When I go through stressful times, or if I have something on my mind, often friends suggest that I write about my problems, venting onto a piece of paper (or word document, as the case may be), and I often do. The problem is that doing so only causes me to think about my troubles more. So another friend suggested that, since I want to be a writer (however futile I may feel it sometimes), I write my frustrations into fiction, temporarily forgetting reality and channeling my feelings into a world of my own creation. I always assumed that this was advice I couldn’t take. When I’m frustrated, I’d respond, I can’t write. And besides, I’ve never been able to escape into writing--it’s just not something I know how to do.
Until now, that is. Almost entirely inadvertently, I’ve found out what it feels like to lose myself in my writing, to be consumed by it. Last night, I decided to try something new. I was inspired to attempt a writing style that is extremely ambitious and different than my norm. For once, instead of waiting ‘til the urge passed, as I usually do (because I am lazy or decide that I should be focusing on dull school essays instead), I went with the instinct and started to write. And wrote and wrote. I had to come up for air occasionally, pacing around my room (or rather, taking the two steps between my desk and the door repeatedly—my room isn’t exactly spacious) and reminding myself of the world I’m really in. But then I’d submerge myself again, back into my writing.
When I stopped, I had only written two single-spaced pages, not a tremendous output for several hours of work—but those pages are so different than anything I’ve ever written that I’m proud. They very well may be lousy, and probably are, but they represent a step outside of my comfort zone and a pursuit of my passion.
Then, the whole rest of the evening, night, and now morning I have been distracted by thoughts of my story—words to change, things to add, where to take it next. My real life issues seem far away, in the background, while only my story occupies the forefront of my mind. And I think that’s amazing! If I learn how to channel this skill, not only will I be able to worry less about the things that trouble me, but I will also end up writing a lot more. And that is important, because it’s going to take a huge amount of practice and discipline if I ever want to get good at this.