I decided to sit down today to write this article, despite the fact I am still quite ill. Please pardon any strangeness, it’s probably explained easily by my fever.
There are many times where life can get more than a little confusing and chaotic. I happen to be going through one of those right now, myself, though, again, it’s primarily due to the flu. It’s been a very difficult few weeks as I have gone from one illness to another.
Despite that, however, I am still working, and I wanted to take the time to discuss how and why you should write during the chaotic times, those times where you feel a distinct lack of control in your life.
I’ve been writing for many years now, myself. I started when I was quite young, picking up the habit because I wanted to “be like X person or Y person.” I saw writers as these amazing people, sitting in front of their keyboards with a cigarette in one hand and a passion for ideas in the other. Books like Weaveworld by Clive Barker or To The Vanishing Point by Alan Dean Foster really sparked my imagination and led me to some truly fascinating places.
As time passed, and my writing began to find its own voice, I started to realize how much writing made an impact on my life, especially when I was going through horrible times in my life.
You see, writing is much more than just a way to make money (and if you’re in it just for that, good luck to you!) and it is more than just creating worlds (though that is an integral part of it, as well).
Writing is about catharsis, about allowing an outlet for your soul to speak, especially when you have no other means to do so.
As an example, when I was young and foolish, a girl I found myself together with ended up becoming pregnant. We talked many hours about it all, making plans that after high school we would marry and I would be there to help take care of the little one we created. We even spoke many times about her fears of it all, with me telling her if she did not want the child, after it was born, I would take it into my own hands and she could walk away from it all, no questions asked.
As time passed, and I grew more excited and happy at the prospects of what was to come, I knew things would work out for the best. Something that was an accident could be transformed into something amazing.
One day, however, she did not show up for school, and I grew concerned that she had become sick or something. I made my way home after the long day and tried to call her, to no avail.
I tried to go to her house but no one was there when I arrived. My worries were growing exponentially.
The next day, she again did not show up for school, and I went straight to her home after school. She was home and opened the door with a sad look on her face.
When I asked her what happened, she told me she had gone to a different city from ours and had an abortion.
This devastated me, left me in shambles for a long time. There have been very few other things over the span of my lifetime that devastated me in the way this singular event did.
It was the spark for a continuation of chaos in my life and I didn’t know if I would ever really recover or be the same again.
Some time after the event, I wrote a story, based on the idea of what happened. It was a short story, perhaps less than 5000 words, set from the perspective of a child in a womb, first person style, and the feelings and emotions she feels.
In the story, the child dreams, speaks about what she wants to see her life be when she grows up, what she wants to become.
The story does not end well, and is, frankly, a devastating and horrible one.
All that being said, I used a story to try to bring some sort of balance,a reckoning if you will, to the chaos that was happening in my life because of what my girlfriend had done. I needed some kind of outlet for the emotions, the chaos, which I found myself inundated by.
It was more than just a story, it was cathartic.
That’s what writing can do for you, really. It’s an outlet for you to get out the events that have happened to you.\
It’s one of the reasons people that have lived very sheltered lives may find it difficult to describe events, emotions, and so on, because they do not have the personal experiences to pull from.
There are times where chaos is a necessity, because out of chaos can come a new order. Sometimes that kind of change is essential in our lives, to help us go from one point of our own personal stories to another.
Make use of the chaos. Write through it, pull from it, and write a story you know is real because you’re putting a piece of yourself into it.