I think my writing gets a lot better when I’m going through difficult times. My imagery is more vivid and I’m not as verbose as I usually would be. I would normally sit back and mull over ideas until they got large enough to write about. When I got an idea while feeling strong emotions, I practically ran to my laptop. It just writes itself. I never needed to stare at my screen waiting for inspiration to strike.
That on its own is fine. I’m sure a lot of people use, or have used, some form of creative work to work through their emotions. The problem was that my views towards writing and my emotions got really unhealthy. When emotional, I usually can’t write more than a one-page poem because once I was done I would already have felt better about the situation. I started to let my feelings stagnate by refusing to let things go. If I stayed emotional longer, I could write more, right? It got to a point where I wasn’t even sure if my feelings were solely a reaction to the specific situation or intentionally amplified so I would have more to write about. There were times when I actually planned to make myself sad or angry on purpose so that I wouldn’t run out of ideas.
Writing got me out of that downward spiral. Or rather, bad writing did. I was feeling a lot of things during this period of time and I sat down to write and what came out was terrible. It was supposed to be a poem, but it didn’t have anything that would make it see that way. It didn’t even have a central idea. It was all over the place. I thought, if going through all of this effort is going to still leave me with terrible writing, I may as well not do it.
So I stopped. I stopped writing for a few months. Then, I came back.
I’m not suggesting that you need to stop writing if you use it to deal with your problems. I stopped because I personally felt that I was in a negative cycle that I needed to break out of. Now, I try to write every day rather than wait for something bad to happen in my life. I feel that that’s a much better approach. After all, if I want to become a professional writer, I can’t wait for inspiration. I’d have to chase it.