The Nine Worlds of Writers (and how to make them perfect adjacent)
I’ve been told for six months that “its gonna get busier” at work, a cringe-worthy phrase in the light of my current 45-hour work week and 45-minute one-way commute, coupled with living with a steadily declining dementia sufferer. So when my editor told me she needed my blog series by the 29th of June, I could literally feel my frontal lobe slamming into my skull. I’m already on empty. Staving off an inner toddler tantrum, I denied my anxiety, allowing only the tiniest “In a perfect world I’d have…” moment. Truth is, there are lots of “worlds” out there, none of which are perfect. It’s all in how we as writers spin them. So over the next nine weeks, I’m going to spin a few of which I am familiar:
Welcome to the nine worlds of writers!
I could probably stop, but my editor might not find the humor in a two-word entry so I will continue. We all find ourselves in less than wonderful places. Sometimes we see it coming, but other times life just piles up all around us while we were trying to get through a day. We lose someone close to us. Our health or the health of someone for whom we are responsible changes. Our career path dead ends or arcs in a direction contrary to our preparedness or desire. Our editors voluntell us for projects during the busiest time of our day jobs. (In my editor's defense, we discussed my guest spot six months ago, prior to a career path arc, but I do love to mess with her.) Someone breaks our heart. Or we just reach a point where we’ve been plucked out of our element and are completely overwhelmed.
It's not really a lake of fire, but it certainly feels that we are trapped in a terrible place. And while we hot and heavy into the struggle, two terrible things can happen. We either purge our turmoil and dump a toxic mess into our writing (usually gutting an innocent or two) or we completely shut down all creative endeavors resulting in partial immolation of who we are at our core.
The sad thing is that you as writer have an amazing opportunity to put your trials and your victory out there for others to read and learn from. Your transparency may be the vehicle for another to avoid a jaunt through Hell altogether.
I get it. You may need to purge, but if so, use a cloaking device. Omit real names. Use humor and metaphors. Snark if you must, but protect the living. And if, when you put hell behind you, you read your journey and you’re willing to share, edit the “hell” out of it. Don’t harm anyone with your blood soaked words.
Extra points to those of you who caught on to my extended “Nine Worlds” metaphor. If you didn’t, google the phrase and come back for a second read. And a special word of love and thanks to my dear editor who puts up with me as I often spin from one of the aforementioned worlds to another… during a single conversation.
Above all, if you are a writer: write. And if you want to be a published writer, I may be able to hook you up.