Inspiration for some writers, but a problem for all
Do you write to get free from your problems?I know I do and I have plenty of them.
For instance, who says you have to be old to have health problems? Not my eye doctor, that’s for certain. I am not even 30 years old and I have high intraocular pressure in both of my eyes, which leads to blindness if not treated. Lucky for me I can afford proper treatment, which comes in a small bottle (and no, I don’t mean beer, but sometimes I wish I did—especially since beer is cheaper).
I have more problems as well, and even though I don’t know you, I can safely assume that you have problems too. This is life after all.
But before you take out the world’s smallest violin and before I pull out my conductor baton, I am going to shift this conversation in a more positive direction.
Some writers–especially nonfiction writers–use their bad life experiences (such as child abuse, alcoholism and gambling addiction) for inspiration. This may seem like they’re doing the complete opposite of what my blog is about for the sake of making money. I know my blog’s title is about writing to get free from life’s problems. Let me tie all this together.
I feel that writers who choose to write about their demons are really trying to exorcise them, not to the point of forgetting them (since in most cases that is impossible unless you believe in hypnotherapy) but to get free from their control.
In my case, my writing doesn’t focus on the bad things in my life. I write about my dreams. I put my dreams on paper to get free from my life’s problems, even if it is only for one writing session at a time.
Let’s take the time machine back to a fun time in American history. Right after I lost my job as a news reporter during the Great Recession, I wrote about a magical dog that brought a blind man’s eyesight back in black and white. I could have written about a news reporter who was screaming mad at the society he was raised to love and whose dreams seemed to depend so much on his success in it, but since I wanted a way to escape from the dog-eat-dog world of capitalism, I chose a different way to vent. So, I wrote about a dog. How fitting…
During the height of the recession, when I had to work two horrible jobs with no health insurance—one of which didn’t even pay me on time—I decided to try to join the military. It didn’t work out due to health issues. How ironic. Afterwards, I wrote a science fiction story about a soldier’s rifle that was built with artificial intelligence and emotions as a 22nd century solution to creating a better soldier.
One could say my reality, which was riddled with unforeseen troubles, was inspiring my writing. I wrote about a dog after I was frustrated with the dog-eat-dog society. I put pen to paper (or rather, hand to keyboard) right after my brief exposure to the military and wrote about a soldier’s rifle.
I decided to turn to fantasy (yes, I classify science fiction as a subgenre of fantasy) since that was the easiest way for me to escape from my troubles and into my dreams. But, dreams have to come from somewhere, and that place is right here under our feet. So no matter how otherworldly your story may seem, look down; under your protagonist’s feet you’ll see traces of dirt that you, the storyteller, brought with you.
No worries; if you can create a narrative voice intriguing enough, a plot deep enough and characters believable enough, you and your readers can easily overlook this dirt and get lost in the dream you created.
However, writing about my dreams to escape my problems may change depending on what curve ball life hurdles at my face and if I am left picking up my teeth from the ground. Even if I decide to write about my afflictions in my fiction, such as my failed attempt to be the next Dr. Seuss, it will be to free myself from their control over my life.
So let me take this moment to recall what I had asked you. Do you write to get free from your problems?