Redefining north.

Notes from Crew Quarters: In the Mood for Writing

Notes from Crew Quarters: In the Mood for Writing


This week, we asked our editors: How does the day (or week) you're having affect your writing?

Alex Clark, Associate Nonfiction Editor

I'm trying to get better at writing through painful times and bad weeks. I recently went through a break-up and--man this is going to sound cliche--school and my writing projects were the only things that kept me going while I was between apartments and handling my own heartbreak. I think this is usually how we all start writing-as a coping mechanism. And I think, somewhere in my life, I filled that need with other things. Now, I'm trying to get that back because I think you can create powerful work out of your dark days and, in turn, creating powerful work can make those days better. During bad weeks, I'm trying to focus on less emotionally draining projects, projects about things I love, projects that let me get lost in fun, beautiful, language. That was a long way of saying, yes, the week I'm having does affect my writing, but perhaps it drives me to stop picking at fresh wounds and start building pieces that are fun and playful.

John LaPine, Associate Nonfiction Editor

My best writing comes out of the cold, dark, icy, bitter, frigid winter months. No pain, no prose.

Jason Teal, Associate Nonfiction Editor

I suffer from SAW or seasonal affective writing which in many cases results not only in the individual and their unmotivated response to living but can also pervade ecosystems in close proximity to the writer. Early onset SAW is observed in individuals who regularly sigh at inopportune moments at work, in bed, and after returning home at two in the afternoon, misappropriating the time they have left until the subsequent business day, binge watching aimless comedy pilots slated to air after the harsh South Park time slot on Comedy Central via any number of streaming services.

Annie Bilancini, Associate Fiction Editor

I can only write from a place of joy, so if I'm feeling low or overwhelmed during a given week, it's likely that my writing will either be pretty rough or non-existent.

Ethan Brightbill, Associate Fiction Editor

I can be in a happy place and write, but my best stuff frequently comes from a particular kind of despair resulting from feeling like I'm not getting anywhere in life; the writing ends up counteracting it. The results are great, but I'm nevertheless glad it's uncommon.

Write an Essay About Your Favorite Family Member by Kate Imbach

Write an Essay About Your Favorite Family Member by Kate Imbach

Dreaming Dog by Shane Kowalski

Dreaming Dog by Shane Kowalski