Writing During Desperate Times

Don’t let them get you down

Photo by Adam Cao on Unsplash

Wow, what a time last week was, right? I used the word desperate in my subject line. But, as a friend and I discussed on the phone this week, I could also have chosen any number of “d” words. Like disgusting, or demeaning, or damaging, or darkening or damned. You get the idea.

And, really, desperate times were the last thing on my mind to write about this week. I’ve actually been feeling pretty hopeful about the state of the world, even though I see it mostly from the window next to my desk, thanks to the raging pandemic.

But then Wednesday happened.

Holy crapola.

Watching the news was distracting (another “d” word), to say the least, and continues to be so.

What’s a writer to do?

Well, write.

Turn the f$#*ing news channel off, stop doom scrolling, quit reading headlines on your computer. And write. Go to the page, be it analog or digital, and write. Lose yourself in a story set in another world, kinder and gentler than this one. Write out your angst and agony. Use your writing to carry you through.

Yes, I know it is difficult to get there. But, like starting a diet, quitting drinking, or establishing any kind of consistent practice, the first step is the hardest. Get yourself to your writing any way you can — trickery or deceit or bribery (chocolate or wine work for me). Because I’ve learned, and relearned, and relearned again, that passion comes from action.

You feel like crap, you don’t want to write, you stall and procrastinate and even go so far as to change the bed and do laundry and then you have no more excuses. You drag yourself to the page. One word occurs to you to write, and then a sentence, and then a paragraph. And before you know it you’re wrapped up in the story and full of energy and excitement for it.

Passion comes from action. That’s the power of getting yourself to the page, even in discouraging, despicable, desperate times.

Writing is our super power. The pen is mightier than the sword and all that. Don’t let these events get the better of you. Don’t let the bastards get you down. Go write.

Oh, and wait! I thought of another “d” word. Deplorable. Let’s make sure we don’t use that word to describe our writing — or our writing habits.

(A slightly different version of this post appeared in my newsletter last Sunday. If you’d like to get inspirational love letters in your inbox, click here. To visit my website, go here. And thank you for reading.)

Novelist, writing teacher, coach. Workshops in France, Portland, and virtually. Sign up for weekly love letters and get a free Ebook: https://tinyurl.com/y9rfp3

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