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I am a ROck

Fuck me dead. I hate my writing. I hate myself. I hate the stale roll I buttered and the apricot jam I smeared on it. What was I thinking? Is this the bottom of the well or is there a trap door. Man up. Man up. Man up. Have I not  worked with writers for thirty years. Am I not well aware of the vertigo visited upon them?  I can’t tell if like Jimmy Fallon or can’t stand him. Front closing bras or back. Whole wheat or sourdough.

Do you suffer from writing mood swings?

21 Responses

  1. All good writers suffer from such mood swings.
    I can recommend something that has saved me several such times, mostly when engaged in deep hatred for myself.
    It is to read a chapter from a book, the title of which is The Forest for the Trees, An Editor’s Advice to Writers, by Betsy Lerner.
    The book has helped many writers to understand that they are not alone in their afflictions, and also that such madnesses as they have may also be the source of their own brand of genius.

    Then again, it may not be the same for you — it’s complicated.

    • I’m going out on the porch, Mr. iPants – as we speak and what do I have with me? TFFTT…and will be re-reading many chapters as anti-mood swing medicine.

  2. I’m hating this week’s hailstorm of drama is hitting me harder than any desire to write. A client paying me with a worthless check, workers nailing their fingers together, the beloved son who can’t quite move out of my house, meetings scheduled for 6PM that won’t end until 10PM and too many 20 hour work days carries more intensity than any hope for a creative thought.

    But perhaps a Super Moon and meteor showers are to blame.

  3. Many of us suffer from mood swings but you don’t have to be a writer to have them! As a writer, I have never had “writing mood swings,” I can be in the middle of a mood swing and still sit down and write. It may be a matter of discipline–what do you think?

  4. No stale roll…stale Easter candy I just found in the back of a kitchen cabinet and was way too excited about.

    Jimmy Fallon? As a Yankee fan, definitely not liking him since watching Fever Pitch, but touched by his Robin Williams tribute.

    Evidently, every artist struggles…even the ones with real genius.

    Wipe the stale crumbs away and get back to it.

  5. Knowing that I’m not one of the famous writers whose fans are counting on them to produce another bestseller saves me from writing mood swings. Nobody cares if I scribble another word (and I mean that in a good way). I never meant to be a writer. It just happened. The fact that I’ve had four books published astounds me. The fact that I have an agent who’s amazing and believes in me is pure nuts. The fact that I’ve worked with some of the most high-powered editors in my genre is even crazier. The fact that one of my books won a prestigious award has to have been a mistake. I’m an old retired second-grade teacher for goodness’ sake. My mood swings are as real as everybody else’s, but they’re not about writing.

  6. I have to believe that the door at the bottom of the well is not a trap door at all but a trampoline. I’m serious. I mean it. No doubt, please. I have to believe that.

  7. What a very timely post – and question. A resounding hell yes. And I can’t figure out why this is. If I should have EVER suffered from mood swings, it should have been when I was buried in the job I held for 35 years. It was unstable, a constant churn of people – like musical chairs, round and round and round we went – and inevitably you were handed a pink slip. No chair for you! In the last three years before they shut down, we had 42 musical chair games, I mean – re-organizations – that’s one every quarter. Actually, I’d been worried about my job for the better part of 12 years. And, THAT should have caused mood swings – but – it didn’t.

    Yet…writing does. And I haven’t had mood swings like this since…oh, well never mind. It works like this, one good word about the writing and I soar for days. One bad word, and the mantra begins in my head. “You don’t know what the fuck you’re doing. You suck. You’re fooling yourself – and everyone who asks, “how’s the book?” And then I’m disgusted at myself for wallowing. Because I hate wallowing. Worse than I hate slugs. Actually slug like is how it makes me feel. Me and the slugs. There we are – slithering around, leaving behind mucous-y trails of tears. What a nice picture.

  8. Hey, kids, listen up! My writers’ group throws a Pity Party every Saturday night. We dance the Mood Swing, the Whiner’s Waltz, the Shake-Yourself-Senseless, the Braggadocio Bop, and all your other old faves. We play such delightful party games as “What My Parents Did to Me,” “Pin the Tail on the Tale,” “Break the Circle of Jerks,” “Put Your Lips Together and Suck,” and “How Low Can You Go?” No food is provided–in fact, eating is forbidden!–but there is plenty to drink if you like gin and tonic, sweet vermouth, mint juleps, straight whiskey, cheap fortified wine, thin beer, or tears of despair. Catty remarks, megalomaniacal posturing, pointless brawls, meaningless sex, and waking up feeling like the ass-end of existence are required. Hope to see you there!

  9. No. Never. What do you even mean by that? Writing mood swings? Pffft. I am the illustration of a steadfast and stable writer. The very picture of writerly grace and civility. This, I do believe, is evidenced by my sparkling clean baseboards and thrice-washed dishes, and maybe the holes in the carpet from pacing around and around when I’m just trying to get some exercise (i.e. shake off the feeling that this chapter or entire book is pointless and stupid) like normal people do.

    Uh uh. Not me.

  10. My swings rise like a morning fog and I doubt my course. Cursing, drinking, listening, watching, slow ahead slow until it lifts.

    It helps to do something else in the fog, and there’s always plenty else. The fog likes my idled, troubled mind, and when I don’t do something else, it lingers, and everything gets damp.

    There is some beauty in that fog as it comes, but more as it goes.

  11. Sourdough ! And, sometimes with a nice Côtes du Rhône in the evening, all becomes seemingly right with the world. Thanks for your blog.

    Sent from my iPhone


  12. Ah, bring on the chills, the sweats, the angst, the fury at the world, the self-doubt. Bring it on! What I fear most – what I dread, in fact – is equilibrium. Complacency. Escape. Infinite forms of procrastination. The guise of doing something else of, oh, such great import. If it takes a mood swing to muster up the writing, I’ll take it.

    (But when I do at last sit down to write and really focus, now that’s the true escape.)

  13. If procrastination is a mood swing, then yes.

  14. Up and down like a yo-yo with a rubber band string. Jimmy Fallon looks like he’s havinga good time, so that’s cool. I wish there was a holy grail, a rosetta stone or a generous alchemist, but hard work’s all there is, no promises at all. They call it Stormy Monday, but Tuesday’s just as bad…
    (While on vacation on the beach in Ogunquit, Maine, a couple of sunny days before finding out Robin Williams had died. Then a storm moved up the coast.)

  15. Jimmy Fallon sucks. Clasp belongs in front. You may be moody but you’re still sane.

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