Most writers will admit to experiencing melancholy. It’s almost a natural part of the writing process when one considers how isolating the profession can be.
Sadness has a way of creeping into the most stalwart of writers’ hearts, stealing away their peace and leaving doubt in its place. Am I good enough? Will others accept my work? What would even make me think I have a chance at publication?
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Writers work out of their own heads, after all, and it can get kind of lonely in there. Once that loop of despair takes hold, it can be a pretty powerful downer.
It’s important to understand that many writers experience sadness. Famous author Ernest Hemingway and poet Sylvia Plath both succumbed to severe depression. And while some may point to the solitary nature of their work as the culprit; others give it credit for the genius borne from the suffering.
Writers, I am convinced, feel and think more deeply than most others. They wrestle with complicated notions. They see the world through a dizzying kaleidoscope of perspectives. They ponder darkness. They seek the deepest, scariest scenarios. They explore and embrace new, sometimes frightening ideas. They sit before a blank page, relying on their souls to fill it with meaning. They face rejection, every day.
However, consider this wise little gem from Paul McCartney: “But with writers, there’s nothing wrong with melancholy. It’s an important color in writing.”
Now, that’s something. Imagine using your melancholy as a paintbrush, letting it lightly glaze across your words and ever-so-slightly transform your work. Imagine the nuance and untold secrets that could emerge from under its tender strokes.
If you are feeling sad, or plagued by feelings of doubt and worry, think about ways that you can put those melancholy feelings to work in your manuscript for a richer, more compelling narrative.
What color would melancholy add to your writing today?