Is 2017 Sucking Out The Creativity?

*As much as I try to keep it out of my blog, there is some political talk in this blog post.*

When I started this blog in late January, I had grand plans. I was going to write book reviews on Mondays, have a long post about something book related on Wednesdays, and post short stories on Saturdays. As I discovered the blog world a little, this changed. I made Wednesday my meme day and moved my “long post day” to Thursday. I also added Fierce Fangirl Friday on the occasional Friday. But anyway, I had a plan. I wanted this blog to help propel me to read and write more. However, even with the pressure I put on myself to write two posts a week of substantial length, I am failing at my goals.

I have had some terrible years. 2010 wasn’t great. 2012 I got sick with vertigo and was basically not a person for almost a year. 2013 my best friend died, and then I got fired for attending his funeral, and it was just a ball of suck. But there is something special about how terrible 2017 has been. Some great things have happened– don’t get me wrong– but as a whole 2017 has sucked.

It feels like I have lived a decade in a week, every week for 10 months. There is so much negative.  Essentially since January 21st, it feels like everything is slowly slipping away and soon– if something doesn’t change– here in the United States, we’ll be living in 1947 instead of 2017. In March, I started working for the Harry Potter Alliance– which I promise I will write a blog post about how great working for them is. I wanted to do something about how negative the whole world felt. Becoming an activist, while creating personal awesome in my life has amplified the negative things and news that seems to flop itself down on us around 4pm every Friday. It doesn’t make it worse, it just draws my attention to it sooner. The highlight of many of weeks are the group calls I get to be apart of with my fellow HPA volunteers. And I swear I will write a great post about it– soon. Jessica, a fellow Department of Magical Causes and Correspondence volunteer wrote a great post about it yesterday, so if you want to read about how great the HPA is, check out her post.

I really don’t want to get into it, but I don’t have the greatest mental health, I am a sufferer of depression and anxiety– and because the world hates me– I’m allergic to many of the medications that help treat these, which leaves me in a fun place. Add to that the world seems to be a terrible place. It feels like I’m fighting a war to exist. There is a war against healthcare, a war against women, a war against net neutrality. And it’s fighting and calling my Senators asking them not to let people die weekly. And it’s exhausting.

Again, this isn’t something I want to get too into, but if you listen to The Says Who Podcast with Maureen Johnson and Dan Sinker a question that I asked was answered in the episode entitled “Copetober.” It’s the last question they answer, the one about dealing with right-wing co-workers. Every day I get to listen this man discuss how everything the 45th president says is right no matter how many times it is proven again and again that he’s a liar that’s lying. I got to listen to him talk about how gun control isn’t necessary while I sat at my desk remembering how in 2007 I sat watching CNN hoping that my friend that took classes at Virgina Tech wasn’t on campus that day (she wasn’t). And it’s exhausting. Side note– this man also tried to tell me that solar panels kill birds and when presented with evidence that is unequivocally not true at all, said that science isn’t 100% (hahahaha shoot me in the face please).

My point is, living in 2017 is exhausting. It feels like I have to get up every day and fight to sit through my 8 hour day a work. I watch the Sunday morning shows and get to listen to how the world almost ended this week. I can’t even escape it watching football.  Then I sign into the HPA and try my hardest to present the terrible things with a way we can combat them. It helps, trust me, it helps so much knowing that I’m doing something that helps. A sliver of hope in a world that needs it right now.

I have tried to unplug, but I can’t completely unplug because I write social media post for social activism organization. I have been completely unplugged twice this year. Once during Gishwhes, which I got to come back from and see that literal Nazis were marching around with Tiki torches, and the other was for 6 hours on the 2nd of this month, and I discovered that there was a mass shooting in Las Vegas when I checked my email and people were checking in that they were okay. So it feels like if I walk away from the computer, turn off my alerts, don’t check Facebook or Twitter, something terrible happens.

My point here is, 2017 has not put me int the greatest mental place to write light-hearted YA stories like I usually do. I’ve made next to zero progress on my novel that I wrote as part of my thesis for my Master’s Degree last year. It’s about halfway through the first draft, and I want to reach the end, but I’m so mentally exhausted from thinking about everything that was happening that when I sit down to write I’m worried that if I go dark for a couple hours to write, I’ll miss something horrible. I was writing short pieces from prompts I found on the internet for the blog or sharing my fanfiction. Writing takes a lot of mental energy. I have to get into the mindset of the characters, feel that world for a couple hours. How am I supposed to do that if I can’t walk away from the world for an hour without 45 threatening nuclear war on twitter?

I’ve seen some of my favorite authors talking about something similar– how it’s so hard to be creative and write or make art or whatever when things outside are so terrible. I don’t know how to shut it off.

So I ask you, Dear Readers, who have made it to the end of the rambling nonsense, how have you learned to cope? How are you still being creative and trying to get the juices flowing while the world is on fire (Figuratively and literally)?

I think that the best way to cope is to create, but creating is hard when there is so much to cope with.

So what do you all think? How do those of us that have lost our spark find it again?

Until next time Internet,

 

Deanna

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4 thoughts on “Is 2017 Sucking Out The Creativity?

  1. Well Deanna I try to “let lose”. If I can’t change some things example I can’t change others (they can change but I can’t make them) or I can’t change hunger in the world (even if I try to help some homeless people) then I’ve learned not to take it on my shoulders. I also isolate myself shut the news etc. when I feel tired or low. Media only show us depressing stories and again I can’t change them so what’s the point or watching and listening when I feel low?
    What I do is try to help people close to me by small acts of kindness but without expectations. And to boost my moral I count my blessings (because I am blessed even if things are not perfect), I go for a walk in the countryside, I go at an art show or I create something.
    Now I know that depression is something very heavy and difficult as my hubby was depressed for 5 years. So I wish you joy and happiness and I’m sending you lots of hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Okay, I’ll try to tackle this challenge since I finally took the leap and self published a novel after writing it as a screenplay thirty years ago. Thirty years! Why did it take so long? Well, it’s partially because I spent most of my effort writing screenplays for so long. It got set aside as I moved on to write other projects. I’ve completed plenty of other projects over the past thirty years, and I know what you’re thinking (maybe). “That’s not the same because you’ve completed other things. You haven’t lost your spark.” And to that, I say “I wish!”

    When I lose my spark for one idea, or feel blocked from writing, I suffer through it for a little while but eventually set it aside and find something else. You’re doing the same thing with this blog post, or with the HPA involvement. Don’t discount this blog. It’s a writing exercise! And it’s therapeutic. Of course, it may be a little bit easier for me to keep writing in the current political atmosphere because I tend to write dark, horrible things… BUT it doesn’t mean I haven’t struggled with finding inspiration.

    Life constantly gets in the way, especially when raising kids gets thrown into the mix. I became the writer/editor for the PTA newsletter which essentially involved writing a monthly update from the mouth of whoever the PTA president was at the time (there was a new one almost every year, and they were busy doing the hands on stuff). I became a reader for film festival script contests and wrote critiques to help other aspiring writers improve. I joined a writers group – one of the best things you can do, in my opinion, because you’re forced to hear criticism and you get to talk through the parts of your work that aren’t maybe working at the level you hoped. When I got stuck while writing features, I tried to write some shorts, and when I got to the point of spinning my wheels with the shorts, I tried to write some TV specs – something that I thought would be impossible because TV shows move on so quickly and you have to really know the show you’re writing about (I tackled Supernatural…).

    Then I took a script idea that I had been struggling with for years. The idea was inspired by something that made me really angry, but I set it aside because I just couldn’t get through a decent first act. I eventually took it out of its drawer and reread it, and a piece of it just stood out and suddenly inspired me to take the initial idea into a totally new direction, a series pilot idea and two full seasons worth of episodes. This has been the year when I started struggling to carry through with episodes because the idea has become a little too big and unwieldy. So, I went back to review old stuff and got reacquainted with The Schoharie. I once told myself I should tackle it as a novel, and I even wrote a few sketchy chapters, and it was enough to inspire me to finally – after 30 years – just finish it.

    Okay, this has been a lengthy answer that almost rivals your post, and I apologize. In short, I guess I’m trying to say don’t worry. Write things that bore you just to keep in the habit. Don’t be disappointed because you get stuck once in a while. Don’t be disappointed because life gets in the way. Take a walk, read, research, doodle. Recognize when you’re in a rut and call it the cycle down phase. It happens, but sometimes it leads to fresh ideas further down the road.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Diane, I just gotta keep plugging away, Eventually, it will get done. I hope. I want to start writing SPN fanfiction again, but I don’t want to end up with another notebook of half finished projects. But that’s the life of a writer I suppose.

      Like

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