|A glimpse of the wildfire smoke from earlier last week.
I wish I had advice for you. I wish I had the key that would unlock the ability to write despite every storm going on around you (or within you). Yet, this past week has been a doozy and I thought, "Why offer advice that I can't even follow?"
In case you haven't seen the news, Oregon underwent a wildfire that has burnt about one million acres. Communities just an easy drive or bus ride away from me received warnings of possible evacuation. People all over the NextDoor app who live near me asked whether our own city would be evacuated (I live in a suburb of Portland).
Luckily, that immediate threat of possible evacuation has passed, but lately, we have dealt with hazardous air here. As I sit typing out this blog post, it's now at "very unhealthy" levels, and I hope by the time this post goes live, we're somewhat close to normal air. In the meantime, the windows remain tightly shut.
And this year has had a number of these moments for so many people. In fact, maybe this year is one of many for you. Maybe your threat isn't external, but entirely internal.
The thing is I can't say that I am able to shelve these experiences and write anyways. I'm lucky I can even focus enough to read.
This is when advice like self-care comes in. Yes, it's an absolutely 100% overly used word. Sometimes we don't even realize we are NOT taking care of ourselves. It's not until we lose our temper, cry at an inopportune time, or have zero energy for something we usually can do with ease that we realize that we haven't been treating ourselves with care.
So, in times of incredible stress, whether it's a fire burning your community, or an illness, or anything else that railroads your life, make sure you are kind to yourself. Give yourself some breathing room. Give yourself care, but make sure it's the right kind of care.
As a writer, I'm naturally drawn to things that are creative, especially when I eliminate the things that can suck in my time in a negative way (such as too much social media or, embarrassingly enough, mobile gaming). Lately, I have limited social media and removed Lily's Garden (if you have to ask what that is, you're better off not knowing), and let myself be drawn to things that are of better substance.
I ended up getting drawn back into blogging. I write for two of my blogs lately, one post was for LadyUnemployed and the other post was for World of My Imagination (I actually bought the domain recently!). Sometimes when I put on the blogging hat, I tend to take on the informative side that's a bit more concerned about results than just writing. But for these posts, I donned the creative side that uses blogging as an outlet, and just...talked.
And you know what? It felt good. It felt like I was more myself than when I attempted to pretend I was some expert.
So, today, if you find yourself in a spot where you battling fires in your life, first and foremost, take care of yourself. Give yourself a moment of quiet, even if it's a few moments in the bathroom (hey, we've all done that). Breath. Center yourself.
Next, let your creativity flow. Let it rise up in unexpected places, even if it's for your blog. I'm a huge believer in the fact that one creative outlet helps another. Consider bugging a friend to do a writing challenge or respond to a writing prompt with you. Get out the coloring books and crayons. It's totally possible to feed your creative outlet without feeling the burden of success (even if it's the idea of success; that alone can weigh heavy).
Basically, like Jeanine DeHoney said recently in her post, have fun. And you know? Sometimes I forget to do that.
So, if you are facing something really difficult, remember that your creative side can still help you get through the rough days. Ditch the idea that it needs to be perfect or even seen by anyone else. Most of all, take it easy on yourself.
Happy writing! Nicole Pyles is a Blog Tour Manager and freelance writer. Check her unemployment blog, LadyUnemployed.com for informative and inspiring posts, and WorldofMyImagination.com for her thoughts on writing and books. Say hi on Twitter @BeingTheWriter.