There’s been a lot of talk in the writing community in particular and the world in general about how to keep going when things get miserable and the world as we know it starts to crumble against the repeated assaults of authoritarian fascism and the increasing courage of racist, misogynistic bigots.
(Yes, I’m one of those people. Sorry.)
This is a topic that hundreds of more articulate people than me have spoken on already, and a large part of my advice to deal with this would just be parroting them. But I still feel like I should throw my voice out into the void and see if anyone picks up on it.
This is an issue that I Struggle™ with. By Struggle, I mean that after the election, I gave up NaNoWriMo completely and didn’t write for a month. I regularly have days where I realise that the entire world is going to shit and there’s exactly zilch I can do to try and stop it, and my anxiety and depression mix into one loud cacophony that screams at me that my words are worthless and so are my efforts and I should just go lie in bed and eat junk food and watch YouTube videos.
But, as the countless others I mentioned before have said, your words do matter, and you can change things. Call your Congressmen, donate to charities, sign petitions, protest and march, do whatever you are able and willing to do. And most importantly, write.
But what about if you can’t?
That’s been my biggest problem. I’m trapped at home, completely broke, and dependant upon people who are not nearly as enthusiastic about resisting the fall of society as we know it as I am, with crippling social anxiety that makes phone conversations essentially impossible. I have nothing but the words that I scream into the void, and the void is notorious for not being particularly responsive. I’m a tiny little personality with no following and few friends and absolutely no influence. So how do I keep going? How do I push myself to write, even on the days when I don’t want to?
In that question is the answer. I push myself. I’ve found that even if I only plunk out fifteen words of incomprehensible crap per day, at the end of the week I’ll have written fifteen more words than I would’ve otherwise. And some days, I fail even at that. (I’ll be real, recently, it’s been a lot more than “some.”) The important thing is to not let a missed or slow day stop you. You’re not a failure. Even if these words are all you can throw out there to try and change things, missing one day of writing won’t mean that any affect you could’ve had was wasted. If you miss or skip a day or even two, you can just pick it back up where you left off when you can. It’s all right. Just keep going.
I think that this post was really more for me than it was for anyone else, and I’m sorry. (One advantage of shouting into the void with no response, though, is that you can make self-indulgent therapy posts and no one cares!) I just needed to get this out there, and hopefully this’ll remind someone that all that work and energy that they’re putting into their way of helping the world isn’t going to waste if they miss a day. And remember, whatever happens, just keep writing.
Alindra is an author, dance teacher, and choreographer. If you want to keep up with whatever the hell it is she calls her life, follow her on social media (Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat, etc) @alindrawrites or support her Patreon at patreon.com/alindrawrites