When Life Spirals out of Control (for Writers)

You’re sitting in your room with your head in your hands, contemplating about nothing. You life is spiraling out of control and you don’t know how to stop it. So many thoughts are racing through your head you don’t know which one to start with. Hell, you might as well not be thinking at all, at least that way it’d be more peaceful.

So, you wanted to be a writer. You wanted to be the next big thing, the next Shakespeare, Stephen King, John Grisham, Karen Slaughter or whoever. You wanted to build an illustrious career for yourself but for all your troubles you have no audience, 8,000 ideas, 800 works-in-progress, 80 pages of trash, and 8 seconds of legit inspiration. Oh, and let’s not forget the 8 months of writer’s block.

So, what the fuck do you do? How do you gain some semblance of control back into your life? And, most importantly, what the fuck is going on in the first place?!

Well, look around you. If everything is a mess and there’s a bunch of shit all over the place, the first thing is to clean up. If your place is clean, go outside and take a walk. Second, go to your computer and look at all your writings. Yes, you have to go back to the dungeon if you want to be free from this everlasting spiral of chaos.

Are you there? Alright, don’t lose your shit. Now, take a look at your writings. Really, take a look at them. Is there anything worth keeping? Anything you’re dying to finish? Anything you wouldn’t forgive yourself for not completing? If the answer is no, then you know what you need to do. If the answer is yes, pick out the ones worth keeping and scrap the rest.

And there you go, problem solved.

Sometimes, you have to say fuck it and burn everything to the ground and start over. Sometimes life gets out of control and we end up in messes we can clean our way out of. However, as writers, we always have the authority to light the match and set shit on fire. Let the remnants of a pathetic individual who lost control whither away and let the confident writer be reborn from the ashes (or some other form of profundity that’s comfortable for you).

I know it can be tough to burn all your works that you thought were going to be best-sellers (trust me, I know how it feels) but you have to clear out the old to make room for the new. You don’t have to follow every single idea you have until the end, some ideas are shit. Only follow the ones that stick around, only follow the ones that nag like your mother or girlfriend.

If you’re a writer and your life is out of control or generally a place of chaos and confusion. . . just know that’ll always be the case and the one and most effective way to mitigate it is to say fuck it and burn shit to the ground. Delete some old stories, novels, poems. Dump it all and start fresh, start from where your writing isn’t the scum of the earth so you can have some semblance of hope for yourself and your career.

Stay up, stay proud, and keep writing!

Alright, that’s my spiel. Til next week. . .

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