This month’s prompt asked, “How do dark times enhance our writing?” I’m sure I blinked, not quite sure I understood the question. I felt stumped. I felt stymied. I felt ill equipped to write on this topic.
Yes, I have experienced some ‘dark’ times in my life. I have experienced pain and loss just like anyone else. But I tend to be a pretty upbeat person and I try not to let myself stay down in the dumps for long. I don’t know what it feels like to be depressed, and I’m strong-willed enough to keep going despite obstacles or setbacks. I honestly don’t remember a time in my thirty-plus years of writing that I didn’t feel like writing – dark personal times, or not. I suppose my less than happy experiences have helped me write from a place of empathy. But really…? What could I possible have to say of worth?
The act of writing is, in itself, an important way for me to deal with hard times. Maybe this is the key. Journaling – especially prayer journaling – has been an important part of my routine over the years and has helped me to deal with the difficulties in my life. These notebooks are full of my hopes, dreams, and fears – including every aspect of my writing life. My journals are a place for me to vent about rejection, bad reviews, deadlines, or any number of other frustrations. If I’m experiencing a dry spell – which is rare, I must admit – I ‘brain dump’ into my journal to get the words flowing again. The very act of writing, even if the words are nonsensical, is the best cure for writer’s block I know.
It seems to have worked with this post. I started off not having a clue what I would say. I just started spewing about the fact that I didn’t know what I was doing and pretty soon the words started to gel. Before I knew it I had a few sentences, and then a few paragraphs, until I finally had something I could actually work with.
And then it hit me. Maybe this prompt was MY dark time.
Tracy Krauss continues to write relentlessly from her home in northern BC, where she also teaches secondary school Art, Drama, and English. Visit her website for more about her many published books and plays. http://tracykrauss.com -fiction on the edge without crossing the line-