Full confession: I get irritable and depressed if I go for 3 days without writing. It doesn’t have to be much. A few notes about a character or idea. Maybe outlining a chapter or two when I have a few minutes. Just whatever I need to keep the imagination sharp and the creative juices flowing. This is one of the reasons why I have 30+ ideas spread out across large piles of notebooks. When you’re working other jobs, you end up using your lunch time to get the ideas out.
Still, it seems like adulthood is very anti-creativity unless you already have the right job or enough money to muck around with life. The stress and worry builds up a lot to the point where you might begin to fear that your imagination is seeping away. At least, that’s something that has happened to me a lot. One of the reasons I outline and plan so much is because it helps assure me that I haven’t lost the spark. That love of crafting a world that I can draw people into and give them the sense of escape that I had when writing every word of the book. When I write, I go on the adventure alongside my characters and this is an experience I always hope to share. Yet, I always have this fear that I might wake up one day and lose the ability.
I might be getting off topic, but there was a moment many years ago where I hit such a darkness that I couldn’t write any more. I don’t even remember how long it lasted or exactly how I got out of it. I can only recall two things. One was that it was a frightening experience for me. It made me think my entire life up to that point was a waste and that reality had robbed me of something special. The other is that I used notes and outlines to help start the recovery. Not sure if they jogged things back into place or came afterwards, but they were part of it. So, I take these activities very seriously because they have become my tether to my imagination when I can’t do full books.
One reason I bring this up is because I’ve had several moments this year where I fear that I’m about to go back into that abyss. Stress has been high and I’ve felt like my entire support system has decided to step out from beneath me. It’s hard to continue going when you get daily mentions of how you’re walking a flawed path, money issues, and all around shame at being associated with you. Yeah, this post is taking a dark turn, but some people have made it clear that they never wanted me to succeed in the first place. So, I’m a little bitter during the writing here. My point is that even the tried and true outlines that keep me going can lose some of their power. Writing is my mediation and it is getting muddied by negativity.
So, how much peace and tranquility do you get from writing? Is it a job, a calling, or a lifestyle for you? I’ll fully admit that I’m a combo of 2 and 3.