All writers have challenges—just like everyone else. Medical issues, family issues, outside work issues. We’re not exempt
. And like everyone else, writers must come up with sometimes unique methods of countering those issues to lessen their effect on both daily life and work.
Here are a couple things that impact this writer.
Being stuck at home for lengthy periods of time. Creative impulses stagnate and writing processes falter. The lack of constant stimulation from both daily encounters and inspiration leaves a void that’s difficult to emulate inside four walls. My method for replicating outside stimulation allows me to indulge in rabbit holes—normally a bane afflicting writers everywhere.
For anyone unfamiliar with rabbit holes, the subsequent warren of information can result in hours of seemingly wasted time. The subjects revealed and distractions spreading out into a labyrinth of unrelated topics often drive writers to the hair-pulling stage.
Why? Well, most writers consider the rabbit hole experience as undisciplined behavior. The mind takes off on a flight of investigative fancy, having little or nothing to do with the topic at hand. Research is like that. Many times, one must sift through the chaff to find the kernels.
As someone who’s always interested in new info to tuck away for later use, I love rabbit holes. More so now than ever before. I allow myself the input, take notes and references for creating new articles and markets beyond what I’m working on now. I find material to use on a current piece, while stashing additional material for up to ten articles down the road. In the process, I strive to make the broadest sweep of markets possible.
For some writers, this deviation removes their attention too far from what they were looking for in the first place. It irritates them, probably because they feel guilty for the deviation. It smacks of a lack of discipline and focus.
I prefer flexibility. But then, that’s just how my head works. Along the way, though, I get great new ideas for stories, poems, essays and articles. My horizons are more fluid than many out there. And that has its own challenges.
Discipline is required for completion of current projects. That’s the real challenge for me—staying the course to completion, while continuing to jot down new work possibilities.
Another thing that could easily trouble writers at the moment, is the noise levels around them and their work space. The writer doesn’t have to be a parent to suffer this problem. There are parents around them, in apartments or neighborhoods who’ve been stuck at home,
too, with children and pets. The level of constant background noise shifted for the writer when everyone started staying at home. Kids were playing outdoors more often during working hours. Parents were stretched thin, trying to deal with home schooling, working from home, and trying to cook all their meals at home, plus all the rest of life’s daily chores.
I know I had my issues with the situation. Kids running up and down steel stairs for what seemed like hours every day in an echo chamber of concrete. I could’ve sworn they were in my living room/office. The screaming and squealing finally drove me find sound-deadening earphones and listen to music all day.
Truth to tell, I got very little done on the actual work front. For me, it became a year of planning, integrating new info and material for later projects, outlining and revamping old work for new purposes.
But I have survived. I have plenty to work on and a new determination to complete them all and move on to even more work.
Our challenges are only as onerous as our measure of flexibility and endurance. We can jump hurdles and obstacles in our way. We can come down on the other side better read, better crafted and more resilient to the flux of this new world experience we share.
To that end, I encourage everyone to stretch yourselves. Reach for something better within. And above all, leave the guilt outside the door. No one needs to tread on that all day, every day.
Enjoy this journey. It’s the only you’ve got. Make it something amazing for you, not for anyone else. Write, read, listen, explore.
Until next time, à bientot,