It’s the Merry Month of May and everyone should be celebrating a new season of life and joy (of course this is a bit different for my friends in the southern hemisphere but you can’t talk to everyone at once lol! For all you guys, save this one up for your early summer days :))
Everywhere I go, everything I see is SO freaking serious. People are serious about politics, serious about news, serious about every thing. I get it, the world kinda sucks. It’s good to be grounded in reality and it’s good to know about current affairs and all the rest but what’s not good is for that to eat your life.
Where this really bugs me is in writing. As far as I’m concerned there is nothing serious about writing. I am not nor will I ever be (please oh please) a ‘serious’ writer. I can be a dedicated writer. I am happy to be a reliable writer but I refuse to be a serious writer. This is supposed to be fun and I’ve seen so much fun sucking lately that it has gotten bad enough to warrant a rant.
Now don’t get me wrong, I write about some extremely serious subjects, that isn’t what I mean. You don’t need to write to amuse people or to brighten people’s day. Writing can be a form of catharsis and for some of my writing it really does feel like I’ve cut my wrists open and every word is written in my blood. BUT then it’s over. The wounds that were opened to do the writing vanish like a cloud uncovering the sun. It’s ok to write about serious, triggering topics… if you can handle it.
Lately what I’ve been seeing in people is this drive to write everything at once. DO everything at once and there is a seriousness to them of someone who is disarming a bomb in their gaze as they do so. It’s not just writing but all aspects of publishing. Writing, editing, covers, final wazzname and all the rest. It’s fun sucking duty and I can tell.
Well, here’s the thing, it’s supposed to be fun and if you’re writing out of a foot dragging sense of duty or feeling overwhelmed then you need to take a beat. You need to sit down and remember why you first were drawn to writing and how you feel about it now. I’ve seen quite a few people plunge into the world of writing and suffer massive burnout. To quote from Detective Kant, ‘You’re going to burnout and start taking bribes, kid’.
I’ve seen people flip out because they have undertaken too much or they are just not having a good time or some mysterious other reason that I won’t pretend to understand. I’ve lost friends who feel that they have to make a dramatic exit instead of taking a few deep breaths and saying, ‘I need to take time off from writing. It’s not fun for me right now.’
Because I’m so involved in writing and StarkLight I think that I become inextricably linked in their mind with writing. Needing a break from writing doesn’t mean that you have to flip out and it doesn’t mean you have to stop being friends with your other writer friends..
I’ve seen a lot of writer friends lose other writer friends when things go from normal to some sort of writer burnout that seems to be reliant on purging all connections from writing from their life. Just take a beat! It’s supposed to be fun, and when it’s not fun everyday, it should at least not be a chore.
If you’re not deriving a sense of accomplishment from what you are working on then maybe give it a rest, or maybe you would be better suited working in another creative area. Writers are a strange tribe and it isn’t for everyone. That isn’t a judgement against you, it’s just the truth. The only judgement comes if you aren’t having fun and you push yourself until you break. No one else can see that you are breaking and no one can stop it. The sudden freakouts are bewildering to the rest of us who ARE having fun and we get sad and confused by the anger and hostility of someone who was our friend the day before and then erratically veers this way and that to force themselves into a position where they have no choice to but to quit writing and to do so angrily.
I think this advice can be applied to nearly any aspect of life but writing and other creative pursuits are emanations of the very soul and to burn that aspect of yourself is pain incarnate.
There is sunshine and beautiful days. There are birds singing and soon, water to swim in. If it hurts you to write change something but be gentle with yourself and remember, it’s supposed to be fun.