Spotlight on Writing
The themes and events in our books force us face some pretty dark issues. And honestly, it can be really tough to do this authentically and respectfully. Especially when all things considered, my life has been picture perfect in comparison to some others. I’ve been lucky.
But we all have our demons. And as crazy as it sounds, I enjoy exploring mine. Creating of any kind has a way to connect you with emotions and feelings you might not have otherwise known exists. I’m not saying that deep down I suffer with depression, or anger issues, but rather that writing lets me experience these feelings safely, and hopefully one day help people who are going through something that is unbearably tough.
They say that you need to write for yourself, first. Forget the readers, forget potential revenue (because let’s be serious, it takes a long time and a lot of sales to live off writing alone). Write for yourself. And though Ashley and I collaborate, we still do write for ourselves. I put my heart into my writing, because without it, I truly don’t know who I’d be. Even in the times when I wasn’t actively writing novels, I was doing other writing. Blogging. Creating lyrics. Journaling.
One of my favorite podcasters is Joanna on The Creative Penn. She interviewed David Wright on “How to write your darkness”, and I have to say it really connected with me. She said in the interview,
We write about dark things in order to understand how you’re going to deal with them or facing your fear without really facing it. That kind of catharsis. – Joanna Penn
I think this is true. I for one definitely feel stronger through my writing. Sure, I haven’t faced all the situations I write about, but I know I’m a strong person, because there is truth in my writing.
Yet, no one hit me harder when it comes to writing darkness than NF. He’s probably one of the only rap artists I ever listen to. This guy just blows everyone else out of the water when it comes to facing the really tough, shitty stuff in life. He certainly delivers on his slogan; NF Real Music. It is real. It is confronting. But hiding from these issues and pretending they don’t exist does more damage than facing them. I listened to this song, Therapy Session, and no song has ever made me feel so strongly that it is important to be authentic and tell your truth, even if that truth might look ugly. Only by being honest and speaking up can you begin to recognize strength in yourself, and have the courage to beat the darkness. I challenge you to watch the video. It is brutal, but for some people, this is their life. Words are powerful, and I hope that one day, my words might take someone from walking on the dark side, to walking in the light.
My mental state is usually pretty good, but I am prone to bouts of anxiety. This seems heightened especially while studying, as I get stuck in my own head for long periods of time. Don’t get me wrong, I like being in my head, and I enjoy long and deep periods of thinking. Sometimes though, it all becomes too much. My head becomes too crowded, and the thoughts stop being useful and start being intrusive. When it gets like this, they don’t flow calmly and sedately from one topic to another. It’s like my brain is on steroids; it starts hyperactively bouncing from one thing to the next. You can see it in my writing, too. It gets long, it gets wordy, and it doesn’t always make sense. In my speech it just means I go on and on and on, because I have so much to say and just as I think I’m done something else pops into my head. This is what I’ve been working on resolving in my life right now.
When my brain gets this busy, I can’t concentrate on one thing for too long. I get restless. Sometimes my chest gets tight and I don’t feel like I’m getting enough air. I forget things as simple as locking the door, or turning off the oven. It’s actually really scary in that way. But, I know myself well, and I know that all I need to do to break the cycle is to say to myself, hey. Chill. You’re OK. It’s pretty tough to take a backward step in your career at a life-stage where most people are moving forward, and as a result I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself to succeed in my studies.
So, recently I have started focusing my energy in grounding myself. At about midday, I step away from the computer and the books and either meditate or practice yoga in the living room. I plan to take more walks when the weather improves, too. For now, as my next exam draws closer, I just need to remember one thing.
…Writing is about dealing with dark things, but also trying to find hope. Trying to find the light in the darkness to hold onto. For me, I just find writing about it helps me to see the good things in the world as well.
– David Wright
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