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POINT OF VIEW: Writing in a Time of Chaos

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Damn, it’s been a week.

The earth is shaking, a country is falling, and a virus is surging across the land.

Mark and I find ourselves trapped inside our house again, staring out the windows at the excessive heat (and sometimes the wildfire smoke) and feeling like it’s 2020 all over again.

My writing is in a shambles.

Or maybe it’s not. I’m in the second third of the third book in a trilogy. I’m too close to it and I just can’t tell anymore. I am actually writing, but it’s too soon to know how it’s really going.

Welcome to the fog of writing during what some euphemistically call “interesting times.”

I woke up this morning feeling almost happy, having forgotten the ills of the world for a blissful few hours. Then it all came crashing down on me again. As much as we have limited our news diet the last month or so, some of it still manages to break through. And I admit to occasionally going to check to see if the world is still out there, and if anyone has burned it all to the ground yet.

And so… I’m writing. And that’s good.

I’m approaching the grand climax of the book and trilogy. There’s war and famine and all kinds of related trouble. The world is falling apart, and a few brave souls are struggling to stem the tide before it’s too late.

Sound familiar?

Still, there’s one key difference.

I have no control over the fate of our world, our country, or even this leafy suburb of Sacramento where we live. But in my own story, I’m a god.

And so I’m channeling all the fear and grief and guilt and angst I’m feeling into my fictional world, where it can all work its way out by the end of the story. They say things are always darkest before the dawn, and boy are things getting dark. I want my characters to feel every last thing that’s on my shoulders in their own fictional world, so that when the dawn comes, it will be all the sweeter.

And our own dawn, in this world? I have no control over that. I can only hope that somewhere out there, a better storyteller than I is working on this convoluted plot, and keep my head down until the big, surprise twist.

To my writing friends – how do you channel your emotions into your writing?

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