Experiences of Writing, Inspiration

Defining Normal

So, back from the UK and as of this week back to my regular ‘work’ schedule with any luck. I say ‘luck’ because ‘normal’ has decided to vacate the premises in my absence.

I’m a person who likes my routines. As a species, humans seem to thrive best in environments and habits familiar to us, but we’re also very good at making routines when things change.
As an example, going back to the UK felt very weird when I first arrived but had become normal by the end of my three-week stay, to the point getting back ‘home’ felt weird, even though I was coming back to my regular lifestyle.

Of course, I have compounding factors. Arriving back in sunny Florida (which was wonderful after a final week in the UK with frigid temperatures!), my first few days home were scrambled by a surprise change in my husband’s career path.
While the changes in themselves are not going to mean a sudden and violent change in our lifestyle, merely a different path to the same ends, the unexpected change nevertheless left me on edge.

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Changes and loss of ‘normal’ have two rather large impacts on my writing. First is the change to my own personal drive.

When I am unsure of exactly what tomorrow might bring, I get anxious and that’s not necessarily conducive to detailed or formal writing. But, in strange juxtaposition to that statement, writing has always been my coping mechanism.

I started my writing journey for Hevna two years ago, but I’ve been writing for far, far longer. Writing is how I ended up married in the USA, because I handled the stress of my more transitionary years by writing. I did it online, on a forum website, telling collaborative role-playing stories with the people who would go on to become my best friends and most important people to me. It was one of those people I saw married last month.

Make-believe and stories have always helped me with stress… and thus, for the last week, I have been working on my horror novel when my anxiety hasn’t stopped me from writing at all.
That particular work features a very large degree of power-playing (good for when I feel powerless in the real world), nostalgia for whom the characters are based on (good for reminding myself I have a wonderful support network) and drastic changes in fortune (good for helping me remember change can be the best thing to happen).
Before anything else, writing and world-building are therapy to me, I just have to pick the right topics to focus my need on.

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The second effect a loss of normal tends to cause me is actually very positive. It inspires me.
When I’m uncertain, my brain goes into overdrive, considering all the ‘what if’ scenarios. Once I manage to get it to stop assuming the worst about everything, some of those ‘what if’ thoughts can be very interesting, inspiring, or at least make me contemplative. Sometimes the ‘what if’ in and of itself forms an idea for a new character or scenario for Hevna, or it makes me deeply thoughtful about the good in my life, and how I cope with bad situations – which of course my characters have to as well.

Insight into how people cope with stress is great for writing more believable characters, and through those interations, I find myself coping with the world for myself as well – not something to be sneezed at!
Left to idle on my own devices, my base instinct would be to have a perfectly smooth path in life, with no upset, surprises or changes to what I am comfortable with. And it would suck.

Normal is a wonderful thing to pursue and strive for, and to make what is ‘normal’ a little bit special in and of itself (I try very hard to make sure ‘normal’ in my household always means telling people I love how much they mean to me, for example). But without the unexpected, and changes to normal, I think it’s hard to grow as a person, understand other people, or find what is truly best in life for yourself.

Sometimes, upsetting the apple cart is for the best – especially if it means you discover how to make cider.
The upshot for me for now? Making cider in my horror novel and focusing on blogging Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays as ‘usual’. Everything else will follow in time, and I get to see what new adventure awaits my husband and I for the rest of the year! (Including a dog, come hell or high water!)

See you Wednesday!

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