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The Effect of Creator Breakdowns

Discussion in 'The Authors' Café' started by Kutie Pie, Feb 6, 2019.

  1. Kutie Pie

    Kutie Pie "It is my destiny."

    I've been thinking: Mood affects your enjoyment, your desires, your work. Creator breakdowns can happen to anyone, at any time, from anything. But some apparently use it in their work for better or for worse, whether in creating a new work or while in the middle of an on-going project.

    Why is it believed or appears to be, then, that if someone is having themselves a breakdown that the work actually is better than before? Even if the creator doesn't believe it themselves, why does the audience like it? Has it caused the opposite in which a work suffers as a result, leaving audiences confused or frustrated?

    Depression or other mental illnesses/breakdowns is not always the cause behind a creator breakdown, but something in life manages to affect the tone of someone's work. Is it subconscious, or a form of catharsis? Does the creator keep working to get through the day in spite of it, or because they needed a release and the art form is a medium open to it?

    If it's ever happened to you, how has it affected you as a writer? Do you notice it in your own work? Have your readers taken notice? Giving examples is optional if you're comfortable sharing, although it's not recommended if it's too personal. But if you're a fan of someone (an author, director, or musical artist) who has gone through such a breakdown (see Creator Breakdown for listed examples), how has it affected your enjoyment of their work?
    Venia Silente likes this.
  2. Starlight Aurate

    Starlight Aurate Just a fallen star

    I'm not sure if I could call this a "breakdown," as I feel that's too strong of a word. There are only two instances in my life where I honestly feel that my overall mindset was thrown out of whack. The first one happened when I was a little kid and before I started writing fan fiction, so I won't go in to it.

    The second one happened just a year and a half ago, when my boyfriend dumped me. I know that sounds really pathetic and menial. And I guess it is, but if I had to be honest with myself, it really upset me and left me pretty torn up for several months. I tried to tell myself it was nothing to be upset about, that I wouldn't want to be with someone as mean as he was, and tried to continue on with my life as cheerfully as I could. But that was lying to myself, and I ended up just breaking down and crying one way or another. It completely halted my productivity for a while; the way in which he broke up with me and the things he said to me made me feel completely worthless and unloveable--it made me feel like nothing I did could bring about any good. I had lost all creativity and most motivation outside of work and school. I had to focus on self-care, which for me, meant growing deeper in my faith and building up my spiritual life and frequently talking to people who were able to help me. I had to devote a lot of time to these areas, and that didn't leave much time for writing--and I didn't have the strength or motivation to write, anyway.

    Come to think of it, the first instance in my life did impact my writing. There was a death in my immediate family, and to this day I still consider it the hardest thing I've ever gone through. It taught me a lot about sorrow and loss, and, especially in the stuff I never posted, really shows in the things I wrote when growing up. Personally, I don't know if I can say this experience helped me become a better writer--everyone deals with death and loss differently, and just because I write something entailing how I personally felt in losing family that doesn't mean it will come across as more "realistic" to anyone who reads it. I guess it comes across most in how I developed through that; it changed my overall mindset on things and how I viewed the world. It changed my values, what I feared, how I coped--it opened up a lot of wounds that I would have to reconcile myself with as I grew up, it tore my family apart in several different ways, it hurt some relationships and caused others to grow... There are a lot of ways that it changed me (at least personally, I know this absolutely isn't true for everyone).

    I think maybe why creator breakdowns can sometimes be "beneficial" to someone's work is because it changes their mindset and gives them motivation in new ways. That, at least, is how I've always thought of it.
  3. gwen-watson

    gwen-watson A Marvel Baby

    I suffer from anxiety and depression, and I'm constantly overly critical of every aspect of my life. This affects everything. Including my writing.

    I sometimes pump out six chapters in a matter of six days only to just ...stop. And every time I try to write, my stupid anxiety tells me it's not good enough, never will be good enough and I scrap it.

    Rinse and repeat for several months to even years.

    It's frustrating and I hate leaving readers hanging when I don't update. There's such a stigma on mental illness, so I just kind of stay in shameful silence until I either finally update a fic or scrap it completely.
  4. Namohysip

    Namohysip Dragon Enthusiast

    I'd like to think I've never had a full blown breakdown of a sort, though motivation ebbs and flows as normal. It happens. I try to make a conscious effort to keep my emotions from interfering with the story I want to tell, but I suppose I also have to accept that doing so is impossible. I guess I try to keep it professional, in a way, by not lettimg the day to day emotions get caught up in my work. Sometimes I wind up in a better mood by writing anyway, just by getting in that mode of working and getting something down.

    Sometimes I take breaks for a few days if I'm really not feeling it. There were some stressful times whose stories are too long-winded for this post, but I did just only write my minimum 250 words for the day when that happens. But I know it's not the same for everyone.

    I think having a "breakdown" specifically isn't something I'd call necessary to make good writing, or better writing, or anything, really. I think it just falls under the category of having more experiences, both good and bad, to work with and know about, since "write what you know" is a very powerful tool. The only reason creator breakdowns in particular can sometimes make a work worse is because the tonal shift is jarring to the reader, who doesn't know the context of where the sudden change is coming from, I guess. And, of course, sometimes the writer is in a state where the actual quality of their work starts to suffer on an objective level, too.

    And as a side note, @gwen-watson , I feel that the community here is very supportive -- so if you ever feel like you're feeling down because of your depression and so on, don't be afraid to reach out to others! The world is filled with people who want to help.
    gwen-watson likes this.

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