Have you ever felt or heard someone say, “I have to be in the mood to write?” Lately I’ve been wondering-what mood is that exactly? Would that be a creative mood, or an imaginative mood, or maybe an artistic mood? What if you find that you’re not in any of those moods at all? In fact, you find yourself in a really bad mood, pissed off at the world. All you want to do is climb in bed, bury yourself under the covers and cry a river from here to the coast. Does that mean you shouldn’t write?
Maybe someone at work stabbed you in the back and you’re feeling that raw emotion of betrayal. Or maybe your husband forgot to stop by the store on his way home and pick up the aspirin he was getting for your pounding head. You’re so aggravated because you know you would never forget if he was the one who needed it. But now you’re head is hurting and your feelings are too. What do you do? Are you in the mood to write? Of course not, but should you? YES!
Instead of running for the comfort of those covers, run for your laptop instead. Go to your story and write that scene where your heroine’s mother-in-law just stabbed her in the back, telling her son something that your heroine wasn’t ready for him to know. Or go to that scene where your hero just got whacked in the head and he’s in so much pain that all he can do is lay there praying to die. Let that genuine emotion translate through in your words. Describe firsthand that pounding ache in your head that has you feeling so sick you’re trying not to barf up your lunch. Tell us what you’re going through; what he’s going through.
Trust me, I know when you’re in the middle of some crisis or you don’t feel good, the last thing you want to do is sit down and write, but I’m encouraging you to try it. Instead of going to the phone and calling your best friend and relaying all the details of your crappy day, pass it along to your characters. Describe her crappy day. How is she feeling about what just happened?
Don’t just try it with a bad mood or a sad mood. Try it while you’re in a good mood too. For instance, maybe right after you’ve just had the best sex you’ve had in a while. What a great time to write a love scene as the details are so fresh in your mind. Or it could be something as small as having a great lunch with your BFF, when you walk away with a warm feeling in your heart. What better time to describe the bonds of friendship? Illustrate the elated times as well.
When your own life has calmed back down, go back and read your work. See if that part of your story has more emotion, more passion, more detail of the truth. Did it make a difference? If you feel it didn’t work, you can always take it out. But you just might find that your characters sound more believable. You may think, “Wow, I can really relate to what she’s going through.” Sure you can, you just went through it yourself.
I love to read a good book when the characters show authentic emotions and have real feelings. How about you?
Remember to dream big!