When Does Reality Affect Your Writing? by Marie Lavender
Our lives take a toll on us. We amble through each day, dealing with each stressor the best way we can. But, we are not infallible. Nor are we indestructible.
Some of us have to pay the bills somehow while we wait for our ship to come in. So your job can put more stress on you. There are a million distractions, and not always the good kind. Yeah, it’s nice when the day looks pretty and you feel encouraged to go explore. That’s a pleasant distraction. The not so pleasant kind can deter from your writing. We all know what that can entail. Pressure in all directions.
I saw a quote recently that I think is very apropos. Ray Bradbury said, “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” So, what kind of reality does he mean? Well, I think all of us can imagine. What in your reality keeps you from working on your novel, poem or play? I have a tendency to be too realistic, a flaw my fiancé reminds me of often. But, I’m a creative soul too. And my tendency to be so realistic does distract me from writing. Because I tend to focus too much, to worry too much about the future. What if? What will happen…blah, blah, blah. I’m sure some of you are familiar with that train of thought.
You know the fire. The burn. The urge to make your hands pick up a pen or fly across a keyboard. You feel it every day, even underneath all those distractions. You feel it when, finally, at some point, a scene comes into your mind. The muse has blessed you again. And yet, as writers, we can be hurt too. Yes, we’re all human. But, I don’t imagine many people know how hard it is not to write, not to feel that utter freedom of creativity. How exhilarated you can be when something just clicks inside of you, some part of the plot, some facet of the character. You start writing and don’t stop for twenty minutes or even longer. Ah, the ecstasy of it. No one knows better than a writer how that can feel.
So, let’s examine Mr. Bradbury’s words a little. Stay drunk on writing? As if it’s a drug or alcohol? Do we actually want to be intoxicated? Well, maybe not in reality. But, on writing? Yes! Oh, if only we could endlessly feel that freedom. Every one of us wants to. Don’t deny it. And it is like a drug, addictive in its own way.
And what else did Ray say? Reality will destroy you. Okay, being realistic isn’t so bad, right? It helps us accomplish our tasks for the day. Hell, it even takes a little realism to outline your story because you’re looking at it from a different perspective. So, maybe what we can surmise from it is this: too much reality destroys our joy of writing. Sure, I can see that. With all the deadlines and the phone calls and the bills (of course), and any other distraction in our lives, how can we truly enjoy writing? I guess finding a good balance is a good way to live.
Find your joy. I urge you to write. We know we can’t immerse ourselves too much in that world or things won’t get done, right? How many times have you written or focused on a project for hours only to come up for air when someone in your family says, “Are you still working?” I have to laugh at that. Because you just did it. You were able to close out the distractions of the world around you long enough to experience how wonderful writing is. And you didn’t even realize it. Isn’t that the best part? How does the saying go? How time flies when you’re having fun. And despite all those deadlines and edits or rewrites, despite the way you have to promote yourself to sell a book, you were able to feel the joy of writing. Because writing can be fun. It can be fulfilling.
So, my one piece of advice I can leave you with, friends, besides finding a happy medium, of course, is to be joyful. Find the inner child in yourself. The writer knows what I’m talking about. Even those who aren't writers know what I'm talking about. Maybe your passion is scrapbooking or pottery. There is that part of yourself that cannot help but feel happy when you’re in the moment. Nourish that part of yourself. Sure, there will be things that drag your attention away from it, but as long as you can return to that joy time and time again, you’ll never stray too far. And we can thank Ray Bradbury for his wise words. “Stay drunk on writing” and never let reality destroy your joy.
Marie Lavender has been writing for over twenty years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. She has published sixteen books. Marie’s real love is writing romances, but she has also written mysteries, literary fiction and dabbled a little in paranormal stories. Her most recent release, Upon Your Return, a historical romance, was published in February with Solstice Publishing.