Last week was an interesting time in this brave new world of ours. I got needed things done. I even did some things I wanted to do. But, there was lethargy involved. A feeling that I was wading through miles of mud to get even the simplest of things done. I knew I had had that feeling before when I had gone through my major depressive episodes. But, it was somehow different, at the same time. So, I ended the week feeling like I had failed at what I was trying to do. I changed my mind though at the beginning of this week when I saw a post prompt in one of my Facebook groups. A prompt that said think of one thing you were successful with during the previous week and one thing you could improve on. “Improve on,” not fail at. That resonated with me, and it’s what I want to talk about today.
First, my experiences. As I’ve said before, my state has started to open up. And, of course, there are rules to abide by. So far, they haven’t affected me too much because I haven’t gone to too many places, and there haven’t been any opportunities to see friends. Now though, the opportunity is coming where I could see friends, and I’m wondering if I want to. All the rules would still be in force (physical distancing, wearing face masks, not lingering to talk in groups), and I’m not sure it would be worth it. Even worse, in the statement of what would need to happen, I was triggered by fear. I know people have used the word “trigger” for lots of things that most people don’t take seriously, and maybe you won’t take this one seriously. I don’t know. But, it’s serious to me. I have a deep fear of abandonment. And, between the abandonment and the depression, the end of last week was awful. That is until I put pen to paper and wrote a short story. A short story about someone being abandoned. I haven’t finished it yet, but I plan to. It was cathartic for my soul which is why it ended up on my positive list for the week. Bad experiences can lead to good short story ideas.
Then, there are opinions. All of us have them whether they are good or bad in someone’s eyes. And, we’re allowed to have our opinions. I have figured out something in the last few weeks though. People don’t want to hear your opinions unless they’re the same as or close to their own. They’ll react badly if they’re not. Yes, I’ve had that experience, and I’m sure you have too. But, I’ve realized some things. After you state your opinion, and it doesn’t go “your way”, you have some choices as an adult.
You can be confrontational and thrust your opinion in someone’s face. It might be important enough to do that. I have watched several people demonstrate for freedom in the last few days, and I respected them for risking public ridicule for something so important.
You can go to where your opinion is allowed. I compare this to the signs some restaurants have which say, “No shoes, no shirt, no service.” If you want to go to a restaurant which lets you eat barefoot, you would just go there. Same for opinions.
Finally, you can stay away from people on both sides of the issue. I lean toward this since I have that option and am an introvert and non-confrontational.
But, as I was considering this issue, I thought of something I haven’t done yet; something that would help me in the writing world. I haven’t practiced in public with my stories. So, I’m going to start the process of revamping my website and adding a stories section. Though holding an opinion and taking criticism aren’t exactly the same thing, they are similar enough that I need to put confronting them in my writing wheelhouse.
As I conclude, I want to mention goals. The stress level of this time has made it very hard for me to set them. And, there are times I’ve felt great angst because I haven’t met a goal. There is wide advice on this very subject all the way from just trying to survive during this time of quarantine to planning and executing the next great American novel. At times, I’ve been so tempted to just survive–that my writing really didn’t matter. But, I found I didn’t want to just survive. I wanted my days to have some challenges. I figured out this was the best way to handle it. Set the goals. Set the goals for each day I want to write. But, give myself grace if I don’t meet them. Isn’t that what it says in Scripture, anyway? 😉
I hope this has been useful to you. How experiences, opinions, and goals can help with your writing. Let me know your tips in the comments.
God bless you!