The artistic temperament?


For me writing is an emotional endeavor. And I think it would surprise a lot of people who know me that I often do my best writing when I'm sad or discouraged. That's not to say that the writing itself has to reflect my emotions; it doesn't. Quite often I find myself writing the opposite of what I'm feeling.


I'm generally a very cheeful, optimistic person, so perhaps writing is a way that I deal with darker emotions. Whatever the cause, the examination of emotion is my impetus for writing. And new experiences only add to my desire to write. Sometimes those experiences are vicarious through empathy. Sometimes I only feel the echo of an emotion as I watch it acted out in a movie. But one things for certain, the more emotion I experience in life the more capable I feel of putting life on the page.


Perhaps that's why writer's, aritsts, musicians and others are generally temperamental (and by temperamental I mean prone to emotionality) . Granted I'm making generalizations, but it's an interesting topic to contemplate. Is the artistic temperment a prerequesite for success in the arts? Perhaps it's a result of our chosen avocation? Or maybe it's an unsupported stereo type? What do you think?


“There can be no knowledge without emotion. We may be aware of a truth, yet until we have felt its force, it is not ours. To the cognition of the brain must be added the experience of the soul.”
- Arnold Bennett

10 comments:

  1. Gee, I hope that quote is true because it would be reasonable to expect that the longer you live the more emotion you've felt. Therefore, I should be quite "knowledgeable." Maybe my age is a plus after all.

    I think there may be something to the positive coming from the negative, even on a superficial level. I've been fighting a virus all week and suddenly the words are flowing faster than I can type them ... though, to be honest, at one point I was propping my head up with one hand and typing with the other. :-)

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  2. You know, I think a writer needs to know all of those dramatic emotions in order to write them. I could be wrong. But, it certainly makes the emotion in writing more realistic, and the reactions of characters more interesting.

    My husband is super even keel. And, as much as I love the man, if he ever tried to write fiction it would probably be pretty boring.

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  3. That's really interesting. I'm the exact opposite, I'm not productive when I'm sad... mostly because I don't feel like writing. Maybe I should make myself sometime... I might be surprised what comes out. Great post! :)

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  4. I've found what has helped me the most is all of my drama training I've had. I can instantly empathize (Sp?) and put myself in that character's shoes. It helps. If I'm writing drama I have to have music, slow, sad, gripping, all encompassing music. if it's comedy, I have to have complete silence. for either though, I have to have the book talk to me, if it's not talking, I walk away.

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  5. I completely agree. Emotion helps me as well. I've always liked to write, but it wasn't until after my father passed and a few other very trying times in my life that I learned how to embrace emotion on a page. And as far as moods while writing, I sometimes have to listen to music to put myself in a certain mood to write. And it all depends on what I'm writing, what mood that ends up being.

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  6. Writing is usually very therapeutic for me. But usually the prose ends up in my journal as I recount my personal experiences. I haven't yet learned how to bridle the emotion and siphon a story out of it.

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  7. Good questions here. I think emotion has everything to do with writing. I'm temperamental, that's for sure. And I love it. I embrace it, but I also try and control it when it can hurt others and myself. Like anything, balance is the key.

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  8. I was in my darkest days when I started my novel, which was/is ironically, humor. If I hadn't hit bottom, I may have never started. Writing is healing, that's for sure.

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  9. I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one who writes out of emotion. ;)

    Linda- Feel better soon (before writer's group preferably)

    Renee- If you can't at least imagine feeling a particular emotion I think it would be nigh impossible to write it.

    Jenn- LOL! Please don't intentionally make your self sad based on my post. I can't imagine the liability. Do I need blog insurance?!

    Kasie- I know writing helped you combat some dark days. And I'm the same with music. It totally gets me in the right mood!

    Jessie- I write the prose in my journal too, and then I'm always tempted to throw it away. I don't... usually.

    Michelle- I'm the same. I figure feeling emotions is one thing, but how we act on them is a completely different subject.

    Tricia, I actually heard Jim Carey say that most comedians use humor to try and make sense of sorrow. (that may not be an exact quote) ;)

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  10. I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one who writes out of emotion. ;)

    Linda- Feel better soon (before writer's group preferably)

    Renee- If you can't at least imagine feeling a particular emotion I think it would be nigh impossible to write it.

    Jenn- LOL! Please don't intentionally make your self sad based on my post. I can't imagine the liability. Do I need blog insurance?!

    Kasie- I know writing helped you combat some dark days. And I'm the same with music. It totally gets me in the right mood!

    Jessie- I write the prose in my journal too, and then I'm always tempted to throw it away. I don't... usually.

    Michelle- I'm the same. I figure feeling emotions is one thing, but how we act on them is a completely different subject.

    Tricia, I actually hear Jim Carey say that most comedians use humor to try and make sense of sorrow. (that may not be an exact quote) ;)

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