by MCR (actually I love them anyway so I bought the album, “Danger Days”.)
  • My Songs Know What You Did In the Dark by Fall Out Boy (I also have another album by them)
  • Dream On, by Aerosmith (Derwin again)
  • Angel, by 30 Seconds to Mars (full album on my wish list)
  • Little Girl, by Green Day (Already have this–I have every Green Day song ever made because they’re my favorite band)
  • Thunderstruck by AC/DC (Derwin)
  • Black Betty by Ram Jam (Derwin)
  • Carry On Wayward Son by Kansas (Derwin)
  • Resistance, by Muse (already had this one but I want their latest album)

So how many others out there create playlists, I wonder?

The classic Seme/Uke of M/M Romance

In all genres there are clichés. In the m/m romance genre, one of these clichés is from the Japanese tradition of yaoi–the masculine, dominant Seme, and the submissive, more feminine (or boyish) Uke.

Like all tropes or clichés, there’s a reason this one exists. A lot of readers like it.

Does that make it bad?

Shouta

 

I personally don’t think so. I know in m/m and gay romance there are many options, from both men being strong and dominant (and muscular) to both being twinks, bears, etc. There’s a lot of criticism about men being depicted in a “womanly” way in m/m, but I believe this is a separate issue. To a lot of people, the big strong top and the weaker smaller submissive is appealing. It’s the whole rescuing a damsel in distress, only this time it’s the lovely prince. There is nothing saying that a small man who may be physically weaker must therefore be feminine or womanly. He in fact could be the stronger one mentally, emotionally, socially, etc. So is all that negated by lack of physical strength? Are we that tied to physical appearance?

It’s a good question.

On top of the appeal of physically strong vs. physically weak, for those in the BDSM realm I think there is an added pleasure in seeing the big manly dominant physically outmatching the smaller submissive. (Otherwise, why would there be so much more call for male Dom/female sub? or Daddy/boy, for that matter?)

I think in the end we don’t have to run from tropes like this, but just find ways to expand within them. I’ve written stories between two equally fit, equally strong men. They’re fun.

And sometimes having one smaller and younger is fun too.