Does great writing only come from pain?

There is a theory that all art is best when it’s fueled by pain. While I agree that some art created from pain is great, it can’t only be about pain, and it shouldn’t keep you from writing from a place of happiness.

When you’re in pain, you’re more in need of an outlet where you can share your pain, but “hide” behind the creative aspect of it. When you use a creative way to express your pain, you can direct your pain and manipulate it in a way that’s the most freeing for you. You’re in control of what happens; if you’re writing about a break-up, you can end it differently than it ended in real life. You can share your deepest darkest thoughts, live out a fantasy, and free yourself that way from your pain.

You can seek to be understood, but at the same time you’re separating yourself from your pain by turning it into art. That art is a piece of you, but only a piece and doesn’t reflect your true self (not always at least). And once you write out your pain, you can leave it and find peace.

There is also something interesting about exploring other people’s pains through their art (explore as in live, feel and share). Someone might be able to capture and express through their art what you feel, and it can liberate you as well. Art is a form of communication and a way to link people from across the globe together. Maybe it’s because we all struggle in some form or another in our lives, and it’s easier to connect to art that speaks to some aspect of our life. It gives us an escape, but at the same time it’s a way to be inspired, feel comforted and share our own experiences.

I said at the very top that it can’t only be about pain though. If a story is only about struggling, it can become very heavy and dark. So I think it’s about finding the right balance between pain and happiness. Writing (to me) is a reflection of the ups and downs of life, so it can’t be all good or all bad. It’s a mix between highs and lows. I also think it’s limiting to say that you can only write from a place of pain; I think writing is about exploring all your feelings, and expressing them whether they are happy or sad, angry or nostalgic.

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