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The Impact on Writing (1 Viewer)

vranger

Staff member
Global Moderator
My family moved from Nova Scotia to New Hampshire when I was thirteen. Terrible age to be uprooted. Being newly inducted into the wonderful world of hormones and all things teen angsty, I did what any angry and self loathing teen would do, I escaped. Music, books (mostly fantasy), drugs, alcohol. Anything so I didn't have to feel what I felt.

In eleventh grade English class, we had to write a 'theme'. Some of you may remember the bumper stickers that read 'I'd rather be *fill in blank*'. That was our theme, so I chose 'I'd rather be Vegging out'. I wrote it specifically about getting stoned, while stoned, and promptly forgot about it after turning it in. Two weeks later the teacher returned the graded papers. I wish I could have seen the look on my face. Dumbfounded, dazed and confused maybe. She gave me an 'A' and told me I should submit it to a literary magazine. I didn't even remember writing it.

I wrote poetry for a number of years, mainly as a release of the frustration I felt for life in general. I stopped doing that and life got a whole lot worse (that would be the moral of this story! Just keep writing! :) )

Dad worked for Chrysler Corporation, and every time he got a promotion, we moved. We started with a move across town when my parents built and moved out of their starter home. Shortly after that he got a promotion and we moved to a city for ... two months ... before he was transferred to Atlanta. The family moved back to the house they built, which they hadn't sold yet, and later on to Atlanta. His next promotion would have taken him to Detroit, which he wouldn't consider, So he took a job with a dealer in a small town near an army base, and later bought it. We were there three years, for all of my Jr. High School. Then the base was about to be stripped of personnel, so he sold the dealership and bought a business in Cocoa Beach, Florida. That business didn't do so well, so after 18 months (middle of High School for me), he took a sales job in Jacksonville. After 18 months there I left for college.

With so MUCH moving, I rarely resented it. A couple of times I regretted leaving friends I'd gotten close to, but I was used to it, and the new place was always an adventure. Who would I meet? What would be on TV there? (That was in the day of three networks, lots of variety in syndicated programming and local programming). But each place we lived, I took valuable experience from. No regrets.

My wife's father was a Lutheran minister. THEY moved a lot. As a couple, we settled down. We lived in our first house for 11 years, and our second house for 27 years. :) We'd still be there, but it made good financial sense to get out of a high tax state and county, plus downsize.

How do I tie that to the topic? I believe all of that made me self-sufficient and confident, which are certainly good qualities to approach writing with.
 

SueC

Staff member
Senior Mentor
How do I tie that to the topic? I believe all of that made me self-sufficient and confident, which are certainly good qualities to approach writing with.

Vranger, I think everything we experience gives us a "gift" of sorts, even if we don't see it at the time. You say you were sad to leave friends you had made, so that may have encouraged you to be more understanding of loss. When your characters in your stories experience such things, you won't have to look far to really understand how it feels.

Not with my parents, but as a parent I was married to a man whose own father had moved his family across state lines, like your dad did. Because my husband was so used to moving, he never even thought of staying in one place for long. So, as a married person, I have lived in seven states. While we didn't move as often as your family did, my children were at the ages you describe and somehow managed to survive. In fact, I think they looked at moving the way you did, and we always seemed to move to states that were far away from where we were, so it was exciting! LOL. One time we moved from Ohio to Oklahoma and then five years later moved to Wisconsin. From there, the kids and I moved to Iowa (divorce) and he moved to Idaho, New Hampshire, Colorado and Montana, where he passed away last year. All of our children have stayed in the cities they moved to after college and have no plans to leave or move about. :) I agree, that type of lifestyle does give you confidence, makes you find ways of introducing yourself into new situations.
 

TheMightyAz

Senior Member
'Never good enough' was the refrain of the greater part of my formative years. Figuring out I'm (probably) an aspie put things in perspective.

Didn't do much for my view of the world and humanity at large, but...it is what it is.

Isn't that odd. I've often wondered whether I'm somewhere on the autistic spectrum. But then again, being isolated can make you feel 'other' quite easily. My mother, in her infinite wisdom, decided not to send me to nursery. At 62, I still remember that moment when I was dropped off at infants school. That sense of being deserted and alone, even though you're in a room full of other children. I had no idea how to interact. It sends shivers down my spine even recollecting it.
 

Taylor

Friends of WF
How much, if at all, do you think the difficult moments in life impact your ABILITY to be able to write effectively? Do you think trauma, pain, loss and other 'life lessons' play a role in improving our skill at communication? I'm not talking about being able to write about those personal experiences. I just wonder how those experiences might have enhanced your knowledge or awareness of life in general, enough so that you might not be the writer you are, without having lived through them.

Give examples if you are comfortable.

Sue :)

What a great thread idea! There are so many ways to answer this, but here goes...

If I had to describe my life in one word it would be "confusing."

For some reason my life, starting as a troubled child, has been a long string of extreme satisfaction and huge disappointments, and most of the time, I can't figure it out. What to do. How to act. What's important. I keep thinking it's going to get easier but it never does. Just when things settle down another crazy twist or turn. I think it's why I am so fascinated with people. By watching them, I may get a clue for how they might handle a situation better than me.

But most of the time, the question I struggle with is, "What is the right thing to do?" And sometimes I don't get it right. So there is a constant beating myself up, and striving to be better. A better mother; better sister; better wife; better friend; better employee...better person.

Through my own struggles, I have developed an empathy for others, particularly when they don't always appear to do the right thing.

So yes, all these experiences have enhanced my knowledge or awareness of life in general, and given me my voice as a writer. I honestly don't think I would even want to write without this tumultuous life to draw from. It pains me...but inspires me.

 

druid12000

Senior Member
What a great thread idea! There are so many ways to answer this, but here goes...

If I had to describe my life in one word it would be "confusing."

For some reason my life, starting as a troubled child, has been a long string of extreme satisfaction and huge disappointments, and most of the time, I can't figure it out. What to do. How to act. What's important. I keep thinking it's going to get easier but it never does. Just when things settle down another crazy twist or turn. I think it's why I am so fascinated with people. By watching them, I may get a clue for how they might handle a situation better than me.

But most of the time, the question I struggle with is, "What is the right thing to do?" And sometimes I don't get it right. So there is a constant beating myself up, and striving to be better. A better mother; better sister; better wife; better friend; better employee...better person.

Through my own struggles, I have developed an empathy for others, particularly when they don't always appear to do the right thing.

So yes, all these experiences have enhanced my knowledge or awareness of life in general, and given me my voice as a writer. I honestly don't think I would even want to write without this tumultuous life to draw from. It pains me...but inspires me.


Years ago, I had a book, 'The Book of Questions'. All sorts of deep philosophical questions and 'would you rather'. One that hit me like a Mack truck was, 'Would you rather live a life like Vincent Van Gogh, with extreme, joyful highs and devastating and debilitating lows...or, a mundane life with little variety in mood or excitement?'

My reaction? I'm already living the first one. Is the second even possible?

While those are extremes, they are both possible. There is a balance that can be achieved, though. It takes effort but the payoff is brilliant.
 

SueC

Staff member
Senior Mentor
What a great thread idea! There are so many ways to answer this, but here goes...

If I had to describe my life in one word it would be "confusing."

For some reason my life, starting as a troubled child, has been a long string of extreme satisfaction and huge disappointments, and most of the time, I can't figure it out. What to do. How to act. What's important. I keep thinking it's going to get easier but it never does. Just when things settle down another crazy twist or turn. I think it's why I am so fascinated with people. By watching them, I may get a clue for how they might handle a situation better than me.

But most of the time, the question I struggle with is, "What is the right thing to do?" And sometimes I don't get it right. So there is a constant beating myself up, and striving to be better. A better mother; better sister; better wife; better friend; better employee...better person.

Through my own struggles, I have developed an empathy for others, particularly when they don't always appear to do the right thing.

So yes, all these experiences have enhanced my knowledge or awareness of life in general, and given me my voice as a writer. I honestly don't think I would even want to write without this tumultuous life to draw from. It pains me...but inspires me.


Wonderful, Taylor. I've kind of gotten this idea that life is really not meant to be easy, although I have met people who have sailed through and admit their life is not full of lows, traumas and difficulties. And then I wonder, how do they grow? How do they become "better" if they never have to face a challenge? Even though at times I think it would be wonderful to go through life worry-free, I realize that is not part of the plan. Even when I read stories or books, I want to see growth in a character, not stagnation or smugness about their wonderful life. So just keep plugging away, Taylor, and put all that awareness into your writing. Thank you so much for sharing.

Sue :)
 

ritudimrinautiyal

Senior Member
For me writing restarted at forty four. I used to write in my school days. I had the opportunity to read Russian Literature ( English version). With the conservative upbringing, reading Anton Chekhov was like thinking of a dream twenty years ahead. Those dreams had influence on my writings of school days as well. Then took a break in writing for pretty twenty seven years, but mind didn't take a break from observing the life around, froze it inside, to be useful later. I wanted to write earlier also, but couldn't find words to express my frozen thoughts. My mind chose this time only for the flow of expressions through poems and through other writings. I feel mind itself creates tunnel of time, for thoughts and imagination to come out in the land of reality, as worth and value in the form of creative pieces.

Ritu
 

indianroads

Staff member
Board Moderator
We have had discussions before on whether the ability to write (as a "writer") comes naturally, can it be taught, or does success lie somewhere in between.

We have just squeaked out of a horrendous year, where personal pain was at the forefront. We have all been affected on some level by the events that have happened, just in 2020. So here's my question.

How much, if at all, do you think the difficult moments in life impact your ABILITY to be able to write effectively? Do you think trauma, pain, loss and other 'life lessons' play a role in improving our skill at communication? I'm not talking about being able to write about those personal experiences. I just wonder how those experiences might have enhanced your knowledge or awareness of life in general, enough so that you might not be the writer you are, without having lived through them.

Give examples if you are comfortable.

Sue :)

My first two books (Dark Side of Joy, The Last Dragon) are about my early life. Without going into specifics, if there is anything to the belief in Karma, I must have been a horrible person in a previous life.

Regarding my writing, I don't think early trauma helped much beyond an ability to write with empathy about bad things happening to my characters. Instead, I attribute what meager skills I have to learning to read at a very early age. In short, reading made me the writer that I am.
 

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