Friday, February 3, 2017

When You Can't Write Because The World is Burning

I have seen a lot of my writer friends talk about how difficult it is to focus on writing in our current political and social climate, and I understand it. Awhile back I wrote about how there are a lot of things that make writing difficult, and being mentally or emotionally strained is one of them.

Personally, the more angry, upset, or generally bummed out I feel, the easier it is for me to write. It feels good to get into a zone where I'm in control and my mind is firmly with a universe of my own making. Being depressed or feeling defeated is a different story, though, and I think we all have different levels of despair we can reach before the writing starts being difficult.

Rather than give tips on writing, I'd like to give tips on recharging, because even if you decide today you don't care about writing, you'll need to take care of yourself regardless of what is on the news.

1. Don't drink yourself to death. Like many of you, a good whiskey or a big margarita helps me chill out after a rough day or works as a reward when I've put up with a lot of shit. I'm not a teetotaler and wouldn't suggest ending a relationship with alcohol for anyone who isn's suffering from addiction. But, you know, drink some water, too. Hangovers fucking suck, and they're only going to get worse if you start drinking your worries away instead of enjoying at a level that doesn't leave you useless.

2. Find the music that lifts your spirits. This is different for everyone. When I need a happy boost I actually listen to some really depressing music. It works for me. Maybe you need something more upbeat. The point is, when it's quiet, listen to music that makes your heart happy. Allow yourself that.

3. Take 24 hours away from social media. Just 24. Don't make promises you may not be able to keep about a week or permanent hiatus from Facebook. Just say to yourself in the evening "I'm not doing this tomorrow" and stay clear. You'll get a break from the stuff you didn't even realize was putting you on edge.

4. Go outside. If it's cold, you'll get a refreshing chill, if it's sunny you'll get a little boost of vitamin D. If it's dark, enjoy the stars or moonlight behind the clouds. It's free, it's easy, and it only takes a minute.

5. Read. Read an old book you love, read a new book you're excited about. Check out some short stories. Leave the news behind, if only for twenty minutes, and enjoy stories.

6. Go fucking write. You know, and I know, that you love this or you wouldn't call yourself a writer. Take care of you, and then take care of business.


Art Taylor said...

Great advice!

Dana King said...

And remember, the writers who make a difference are those who continue when things are bad, pointing out the injustices. Not writing because times are tough is tacit whining.