Let’s talk about mood
Labor adds value to the rarest gem. But it cannot create the gem! Writers produce the best literary work when under the subtle influence of the “mood.” You can improve your writing skills by observing its “method.” You will experience flashes of genius as you write and witness the evidence of talent in all of it.
Further the writer should strive to wed his “mood” to his “method” so that each may become a counterpart to the other.
Many writers do not clearly understand how “mood” influences one’s writing. While dependent, as all mental operations are, it is not itself a physical condition.
By “mood,” as applied in art, it is a particular transient state of mind, which brings all the faculties up to what a musician might call “concert pitch.” Mood is a state of temporary, abnormal mental tension. It is satisfied by spontaneous activity; it resembles a passion. Its pleasure is the full and free activity of the ruling faculties, most frequently imagination and memory.
It is a species of temporary insanity. Most people, not just writers, find their “mood” sparked by some external object, such as a painting, a scenery, a familiar sound; in other individuals “mood” may be induced like sleep, by what might be termed autosuggestion.
I know a clever romance writer in her late forties who inspires herself to write love scenes by inducing a certain mood. She sits in a cushioned chair in the corner of her room by the window; and laying open her leather-bound journal on her knee, she writes the same old story of love. The way she writes her love messages in a journal today is the same way she wrote love messages twenty years ago. Twenty years ago she met her true love, a young, handsome college student. Every evening at dusk, as the sun dipped below the horizon, she would often sit in the same way by a window with a leather-bound journal and write romantic passages about her experiences with her boyfriend that day.
I visit a friend occasionally who is a writer and a public lecturer. He insists that he has conquered and won his “moods” by a using his own method. He practices writing—as a musician practices finger exercises—to limber up his faculties for the real systematic effort
He reads much, listens well, travels extensively and writes systematically. His method to induce “mood” is to spend 30 minutes each day, in silence, and let random thoughts fill your mind about the topic or subject on which you need to write. When a thought sparks an emotion, and that emotion makes you see something visual and concrete in your mind, jot it down. In 30 minutes he usually has jotted down several concrete sentences across several subjects that help him decide on a subject or topic that he needs to write about.
He told me that before he goes to sleep for the night, he usually has drawn up a plan for a public speech based on these induced thoughts. He never finds difficulty working out a satisfactory public address that may require two weeks of his time to write. He also stated that he re-reads his notes from recent readings
or from his latest travels in the same manner to select a topic for a lecture or an article for publication.
How to explain mood
Explaining “mood,” thus induced by “method,” we find that a writer methodically runs about from faculty to faculty, and, figuratively speaking, wakes them all up. By the time all of your faculties are alert, the “mood” seizes upon that subject which has appealed most vividly to your imagination. The mood finds pleasure in the activity which you have aroused.
Finally, If you have trouble conjuring up “moods” at will, my advice is to work methodically. When the inspiration strikes, such work—as labor to the gem—will add to its value.