7 Ways Writing Saves Us When Life Is Hard

Tick-tock. The clock rolls on—marking time for all of us who are in the day-by-day progression of processing our understanding of and reaction to the nearly global and mostly voluntary quarantine in response to the startling arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic.

My own emotions have been all over the map—from a rational and pragmatic outlook one minute…

…to having all my germaphobic tendencies massively triggered the next…

…to a deep wrenching sadness for just everything

…to a somewhat out-of-character need to connect with a larger community…

…to sobbing in the bathtub…

…to gasping in joy because the redbud tree in my backyard is starting to bloom…

…to waking up after a huge hailstorm and forgetting for a minute that there was a pandemic at all…

…to experiencing a wondrous sense of hope and gratitude as I see so much good arising from so many people in response to the needs of others…

…to feeling like a crazy person for reacting like this…

…to remembering that probably most of the population is or has been feeling at least some of the same shifts.

Throughout it all, one of the constants that has shown up moment after moment to ground me and keep me moving forward with purpose and hope has been… writing. Whether in other authors’ books or in the Golden Hollywood classics I’ve been marathoning in the evenings or in my own writing, words and stories are what keep centering me in the present and giving me hope for the return of normalcy and purpose in the future.

Last week, I wrote about how I’ve learned to solidify and maintain a daily schedule while working from home as a full-time writer. While this schedule has been helpful to me during these weeks (and I hope to you as well), it would be a total lie to say it’s been easy to keep writing this past month. And yet, even as I have tried to be very gentle with myself, I have persevered determinedly with my daily writing schedule—because I am absolutely convinced that writing is the single best thing I can do right now for myself and for others (well, other than staying home…).

I’ve been hearing from other writers who are striving through the exhaustion and confusion of these times to pursue their creativity in ways large and small. I particularly loved this email from Joe West, who is currently hunkered down in New York City:

I should have written before to thank you for all you do for us struggling, bumbling, and ofttimes clueless writers. But today I have to make special note of your recent post mentioning Julia Cameron‘s amazing book The Artist’s Way. I’ve seen it around for years, of course, but was never tempted before. What serendipitous force (You!) prompted me to get the book on March 8th just before this pandemic hit the fan?

I’ve just completed Week 3 of the program. It has provided a framework and grounding and a secret safe haven in the midst of:

– losing my job
– my kids’ schools closing
– my city on lockdown
– the whole world going bonkers
etc., etc.

I’m really not sure I could have faced all this had I not already made a 12 week commitment to restore my creative self via The Artist’s Way program. So far it’s been more therapeutic than creativity enhancing, but if that’s the most I get out of it, it will have been well worth it. Thank you very much.

Keep the posts coming. Stay safe.

I spent most of last year struggling my way back to creativity (which is where The Artist’s Way came in for me). When everything else in life seemed so much much more important than writing—to the point that writing didn’t seem very important at all—something kept me showing up at the desk and poking at the keys. Deep inside of me I knew that my writing was my lifeline, that it would save me if I could just keep going and never give up.

Now I believe that more than ever.

7 Ways Writing Can Keep You Going

If you’ve been struggling to write these past weeks, consider first that writing doesn’t always have to be a big production. Sometimes the most important writing is the “worst” writing—the throwaway poems or emotional journal entries. What you write during this time doesn’t have to measure up to Shakespeare’s “plague plays.” It just has to be enough to keep you going.

Even if you can’t quite muster the energy to write, at least make sure you’re interacting with other people’s writing. And I’m not talking about coronavirus news articles. I’m talking about Shakespeare’s plays. I’m talking about John Ford’s westerns. I’m talking about Charles Dickens and Stephen Ambrose and Madeleine L’Engle and Margaret Mitchell and J.R.R. Tolkien and John Keats and Carl Jung and Emily Dickinson.

Writing and stories have the power to help all of us—but especially writers. Here are some of the ways.

1. Writing Offers Escape

Let’s just get this one out of the way. Although I often get sniffy at the idea of “stories as just escapism,” it’s really the “just” I take exception to—because of course stories help us escape. I ended up choosing a Golden Hollywood marathon this month not just because it takes me back in time to an often gentler and in some ways more sensible era, but also because it takes me back to my own childhood when I watched these movies incessantly. For two hours in the evenings, I forget what’s going on in my own life while I watch stories about people from the Great Depression and World War II finding courage and meaning in their own struggles.

When I write, it is the same–only perhaps more so. I disappear into the place in my head where the stories live. The daydreaming aspect itself is powerful, but when I’m also trying to juggle pretty sentences or wrangle difficult story structure and character arcs, I am apart from the real world. It can be tricky to get to that “place apart” when the real world is clamoring loudly (if only through my own physical tension), but when I persevere hard enough that I do get there, what I find is always worth the effort.

2. Writing Creates Catharsis

Ye olde Greek philosophers wrote a prescription for every citizen that directed them to watch a good tragedy play every so often in order to purge their emotions. The reason a story’s escapism is so powerful is not only because it distracts us from our problems, but even more so because it has the ability to aid in processing and even purging our emotions about our real-life problems. This is why we love a good cry over a sad movie or novel.

Again, the effect is magnified when you’re the one doing the writing. When it is your emotions pouring out onto the page through your own words, the catharsis can be deeply powerful. This is true whether you’re venting emotions in an argument between characters or whether you’re taking the more direct approach in a morning journaling session—such as Cameron’s recommendation of three “morning pages.”

In many ways, I think the catharsis offered through writing is perhaps its greatest gift to us during this time. With so much fear, confusion, and pent emotion, we need a safe and useful place to pour it all out. Even if what you write goes no further than your notebook, it will still be valuable. It may also become at least the rough draft for something you can use to reach out in empathy to so many others who are seeking their own catharsis for the same emotions.

3. Writing Offers Hope and Faith

When this all started, I wrote a post about “The Power of Hopeful Stories During a Stressful Time.” In times of darkness, we’re looking for answers, but as we experience the extent of our own helplessness, we’re also looking for hope—whether it be the hope of a greater meaning, the hope of a greater good, the promise of an ultimate purpose, or even just the encouragement that those who can do more than we are doing it.

Stories of truth—even if it’s just the truth of your own quest to keep faith and do something good for your neighbor—are powerful in this time. Fictional stories are equally powerful. Essentially, a story is a logical equation positing that when this happens, this is the outcome. When stories tells us everything will be okay, or at the least that we will grow and find gratitude, or perhaps that this is how we find our courage and our surrender, we instinctively know when they are offering us a plausible truth. When that truth is one of hope, it encourages us. When we find that truth in our own stories, then we know we already have that hope and that courage somewhere inside of us.

4. Writing Is Meditative

For years, I resisted the concept of meditation. Just the idea made me fidgety. I don’t want to clear my thoughts. I like my thoughts!

Then I realized that in many ways the “writing zone” is a very meditative state. It’s a blocking out of everything around us and a deep sinking into our intuition and imagination. It’s a melding of our conscious and unconscious, not unlike a dream state while sleeping.

Or at least that’s the goal. Most of us scrabble around in the more conscious parts of trying to create sentences and stories that make sense. I notice that I, for one, often resist the effort required to get into that zone in much the same way I do the idea of actual meditation. It requires the same quieting of my “talky” brain, the same groundedness and deep stillness within myself.

One trick I’ve learned that is helpful in getting me into that meditative writing zone is to set the timer for fifteen minutes and then just go! Entering that state of wakeful dreaming is less difficult when I’m not demanding I do it for an hour at a time. I’ll surface at the end of fifteen minutes, take a drink of coffee or whatever, maybe look over what I’ve written, then dive back in for another fifteen minutes.

5. Writing Helps Us Access the Healing Power of Archetypes

The unconscious doesn’t speak a language of words. Rather, it communicates with your conscious self through images—symbols (such as what you remember from your sleeping dreams). These symbols, especially the universal ones that we recognize as archetypes, have the ability to cut right to the heart of our human existence. This is why experiencing a deeply archetypal story—such as Lord of the Rings—can produce a feeling of psychological and emotional healing.

All stories are archetypal to one extent or another if only in their adherence to the structure of the story arc. But the more you understand and apply archetypes, the more opportunity you have to access (and wield) their healing power.

I’ve become increasingly excited about archetypal storytelling, especially after reading Kim Hudson’s The Virgin’s Promise and realizing my vague disaffection with the Hero’s Journey comes down to the fact that it is but one of several “life arcs” we all experience. I’ve been spending much of my writing time these weeks working through my own theories of six progressive types of arc common to human development (something I hope to share in a new series soon). These studies have been both grounding and exhilarating for me in a time when I need both experiences.

6. Writing Gives Us Connection and Community

The first (and perhaps most important) person who will be impacted by your writing is you. But writing is a form of communication. We share ourselves and our views of the world in our stories in order to share them with others.

I doubt there has been anyone during this quarantine who has not reached out to writing, in some form or another, in order to feel connected to specific people or simply to humanity in general. As writers, we not only have the opportunity to access this same connection and its sense of community, we also have the ability to lead the way in helping others find connection as well. Even when you are sitting alone at your desk and not a soul but you has yet to read your words, you are still reaching out, you are still connecting. It is a powerful feeling.

7. Writing Provides Purpose and Meaning

Finally, writing gives us something to do with our time that has a purpose, that feels productive, and that has at least the potential to find, create, and offer meaning to ourselves and others in a time when we desperately need it.

Life doesn’t always make sense. Its hardships often seem unending, and we rarely understand why we are facing specific challenges.

But stories always make sense. Stories tell us thematic truths. These truths are wide and varied—some hopeful, some not. But the very fact that we can write a story, create a narrative, and recognize the universal patterns of our existence is a powerful tool for bringing order to our own chaos.

More than that, when we can share ourselves authentically through the guise of a story, we give others the opportunity to recognize themselves, their own experiences, and their own truths. In so doing, we fortify their ability to stand strong. I’m sure we’ve all read or watched a story that made our own feeble hopes feel that much stronger simply because we’ve suddenly recognized we’re not alone! there’s someone else who dares to hope for the best as well!

***

If you haven’t the energy to write right now, don’t beat yourself up. There is a time for everything. The page will turn eventually, and a new chapter will begin. Perhaps that will be the chapter in which you return to your desk.

But if you can summon the energy to write something right now, even just a little bit, then I encourage you to do so. There are gifts waiting for you at your desk, and they are gifts that give to all of us.

Stay safe and healthy, friends!

Wordplayers, tell me your opinions! How is writing helping you (or not) during this time? Tell me in the comments!

Click the “Play” button to Listen to Audio Version (or subscribe to the Helping Writers Become Authors podcast in iTunes).

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About K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland

K.M. Weiland is the award-winning and internationally-published author of the acclaimed writing guides Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, and Creating Character Arcs. A native of western Nebraska, she writes historical and fantasy novels and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.

Comments

  1. Sure the time is difficult but we also have more eyeballs now to write content for. Isn’t it? With increased number of Internet Users and more time nowadays they spend in front of screens.

    Those who write are lucky because they can survive the crises easily as compare to others.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Yes, it’s a great time for anyone who’s inclined to write to pick up the pen!

    • Adrienne Horky Nesiba says

      I loved your Podcast this week, I don’t always tune in, but this week you hit the nail on the head, with your timely subject of writing during these difficult times. I was really touched by your going through the emotions, I have been deeply depressed , which is something I’m on meds for, at the state of the world. My sister in law and I spoke briefly the other day. and she doesn’t seem worried about it at all, even though the police are arresting people who leave their homes, in Florida, one county, in fact one town awayThese are very desperate times and that was a very uplifting message you gave us, please keep them coming, take care of yourself and your loved ones. Even my husband and I am practicing social distancing due to his job and work from the home . I have been reading the Bible for the second time, and praying for us all.
      Keep writing to us!!!!:)

      • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

        Thanks for stopping by, Adrienne! Hang in there, and don’t give up. Having experienced deep existential depression myself in the recent past, I know there is hope on the other side as long as we keep moving through the dark tunnel.

  2. robert easterbook says

    Pretty much yes to everything you said. My middle name is ‘daydreamer’, by the way. Always has been, and was a source of frustration for my teachers. haha And for my parents too who couldn’t understand why I found books more interesting than working in a grease pit – my father’s profession. Once I found the ‘greats’, whoever they were when I six years old, there was no turning back. My parents were good Catholics, made me do all those Catholic things, like go to a big ol’ Gothic church on Sundays – which I find beautiful, by the way – become an Altar boy, among other things. But the one thing they had that fascinated the most as Catholics, was this huge, gold leaf bible, which they kept on top of a wardrobe. Don’t know why. But I would sneak that thing out (not easy to conceal for a small boy) and read it – well, I tried too. The stories I found the most interesting, of course, were the Old Testament stories. They were weird, scary, and gave me nightmares. But I kept going back to them, time after time, because the characters were as large as life. I guess that stuck with me, in an unconscious way, and influenced my story telling years later. I don’t recall a single happy ending to any of those stories – maybe you can correct me on that. And perhaps for someone like me who writes negative arc (perhaps flat arc) stories, I find the pandemic ‘inspirational’, in a perverse kind of way. I don’t mean that I take enjoyment from suffering, not at all – what is happening is nothing short of a tragedy on a global scale. Made worse by politicians who’ll take advantage of it and exploit it for their own gain. So, I can commiserate with Joe West – I’ve lost hours from my paid employment which means a reduced income. I may not have it in a few weeks as more restrictions are introduced on what can and can’t be done. They are happening right now – I got a notice today saying new restrictions will come into force from midnight tonight with the store reducing staff and reducing the number of customers at any give time. Meaning, my hours will be reduced. It makes it really hard to survive on 4 or 5 hours of paid work. Buy food, pay the rent. Everything is uncertain, right now. If I wasn’t writing, I think I’d go nuts. Of course, there is government support, but there are new restrictions on who can have it; who is eligible. I’m not – I’m somewhere in the middle between the two main groups who are eligible, and must join a long line of people that started a couple months ago – lines like those 1920s two-tone Depression era photos. Watch this space. But I’m glad you take the time to make these posts, I always find them inspirational. Thanks. I might try Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way.

  3. Thanks for the encouragement. I think I’ll go write a crappy poem just to get out of this rut.

    Currently, I am at a stand still. Why? Because I’m near the end of story and I can’t figure out if I should should kill off my protagonist or one of her two friends.

    I don’t want to write a downer if it doesn’t say something meaningful. I’m also trying to escalate the story without a lot of blood and gore, but don’t know how to to do it. As a writer I don’t wish to appeal to the baser instincts of man, yet I don’t wish to give it a lame or contrive ending.

    You may ask: why didn’t you plot out your story first? Simple: I’m bad at plotting. I’ve tried it before and have found cracks in my story and have needed to eliminate something, add something, or change something.

    Right now I feel like I’m my worst enemy.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Ah, well, I’m an obsessive plotter and I’ve been stuck for months. 😉 Like you, I’ve turned to another, semi-related project for the moment to see if it will help me create my way around my plot block.

    • In the interim I went and wrote and wrote this crappy poem I call Isolation.

      Bouncing old plastic balls,
      Staring at four grey walls,
      And counting their cracks,
      And meditating on my lacks,
      Wishing for some erratic noise
      And the drinking of good ol’ boys
      And maybe for a loving wife,
      Or even for some storming strife.
      I count roaches on the wall
      But that is not all
      I give each a name.
      I know it’s all lame
      I need something to do
      Besides sniffing glue
      While watching the boob tube
      Where is my Rubiks cube?
      I hate to see millions die
      But all I can do is sigh.

  4. They say children thrive in a structured environment. In a wide, green pasture with fences. With rules and consequences. At heart, we’re all children, yes? Children in bigger coats and boots.

    For me, routine is necessary. Getting up at the same time every day (early!), turn on the music, first cuppa, daily reading, my One Question a Day journal entry, then diving into important emails and deleting the rest, quick perusal of the day’s news, then opening my MS.

    That’s my wide, green pasture. I work best when I can see those fences and know I don’t need to jump them.

    Thanks, Kate, for your tireless support for all of us creatives out here in mid-pan world. Soon, I hope, we’ll be post-pan. Don’t know what that will look like, but my fences won’t move-not if I can help it…

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Totally. I know I’m much stabler, happier, and more productive I am when I’m employing a steady routine. Routines are both more accessible and more difficult for many people right now. But I’m doubling down on my mine and definitely seeing the benefits.

  5. Awesome! These are all reasons why I write. The reason that resonates the most is the writing to inspire hope. My early childhood was rough and I really needed a hero. So I created one in my head. Unlike me, he was brave. Like me, he was affected by the abuse but worked to overcome it in the best way possible. His story still inspires me because I know that even though life can be hard, I can still be a good person who does the right thing.

    I’m sorry you’re having a tough time at times. Me too. Hang in there. <3

  6. Thank you for including Mr. West’s email in your post today. I’m sure his sentiments are similar to those of most of your readers. Many of us need this kind of reassurance that we’re not alone.

    I’d like to second his pleasure at having taken on Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way,” too. I don’t remember what prompted me to acquire it – maybe one of your posts – but I got it on my Kindle last year and enjoyed reading it. I’m still working full-time (one of those blessed to be able to work from home in a critical industry), so my full-time work hasn’t allowed me the time to do all the exercises in Cameron’s book, but maybe one day I will. As I read them, I could see their benefits.

    I never used to think much of writing prompts, since I was always poking at some project or other, but a few years ago I took Joan Dempsey’s “Revise With Confidence,” an online tuition course (she’s not currently offering it, but she has a number of other online courses well worth the fairly minimal fees) and I took her free introductory sampler course called “Writing Great Dialogue.” The writing prompts in the exercises she posts really got me thinking, and I was surprised at the stuff that came out of me. I learned vast amounts of value to my craft, all of it easily applied to my works-in-progress.

    Despite working full-time at a profession unrelated to writing, I have managed to write and self-publish two novels and I’m hard at work on a non-fiction book. All of this stuff is good – Weiland, Cameron, Dempsey, and loads of others!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I picked up Artist’s Way last year too, after someone encouraged me to do so in a blog comment. Maybe you saw the same comment!

  7. Eric Troyer says

    I had to give up my fiction writing for a while. Just too busy. A lot of it has to do with the pandemic: helping run a “virtual” cross country ski race as well as getting the word out to people about how to exercise and still be safe. We’ve also had a couple of big snowstorms come through, so there was a lot of snowblowing. (A plus of snowblowing is audiobooks! Been listening to “I Am Still Alive” by Kate Alice Marshall. Outstanding book!)

    But I miss fiction writing. I’ll start again today. Less than originally, but some. I agree with you, Katie, that it is cathartic. Cathartic escapism. That’s true for me anyhow, both as a writer and a reader.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I hear you. There’s been a lot to juggle these last few weeks, even for those of us whose daily routines haven’t changed that much.

      • Eric Troyer says

        BTW, inspired by this post, I finally bought “The Virgin’s Promise.” I have only just started, but I was blown away by the praised heaped on it by Christopher Vogler, author of the excellent “The Writer’s Journey.” I am excited to read this!

        • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

          That’s great! It was a very inspiring and eye-opening read for me. Really helped me gel my thoughts about archetypal storytelling.

  8. pieemme2 says

    Hello Katie,

    one of the most useful tips I gained from your blog was overcoming ‘the writer’s block’ through freewriting. After having practiced it successfully, I think I can now go as far as theorizing why it is so useful. When you write, even just expressing your difficulties, this also takes some of the load off your mind, which starts wandering ahead and quite likely churning out new ideas and possibilities, which would not have been produces if you had just been sitting there and pulling your hair.

    Thanks a million,

    Piero

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      That’s great! I especially like working through blocks by writing longhand in a notebook. My censor is farther from the surface that way.

  9. Nancie Erhard says

    One of your best. You’re not alone in all those swings of emotions.

    I find it hard to make a lot of progress with my fiction project. I nevertheless have committed to some movement forward on it each day, no matter how small. Adjusting my goal to this gives me a sense of peace and even victory if I manage a couple of paragraphs or some dialogue. I also have committed to a ‘gratitude journal’ and to post an entry every day on Facebook. This is not a simple Pollyanna practice. I acknowledge the tough stuff, but find at least one thing to be thankful for each day. Posting it makes me feel accountable. People’s immediate responses cut some of the sense of isolation.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      There’s a time and a place where production goals (1,500 words per day, or whatever) are valuable. But in times of stress, I think goals such as yours (just writing *something* every day) are tremendous. Maintaining momentum, however great or slight, is one of the best goals right now.

  10. In my early adulthood, journal writing was a necessary outlet for me. I was amazed at how much better I felt writing out my anger, frustration, and confusion, lots of exclamation points, heavy ink from the bold pressure with the pen. Cathartic. And it was a safe place, completely private. Still is.

    I’ve set an easy goal for myself this month, not because of the pandemic, which I’m coping with surprisingly easily, but because I want writing to be a joy. I want it to be fun. I’m more eager to show up for a goal I know I can reach than for one that makes me want to curl up and hide. The daily discipline is more important to me, so that’s my focus.

    I was also under the impression that meditation meant not thinking your thoughts. What I learned is that it’s really about observing your thoughts from a distance (mental social distancing?) and being at peace with them.

    Thanks for the post! Stay safe!
    I’m replacing “this too shall pass” with “the page will turn”. 😉

  11. Hi everyone and thank you so much for this inspirational blog. I’m actually here today because I didn’t have the energy to write. But here I am writing. Your blog is helping me to get over the blues a bit quicker. Thank you so much for being here and for your wonderful words.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Any writing counts! And reading about writing can be a great way to use the time when you don’t have the energy to actually parse words yet. Hang in there!

  12. Wow, that was a fantastic essay. I don’t want to engage in too much hyperbole, but every writer could benefit from reading this post (and simultaneously listening to it, which is how I now best enjoy your blog and podcast).

  13. Casandra Merritt says

    Hi, Katie, I have this premise sentence, and if there’s anything you can point out, that would be great.
    When Seventeen-year old Rob Riley attempts to escape the tyranny of Ireland under the rule of King George III, he is forced to serve aboard a British warship, where he must try to stop the captain from tracking down a rebel cruiser that has been attacking the British Isles.
    I have a few questions. First, are the stakes high enough? Second, the protagonist’s goal isn’t to stop the captain from tracking down the rebel. He just ends up doing it because he must in order to accomplish his real goal, which is to show the captain that he will never submit to British tyranny and escape his old life of bondage. (I guess this is the inner story goal, how can I indicate it?)
    Anything you can find wrong with this is truly a help. Thanks!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Yes, my first reaction was that the need to stop the captain from tracking the rebel cruiser seemed a little disconnected. Sounds like the true goal is to escape bondage.

  14. Hello KM, thank you so much for your clear messages and encouragement to use writing in any way that helps us along (personally, professionally, emotionally, etc.). While the pandemic and loss of my job have left me at a loss for words for weeks, my connection to the writing community has been mainly through beta reading. It’s been an absolute godsend, to say the least. Reading for comprehension is one thing, but specifically to be of service in helping another writer pull out their BEST writing is priceless. It’s the only activity I can fully concentrate on, and brainstorming with writers to move a scene or get their story on a plot line or answer specific questions crucial to the unfolding of their story has given me new life. One writer suggested that I consider becoming a developmental editor and the more I think about it and continue beta reading, the more in love with the idea I fall.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Beta-reading is an amazing thing to be doing right now–gives you purpose, keeps to connected to writing, and allows you to offer true help to others. Good for you! I hope your own words return soon. 🙂

  15. gmroeder says

    Love your posts. This one is especially “good.” I was depressed, down and out when all this craziness started – but then something happened. Smashwords asked if I would join the thousands of writers who put their books on a discount to help all the home-bound readers for the whole month of April. I liked the idea and signed up for all my books. Smashwords only has e-books. But they inspired me to NOT wait for a publishing date to have a print book of my sequel to “We Don’t Talk About That,” a WWII memoir. God knows when that is possible. But my fans are waiting – so I decided to start out with having an e-book of “Flight Into The Unknown” – the #2 in my trilogy and let them publish it! It was like a shot in the arm! I got active, VERY active and am now on the last read-through before uploading it.
    I am not depressed anymore, on the contrary. I’ll use this ‘stay-at-home’ time to write the 3rd and final book of my memoir. I even decided on a suitable title, which is always tough, causing me sleepless nights: “Set Sail for Life After 50” – what a reason to keep writing!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      That’s fantastic! I have to say that I’m finding new energy too. I feel more connected to life than I have in years.

  16. First of all, great post for those of us who are struggling and those of us who are still writing. Second kudos to you for including Joe West’s email. I think now I will pick up The Artist’s Way and start the 12 weeks process.

    The last four years plus a bit have been spent with me in chronic pain and partially immobilized by that pain. Finally, a year ago in March I had my third spinal fusion in a highly complex surgery which lasted much longer than the planned four hours. This created a need for much more anesthesia than expected which, in a 73-year old patient, induces some cognitive loss and loss of focus. All of this has figured into my losing my writing desire.

    From Joe West’s email, I loved reading how he was experiencing a return to creativity. That’s what I long for. I have the book here beside me and have read up to Week 1. I bookmarked at that page and haven’t moved forward since. I now understand that one of my biggest problems is in my way again–fear. Fear of failing to regain my creativity, fear of failing myself, fear of finding out I’m not a writer, so many fears.

    But with this COVID-19 virus and quarantine, I must do something. I can think of nothing better than reading AND writing.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      That’s great! Very sorry to hear about your health struggles, but your determination is inspiring!

  17. Casandra Merritt says

    Thanks. I’m kind of figuring that the inner story goal is emphasized over the outer one, and that’s why I had trouble explaining it in the premise.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Premise sentences are notoriously difficult, but they do often point to potential weak areas in the story itself.

  18. Casandra Merritt says

    Amen to that!

  19. This series is the best series you have ever penned. Or…typed, I guess, to be precise. It’s as if the previous 500 entries were but preparation for this terrible moment, which is not apocalyptic…but is apocalyptic adjacent.

    Thanks for this. It is helpful but also warm and reassuring while also emphasizing the extent to which you are going through this moment as well.

    So we all march forward, six feet apart, face half entombed in our N95 masks, hands gloved. Sneeze into your elbow and we’ll get though this together.

  20. Shirsten Shirts says

    So many incredible points. I’ve definitely been clinging a little tighter to my writing as I’ve slowly gone crazy the last few weeks. My story is becoming more important! I appreciate your continued writing during this challenging time here on the blog.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I am reminded of literary techniques that emphasize a single point of beauty in the midst of horror (such as Victor Hugo’s butterfly in the street battles in Les Miserables). I think our writing can be like that right now.

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