Writing In The Midst Of Difficult Times

Every once in a while, something happens that pulls back the veil of the illusion of your life and shows you what’s really going on.  You’re moving along, you’re comfortable, you think you’ve got it all under control, and then – boom.  Life bitch slaps you.

You get the legs knocked right out from under you.  Something changes with no warning and you’re left trying to figure out what to do.

Last week, the employer I work for in my day job, announced a major change in direction impacting a good portion of the workforce.  Including me.


I am fortunate in that I’ve been given a little time before I’ll be officially let go, but my job is not “my job” anymore.  No matter how long it lasts, now it’s a temporary job I happen to do.


Difficult times.

The biggest concern for me as a writer and creative person (other than “how will I pay all of my bills”) is not letting this major setback derail me from my goals.  The day job is definitely important, but my writing goals are also important.  And meeting my writing goals is how I am building towards my future, which makes them doubly valuable.

Forgetting about writing would be easy.  I can easily get paralyzed by fear and uncertainty.  I can spend my time on social media or surfing the internet or watching TV to try and escape the situation.  Or I can get so wrapped up in looking for another day job and trying to make money that I just stop everything else.

The fact is, I do need another day job. Finding one is vital.

But I have to keep writing, too.  I have to keep going.

Working on a creative pursuit in the midst of difficult times is tough. It’s hard to put yourself in the right mindset to create when you are obsessing over Linkd In and writing a resume.  When my mind is running like a hamster on a wheel, sinking into the book I’m working on is hard.  Forcing myself to sit down and work on it is harder.

Fortunately, earlier this month, before I knew my life would be changing, I set some extremely aggressive writing goals and have been working diligently to meet them.  That’s very helpful because I’m invested in them – I don’t want the goals to fall away now.  It’s also helpful to know that I NEED to meet them to stay on track with this book – they are not optional.

Then there’s the fact that when I sit down to write, I feel myself settle.  This, writing, is my thing.  This is under my control.  My life seems a little out of control at the moment, the future is a little bit up in the air, but this pursuit is mine.  I am in control of it and can make it or break it.  Nobody else can tell me what to do in this arena. I hold power over my own life here.

And the real truth is, I always have power over my own life.  I am always the one who can make or break it.  When the veil of illusion gets ripped away, there is uncertainty, and there is fear, but there is also a reminder of that.

For me, writing in spite of, and in the midst of, the difficult times helps me to remember. I have the power to stop.  But I also have the power to keep going.  The choice is mine.





  1. This is an excellent lesson for all of us. We will all, at some point, have the props knocked out from under us in one way or another, and we all need to remember that each and every one of us does have something, some part of our lives, in which we still do have control and which we need to continue doing, and doing well, in order to continue to be the master of our own fate. This is true whether it’s your own job, the sudden health crisis of someone close to you, or your own health crisis. There is always something one can do to take control of the situation and make the choices which will direct the next step in our lives. Never give another person, or organization, the power to make all your decisions for you and determine your life’s direction. No matter what someone would have you believe, it is always up to you and you can make your own choices.

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