Blessing: “a beneficial thing for which one is grateful”.
Does your best writing come from counting your blessings or from writing down your – or someone else’s – hurt and sadness?
Do you have to feel comfortable or uncomfortable within yourself to write?
Which do you prefer to read: a joyful story or a dark one?
It’s not that I think there’s only one answer to these questions. We would probably all give different answers on different days. But in general, I think (in contrast to the angst-ridden teenage years) my most productive writing is the writing which comes from a happy place, a place in which I’m counting blessings aloud. And, in the main, I’d say that’s my best writing too.
Maybe it comes from being a Mum. Since motherhood began for me nine years ago, I’ve been more squeamish about sad or unpleasant tales than I ever thought possible, and more of a sucker for a feel-good story. (There was a time when the boy was a baby when I watched a baby elephant on a National Geographic show wander away from its family and be lost forever. I cried buckets and it’s etched on my mind forever.) I don’t want to be sad. I want to be uplifted and glad.
I’m sounding more like Pollyanna than I intended here. Bear with me.
Writing dark, bleak emotions often seems easier, or even ‘better writing’, somehow. Thinking about it now, though, I think it’s probably more of a challenge to tell a positive tale and write positive emotions – without ending up sounding like Pollyanna! And a recent exchange on the letters page of Writers’ Forum magazine supports that: in response to a letter complaining about the ‘dark, violent and bleak’ stories that had been published, the editor wrote: “I agree[…] but most writing comps, not just ours, are inundated with bleak tales. People write them because they think creating ’emotion’ means writing about sadness or misery, but this is rather lazy.”
What do you think? Joy or misery – what’s your preference in reading and writing?