A short post from me today, but that's better than no post, which is what I've been managing lately. Apologies for my general absence!
I tend to find that there are times when I am, as a writer, either sinking or swimming. By that I don't mean the actual writing itself, but rather the ability to think, to focus, to concentrate, to create. To immerse myself in another world and put myself inside somebody else's head. Most of the time, given a little work, I can do that. Even if I'm in a dry spell, or just lacking time, I can get back to it if I put in the effort.
But there are other times, fortunately much more rare, where no amount of extra effort is going to help me. They're the times when life is being too much of a bitch to give me the mental space I need- the times where I'm so focussed on getting through each day that there's no chance of me being able to step outside my own troubles and create more for my fictional characters.
I'm in one of those phases now, caught up in the last few weeks of stress and anxiety before my second baby is due. I'm too busy putting all my energy into that to even contemplate writing. We have high risk monitoring going on, and plenty of other drama to take up our time. And as ever when you already have something to worry about, life seems intent on throwing down extra obstacles and dramas, until the day-to-day becomes something a lot more intense, draining and scary than it otherwise would be.
But more than any other dry spell, these phases always remind me that as writers we can pull purpose from the hard times. We can take a step back and let life carry on as it will, knowing that this too shall pass, and a few months down the line we'll be better able to process it all and spin it into a greater depth of human understanding through our words.
As a result, one day, our work might end up being the thing someone else reads when they're at lowest ebb; the thing that makes them understand something about themselves to help them get by. We might change someone's perspective- in a sense, we might change their life- because (not in spite) of the fact that we as writers have been through the wringer and back.
In a weird way, I think there's benefit in giving up the struggle and letting yourself sink now and then. When you hit the bottom, you can push up, and when you break the surface again, if you've taken the time to observe the journey down and back without simply fighting it all the way, you'll have something of consequence to describe.