Writing Emotions

By Neuroskeptic | May 18, 2011 7:30 am

A handy guide to some of the emotional states that you may feel in the process of writing.

DELation – The relief and sense of freedom that comes from deleting a passage you’ve been endlessly trying to get right, as you realize that you don’t need it there at all.

Obsessive Compul-Save Disorder – A state of chronic dread based on the fear that your computer will crash and all your work will be lost, leading to ritualistic clicking of the Save button at least six times after changing each sentence. Often seen in people who have suffered a catastrophic experience (when it is called Post Traumatic Save Disorder).

Keyophobia – A state in which you will do anything to avoid actually typing some words. e.g. choosing the best font, bolding and unbolding the title to see which looks better, browsing for some illustrations, or tidying up your references.

Character Count Down – The sense of crushing disappointment when you realize that the huge number you’re looking at is the character count, not the word count, and you actually have 5,000 words to go.

Paste Haste – The seductive sense of accomplishment that comes from boosting your word-count by copying-and-pasting something you’ve previously written into your current project “just to get provide a backbone”. This often ends up slowing you down in the long run, as you have to adapt and update the old stuff and this can take longer than just rewriting it. More paste, less speed.

Writer’s Blaaah-k – Writer’s block is when you can’t think of anything to write. Writer’s blaaah-k is when you’re wondering why you should. This all so boring! Why am I doing this, again? This can be a sign that what you’re writing really isn’t interesting, but it’s often just a response to the fact that you’ve been working on it for so long. Of course it will seem boring to you, but the readers will come to it with fresh eyes. To rekindle your enthusiasm, try re-reading your original pitch or notes.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: blogging, funny
  • http://talyarkoni.org/blog tal

    I have all of these! Comorbidity FTW!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00199382596349972653 Denis

    And what about Caps-Lock(ed-in), that terrible (but luckily temporary) paralyzing syndrome resulting from your frustrated attempt to log in to check your email until you realize that you long-term memory is just fine, and you simply pressed inadvertently the Caps Lock key before typing your password?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18375351988564714680 Constant Writer

    I have so done all of these. The first four especially. I used to sit there and go through all the fonts to avoid writing. Now I settle on Times New Roman and get on with it. The DELation thing, small frustration when you realize you've been working so hard on it, but then, relief :)

  • http://penrocks123.typepad.com/ Nurse and Hospital Stories

    haha. This is a very creative post, eh. Indeed, when we are writing something, we may experience any of the said emotions. Great post!

    Peny@What Nurses Could Do to Co-Workers in Preventing Workplace Violence



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Neuroskeptic is a British neuroscientist who takes a skeptical look at his own field, and beyond. His blog offers a look at the latest developments in neuroscience, psychiatry and psychology through a critical lens.


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