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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Can Writing Help Save Your Soul?

I'm participating in NaNoWriMo 2014, and since last Sunday I've been killing it. I nixed the project I originally started working on (a sci-fi story that was a bit like Star Trek) and jumped back into my original fantasy fiction project, something I've been trying to complete for over three years.

I've made a lot of progress on it (up to 18K), but an observation has occurred to me as I've written: I'm making pretty good decisions. Not just in-story but in life.

And so I'm forced to ask: Can writing help save your soul? I struggle, like everyone else, with making good decisions on a daily basis. I'm human so my natural inclination is to screw up repeatedly, blame someone else, and keep screwing up. We're all wired that way.

I make an effort NOT to blame others for my mistakes and blame myself, which isn't a great thing all the time (it has drawbacks as a strategy, I grant this) but I feel like these last five days, I've been hitting things right. Doing things right.

And, on reflection, I feel like this is a trend and not a random occurrence. I've had other times when I've been on ridiculous writing tears (that one time when I stayed up for two days straight to write down 22K worth of material for a project that will never see the light of day but made me happy all the same) and, while writing, my decisions just seem to be better.

I'm wondering if that's a common thing or just a me thing (the possibility of it being a me thing is high). When I'm writing as I am, knocking out at least a chapter a day and developing characters (and backstories -- I have an addiction), I just tackle life. Work has been going good, my food choices have been good (the scale shows progress, finally), my personal decision making has been good, my soul feels good.

I realize I'm human and have been sinning every day over the last five days, but I don't feel like I've chosen to sin as often. I don't feel like I've made a choice to disregard what I know is right to do what I know is wrong, just for the short-term benefits.

I just want to get done with work, chores, bills, life, and get back to writing. I hold that up as my carrot and it's worked pretty well so far.

My other thought on this is as follows: if writing can help save your soul, maybe that's why the saints did so much writing. It seems like every saint did some writing and maybe this is why, maybe there's something inherently good to it, I don't know.

I just know that, while writing I feel good about the decisions I make, seem to think with a clearer head, and just seem to be "in the zone" so to speak.

Let me know what you think. Thanks for reading.

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