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How to improve your writing (and your love life)

According to a study by diabolical psychologist Joe Forgas of the University of New South Wales, unhappy people make the best writers.

He did a series of experiments where he bummed one group out and cheered another up. “Trained essay raters” determined that the unhappy subjects wrote superior essays.

According to Forgas “mildly negative mood may actually promote a more concrete, accommodative and ultimately more successful communication style.” (Had he been a little more disappointed in the results he would have crafted a better sentence.)

Along the same lines, it has also been found that people do better work on cloudy days than on sunny ones.

Being in a foul temper may also be good for your love life. According to Forgas, “mild negative affect may actually promote a more concrete and more situationally attentive communication style in intimate relationships.”

So wipe that smile off your face.

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Via the Web of Language

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5 Comments

  1. According to a study by diabolical psychologist Joe Forgas of the University of New South Wales, unhappy people make the best writers.

    Stands to reason.

  2. I say one can be perfectly happy when writing— but to write any fiction worth reading, the characters must suffer. This is a sadistic enterprise, alas. Because if they’re not suffering, where’s the story? I (vaguely) recall a chapter title in a how-to-write book as “Make ‘Em Suffer.” I sign off as,

    🙁

  3. If Forgas is right, sadism would avail you little because if you enjoyed your characrers’ suffering you writing would, well, suffer. Instead you would have to ache for them.

    Personally, I reject the theory of the superiority of the suffering writer. But I haven’t done a study.

  4. I prefer rainy days.

  5. Everyone knows it’s that old circular logic: I am unhappy not writing, so eventually, I write. I’m unhappy with what I’m writing, I edit it, work at it, I’m happy (briefly or not). Repeat.

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