Hooked on a hobby...
In preparing for not one but TWO podcasts coming up, a lot of people ask how I find time to write. So I thought I'd share a bit about why I write, to help people see how I find time.
I have an overactive imagination. To be honest, my brain likes to be in overdrive. As a child, that manifested as imagining the monsters under the bed or other terrors to keep me from sleeping. It was my mother who suggested I distract my brain by telling myself a story. If only she'd known!
I did just that, and it became a coping mechanism. Instead of letting my creativity run off with vampires and demons outside the window, I put together the story of Shakat, a farm girl who would save the world. That "Cinderella" style story evolved as I grew up. The prince turned into a villain. A dragon showed up. The survival of magic was in the balance. And then, the most significant change of all; the prophecy went ever so wrong.
One day, I'll finally get it down. For now, it's the story that refuses to be written (another tale for another day!)
As I entered teenagerhood, I began having these troubling thoughts without it being bedtime. If my mind was given idle time, I went through what I've since learned is called cataclysmic thoughts. I could deal with some of them by facing the issues and plan, but when they grew impossible to rationalize through, I turned to the stories. It was easier to figure out how Shimmer would establish herself in the cavern-streets of StonePeak than worry about unlikely, yet terrible, happenings.
And those stories stuck in my mind long enough to migrate onto the page. For fun, when I would otherwise be watching TV or reading a book, I took to writing the stories down. That gave me more fodder for later contemplations and distractions.
I didn't realize how much I was relying on the creative part of my brain until I tried to kick the habit. I started Vet School and I knew the program would be grueling. I figured it was time to let go of this "childish" habit of making up and writing stories. So I decided I wouldn't do it anymore but just focus on my studies.
By day 7, I was physically shaking. My mind had run itself into a million disastrous scenarios, and anxiety consumed me. I lost sleep. I was impatient and irritable. The greatest irony was that I couldn't focus. In my efforts to improve my concentration, I had damned it.
I'd lost my coping mechanism, my outlet. I'd lost how I decompressed at the end of the day and engaged the imaginative part of my brain that was not getting exercised with scientific logic and memorization. I went crawling back.
So I make time. Thirty minutes here, ten there, I piece together snippets to read and write, because I have to. I won't know what's up with the latest series on Netflix. You won't see my avatar on any online games. I'm on social media for precious little time. Because my therapy is here, on the page. This is where I go.
By way of habits, I think it's a good one!
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D. Lambert, author
Fantasy novels that entice, inspire, and entertain.