How Mood Inspires Creative People

One of the most striking characteristics of the creative individual is their sensitivity to, and fondness for, particular feeling tones or subtle moods. Artists of all kinds strive to capture their favourite mood (or moods) in their work. The desire to accomplish this combined act of self-gratification and sharing is often a major motivating factor in why the artist chose to work in the arts. However, the preoccupation with mood can infiltrate all aspects of a creator’s life. The taste for a special mood often extends to the creator’s work habits. They not only want to produce the mood in their work, they must inhabit the mood while working. Many artists are so sensitive to feeling tone, so dependent on a particular subtle mood in order to access their creativity, that they quite literally cannot work should the needed feeling tone be absent.

Daphne du Maurier rowing near her old house at Ferryside

Mood (or atmosphere) and a sense of place are intimately related. Writers who have a strong sense of place prefer to work in specific locations. (Image: public domain.)

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What Is Your Life’s Theme?

What is the theme of your life? Everybody has at least one; most of us have a number of them, each taking a turn in the spotlight, and then fading for a time. However, it may not have occurred to you to see things in that way. Writers consciously make use of themes in their works so they are accustomed to employing them as an important aspect of writing fiction. Not surprisingly, many great writers use the themes from their own lives as the themes in their books and stories. To put it another way, writers tend to write about what deeply interests or preoccupies them. Readers tend – often unconsciously – to choose writers and books that deal with their own themes.

Wisdom Harvests the Tree of Knowledge

Many great writers have used the themes from their own lives as the themes in their books and stories. Do you know what your themes are? (Image: public domain.)

Writers embody the theme or “idea” behind any particular story in the work’s characters, places, and events. They usually settle on a strategy during the conception and design stage of the writing process. You might say that the basic theme or idea of a novel has something to do with what the author “loves well.” In the course of the story, authors contrast what they love with what they reject, thus clearly presenting the theme, and their position on it, to the reader.

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Lifestyles of Writers and Other Creative People

High-level creativity takes time, lots of it. It also needs peace and quiet. To secure the requisite time and tranquility, creators of all kinds have traditionally turned away from mainstream lifestyles and embraced less conventional ways of life. The taste among intelligent middle-class English writers for living quietly – and inexpensively – in the unsophisticated countryside is the stuff of literary legend. The goal is always the same: liberate as much time as possible for the creative work while ensuring congenial conditions for getting it done.

George Orwell's Country Retreat in the Hebrides

Cheap rural retreats such as George Orwell’s remote home in the Scottish Hebrides are a staple in the lives of creative people. (Image: public domain.)

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Writing Gives Thoughts Value

A few useful thoughts and inspiring insights on creativity and the writing process.

 An Illustrated Version of William Blake's Poem, The Tyger

Do your thoughts have any value if you keep them to yourself? (Image: public domain.)

Writing Begins Things

Writing is about making beginnings. It is about bringing something into existence that did not exist before. All true art works in this way.

Finding a Way In

The hardest part of any task is getting started, finding a way in. This can be especially true with writing where one must establish so much early on.

Plan Writing Ahead

It is easier to get out of bed in the morning if one has a clear and precise knowledge of the work one will be doing that day. I think it a wise thing to plan the next day’s work the evening before.

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Classic Writers and Personal Computers

Among important writers of the past who would have welcomed and used personal computers?

Laptop computer surrounded by faces of classic authors

Word processor anyone? Would great writers of the past have welcomed personal computers? (Image: public domain.)

H. G. Wells was a great believer in science and progress. In fact, he was a science teacher until tuberculosis forced him to give up that profession. Always an early riser, and a disciplined writer who believed in regular daily production, he did all his work at a desk in his study. Writing came before all other tasks for the day. I see him as a definite candidate for a well-equipped desktop computer.

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Personal Transformation Through Writing

Alchemy was the medieval forerunner of chemistry. It was particularly concerned with trying to convert base metals (such as lead) into gold or to find a universal elixir – more popularly known as the philosopher’s stone – that would perform the conversion upon contact. In recent times, the word alchemy has evolved to indicate any process of transformation, creation, or combination that seems magical.

Alchemist kneeling beside his alembic

Writing over a long period can be a powerful alchemical process of personal transformation. (Image: public domain.)

Even the ancients realized that alchemy is as much about refining the alchemist as it is about distilling some raw material into the philosopher’s stone. Jung popularized this notion in his writings. In this process of self-refinement, the alchemist must pass through three stages:

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Writers, Solitude, and Creativity

“Conversation enriches the understanding, but solitude is the school of genius…” – Edward Gibbon

Writers sometimes live solitary lives in remote places so they can devote more time to their work.

Writers sometimes live simple solitary lives in remote places so they can devote more time to their work. Yet there are times when solitude is just a state of mind. (Image: public domain)

The widespread self-publishing phenomenon is new, and while there are plenty of older people such as myself involved – or soon to be involved – a majority of new writers are young. A great many of these new or wannabe authors are too young to have the usual underpinnings acquired by writers in the traditional publishing paradigm. With that system, seeing their work in print often took many years, so struggling writers had plenty of time to learn the more philosophical aspects of their profession. Those aspects deepen writers giving their work more intellectual penetration, emotional depth, intensity, and sophistication.

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