Saturday, November 4, 2017

Creative Anger: What Happens When You Lose It?

Susan Jane Gilman once gave a TED Talk on how anger inspires creativity. Writer Abroad agrees. In fact, many of her pieces in the last few years (Vox, Vice, New York Times) were inspired by anger. Anger fueled her writing and essays flowed. But now she's at a loss. Now she's answering the question: What happens when your anger is no longer inspiring?

Writer Abroad has now reached a point where she's beyond being angry. In fact, she’s so upset at the direction of the United States that she almost can’t write about it any longer. She’s been in a place of creative anger for over three years now (since returning to the U.S.), and for her, the anger has run its course.

The reality that nothing good (at least politically and policy-wise) will happen for the next few years—no matter what piece she gets published or not—has her in a writing slump.

Now she’s numb. Now she can hardly listen to the news. Now she’s got writer’s block. This is probably what the current leaders of the U.S. want. And she doesn’t want to succumb to them, but she is slowly succumbing to the endless deranged mental state that is life in 2017 America.

She’s also trying to be kind to herself. Trying to give herself a few months break from writing about everything that’s wrong in order to feel creatively all right. Because the reality is, outside of the decline of her country, her life is going fine. Take away the noise from the media, from the outside world asking her what the heck is going on here, from the voices in her head wondering if she made a huge mistake by moving back to this disaster waiting-to-happen when she was in a much more stable and reasonable country before–even if it wasn't her real home.

So for the next few months, there might be some quiet going on here, at least in the creative anger arena, as Writer Abroad focuses on some business writing and strategic work in order to remain somewhat sane.

Because Writer Abroad knows anger is a powerful creative tool. And she wants to give the anger room to return. And she hopes for the sake of her creativity, that it does.

Can anyone else relate?


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  8. I know what you mean. I have just moved back to the UK after 27 years in the US and my stress levels are way down. I would recommend not following every piece of news for a while, particularly since the US news is very US-centric.

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  11. Cool topic. Very interesting. It’s so true that the feeling of exacting revenge is one of the greatest motivators I have ever experienced. And yet, once realized, it doesn’t hold a candle to what I had imagined it would be like. Kind of like watching a movie after reading the articles.

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  23. Thanks for your kind words. And great to hear you found a way to get your anger out that left you feeling way better. Suppressing angry thoughts is extremely unhealthy mentally and physically, it’s always better to express your feelings than not. Hopefully some of these strategies might also appeal to you for another occasion when you might not fancy the same ‘solution’. Enjoy.

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