My train speeds through the Essex countryside, carrying me to another day in the centre of London. Everyone around me is commuting into the office, most with busy days in front of them. As the rising sun lights up the mostly yellow fields (at the time of writing we’ve not had rain here for 2 months) I wonder if the notebook in front of me, and the stories within, might just be the antidote to it all.
It was one of those moments where everything falls into place and you have what feels like a moment of clarity. Later, I took some time to look at the different parts of my life and marveled at the speed of them. The crazy, hectic working days and the constant odd jobs required in the house when I get home. There’s always something that needs doing and it can seem like everything needs doing right now.
So with all this to balance, why write? For me, writing gets me away from all of that, and throws me into a different frame of mind. Writing is a great way to get away from the craziness of modern life. But I know what you’re thinking – you want a list to prove it.
Writing forces you to take time out
In a world where we’re trying to squeeze more minutes out of a day to get more done, when you find time to write you can escape all that. Whether you write in front of a keyboard or use a pen and paper, writing means that you’ll have to take a breath, pause from everything going on around you, and immerse yourself in the story you’re trying to tell.
Writing is checking in with yourself
When you start writing, a lot of writers will perform a little check in with themselves. I do, I check I’m not too warm, not too cold, that my aches and pains are bearable, and that I’m in a good mood. If something isn’t right, this is my chance, before I do any writing, to put it right. Some might call this procrastinating, but I embrace that quick check as a positive thing. It can give us an awareness of ourselves that we otherwise don’t think about.
Writing takes patience
We expect everything quickly today. Instant fast food, instant taxis, instant downloads. If you’re writing, however, you soon learn that you’re in it for the long game. There are exceptions to this rule – there’s the story of someone knocking together a script in 10 days, or a novelist churning out a book a month. For the most part though, writing form takes time. You shouldn’t expect instant success. That’s how things worked a long time ago (the eighties), and it didn’t hurt anyone. Embrace the time it takes for a piece of art to form. Enjoy the process.
Writing requires persistence
Is that sentence not quite right? You can change it. Is the penultimate chapter not working? Then change it. You are in control of the quality control – sometimes to a fault. But regardless of what you’re doing, you need to keep working at it, polishing it, until it becomes perfect. Modern life teaches us to throw things and hobbies away and try something new. Writing teaches us to care about something intangible, and love it for as long as it takes.
And that is my short explanation on why writing could just cure you from modern life.
Now, to work…
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