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Don’t invest money when you are sad, just write

By on Nov 14, 2012 in Writing | 0 comments

A study recently published in Psychological Science that showed people make bad financial decisions when they’re sad. Apparently, sad people would rather have less money immediately than to wait awhile get more. In contrast, people who are disgusted will still make the more financially beneficial decision to hold out for the extra dollars.

Clearly, when it comes to money, mood matters so it should be no surprise to find that it matters with writing too. It’s hard to write a happy message when you’re sad and nearly impossible to be funny when you’re angry. Maybe successful novelists have the luxury of writing around their mood, but the rest of us just don’t have that kind of time. We have to work on what we have to write when we have the time regardless of how we feel. So how do you achieve the right state of mood?

The study offers a clue. The researchers at Harvard’s Kennedy School, actually induced the state of mind they wanted to study by showing subjects a video that caused them to exhibit impatience and myopia. You probably can’t immediately change what has put you in the wrong state of mind for writing, but you may be able to change the mood itself, at least long enough to crank out a few hundred words.

A few suggestions:


  • Listen to music that matches the mood you want to achieve.
  • Read something light, funny or serious that matches the style in which you want to write. Subconsciously, you may pick it up.
  • Watch a short video that’s the opposite of how you feel. You may be able to trick your brain into thinking you feel differently. Do beware of the distraction possibilities, however . It’s far too easy to get caught up moving from one video to the next rather than taking advantage of the mood shift.
  • Go for a run. Yes, this takes more time, but it will likely make you more creative and energetic.
  • If all else fails, write yourself into a better state of mind.  If you’re having trouble getting started writing what you are supposed to be working on then start writing about anything, even if it’s just about what’s bothering you. Sometimes seeing  a problem on paper will help you find solutions or at least set it aside for awhile. Writing is power – with your words you have the ability to  not only change the world but also your out look.


Other ideas?

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