“Never write anything that does not give you great pleasure. Emotion is easily transferred from the writer to the reader.” – Joseph Joubert, Born May 7, 1754.
Maybe Joe here was only intending to write things that gave people pleasure. In which case, I would agree with the first part of his statement.
But is pleasure really the only thing we want the reader to experience?
Because the second part of his statement is definitely true – especially for a writer skilled enough to be evocative.
Be angry, write angry, and you'll make the reader angry. That works just as well as enjoying your subject – as far as transferring your emotions to the reader. Rage, sadness, ennui, agitation, righteous goddamn indignation: you can stoke any emotion you can think of…
…IF you can describe a scenario sufficient to evoke it in the reader. Draw from whatever you know that they know. Memories. Common experiences. Current events. Pop culture references. Touch on the emotions you want them to feel, and they will.
The magic of this is because the memory of a feeling is really difficult for the brain to separate from the feeling itself. So you bring it back to the surface, but then agitate it.
Whatever the emotion is, you start stacking the described scenario so it amplifies it. Tap it again and again, so it gets more intense each time.
And then you come to the pivot. The promise of a means to reverse that emotional response and regain control of it. To bring it back to the feeling they would prefer.
All we do is make you pay before you get the relief part.