09 March, 2012

Chaos: A Writer's Struggle

Chaos in the world brings uneasiness, but it also allows the opportunity for creativity and growth. -Tom Barrett

This week - and the last - have not been easy for me. Lots of late nights, struggling with articles that don't work, and fitful sleep.

Add in penny pinching, car issues, and fighting with an old boss who is messing with my ability to file my taxes, and you have Stress Central.

I'm struggling to hold everything in place and stay sane at the same time. With the launch of my new writing business coming up, I'm sure the pace of life will only become more frenzied.

Something happened today, though, to cheer me up and make me hopeful.

A Cold Chill Hour

I had a bad morning. This may not seem like a very cheery thing but stay with me. It gets better. I had a huge number of emails from present and potential clients to sift through, two deadlines, and one big fat eBook to proof that is more annoying than I could possibly describe in one blog post.

Did I mention that the kitchen is now growing its own dirty dishes and the laundry pile in the bedroom needs rock-climbing gear to be scaled?

I fell behind in...well, everything. So I panicked. Because, obviously, it was no use trying to stop the storm. It had already picked up speed. The best I could hope for was to find some sort of shelter. I kind of felt like the Fellowship trying to plow their way through the blizzard on Caradhras.

As I gathered the clouds of despair around me, my cell phone rang. It was my husband calling on his morning break. "I love you," he said. "Do you know how proud I am of you?"

He shouldn't have been. I was running away from the storm, remember? But something about his faith in me perked my spirits. He believed in me. I wanted to believe in me, too.

I couldn't pick up the pieces of the morning that had scattered all over the house. My original plan had been shot to bits. But that didn't mean it was the only way to go.

So I wrote a few emails. I finished one article and sent it off. Brainstormed for the next while I introduced scummy dishes to their nemesis, Soap. A glimmer of hope rose in me. Maybe it could be accomplished.

The First Stir of Dawn

Like the Fellowship, the mountain pass didn't work out so well for me. But there was still another way. Yeah, Moria sucked, but they got through...and Gandalf became the uber wizard in the process.

"Moria" sucked for me, too, today. I had to work much longer hours than I anticipated. My dinner plans had to be postponed. I just finished my last piece of work and I still had a blog post to write.

But the point is: I got through it. And the struggle to do so just made me a little bit stronger for the next challenge.

We've All Been There

All too often, we writers bail at the first sign of trouble. It's too hard. Circumstances aren't perfect. The dishes are piled up. Our desks are full of paper trails. Sure, you want a clean area to write in, but waiting for it to happen is just a pretty form of procrastination.

C'mon, you know it's true. How much easier is it to scrub the entire bathroom with a toothbrush than to write that article or story?

The reality is, life isn't organized. It's chaotic. There will always be something, somewhere, that is going to get in the way if we let it. And schedules will fall apart. Yeah, I know, I hate that one, too. But it's going to happen.

Instead of falling apart - or running away from all responsibility just to get away from that blizzard - look around for that other path. It may not be pretty or even easy - and you may hate Moria - but it's another way to your goal. And isn't it better to be working towards something than just sulking in the middle of a freaking blizzard?

Does chaos interrupt your flow? What is your method for overcoming it?


  1. Wow, Jess... have you been reading my mind? There are days when I WOULD prefer cleaning the bathroom (both of 'em) with a toothbrush than getting down to business. Just one more thing and then I'll start... then another.. and another... wait a minute, here's something else. Next thing I know it's bedtime. Oh well, I'll start over tomorrow. When that happens for oh... say, 37 years or so, it gets to be a habit. Thanks for sharing your day with me. Now I don't feel so bad... well, maybe that 37 years part is still pretty bad :-)


    1. It is hard to sit down and do it. And when a lot of time passes (whether it's 7 months or 37 years) so that you can look back on it, it doesn't always feel good. Fortunately, it's a learning experience and it's never too late to get back up and try again. :)


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