Writing When Life Gets Crazy by Pamela Mytroen

When isn’t life crazy? Job, family responsibilities, and news events crash against us like the wind batting and shaking our homes. If that’s not enough, then the media whispers ceaselessly around the cracks of our windows, letting us know that we are not beautiful, wealthy, or powerful enough. And yet we must take time to write through these storms. How?

Writing as Distraction: I must admit that I find writing a soothing distraction from the scary noises of life. Writing forces me to focus on other events as I am called upon to interview people for the newspaper. Often when I put pen to paper, I find that I am able to deal more calmly with the pressing issues of my own life. Think of Anne Frank who wrote in her diary about everyday happenings such as the food they ate while in hiding, her relationship with her family, and her budding romance with Peter while all around her the Nazi’s were seeking to destroy her and her fellow Jews. Writing in her diary was a therapeutic escape but also became an revealing historical record.

Writing as Expression: Some writers write about the storm. They are called to address the onslaught head-on as they write letters to their MP’s, editorials for newspapers, blog posts, and articles for their paper. Other writers choose to write a story, masking the current storm with fictional characters and events, and often times this genre speaks more powerfully than nonfiction. Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol partially in response to the child poverty and abuse. He saw children working as chimney sweeps, in factories, and in tin mines all around London. It has been said that as a result of his poignant story, many businesses began to allow their employees to take Sunday off.

Writing Regardless: Some writers look at writing neither as a distraction from the craziness nor as an answer to it but rather, as a day-by-day calling that is not affected by the storms. While they may not write in response to the events of life, they believe that their writing will be relevant in its own time. It is not that they don’t hear the wind battling for their property, but they just believe that what they have to say is important because it was a plan they or God put in place long ago and so they continue. Ernest Shackleton planned an Antarctic expedition in 1914, but when World War II took shape, he felt that he should divert his plans and join his fellow navy men. However, at the request of British royalty, Shackleton continued his grand adventure to plant the Union Jack at the South Pole. While he seemingly turned his back on the crazy storms of life and proceeded with his own dreams, he ended up becoming a role model of what it truly means to be heroic and self-sacrificing. His account, Endurance, is one of my favourite books.

Do you write to be distracted from the storms or in response to the storms or do you write regardless of them? Perhaps you’re a combination of these types of writers.

IMG_2790If Pam could spend all day in her kitchen baking pies, brownies, and making turkey dinner for friends, she would. But Murray Pura once told her to write first and then bake—advice that she is trying to stick with these days, except, of course, when her grandchildren stop in for milk and cookies.

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1 comment

  1. Bobbi Junior says:

    Pam, I really appreciate your delineation of the types of writing, and that each has its own value. As writers, we so often hear or see what others are doing and think, “That’s a REAL writer. I should be doing that.” But it’s not true. You’ve given permission for each of us to write as we’re gifted and called to write. Thank you for that!

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