Most mornings the alarm goes off, you’re dragged viciously from your peaceful reprieve from a chaotic and noisy world, and left treading water in another daily cycle of angst, depression and anxiety.
I doubt it. Mornings are tough, and like a hungry predator they find us at our weakest (especially on these dark and dreary autumnal morns). As writers, one of our best defences in struggling through that first difficult hour, as we get ready for the work commute or get the kids ready or maybe just shake off a hangover, is trying to blindly scrabble around in the dark in search of that loose lifeline, you know, the tatty one on the verge of unspooling from that shiny new, barely formed writing project. When we grasp it, something incredible happens. It can provide us with the hope and meaning in tackling another hard slog of a day. The lifeline grants us the resolve and the drive to finish our shift, clock out, and then begin hitting the keys or inking the page for that new book or screenplay or blog or poem. Whatever it is, as writers there’s always that sense of purpose and satisfaction in chipping away at a new project. Sometimes the lifeline snaps and goes nowhere, leaving us stranded in the gloom. But when it does we should all endeavour to reach for another lifeline, no matter how tenuous it may be, because by doing so, we might find a lifeline which guides us out of our latest moping session.
It could be a piece of writing which stills the noise and the nonsense that percolates all too often in our heads, heralding a brief calm, and a palpable sense of joy in having exorcised some of our demons onto the page. Whether it’s writing purely for your own sanity, or entertainment meant for the eyes of others, writing is a fantastic form of therapy. Yes, it can be incredibly hard work. How enervating it can be to grind away at working out a troublesome plot point, perhaps devising a particular character’s defining attributes, or coming up with a new blog topic (take this one for example, not exactly a tour de force of insight – but even if I’m not working on a new book draft it’s good to write just for writing’s sake!), but on the other side of this emotional mine field of self-loathing and doubt, the uplifting boost experienced when breaking through and making progress on a piece of work is borderline euphoric. It’s like a drug. And as writers we’re always looking for our next fix: got a loose idea for a new story? Knock it around and see where it goes. Got something personal bugging you? Scribble it down to keep it from incessantly banging around the inside of your skull like a cloud of pissed off hornets (DISCLAIMER: if the latter is nothing but bile and rage, why not write it, but keep it to yourself instead of unleashing it upon the world?). Hell, even if it’s only a half-amusing limerick, scrawl it on a toilet wall; someone might get a chuckle out of it when taking their constitutional.The point is, writing can be both grief counsellor and creative platform, it can even be both if one informs the other, and if there are any none-writers reading this, why not give it a go? Whether it be plucking up the courage to write a story (whatever the size), or just jotting down your troubles, it can do wonders for clearing out the ever growing clutter of the mind.Well, that’s my quota for the day. Hope it helps. But then again, I’m probably the last person who should be doling out mental health advice. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go hose the blood out of the back seat of my car. Happy writing, and Happy Halloween.