Voice of Angst

I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.  – Joan Didion

I have had this thing since I was a small child and wrote my first poem. It has plagued me ever since.

My best work seems to come out of me when I am in the greatest amount of pain.

I fight this and try hard to write non-emotional equally good material and feel I falter.  My poems dating back to when I was age 7 are full of agony, written in the midst of some major seven year old crisis. This blog is nothing but painful writing.

Is angst my only "voice"?

Is it possible to be a good writer and NOT be in a constant angst?  Must I forever be the dark, brooding lady teetering on the edge of an abysmal existence in order to write anything of value?

I have prompts in my head, adoption topics, and I just cannot seem to get them to paper (or keyboard in this case). I realize I am doing "well" and am happier and I fear that is effecting my writing.

Guh.

Dawn? Skeeto? Someone?

7 Thoughts.

  1. I have the exact same experience.
    Maybe some people are just more prone to look into darkness. and.. I am not convinced that is necessarily “bad” fwiw.
    However it does make it harder to write if you’re tired of looking into the darkness.

  2. I think our best writing comes from being in touch with our feelings, good or bad. To me, it sounds completely normal to have your best writing when your feelings are the most powerful. That’s why so many writers are advised to write what they know.
    And some writers are more “facts” while others are more “feeling.” Personally, I prefer those who write with feelings over facts. It brings you closer and gives you more of a connection to what you are reading.
    Personal stories are just as important as any fact out there!

  3. I agree that angst can be a great motivator – a feeling like I MUST WRITE THIS OR DIE. And it’s harder when one is in a more content space. BUT I also think that these more calm feelings can lead to more ‘mature’ writing, if that makes sense. It’s a different kind of relationship to writing – the intense flash of infatuation or “honeymooning” vs the contentment of a long term relationship. I also think that much can be said for “distance.” I like to refer to notes written in a white heat, but to actually write and revise from a more stable place.

  4. Angst stops me cold. Ambivalence, stress, etc. simply drain my brain. The interaction that follows writing is a great motivator, too. Regardless of whether they’re positive or negatives, the reactions of others motivate me to write more.

  5. Suz, was thinking about this more on the way home.
    I think I agree that some people just write out of feelings. I’m one. INFP, makes sense. So if there’s passion in it for me, I can write.
    Unfortunately?, my deepest most passionate feelings are rather dark ones. For me this is tied up in the neverending experience of depression, for other people maybe it’s from life experiences.
    However, when I think about the positives that I feel some passion for, I can write about them.
    That is what works for me, when I care to make it work–not fighting myself as an emotional writer, but deliberately using the positive passions to write about something that’s not “angst.”
    Writing for me is not a career at all though, and I don’t intend it to be. So I don’t work hard at it. But if it were to become a career, that’s what I’d be doing–looking for the positive things in life that I do have some passion for.
    Also agree with Susan that it makes for more mature writing, more even, better even.

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