The Evolution of Writers

 

I’m having a difficult time writing these days.

I’ll sit at my desk ready to work on a piece and then my phone beeps. There’s another news alert – The Press Secretary has doubled down on a clear lie at the daily press conference.

Or there’s an announcement of another Executive Order (decree).

Or I hear about some State Rep in Minnesota who passed an amendment so that health insurance companies won’t have to cover many pre-existing conditions like diabetes, prenatal care, ventilator care, Lyme disease … the list goes on and on and on. (Interestingly Erectile dysfunction will still be covered – Phew!)

Or there’s a gag order on government agencies who report directly to the public, (EPA, USDA) if you cared about the environment or the food that you eat, good luck, you’re now on your own.

Or an elected official is tweeting about the “fat women” who attended the Women’s March or the “lard” those women have in their brains.

I spend most of my time these days seething (when I’m not curled up in a fetal position.)

I am a writer. It means I have a vivid imagination. But one doesn’t need to have a bigly imagination to see what is happening. If I wrote fiction, I’d have enough material for many, many dystopian sagas.

America seems to be under attack from within. And it’s frightening, it’s challenging every belief I have ever held.

Our rights are being threatened, our information controlled, our children with chronic illness and people with disabilities are at risk, our very livelihood as writers is going to be challenged (will I be punished for even daring to write this?)

When suppression and repression is the new reality, it’s difficult to write about charming chickens or a walk I took through a bucolic town. It’s difficult to write anything positive when the cloud overhead is so heavy and ominous.

It’s difficult to write about anything except sharing outrage at what is happening. Again and again. That kind of writing seems to come easy, it comes from a bottomless well.

I know I’m not alone.

And I also know I can’t continue at this full throttle speed. As I have cautioned so many other people – “Take care of yourself, this is a marathon not a sprint.” I need to remind myself of that very advice every day.

Somehow I am going to have to section out time to block myself from what is happening in the world so that I can conjure up the writer I was before –  if that writer even still exists.

There is an app out there that automatically changes all pictures of Trump to kittens, maybe I need to install that.

Or maybe I need to lock myself in a room away from the internet, social media, and my phone.

Or better still, perhaps I need to try and capture these feelings of fear, loathing, and disgust and channel them into my writing. Chickens can be angry, walks can draw attention, mothers can speak out.

Words matter.

Maybe, just maybe, these times will usher in the evolution of a new kind of writer.  I am positive that once we have found our balance, we writers will find a way to cope and we will use our skills to make sure our fears and our voices are heard.

***

Wendy Thomas is an award winning journalist, columnist, and blogger who believes that taking challenges in life will always lead to goodness. She is the mother of 6 funny and creative kids and it is her goal to teach them through stories and lessons.

Wendy’s current project involves writing about her family’s experiences with chickens (yes, chickens). (www.simplethrift.wordpress.com) She writes about her chickens for GRIT, Backyard Poultry, Chicken Community, and Mother Earth News.

17 thoughts on “The Evolution of Writers

  1. You know I’m right there with you, Wendy. Thanks for sharing this. Working on wrangling my own thoughts, too. xo

  2. Humour is one approach – laugh at the predicament we find ourselves in – and press on. There is a Facebook page “Alternative Facts” which is hilarious. Then, to quote John Wesley “Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”

  3. Hey Wendy,

    Great post. There certainly is a dissonance between the artistic endeavors of the creative people in this country and the prevailing ideology of the current presidential administration. The current system will certainly force many to adjust their styles and approaches for communicating to a mass audience about the injustices within it. When I need to zone out and get down to the writing thing, I just turn my phone off. LOL

  4. We went out to a show the day after the election. He was a hilarious old Brit who’s been mixing politics in with his music for decades. At the end of the show, he talked for a few minutes about the situation, both with Brexit and the US election, having restrained himself all night. He said, “I can’t wait to see the art that’s going to be made during this period. The underground is alive again, and the art is going to be amazing.”

    And he’s right. Once everyone can breathe again and starts pointing all these feelings at their medium of choice, we’re going to make some amazing art. And art is what gets people’s attention and gets them thinking again. Art is what we need right now.

  5. I am struggling a little with this too. Most of what I write I try to keep encouraging and inspiring. But its difficult in the mist of all of this. I have opted out of tv news and instead read newspapers. But your right, you just cant seem to get away from it its every where. All social media types..etc etc.

  6. We removed TV from the house five years ago and we haven’t missed it one bit. It’s made THIS current situation a bit more bearable. I stopped watching news online because it was, simply put, getting too depressing. But. then I don’t want to chuck my head totally into the sand. sigh. The comedians help so I watch them.

    Fight the paranoia, is my best advice. Keep your head down and keep writing. And turn off the phone! It’s what we do so we must do it. Great post. Thanks.

    • I have had the same problem, but like you I have decided to give very little time to the news media coverage of the dismantling on many good things that were accomplished through great hardship. I feel the same sickness when I look at some of the media posts. I have decided to focus on writing about strong women and loving men. Thank you for opening your heart and using your words to give he heart.

  7. I’m right there with you folks. At the moment I feel totally washed out and quite estranged from the world. Nothing seems to be where it should be and I am becoming increasingly anxious about where the new President will be taking us on this roller coaster ride. As if we haven’t got enough to put up with here in UK with all the machinations of Brexit! I seem to have lost all of my creative spark and willingness to experience all the opportunities that daily life presents. I think and hope that I am just post-illness and very soon I will bounce back. I can’t change what is happening out there, but I surely can make my own world much better and I will. Thanks for a stimulating post. Norma

  8. This resonates with me. I get my writing ideas from many real-world events. The recent events, however, are either too disturbing to write about or so far-fetched that they approach not being believable. If I brought the same level of integrity and credibility to my writing as those that make the rounds for this administration, I wouldn’t sell a single book…or would I? Truly disturbing.

  9. Our words make a difference, Wendy. I find I want to strike back, every day and in every way. Our world, our life, and our very belief system is under attack. America is better than Trump. Much better. I want to believe that we can and will show it. –Curt

  10. This is why I write politically driven satire. I have loads of new material every day. Here’s a tip that worked for me. Get off the internet and social media. Seriously, it’s destructive to the spirit. I limit myself to one day a week where I catch up on what has happened, and I read only fact-based (not #alternativefacts) articles, then process them on my own. I do my best to avoid the 24/7 news outlets that give 30 seconds of facts then speculate for ratings, and I avoid social media which unfortunately devolves into arguments of opinion these days, unless you’re in an “echo chamber”. Put your phone on vibrate in another room, then go write. It works.

  11. Yes, difficulty writing these days. I’ve been reading the press daily my whole life, since I was a child, and being super-informed on foreign events is part of what I do for a living. But I’ve decided on a clean break for the next ten days, I need a breather. No news from any sources. My mental health comes first…

  12. Thank you, Wendy, for reminding us that as writers we have a “super power” that can be used to promote good and resist evil. #KeepGoing

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