Writing when life gives you lemons
I write prolifically and usually I just tell people that I can do that because I don't have a life. That is only partly true. Yes, I'm single with no kids so I have my afternoon free to do as I wish. But actually I spend a heck of a long time staring at the screen. When I have a good go at it I can write about a thousand words in an hour. So if you can carve out an hour a day you can technically write a novel in two months maybe three. That is about what I'm doing now with all that extra time. But that isn't really what this post is about. This post is going to be about how it is essential for me to find that time. Especially when life's pressures are pushing on you to focus on it rather than the writing.
This too shall pass
I suffer from depression. Some days are better than others but one thing I have learnt is just to hold on as those bad times pass. To survive those bad times though can be tricky. If I think about the problems in my life when I am in those times the mole hills become mountains and mixing metaphors here I find myself drowning. So to prevent myself from dwelling on the awful I focus on something else. This can be a book but recently I've found I've read my 'library' out and there isn't really anything out there that can absorb me except writing. Writing is even better than reading as it can go past the pages. Like today I wasn't doing so well so I looked at my latest manuscript and realised I was at a spot where my protag is stuck on a moving train and I have no idea how I'm going to get her off. Every time the depression pushed in I push back with, "Now how do I get a pregnant woman off a moving train?"
Creativity is the next genius
In my classes at school I can have steady diligent workers but if they aren't creative thinkers they are always mediocre academically. But how do we become creative thinkers? I'm not sure but I can tell you, actually creating things surely will help. My dad and I were at a hardware store the other day. I had bought a chair that was missing some bolts to attach the bottom to the top. My dad and I had a discussion of what everyday gear would do the trick. One of the guys came over to help us but I could see in his eyes he was completely lost by our discussion. Not only is it the problem solving that I develop by writing but finding the words to communicate the idea that is important.
My grandad always had useless information. I'm the same to the point that when I say, "Did you know..." the kids at school always finish the sentence. I teach English but near the end of the year when everyone is panicking about the exams I often become the science teacher or the health teacher or the geography teacher in giving them revision. My love of useless information started from my grandad but I add to it because of my books. I've just finished my novel which is set in China. Did you know soccer/football was invented in China? I just learnt that in my research. Who knows what you will find out researching for your manuscript but I can tell you one thing it will make you smarter and more well rounded person.
My first book that I actually finished but will never published were Mary Sue's that dealt with issues in my life. I thought I was going crazy with all the things going on in my head. When I put it on a page and got some distance I could see it for what it really was and what had seemed like a massive problem was something solvable with only a little bit of work. Now I don't put such personal things into my books but I do play with issues. Like I had alcohol in one of my books. I took it out because it played on my mind for months. I realised later it was because of my alcoholic family. I grew up watching how alcohol controlled people's lives and I knew I would never be able to make alcohol a simple thing in my books.
I have other reasons to write as prolifically as I do but frankly I can't quite put my finger on what it is. I hope this post gives everyone the excuse to carve out that time to write as an essential thing needed in your life.