So today is a snow day but I still made my way into the City this morning and on my commute, listened to a beautiful song by the (in)famous Ke$ha called “Praying”. When you listen to this song, you can really feel it to your bones she speaks from the heart, and sings with so much emotion. All the hardship she’s been through made her transcend herself. The pain she felt has become a vessel for her inspiration, and you can tell, by listening to the lyrics, that she remained true to herself. There’s no glitz, no glamour, no extra bright lights. It’s raw, it hurts, and it’s beautiful.
This song made me then ponder about my own writing and creative process. I started writing heavily in 2010 while I was going through a shit storm of everything and anything that can make your life hell, and I used this heartache to fuel my stories. My craft was not perfect by all means, but the message went across and many people identified. I used Twitter a lot, built a following and joined a community of writers and like minded creators and felt at home for a while. Then life got better, and my writing lost its spice. I disconnected myself from the community, and continued my writing journey away from Twitter and social media platforms in general.
I deeply believed pain was necessary for me to create anything worthwhile. And it’s not an exaggeration to say many poets and authors were tortured individuals, and they created masterpieces because of their misery. Happiness does not fuel the creative process the same way. I noticed it with my own process, and the stories I crafted and am still in the process of crafting. I, first hand, don’t want to sit down for hours at my computer anymore and write, and edit, and write and edit, but sitting down is not even the issue. My characters and my plots don’t feel the same when my life is good. I don’t need them to save me from myself. Because let me tell you the truth: I lived through my characters more than I lived my own life. I hated my life honestly, so fantasy was a good escape for me at the time. I wouldn’t say it saved me from myself, because I hit my bottom anyway, but it did the trick for a while.
So where am I now with my writing since my life does not suck anymore? Well, I want to write funny stuff. I have ideas about roller derby, and my alter ego Kiki Reynolds and her adventures. I also have my trilogy The Manicheans which has been on the front and back burners for years… Rewritten countless times, it’s way harder to write comedy than dwell on depressing garbage all day long by the way, and I still haven’t found my voice. Probably because my voice is constantly changing. I also don’t want to necessarily write commercial stuff. It’s rough. Writing is an art that lost a bit of its flavor over the years and development of self publishing platforms. Anyone can write. Anyone can publish. Freedom for all, which is wonderful and all at the same time awful for folks who really want to write quality content. You get lost in the masses. Marketing takes all your time too. Social media management becomes a second job. Automated tools to post and repost content are also a handful… See I started writing on a typewriter when I was about nine years old, so moving on to now, I did not consider writing as more than just you write your book, and you publish and that’s it, you move on to your next project. Yeah, I lost my inspiration. I really did, which made me question my entire creative process when I listened to Ke$ha’s song and wondered, do I need pain in my life to be able to write again?
I don’t think I do. I have to get used to creating without a crutch. Because pain was my crutch for so long. I have to really dig deep, sit down (and gosh I hate sitting down so I’ll stand), and draft outlines, character profiles, and plots. Practice can only make me so perfect. I’ll practice. The marketing component, however, just kills me. Thinking about it, I want to pull my hair out. Do I want to write something commercial? No. I don’t. Then I should not expect to find instant gratifying success and sell a thousand copies of my books in a month. I therefore should not worry about the marketing process. Stop projecting all together, girlfriend, and just write!
Now this post reads more like a rant than anything else. I swear I did not mean to rant. I’m not even upset it’s snowing out. I actually enjoy any weather now, and I’m not saying that with any sarcasm. I enjoy being outside. I love feeling one with nature, no matter whether it rains or shines. I find it peaceful. I don’t lose myself in the every day noise anymore. And not losing myself in my own head’s noise anymore either makes me not really care about spending hours marketing my talents and showing the world I can wow you with my words. Yes, I love to write, and I will write because I enjoy it. Period. I don’t need to sell or market, or develop content so that the world can treat me like an influencer. If I influence you, then it will be completely involuntary.
I’m not trying to impress anyone, and this has been the biggest change for me since 2010. I’m not running in this competition for Best Selling Author. I’m sure I will continue working on my works in progress when the creative spirit strikes me spineless. I’m mostly experiencing now. And experiencing joy takes over feeling pain. Just living makes me smile.
So do I have new stuff? No. Am I going to try to put new stuff on this platform? Yes, I’ll try. I always say that, and then remain silent for the rest of the year. But seriously, I’ll try.
I know I already said that. I have to repeat myself sometimes.
3 commentsAdd Yours
Writing out of pain is natural. I think that pain is more complicated than happiness. Imagine that you are happy and you call someone to share it. The conversation might be actually very short. “oh wow you got the job? That is great”. But if you call someone out of misery and pain, the conversation will be much much longer and might dive into the depth of the human nature of our society. That is why people go to therapy. They want to understand why they feel sad in the first place, and that is a difficult thing to know. Like a hidden part of us knows the reason, and it plays hide an seek with us. We need to think out loud, and we need people to give their opinions to why we feel the way we feel. Writing can be an excellent way to “think out loud.”
Sadness is much much more complicated and much more interesting (for me). Happiness and joy are quite straightforward. I think that is why it is hard for you to write. Maybe I’m wrong. I’m no writer, and I don’t read much fiction anymore so that I might be wrong.
I think that there are plenty of things hidden in plain sight to be discovered, that might give you the push you need. Just keep you 5 senses open.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post, and comment! You’re absolutely right, writing out of happiness is way harder. Not less interesting, just hard. It’s easier to write drama, than comedy. I think it’s just the nature of things. The silver lining in the cloud. You focus on the cloud more than the silver lining. 🙂 But I am managing to find ideas. You’re right, I just need to look around.
Good things take time, no doubt.