I’m not sure about you, friends, but I’m struggling. Ironically, I’m going to discuss how struggling to write (creatively) by writing in this blog. Because that’s how I process. And right now, there is a lot to process. But it’s also important to remind ourselves a very key truth: your stories matter. Especially right now.
So, let’s break this down.
If you live in America, the past two years (and counting) have been hard. The past few months, with the banning of books, the attacks on Asian communities and continual racism that threads through every aspect of society to work against the Black community; it’s been hard.
Now, we’re piling even more on, with the attacks against trans youth and the upcoming overturning of Roe versus Wade threatening to change the foundations of basic rights to so many individuals and groups. Not to mention that there is still a pandemic (even if some ignore it). There’s inflation, rising costs of food and living, toxic workplaces and lack of adequate healthcare.
And that’s just honing in on America. Looking globally, it doesn’t get much better: the war in Ukraine. The election fraud in the Philippines. The attacks against Palestine. Climate change continuing to take its toil and threaten us in greater ways every day we delay combating it seriously as world leaders.
It is not surprising that we’re struggling, ranging from mental health crises, struggling to perform basic functions and beyond. As a creative–a storyteller, a writer–I’ve felt a mix of things, all over. But particularly with writing. Sometimes, it something as small as not having the energy to write. Others, it’s much larger things: like feeling guilt at wanting to tell stories to questioning why bother at all, when the world is…this?
So, I’m here to call out that lie, friends.
Your stories matter.
Your Stories Matter
Our stories have always mattered. Yet, it’s easy to forget that, when we’re dealing with so much. And I say this as a privileged white woman. What I am feeling and struggling with right now is nothing compared to what BIPOC communities are feeling and dealing with–currently and throughout history.
Now, I’m not saying that you must force yourself to write right now. There’s enough going on that we don’t need to add on that self-imposed guilt. However, if you’re feeling any ounce of guilt at spending time being creative; of wanting to write stories or read them; I want to squash that here and now.
Your stories matter.
Why? Let’s list off a few reasons:
Stories Are Life
Your words are resistance.
Choosing to invest in yourself and in your writing in a world where the powers at be care nothing about you is resistance. Writing down stories that they want to ban is resistance. Taking care of yourself when they want to crush you is resistance. Using your words as a platform against their hate by writing stories of revolution, of love, of hope, of victory, of parallels and possibilities, is resistance.
It doesn’t matter what type of story you’re writing. We need them all.
You may be thinking, “well, my stories aren’t about revolutions. It’s fluff, so it’s not important.” WRONG. The comfort that readers are taking in stories like Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree? Or Miss Percy’s Pocket Guide to the Care and Feeding of British Dragons by Quenby Olson? Those stories give us an escape when we’re stuck in this colossal dumpster fire. They remind us of joy. They help us remember what to fight for, so when we read books that show us how–like Evan Winter’s The Rage of Dragons or The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang; we’re ready.
What We Can Do
So, that voice, in the back of your head? The one that keeps telling you that spending time on your stories is pointless? Ignore it. What about the one that says because your stories aren’t successful, why bother? Fuck that. That’s capitalism speaking, love. The voice that feels guilt for creating in a world that’s being destroyed? Squash it.
You deserve to create in a time of chaos. Not punish yourself if you can’t, mind. Nor use it as a crutch or an excuse to avoid doing other necessary things. Like educating yourself, staying politically engaged, protesting, advocating and showing up to dismantle the systems that oppress, the leaders who threaten and the pillars that got us here.
We have to fight, to escape from where we are now. And fight we will. Don’t forget that creating is part of that fight. You matter. And so do you stories.
Thank you for reading. I know this is a heavy topic. It’s a heavy time, honestly. Please, on top of giving yourself permission to create and giving yourself grace to grieve and space to feel; please, stay informed. And get informed.
Below are a few resources to get started:
- Subscribe to newsletters to stay up to date and engaged. Currently, I subscribe to Anti-Racist Daily (the ARD), Prism and the 19th*.
- I also share monthly resources and action items on a wide range of topics in my monthly Allyship check-in. You can find the archive here.
Take care of yourselves out there, friends. You can’t do anything from an empty cup. I can’t wait to read your stories one day.