Thursday, June 8, 2017

How to do the WORD THING while the HOUSE IS ON FIRE?

The 'word thing' being writing books.

The house being the world.

The fire being...well, not usually an actual fire, but sometimes it is.

Also, there's a reason for the question mark at the end. I'm not sure I have the answer.

That is all. You may go.

You still here? lol You know me well!

Can I be real a second, for just a millisecond? I'll be weird and funny in a bit, but I have to say, I'm worried about some of my favorite authors. The ones who have the experience to handle the industry, but haven't let themselves go cold and hard. The ones that feel too much.

Those feelings, that empathy, makes them incredible story tellers. When they pull you between the pages of a book you forget all you're looking at is little black markings. The words disappear and you're taken away to a new reality.

For a reader that is the best feeling in the world. That escape is precious.

But the ability to bring emotions to the page, to the canvas, to the notes, what makes an artist so good at what they do also creates a certain vulnerability.

Ignoring the world around them is very hard.

I know I've tried to put on blinders so I only see the characters. Put on loud music so it's all I hear. But then a tiny voice in my head whispers 'You can feel the heat. The fire won't go away because you're trying to ignore it.'

This doesn't have to be about chaotic politics. It could be about something local. It could be shifts in the industry. Could be hardships in your own life. Whatever it is, the flames are licking up your spine and the smoke is suffocating you.

So what do you do?

Well, there's no one right answer, but one thing I find helps is letting yourself connect, even from a distance, to those going through the same thing you are. Part of the reason I'm writing this is because I try to share what helps me, you know? And hell, maybe these words will be what someone else needs to hear right now.

I'm not going to make this post overly political-that's what twitter is for! lol-but I will share some links in a bit to posts that helped me recently which are political. You may find them useful as well.

Now, what's on my mind that's making being creative so difficult? Well, for one, the attack in Quebec still has me on edge. Largely because after Muslim Canadians were murdered by a home grown terrorist-a white man, which is why it was glossed over so quickly-I became hyper-aware of how dangerous the shift in narrative is for minorities. 

Not to say I didn't see this before, but I didn't pay enough attention. I don't think anyone does until it's too late, which is fucked up.

I'm still finding ways to become more active in my community, but the first thing I knew I had to do is educate myself. I followed some incredible voices in the Muslim community and made a point of sharing their words. I speak up when I see people being racist assholes.

Thankfully, I've seen a lot of people doing the same. It's a small start, but all movements begin with one step. A few words. And a message.

I'm saying this because I know many are taking those first steps and, while it can be scary, it's so important.

So is living.

When things seem most hopeless, finding that reason to hope means EVERYTHING. There's defiance in joy. A reason songs are sung on the way to the battlefield. A reason some of the most beautiful art out there was created during the most tragic times in history.

Which brings me back to the topic of this post.

How do you write while the house is on fire?

I believe, part of the solution is a mix of doing what you can, when you can, and be gentle with yourself when you can't. If you need to step away from everything and binge watch Netflix, do it. If you need to read every news article you can find to understand WTF is going on, that's okay.

I recommend some serious self-care after though. A nice long bath. A walk in the park. Cuddling with the littles or your furbabies.

Also, those "Faith in humanity restored' videos are awesome.

And now for the writing part.

Sit down. Look at those words.

Now get up and go do something else. Think for a moment what would happen if you never wrote again. Do some laundry. Scrub the floor. Wash your windows, mow your lawn, and paint every room in your house.

Your house looks AWESOME!

Do you want to write yet?

Keep telling yourself you can't. That it's been taken away.

If you started doing any of that stuff, you probably wanted to write after the first ten minutes. It's natural for humans to want what they're told they can't have. You can make this seem even more real by putting a Post-it on your laptop/computer saying 'NO WRITING FOR YOU!'

I obviously can't guarantee this will work. But it doesn't hurt to try.

Consider me the Guinea Pig for my own experiment. I'm in the middle of trying this right now. I have been doing absolutely EVERYTHING but writing and my muse is getting louder and louder. My house is a whole lot cleaner, I've gotten on top of emails, drawn a lot, and caught up on a few shows.

And now I'm writing this post because I need to get words out. I NEED to write. And I'm gonna start telling myself to fuck off with the 'NO WRITING FOR YOU!' thing.

So there you have it.

And here are those links:

Why Persist as a Writer in times of such Heinous Fuckery

Trump got you down?

10 Solutions for Writers who Worry too much

My last solution will be one that is ALWAYS true for authors.


When you absolutely can't write, try reading. It's what made you fall in love with the written word in the first place.

Let yourself fall in love again.

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