I tried to fight it for a while, keep things as close to “normal” as possible, but that gets tiring. It was also selfish.
Yes, I said selfish. One thing that gives people a lot of satisfaction is helping someone else. But that means someone actually has to let them help. And in order for the givers to be of service, they have to know what you need, which in turn means you have to (gasp) ask for help or admit you need it.
Then there’s the other extreme. Instead of trying to do it all, there were numerous times I just wanted to curl up and do nothing; let the tide of life flow over me and hope it ebbed soon. But in a way, that’s stressful too. It’s hard wanting to go hide, but knowing that won’t earn your paycheck, without that the grocery shopping won’t get done, and if you don’t shop the pets (or kids if you have them) don’t eat, etc., etc., etc.
What on earth could that have to do with writing?
More than you might think.
At times like these for someone who has a “real job” (as if writing doesn’t involve work), the creative pursuits are often the lowest on the priority list. IF you get all the mandatory things done, and IF you still have energy left, then and only then do these extra activities get slotted into your day. Paradoxically, this is the time you need those activities the most! That’s because these are the things that are relaxing and relieve stress for creative folks, which is something you really need when life is piling on more than you can handle.
Time spent writing is our escape, a cave to hide in for a time, and a source of renewal. It is a way to express emotions and helps us make sense of the chaos.
You could also call this stressful time a blessing in disguise. Yeah, I got behind on my writing and have quite a bit of work to do to catch up to where I want to be. But I have great stuff I can draw on later; events, discussions, and feelings, all potential pieces of stories to be. More importantly, I know how strong my ties to friends are. I am richly blessed. This brought me even closer to some of those people. And relationships are important for the writer, for without relationships with others, our stories would become flat and the characters mere paper dolls.
The next time life gets a bit overwhelming, I’ll make the time for something creative, reach out and accept what others have to offer, and use it to give dimension to my stories.
Your turn. What have you gained from a tough time in your life? What are your blessings in disguise?