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molly's avatar

Why is it that I can only seem to write when I'm upset?

Asked by molly (259points) July 27th, 2008

i write poetry, but i can only seem to write (especially lately) when something negative happens to me. why is it that i can’t channel any positive emotions into my writing? this may be one of those questions that only i can answer, or it may be difficult to answer without reading my writing or knowing me well, but i was wondering if anyone had any general thoughts as to why it’s so hard for me to write about positive things.

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20 Answers

augustlan's avatar

Ahhh, the tortured artist. Some of the best things I’ve written are about the worst things that ever happened to me. This is very common for creative people.

TheHaight's avatar

Because it’s a whole lot easier writing about the negative then positive. I do the same thing too, and I know how you feel.

augustlan's avatar

Maybe it has to do with “venting” the negative energy, whereas positive energy is something you want to hold on to.

kevbo's avatar

“Anger is fuel.” – Julia Cameron

I’m the same way. I think a writer or journaler can fall into relegating the activity of writing to occupy the time and space that isn’t filled by good thoughts and emotions. When things are good, you want to be with friends or experience good stuff directly, but when things are bad, it’s time to cut yourself off from others and be alone with the puzzle that is your negative thoughts and emotions. So, it’s more natural to want to write.

You may also tend to believe that your negative periods are somehow more important or significant than times that are positive and thus more worthy of expressing in writing. You may believe that sorting through a negative moment is vitally important, while good times are simply good times- not layered with depth to explore.

If you want to pursue poetry, you can certainly stay with tragedy, but you might find it useful to challenge yourself to mine a positive experience or moment to see what depth you might find in it.

molly's avatar

kevbo and augustlan- i agree, i think that’s what it may be for me. when times are good, i tend not to overthink them; i stay in the moment and enjoy it, but when times are bad, i often think far too much, and thus i write. do you think this is human nature, or just a thing that many people happen to do? also, good quote kevbo.

kevbo's avatar

It’s what depressive people do. Possibly others.

aneedleinthehayy's avatar



i wholeheartedly agree with august and kev about the holding onto good times and venting bad times. i’ve realized though that when really really good but strange things happen to be i write about them. (like with bowe)

molly's avatar

that’s interesting because i would never consider myself depressive. emotional, nostalgic, a liiiiitle self-destructive, maybe. but happy times are just as important to me as sad ones, though i obviously seem to react differently.

molly's avatar

lea, me too! the only positive things i really write about tend to be either sexual or lovey-dovey in some way, which i also wonder why i do.

aneedleinthehayy's avatar

we should try to help each other to write more about just random shit and not nostalgic, lovey-dovey, melancholy shit.

aneedleinthehayy's avatar

btw, bedtime in one hour missy

molly's avatar

good plan, this is our new task

aneedleinthehayy's avatar

that and becoming healthier and losing 10 lbs lolol

wildflower's avatar

Same reason I can only produce decent results in my painting if I’m sad, angry or frustrated. If I’m happy, the paintings are bland and boring – so I stopped trying to paint when things are good and do other things instead.

ukasaka's avatar

I think the reason would be the fact that your emotions are more easily channeled and focused on the subject of the poem. You also can reflect on previous experiences more I find.

marinelife's avatar

If it is important to you to add more positive writing to your repertoire, what about writing about something other your own happiness or sadness?

Many artists have found inspiration in the piercing beauty of the world. Are there things that strike you in your day-to-day life as worthy of recording?

I would say don’t force yourself to write, but do work on channeling your awareness and maybe inspiration will come to you if you open up to it on purpose during happier times.

molly's avatar

thank you marina, i should try harder at that because it is definitely something that does not come easily to me and i wish it did.

carla6411's avatar

You are releasing and most of the time we don’t need to release unless we are upset. Maybe do some exercises about writing when you are in the good mood and see how that works out for you. I might help change some of your habits.

Knotmyday's avatar

Poetry is a great outlet for channeling raw emotion. Don’t force it! It’ll come in time. Meanwhile, continue writing…

molly's avatar

thank you, knot! this is what i figure it will be best to do.

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