Thursday, 14 May 2015

Balancing the Chaos

In Stephen King's book, On Writing, he talks about how he used to dream of a quiet office to do his daily writing.  In the chaos of trying to manage a day job, family needs and daily life, he dreamed of carving out a space for himself and his craft.  But then he got his quiet office and discovered that the daily chaos had become an integral part of his creativity.  He needed it in order to write.

Western society tends to be suspicious of chaos.  It's messy, inconvenient and unpredictable.  We tend to view creation as the skill of ripping order from the chaos, but people rarely stop to wonder if that order would be possible without the chaos.  Chaos is a state of pure potential.  It can become anything.  It is the wick awaiting the spark of inspiration.

But it can also blow out the flame before you get a chance to make your wish.

There needs to be a balance between chaos and order.  Personally, I find without at least a little chaos, my creativity slumps to the ground and refuses to play.  Too much, and it's like trying to manage a toddler on a sugar-high.  You'll both just end up exhausted and irritable.

Life is full of chaos.  Your boss calls you in to work extra hours on a project.  Kids need help with homework or the school needs a volunteer on a field trip.  The kitchen sink springs a leak and someone has to manage the repair themselves or calling the plumber.  These are the sort of regular challenges which burn up the writing time of aspiring authors.

My own life has tended more toward the chaotic.  I've been juggling extra hours at work, end of school year trips and projects, running promotions and events and the regular challenges of life.  I've found myself dreaming of a quiet office with a large wrap around desk, a wall-sized whiteboard for plotting, three monitors (one for writing, one for plot notes and one for research) and most importantly, a door with a lock on it. 

It's seductive to throw up my hands and tell myself that it isn't my fault and maybe I'll feel better if I give myself a little break.  (I still haven't seen the new Daredevil series.) 

But this is life and I've learned over the years that I have to adapt myself and my writing to the demands of life instead of waiting for life to deliver the perfect opportunity.  I need to tap into the chaos and use it as fuel instead of a barrier.

And maybe once I get the manuscript for Metamorphosis done and in the hands of the editors, I can take the time to check out Daredevil.

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