“2016 is going to be a good year.” I said it in the last hours of last year. So many awful things happened in 2015, that I just knew this coming year would be amazing. I imagined all the good that would happen. I wold finish my novel, we would save tons of money, and maybe we’d take another awesome family vacation–this time somewhere more relaxing.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. Almost immediately 2016 issued forth a wave of worse case scenarios, and the hits just keep on coming. This has been the year of endurance. Like a marathon runner I simply try to keep my pace steady, breathe, and have faith that I’m going to feel that sense of relief when the finish line crosses under my feet.
It isn’t all bad though. I have an amazing family whose first instinct is to pull in close like a crochet stitch when the string of urgency is tugged. Some of the worst moments, have yielded some of the most beautiful too, reminding me, like a Pixar movie, that not all darkness is sad.
My pen, too, has been on a roll. Thankfully writing is a helpful tool to manage anxiety, which seems to rear its ugly head more often lately. Just putting words on paper, even if its to make a list of all the ways I feel awful, is the only thing to relieve the stress. Other times, magic happens.
Last week, in a moment of desperation I resolved to finish a scene I’ve been struggling with. I fought the resolution for most of the day, finding all kinds of distractions. The house got cleaner. The laundry got folded. Social media sunk tentacles into me. Finally I stared down the clock, and offered myself twenty minutes of writing, as an alternative compromise to quitting for the day. Twenty minutes turned into two hours, and at the end of it, my scene was complete. It was a tortured victory, but it worked.
Being a writer means having to fight your demons, and embrace them all at the same time. We have no one but ourselves to overcome, and only a finite amount of time in which to accomplish it. While it might seem like we should give ourselves time to deal with the obstacles life deals us; the truth is that we are writers. The way we deal with things is to write.
So the next time the mountain seems too high, or your world seems to be collapsing all around you, instead of pushing it away. Pick up your pen, and write on through the pain. The worst that could happen is that you write a bit of drivel. On the other hand, what you write could be exactly what you’d be missing.