The Impact on Writing


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Thread: The Impact on Writing

  1. #1

    The Impact on Writing

    We have had discussions before on whether the ability to write (as a "writer") comes naturally, can it be taught, or does success lie somewhere in between.

    We have just squeaked out of a horrendous year, where personal pain was at the forefront. We have all been affected on some level by the events that have happened, just in 2020. So here's my question.

    How much, if at all, do you think the difficult moments in life impact your ABILITY to be able to write effectively? Do you think trauma, pain, loss and other 'life lessons' play a role in improving our skill at communication? I'm not talking about being able to write about those personal experiences. I just wonder how those experiences might have enhanced your knowledge or awareness of life in general, enough so that you might not be the writer you are, without having lived through them.

    Give examples if you are comfortable.

    Sue
    When the night has come
    And the land is dark
    And the moon is the only light we'll see
    I won't be afraid, no I won't be afraid
    Just as long as you stand by me.


  2. #2
    I don't know if going through a divorce made me a better writer, but I used the resulting experiences to improve my writing.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by SueC View Post

    How much, if at all, do you think the difficult moments in life impact your ABILITY to be able to write effectively? Do you think trauma, pain, loss and other 'life lessons' play a role in improving our skill at communication? I'm not talking about being able to write about those personal experiences. I just wonder how those experiences might have enhanced your knowledge or awareness of life in general, enough so that you might not be the writer you are, without having lived through them.

    Give examples if you are comfortable.

    Sue
    Ouf. Hmm. I think my ability to write to whatever degree I can comes from calmness, not difficulty. I don't communicate particularly well when I'm stressed. But I suppose if I see a lot of suffering I might be moved to try and lessen it by reaching out to others. But if the stress happens to me, my tendency is to hide it, to keep it secret, can lead to a bit of hermitization and noncommunicativeness. That could translate into time and raw material to write with, though.


    Hidden Content Monthly Fiction Challenge


    The first cut don't hurt at all
    The second only makes you wonder
    The third will have you on your knee
    s
    - Propaganda, "Duel"

    *

    Is this fire, or is this mask?
    It's the Mantasy!
    - Anonymous








  4. #4
    I don't believe that difficult times in my life have enhanced my writing in particular, but the totality of my experience has ... just because I have a far greater variety to pull from than when I was younger. I understand more about the behavior of more types of people, travelled more, interacted in business more, and experienced more entertainment media to spark my own creativity.

    However, I've always attributed the quality of popular music which came from the 60s and 70s to angst over Vietnam. It had a depth of feeling I've rarely seen since. So Sue, I'm certain your postulate has merit, if not on an individual basis, certainly as drawn from society as a whole.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by vranger View Post
    I don't believe that difficult times in my life have enhanced my writing in particular, but the totality of my experience has ... just because I have a far greater variety to pull from than when I was younger. I understand more about the behavior of more types of people, travelled more, interacted in business more, and experienced more entertainment media to spark my own creativity.

    However, I've always attributed the quality of popular music which came from the 60s and 70s to angst over Vietnam. It had a depth of feeling I've rarely seen since. So Sue, I'm certain your postulate has merit, if not on an individual basis, certainly as drawn from society as a whole.
    Oh, I think music had a HUGE impact on the '60's. But if you think about it, a lot of the music was the result of the "angst over Vietnam." Artists were being effected by the War, they took pen in hand and wrote songs like, "Go Ask Alice," which might have never been if it were not for Vietnam. So, does music effect your writing?
    When the night has come
    And the land is dark
    And the moon is the only light we'll see
    I won't be afraid, no I won't be afraid
    Just as long as you stand by me.


  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by MistWolf View Post
    I don't know if going through a divorce made me a better writer, but I used the resulting experiences to improve my writing.

    That's my experience as well. I think it made me better understand what that abandonment feels like, so when I write about it, it feels more genuine. If we hadn't had that divorce experience, how would we know how it really felt? Thanks!
    When the night has come
    And the land is dark
    And the moon is the only light we'll see
    I won't be afraid, no I won't be afraid
    Just as long as you stand by me.


  7. #7
    Iíve thought about different aspects of this question through the years, especially looking at the sometimes intensified perspective of youth. I love these big fascinating questions.

    When I was younger I could not write nearly the range that I can now and do it well. I was out on a limb, imagining things like people I love dying, the body getting aches and pains, etc. There are so many things young people donít know that they have no clue that they donít know, but when they do have an experience that really rocks them sometimes they can write about the issue with sharp clarity, if less tempered perspective.

    I think there are also writers whose lens is so focused that they might not even bring their experiences into their writingó the telescope is so narrow on what they aspire to writing about something that is not even touched by their experience. Iíve heard some people say that ďfirstsĒ donít really make much difference to themó this sounded like a foreign planet to me, just it is so different for me. Perhaps their focus cuts through experience... although I think on some level it really canít subconsciously? But thatís because my experiences and ďfirstsĒ very much affect me.

    I have a writing friend who is also fairly young who said that without suffering you cannot see beauty, and he meant he and I...that weíve seen suffering and can recognize beauty. I was torn on this, agreeing and not agreeing because many people have suffered more than he and I in our respective lives and many people do not walk away from suffering able to better recognize and appreciate beauty. Some walk away with bitterness and rage. I think what you decide to learn is probably one of the most conscious choices humans can make to change ourselves.

    I put my experiences into my writing. When I was younger, my imagination used to try to go where I hadnít actually experienced and it likely wasnít very good writing. Now that Iíve gotten more experiences I feel like my range is more ďtrueĒ. Lawrence Olivier (I canít find the interview right now but it was on YouTube) said something like this about playing MacBeth... that you had to really have lived a while and have experienced life to play him. Olivier also said that when you put yourself into Othelloís shoes you realize that he is one of the most evil men with the most violent tempers. I think Iím quoting this and finding it relevant because it is his experience of putting himself into someone elseís shoes AND his experience of knowing from his own life and seeing other peopleís lives that gives him that knowledge that Othello was not justified at all. I think writing is kind of like acting in that way. We use our imaginations to understand a plot and a person but imo experience is better than imagination for true understanding. Not that we donít use both. Not that we donít choose the lessons we will take from it all either way.

    I bet I will always be exploring this question.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by bdcharles View Post
    Ouf. Hmm. I think my ability to write to whatever degree I can comes from calmness, not difficulty. I don't communicate particularly well when I'm stressed. But I suppose if I see a lot of suffering I might be moved to try and lessen it by reaching out to others. But if the stress happens to me, my tendency is to hide it, to keep it secret, can lead to a bit of hermitization and noncommunicativeness. That could translate into time and raw material to write with, though.

    When I was a young girl, when I was stressed I wrote. I wrote about my stress until it made sense, until I could explain it in a way that it made me feel that it was not the end of the world after all. I think my brother still handles stress the way you do, BD, which of course brings up the idea that everyone experiences life as an individual.

    Our childhood was painful - and my brother was always under the radar. His way of coping was to keep his head down and his mouth shut; mine was more overt. I wanted to be seen and heard; I wanted to believe my opinion counted, which it didn't. We were well into adulthood before we could call our relationship "close" and right now its very close.

    Even your "hermitization" is the result of something, and because your stories are so, so creative and unique (I'm thinking of that one from last month with the footnotes) you might say that life has, indeed, impacted your writing abilities. I don't know - maybe?
    When the night has come
    And the land is dark
    And the moon is the only light we'll see
    I won't be afraid, no I won't be afraid
    Just as long as you stand by me.


  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by SueC View Post
    When I was a young girl, when I was stressed I wrote. I wrote about my stress until it made sense, until I could explain it in a way that it made me feel that it was not the end of the world after all. I think my brother still handles stress the way you do, BD, which of course brings up the idea that everyone experiences life as an individual.

    Our childhood was painful - and my brother was always under the radar. His way of coping was to keep his head down and his mouth shut; mine was more overt. I wanted to be seen and heard; I wanted to believe my opinion counted, which it didn't. We were well into adulthood before we could call our relationship "close" and right now its very close.

    Even your "hermitization" is the result of something, and because your stories are so, so creative and unique (I'm thinking of that one from last month with the footnotes) you might say that life has, indeed, impacted your writing abilities. I don't know - maybe?
    I think the desire to actually do it definitely comes from a desire to put something out there, to be heard and valued.


    Hidden Content Monthly Fiction Challenge


    The first cut don't hurt at all
    The second only makes you wonder
    The third will have you on your knee
    s
    - Propaganda, "Duel"

    *

    Is this fire, or is this mask?
    It's the Mantasy!
    - Anonymous








  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Llyralen View Post
    I have a writing friend who is also fairly young who said that without suffering you cannot see beauty, and he meant he and I...that we’ve seen suffering and can recognize beauty. I was torn on this, agreeing and not agreeing because many people have suffered more than he and I in our respective lives and many people do not walk away from suffering able to better recognize and appreciate beauty. Some walk away with bitterness and rage. I think what you decide to learn is probably one of the most conscious choices humans can make to change ourselves.

    I bet I will always be exploring this question.

    That is very insightful. I do believe that some people get "stuck." It's like - have you ever seen an older woman who wears the same hairdo that she wore in high school? You think to yourself, goodness - do something different! Not everyone is interested in "growth." Some people get very comfortable in their ideas and as time goes on, they simply refuse to accept anything different, or anything that might make them see things differently. For some people, who have lost a loved one for example, the grief is so compelling they can't move beyond it. And because they are stuck, they get bitter and angry, not really understanding why they never feel better or happy.

    I really like your response - lot of thought and thank you.

    Sue
    When the night has come
    And the land is dark
    And the moon is the only light we'll see
    I won't be afraid, no I won't be afraid
    Just as long as you stand by me.


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