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Keep Calm & Write On!

The World Needs Our Words

By Lena FolkertPublished 6 months ago 7 min read
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"Writing Through the Fire" © Lena Folkert, 2023. Created with Wombo Dream Ai.

"The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another."

- William James

Throughout the never-ending topsy-turvy fiasco that is my life, one of the silver linings was that I always had something interesting to write about. I may never have had a kid or a fancy wedding, and I've never bought a house or landed a dream job, but I've had my share of interesting moments throughout the craziness that has been my life, and those interesting and sometimes devastating moments brought with them inspiration to tell a story.

Unfortunately, though, my instinct when scared is much like the ostrich, and I tend to bury my head far down into the sand and check out. A lot of people don't actually know about the third "f" in the "fight" or "flight" reaction to stress, and those who do know about it tend to forget, but there is a third reaction. The third reaction is to "freeze," and this is all me when life is constantly punching me in the face with anxiety.

When I freeze, I really freeze, and everything in my life except the absolute essentials go out the window. I manage to feed my dogs and cats, and I'll get up and go to work. I'll make dinner for my husband since he won't/can't, and I'll usually find the strength to brush my teeth and shower, but extras like cleaning the house, schoolwork, talking to friends, and doing anything creative is quickly forgotten and abandoned, including my writing.

In the past, I have wasted whole decades without penning a single word, even though my soul was always crying out to write. I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I would try. Boy, would I try, but inspiration was buried in the sand with the ostriches, and I was too tired and weak to get a shovel to unbury all that inspiration.

So, I abandoned the idea of writing for years and years.

Then, at the beginning of this year, I found Vocal, and I was consumed with the fire to write again, and I did! I wrote my heart out. It felt great! I was stressed, but it the Pandemic was in full-swing, and I was stuck at home without the ability to fix most of my problems, and I caught that writing bug and didn't let it go.

Since then, a lot of things have happened, and I'm more stressed than I have been my whole life.

"Stress..." You know, I say that word out loud, and it doesn't quite cover it. This isn't the normal kind of stress that most people think of, and I realize that if I'm going to continue on and help you understand the impact of my words, you will need a more complete understanding of the "stress" I am referring to.

I normally do not like to share this much of myself all at once, but I don't know how to express the depths without revealing a few details, so I'm going to drop a list here, and though I am not going to go into details about them all, I think it will help you grasp the extent.

So, here is a short list of SOME of the things that I'm facing right now:

  • Possible Breast Cancer.
  • The Iminent Death of My Best Friend from Ovarian Cancer.
  • Impending Homelessness... Again.
  • Death of Multiple Loved Ones.
  • Unemployment.
  • Untreated Depression and Anxiety.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Agoraphobia.
  • Chronic Pain and Illness.
  • Intense Family Strains and Abuse.
  • The Expectation Placed Upon ME to "FIX EVERYTHING!"

Again, I'm not telling you all of this to garner some amount of sympathy or etc. I'm simply telling you this, because despite all of these things and more, I have somehow managed to overcome my usual stress-induced paralysis just enough to keep writing through it all, and this is unprecedented for me.

Granted, not everything I have written is pure gold. I know this, but that's okay, because even the best writers can't produce gold nuggets every time they put pen to paper.

"If I waited for perfection… I would never write a word.”

—Margaret Atwood

So then, how do we do as is suggested in the opening quote I chose and "choose one thought over another?"

If you're like me, that's pretty much the battle of a lifetime. I wouldn't have anxiety disorders in the first place, right?

Then this thought kept materializing inside of my mind over and over again:

"I can't control what pops into my head, but I can control what I Willfully Choose to Google, Research, Watch, Listen to, and Write About."

I realized that I might not be able to choose what things my mind initially conjures up to worry about, but I can choose what things I keep hyper-focusing on.

Well, with that thought bouncing around inside my head, I decided to sit down at my computer, and pull up my list of the numerous topics I have been wanting to write about.

I chose a topic that I cared about but that wasn't too serious, and I just went for it, knowing that if it wasn't perfect... it didn't really matter!

I chose to write about some of my favorite musicians from the '90's and looked up lyrics, articles, and quotes, and I played the music, and I just pushed through the block and produced this article:

It wasn't amazing writing, but it was writing, and it was writing that meant something to me. And that's what I needed to keep the creative juices from becoming damned up.

I think we need to let go of the idea that we should only write if we can write well.

Sometimes, it's a victory if we can just get a single word down.

So, that's what I did. I wrote as many single words as I could manage. Those words turned into a few more and a few more on top of that. I embraced something that a man I loved once said of me, and I just kept trying! Then, I wrote about that man and his observation and produced this piece for the Remarkably Real challenge: "The Girl's a Tryer."

I have still been struggling with keeping up my writing, and some days, I absolutely dread it, and on those days, I give myself a break. Because that's one of the other things that I've learned over the years:

It's okay to give yourself a break sometimes!

I think the biggest reason that we writers experience "writer's block," however it manifests for us as individuals, is because we put a lot of stress upon ourselves to be perfect, to keep going, to be artists, etc.

We need to stop putting this pressure on ourselves and our art. Because that's what writing is. It's an art, and we all know that artists are sensitive people.

If you think you're not sensitive, well... you are. Just admit it already!

And it's okay to be sensitive. It's good to be sensitive, especially as a writer, but we need to stop putting this pressure upon ourselves to always have every piece of writing we produce to be amazing!

The fact is that at least 90% of what we write is probably crap. Even if we don't think so at the time, we will later. You know you've looked back at your writings and been like, "what the heck was I thinking!?"

Yet, you still wrote it. You still had an insight inside to share. It doesn't matter if it wasn't perfectly written. The important part is that you wrote it.

A Creator friend of mine, Josie wrote a poem recently about how the whole world needs therapy, and boy oh, boy is she right! (Read this poem HERE)

Well, the truth is that as writers, we have access to some of the best therapists in the world: OURSELVES!

What does a therapist tell you to do, anyway? They tell you to journal, to get your feelings out, to stop keeping it bottled up! That's what our writing is!

So, even though my world is crumbling around me like an old, stale cookie, I have been pushing myself to write. I know that it isn't all golden, but I'm learning to accept that and just Remember these things:

  • Choose One Thought Over Another
  • Stop Trying To Be Perfect
  • It's Okay To Take A Break
  • Writing Is My Therapy

So, don't stop writing if you have a story within you that needs to be shared.

No matter what...

You Can't Stop, Won't Stop Writing!

Author's final note: Thank you for taking the time to read. I hope you enjoy my personal story!

If you enjoyed what you read, please click HERE for more, and don't forget to LIKE, SHARE, & SUBSCRIBE! Tips are Always Greatly Appreciated!❤

Writer's BlockInspirationAdvice
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About the Creator

Lena Folkert

Alaskan Grown Freelance Writer 🤍 Lover of Prose

Former Deckhand & Barista 🤍 Always a Pleaser & Eggshell-Walker

Lifelong Animal Lover & Whisperer 🤍 Ever the Student & Seeker

Traveler 🤍 Dreamer 🤍 Wanderer

Happily Lost 🤍 Luckily in Love

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Comments (5)

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  • Jay Kantor5 months ago

    Dear Ms. Lena; aka Fellow Egg-Shell-Walker - I'm 'Ringing my Underdeveloped Brains' why I haven't discovered your marvelous work before? Although I've followed your lovely comments to many others in our little Village Community. I'm so glad that you could relate to 'This is DUDE' *As I scroll through your eclectic presentations and gorgeous headings I've subscribed to you with pleasure.  I'm commenting on this story because my heart opens up to you when it comes to things we write about that are so close to our hearts; with my blessings. I've just written (2) very difficult ones recently as well - "Victims Too" and "Wheelchair Etiquette" - and our Novel Allen had me put a photo of me under that story since it was plagiarized (yes, that story of all things) but, our Miss Judey got him butted out: Yes, a nice Village to be a part of when we have one-another's backs; virtually or otherwise.  Your 'Original' work among many "Creative" Ways-to-Write-Writer's among us is so refreshing to view. I'm just a retired legal biz writer morphed into a self described 'Goof Writer' nothing more. I'm not into challenges or rewards but I so appreciate your choice of topics and written wit. I just don't understand the (4) letter word groupies among us; can't they fill-in better than that? Sorry, I'm just an oldster StoryTeller and out of the popular loop. - My Pleasure - Jay Jay Kantor, Chatsworth, California 'Senior' Vocal Author - Vocal Village Community -

  • Keeping going is the victory even when everything seems to be against you

  • L.C. Schäfer6 months ago

    "Sometimes, it's a victory if we can just get a single word down." - boy did THAT resonate!

  • While I can't say that I enjoyed this, Lena, I can say that I'm glad you wrote & shared it with us. My heart goes out to you for all that you've been through, all that you're going through, & all that you undoubtedly will still need to endure. You're in my thoughts & prayers, my friend.

  • Kendall Defoe 6 months ago

    Keep those words coming... And remember: "When you are going through Hell, keep going." - Winston Churchill

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