February 1, 2014

Is Anger Good?

Some say yes, being angry is a good thing. It allows you to sharpen your focus and/or your attention on something that otherwise might fly under your radar or at the very least, something that requires a helluva lot more motivation than what you get.

Others say being angry is not so much a good thing. It allows to sharpen your focus and/or attention in a way that could be detrimental to your well being. Or at the very least detrimental to your reputation.

For me, I'm in the camp that looks to meld those two opposing viewpoints into a cohesive and highly functional 3rd viewpoint.

Many, many years ago, when I was first dipping my delicate little toes into the vast ocean that is writing, I wrote from viewpoint #. I churned out a lot of crappy/mediocre stories in those early years. Eventually I came to the realization that writing angry wasn't getting me anywhere, so I swung from DC to AC, and spent the next couple of years pursing viewpoint #2.

By and large that became my most successful (to this point) period of writing, with two short stories, a full length novel and a self pubbed shorty story trilogy. However the realization that maybe writing a mixture of both viewpoints quietly crept in, took hold of me by the nape of my neck and chucked me in that direction.

So began the 3rd part of my writing journey, in that I applied a mixture of both viewpoints. I toned down the anger to a more acceptable(for me anyways) level of compliance while at the same time pumped up the happy factor to a level that didn't compromise who I was as a writer.

Even though I was in a good place with my writing (equal parts moderate violence and moderately graphic sex) somehow I still had a nagging suspicion that something was missing. Eventually I was able to figure out that I really needed to tweak the mix that gave me a 3rd viewpoint and come up with a 4th viewpoint.

Thus, I began exploring the seamier side of my brain cells by digging really deep into the memory banks to see what I had stashed away from my 48 years on this planet. The end result of that digging is that my writing is gradually becoming darker and more warped.

For instance, I started writing a crime novel that dabbles in snuff (and no, I'm not talking about tobacco), but that eventually got put on the back burner since I quickly began creeping myself out. The novella that I started re-writing a few months ago I decided to make darker and more violent. Fortunately, this doesn't creep me out as much as the other novel.

As for the warped factor, I'm experimenting with that on my blog. For those of you who happened to remember a post called "In The Beginning", that one lightly touched on BDSM. Strange I know, warped for sure, but having done some research in the past (Playboy for example) and present (blogs), I felt reasonably comfortable enough to write about it.

To sum it up, I now sit here straddling the lines between two worlds. One world is where I apply in equal parts violence and sex to my writing, no matter what the shade happens to be. The other world the violence is tweaked to be greater than the sex.

So you might say that for me, anger is good. Not great, as I do have some limits and scruples, but good.

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.


  1. You ended up talking about two different things I think. I truly believe one kind of anger kept my husband alive much longer than he would have been otherwise. He managed to express his anger loud and with great expletives. Never toward any other person but directed at inanimate objects like tools and tractors, etc. It calmed him and reduced the amount of pain he felt. In that case I think anger was a very good thing.

  2. G.A.: I probably am. I had a lot of residual anger towards a particular family member which caused me to pursue writing as a viable form of therapy.

    I found out after a while that all that anger was becoming detrimental to my writing.

    I still get angry at certain people from time to time, and usually I release it in one of two ways: writing and having a low tolerance of stupid people.

  3. Having just been told my blood pressure is slightly high, my days of anger, and getting wound up and pissed off may have to be a thing of the past.

  4. Joe: That can't be good. Anger does work as a good release valve from time to time, but you do have to watch it as well.

  5. I'd say anger is good if it is properly directed and logical and addressed with appropriate action. The problem is that many people get angry and just last out without thinking much about what they say or do and regret it later.

    I've started writing a very dark story but couldn't get into it very far. Maybe I'll try to approach it again because I think the concept was good, but when I was trying to write it I just couldn't immerse myself into it very much.

    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out

  6. Arlee: I've burned a few bridges as a result of unfocused anger in my time, and let me tell, some of those burnt bridges still hurt.

    I've found over the years that trying to sustain anger in writing for any length of time is very hard.

    While having it to start is a good thing, something artificial needs to be applied in order to keep the mood. I'm re-writing a novella and because of the them (crime) I'm finding that listening to any kind of hard rock/heavy metals helps me stay focused for the task at hand.

  7. I'm with Arlee Bird. Anger is a message from yourself to yourself that says "Something is not right! Things must change!". If you use it to fuel change-action, it's good. If it festers and you can't accept an unchangeable situation, that's bad.

  8. I don't do angry well in my writing or in real life.

  9. S.R.: Yeah, that about sums up the conundrum I'm facing at work.

    Mama Z: I've done better with my anger in real life and I've learned to channel it better for my writing.


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