Day 41: Writing

When I write, I have 2 modes.  If I’m writing poetry, odds are something or someone has either depressed me or pissed me off.  I type furiously, hitting the keys hard as if that could be infused into my writing.  And when I finally finish, I’m wasted and all the anger or depression that I felt has been magically defused.  When I was originally working on Rapture, I would be lost in it for hours at a time.  Absolutely nothing broke my concentration.  And when I stopped writing, it was as if I were emerging from a hypnotic trance.  I would feel as if I’d been drugged.  When life rudely inserted itself between my writing and myself, I let Rapture lay dormant for too many years.  I’d attempt to add to it but I didn’t get that almost primal feeling that I did originally.  And the writing, well, it definitely wasn’t on par with what I’d written previously.  It was forced and fragmented.  It didn’t flow at all.  So, I grew extremely frustrated and decided that there was no point to writing anyway so why do it…just let 1 more dream slip away.  Then, SARK reappeared in my life like my fairy godmother and helped me to find my desire for writing again.  I don’t know if I’ll ever find another publisher that will be interested in Rapture…no matter how well you write, there’s no guarantee of that happening for anyone.  But that isn’t the reason that we write.  We write because we need that outlet.  Something inside of us has the need to be expressed on the page.  Our words paint pictures.  We create wondrous worlds and characters that we control with our words alone.  Sometimes I think that I began writing because I needed to feel as though I had control over something…even if it was fictional.  I have suffered horribly from anxiety my whole life and my writing helped me escape from those sometimes debilitating feelings that made my mind race and imagine the absolute worst outcome for the situation.  I didn’t know what anxiety attacks were until I was 21 years old and my doctor put a name on it.  I literally thought that I was dying.  I felt as though I couldn’t breathe so I’d end up hyperventilating and passing out which I attributed to my inability to breathe.  I was medicated at that point but I couldn’t get used to the drugged feeling I had from the meds, so I finally stopped taking them.  I’ve learned to deal with it pretty well by talking myself through the attacks.  I also learned that if I distracted myself from the attack, I could stop it.  I’d watch something funny or read something that was somewhat benign (Winnie the Pooh was my go-to book when I was younger) and that would usually keep the worst part of the anxiety at bay.  Writing is a better coping skill though if you can immerse yourself in what you’re writing.  I do think that was the impetus for my writing in the beginning.  And all of the reading that I did and still do.  Reading for escape and writing for escape and control.  I’m not glad that I have anxiety attacks but I am glad that it lead me to write and read as ways to cope with it.  We all have our own personal reasons for why and what we write.  And it doesn’t matter what those reasons are as long as we are able to express ourselves in this medium that seems to have chosen us.  Once you have the writing bug, it stays with you.  You can walk away from it for a time but you will be back because it’s part of your soul and because we were born writers.  That’s why I’m back at it.   

“But when people say, ‘Did you always want to be a writer?’, I have to say no!  I always was a writer.” ~ Ursula Le Guin   

About Donna Heilman

I am a writer that lives in the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex with my husband, 2 dogs, and 10 cats. I am currently working on my novel, Rapture, as well as writing poetry and some short non-fiction. I am honestly writing this blog to feel more connected with other creative people.
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