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By Bhalachandra Sahaj

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Hi everyone.

How often have you heard about writers and depression? I bet rather often. Being a writer and being depressed is not yet synonymous, but whomever of the famous authors you’d name, many of them struggled with depression at least once in their lifetime (and rather often for their entire lives). Ernest Hemingway, Sylvia Plath, Tennessee Williams, Scott Fitzgerald, even J.K. Rowling, as well as many others—for some reason, depression follows writers (or should I say “creative people?”).

Although it may seem that being depressed is a necessary condition for writing, in fact it is not so. The only thing that depression is seriously conjoined with is the need to go to a therapist; writing, as well as other creative activities, can be done in any condition and/or mood.

Yes, there is no such thing as a “special writing mood.” Inspiration, which many creative people refer to as crucial, is in fact a pleasant bonus, a temporary booster rather than fuel. Waiting until you get into a mood for writing is a waste of time; in fact, you just open your Word file, stare at the page, and start typing. You cannot write perfectly from the start—therefore, whatever you write will be edited later, which in its turn, means there is no need to think about how to write something (it’s what many authors complain about).

What comes out may be crude, short, or unprofessional—it does not matter yet. A chapter of your future novel may at first be only 1-2 thousand symbols long. The main thing is that it has a main idea, and that it connects to what you have already written and to what you are about to write. At this stage, you are creating a skeleton—you will put some meat on it later.

So, if you already have a vision of what your story will look like, if you know how it is going to end, and what is its main idea, you do not need to wait for inspiration, or for a “writing mood”—sit at your computer and type words. At first you may feel like you are forcing yourself, but usually after a couple of sentences, you get into writing and the mood you’ve been waiting for comes on its own.

It is true you can feel a lack of energy to write, though. In such cases, you should rather take a rest rather than work on your story. It is also true that we all have our most and least productive hours. But generally, whenever someone asks, “What is the best time to write?” I say, “Now.”

Good luck.

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