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Sunday, December 30, 2018

Lean Years vs Times of Plenty

Illustrated by M. MacArthur

The writing has been picking up lately.  This is thanks, largely, to the vision and encouragement of my friend, Mary MacArthur.  Positive reinforcement can do wonders for boosting creative output. 

But lately, I was thinking a little more deeply about these kinds of factors.  That is, I've been thinking about the various things that can boost creative work and things that can work against it.  And it occurred to me that I was able to quickly produce more copious amounts of escapist fiction when my life wasn't troubled.  When things were happy and I didn't have problems to think about, the creative juices flowed.  However, when there were major problems in my life, such as the death of a parent, difficulty at my real-life job, or financial struggles---during those times, I found it difficult-to-impossible to write any kind of fiction whatsoever. 

It's easy to write about the news or about social issues or things like that.  I discovered that I can write non-fiction, even if my life is troubled.   I mean, if I was experiencing something horrible, I still had an opinion.  I still felt strongly one way or another about this or that issue.  I suppose conflict creates opinions. 

But when it comes to world building, character forming, and plot planning...I just couldn't carry on during the dark times.  It was as if my creativity were some sort of a plant being locked up in a closet, deprived of sunlight and water.  I do not know if it is like this for everyone who writes fiction.  But it sort of unnerves me a bit to know that, from my personal pattern, sad times mean lean fiction years, and the good years yield more content. 

If this is how it's going to be, then I really need to be on the ball with my writing during the good months so that I can accomplish what I want to do.  We only get one life, after all.  And I am uncertain I will live long enough to complete every project I have in mind.