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Has Being Pissed Off Ever Made You Write A Better Story?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by daytonadan1983, Sep 28, 2020.

  1. 2muchcoffeeman

    2muchcoffeeman Well-Known Member

    You’re a writer. You can do this.
    Michael_ Gee likes this.
  2. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member

    Write a better story?

    RonClements likes this.
  3. 3_Octave_Fart

    3_Octave_Fart Well-Known Member

    What about a better poem?
  4. Oggiedoggie

    Oggiedoggie Well-Known Member

    It has occasionally made me find a better job.
    stix likes this.
  5. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member

    Maybe. Good question. Anger confuses as much as it clarifies.

    Writing while you're angry - or drunk or sad or joyful, etc. - obviously informs the work.

    But everything informs the work. The music we listen to while we write, or the silence we need to write or the last book we read or the argument with our partner or the kids screaming or the view out the window or the bill from a creditor or the sky a certain blue, etc., ad inf.

    Those things are all always in the work.

    But which of them sharpen the art? Which make a piece better?

    And which of them just make the writer feel better?

    The trick with passions (anger, hate, love, desire and so forth) is to go back after the heat has cooled out of the poem or the story or the song and judge the work then, dispassionately.
    3_Octave_Fart likes this.
  6. ADanielPandR

    ADanielPandR Member

    If anything, writing can be therapeutic when something is relentlessly frustrating me. Whether that translates to a quality product, I cannot say.
  7. 3_Octave_Fart

    3_Octave_Fart Well-Known Member

    Stephen King has said he has no recollection of writing certain novels.

    Poe once wrote a book about molluscs for drinking money (terrific essay in Stephen Jay Gould's Dinosaurs in a Haystack - "Poe's Greatest Hit")

    If the inspiration is there, it's there.
  8. daytonadan1983

    daytonadan1983 Well-Known Member

    Couple of more from me

    1) When Frank Robinson died, I remembered that our baseball team played the Nationals in a Spring Training game, but couldn't find anything other than a photo. Contacted the Nationals, but got "a we don't have anything, trying contacting the school." I so wanted to say "I am that school and you're the *&^$ Washington Nationals", but I chilled, regrouped and an hour later, found everything I needed on microfilm at the library. Campus photographer also came up with a great photo...and this happened https://bcuathletics.com/news/2019/...-cookman-also-had-a-frank-robinson-conenction

    2) When our baseball team beat Florida to send the 2017 Regional into a final game, it was then and there the local shop decided to come up to Gainesville. I'd been there all week column writing, and I was annoyed. That morning at breakfast, I decided "I'm gonna kick his ass" metaphorically and write the hell out of it. Ryan: Enjoyed The Ride? Sure Did. - Bethune-Cookman University Athletics

    3) Our men's basketball coach first game was the same night as his father's program first NCAA game after NAIA transitioning. Cool Father-Son story, right? Well, it was in November on a Friday prep football playoff night. Local shop, which, yes, was shorthanded, decided to staff the other game because it started earlier and we were/still are pretty good at sending in photos and story. Understandable, but they missed the point.

    @Doc Holliday got me through this.
    Me: If you only have to resource to staff one game, you still can cover two games and featurize it.
    Doc: How do you do that?
    Me: Watch. A Basketball Family: Ridders Enjoy Special Week The Best Way They Can - Bethune-Cookman University Athletics

    Also, Jeff Goodman wanted to do something for ESPN, but was swamped. "Jeff, if I write it, will you tweet a link?' "Deal." 38K impressions.

    Next morning, local shop sees what I did and then gets around to its version of my write. Requests additional photos. Of course I provided them ... a few hours later.

    Maybe I do have an anger management problem.
  9. BYH 2: Electric Boogaloo

    BYH 2: Electric Boogaloo Well-Known Member

    The inspiration, in King's case, was mountains and mountains of cocaine.
  10. stix

    stix Well-Known Member

    Lack of time makes me a better writer, because I’m a chronic over-thinker.

    The more time I have to think, the more chance I have to clutter up my story.
  11. Bronco77

    Bronco77 Well-Known Member

    From a copy editor's perspective:

    If I came into work and got in trouble for a busted headline or cutline or whatever, I'd get really angry at first and then take on an "I'll show 'em" attitude. It often resulted in some really good work -- including what was possibly my all-time best headline.

    If I was mad about something at home, work often was a way to get away from it, and I'd really focus on my job.

    As for bringing a partner to the workplace, the only two were the future wife and the last woman I dated before I met the future wife (who worked in advertising, but at an agency and not the paper). We had large sports and news copy desks at the time (early '90s), and both expressed amazement that so many people were working after normal business hours. My future wife was very perceptive -- she observed that the newsroom "looked like an insurance office." Most of my co-workers said the same thing after we moved from our old building.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2020
  12. Twirling Time

    Twirling Time Well-Known Member

    Not a chance. I might write something angry, then sleep on it and modify it the next day. The one time I didn't was when the flagship HS coach blew me off after getting beat by 33 points. I ripped him a new hole and it felt good.
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