Things That Matter #2 – Writing

Some of my precious books

Some of the precious books that inspire me

In this occasional series of posts, I want to share the things that make me tick. Given that I was mad enough to sign up for NaBloPoMo, it seems a perfect time to execute the plan. The first one was about reading, so it kind of follows that the next would be about writing. Reading and writing both enrich and create me.

Writing is a powerful pursuit, and one that has given me great rewards. Writing has fed me (both emotionally and literally), caused me sleepless nights, introduced me to some wonderful people, caused arguments I’d rather not have had, and lit my way on the strange, meandering path that is my life.

Through writing, I’ve found myself.

Now this is not a cute, throwaway line. There have been times in my life where I have lost my way and lost hope. In my ongoing internal battle, writing has been one of the key factors in pulling me out of my personal, black hell. Some of my writing at these points in my journey I would never want to share with anyone in my lifetime, and yet, some of it has become some of my best work as a songwriter. And (most of the time) it feels so good to sing those pieces, like I’m exorcising demons with every single note. It’s the nature of the beast that I know it will return, and gnaw away at me body and soul. Therapists and doctors have all told me that the problem is extremes – extreme lows and equally extreme highs. And in both extreme states, I go into emotional shutdown – I don’t function and I don’t communicate.

The trick I’ve found is to write about it intimately, expose the black heart of my depression, and equally, the achingly beautiful (and potentially manic) highs. There is something downright gut wrenching about reading stuff like that about yourself post episode. Sometimes it feels like someone else has written it, like another person is in control and it can be very scary. But writing and reading it back is a levelling hand on my consciousness, a brief pause for reflection that helps me to be in control and even out the bumpy ride.

I try and write every day, even if it’s just a few lines. Being old school, I carry a notebook and pens with me and have a stack of them at home for different projects but I’ve got a great notepad style app on my mobile phone that I find I’m using more and more when I’m out. Recently, I got a new laptop and I’ve already set up a folder of “Blog Stuff” to put ideas, drafts and images as well as all my other projects. With NaBloPoMo happening at the moment, it’s another reason to just do it!

Inspiration is a funny thing, it comes from all around us. Despite the ever-present possibility of writers’ block – every writers’ personal hell – I personally believe that inspiration is in and all around us all. We must develop the eyes to see and the will to translate it. Ultimately, everything we write is in some part about us and our personal view, irrespective of who or what might have triggered it.

Finally, I learnt something several years ago that I completely failed til then to see or acknowledge – I would not write if I did not read. So this post is dedicated to all the writers of novels, short stories, articles, blogs, and television and film screenplays who have reached me in some way.

And above all, to my parents who were both readers and writers, who endlessly encouraged the reading and writing in me.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Nov 4 2013 Spring Daisy

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