Monday, November 14, 2016

Sigh—He's in a Mood by Peter Leavell

The best part of writing is writing.

The worst part of writing? There's no one to give you a participation trophy. But if you win, people tell you exactly what they think of your work.

The swings are atrocious, and you know them well. Five minutes writing a sentence, we ohhhh, argh, blah, eh, hurl, YES!, awwww, sniff, hmmmm, and thump thump thump our heads on the desk.

Our (undiagnosed?) ADHD/OCD and caffeine fuel the fire, no doubt. But beyond that, why do we write? What makes us subject ourselves to the pain?

Two words—we hate math.

Or maybe we hate accounting. Perhaps a strong dislike for boredom (that’s me). Perhaps your timid body has the heart of a lion, and writing is the way you can express yourself, like T.S. Eliot. Anyway, does it matter? You don’t choose writing. Writing chooses you.

Moods—moods—moods. Ah, yes. Wrestling a mood into some semblance of control is harder than asking a toddler not to get out his toys for the day because company is coming. You can’t change the fact you have a toddler. Or that company is coming. You might toss the toys, but I don’t recommend it. The moods are coming. The writing is here to stay. And hiding the keyboard won’t keep you from writing for long. It’s best to let the company come inside and step on a Lego. Let the moods come.

Working through moods is an act of will.

The not liking our own writing mood is a weakness that can be our greatest strength. Use the mood to read books on how to write. Pick up the masters and study a particular passage where the voice is strong. Emulate. Work until your mood changes in three minutes. Remember the feeling is just a mood and doesn’t reflect real life, no matter how much you’ll try to convince me.

Don’t give up on your dream. I didn’t let moods stop me (they slowed me down, however) over ten years of writing practice. But the persistence paid off!

Peter Leavell
Peter Leavell, a 2007 graduate of Boise State University with a degree in history, was the 2011 winner of Christian Writers Guild's Operation First Novel contest, and 2013 Christian Retailing's Best award for First-Time Author. Peter and his family live in Boise, Idaho. Learn more about Peter's books, research, and family adventures at