Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Lets explore a little psychology on writing and how it feels great to be in control of everything for this week's Insecure Writer's Support Group.

Here we are once again at the first Wednesday of the month. And most of you that visit and comment on my blog know that it is time to address the question from the Insecure Writer's Support Group page.

October 3 question - How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?

Interesting questions and very psychologically-based, don't you think? Hmm. It calls to mind the old idea that none of us are ever in control of the things in our lives and that a feeling of control is just an's a structure that our brains maintain to keep us from slipping into madness. Maybe? Maybe not? What do you think?

So I'm going to ask you to allow me to go on this thought tangent for just a moment before I get back to answering the question from the IWSG.

I suppose most of us feel to greater and lesser extents that having control of one's life is desirable. But if I were to follow my brain down this particular rabbit hole of psychology I end up with something entirely different than an answer to the above question. For example, I've started to believe that some people want to give up control of their lives, especially the old and the disabled. It's not helpful at all for technological apps to be invented and then shoved in their face for them to learn how to use just because it saves time for the caregiver. "What? I don't want to learn that?" "I don't want to install that?" "Why is everything so hard?"

Some people actually want to be waited on hand and foot because they are exhausted from life and have no desire to learn anything more. THEY ARE TIRED. tired. One example of this is an old person paying money for something. To a caregiver they might say, "Just take the money out of my wallet and pay for that thing." But nowadays we can say, "You use your cell phone to check Facebook so I know that you can use that technology. You need to download this app that allows you to pay someone electronically and do that. I am no longer going to be your hands to fetch money from your wallet when you can do it yourself. Huzzah! You have been liberated! I'm going to go hang out with friends now!"

But does the old person feel liberated? Nope. They feel like they've just taken on another burden of "being independent." Some people I know personally (who are old) say, "Being independent actually means 'you get to do all the work or you get called lazy, which may be accurate but it's how I feel. I don't care that it's something I can do. I don't want to do it anymore."

In a nutshell, "I no longer want control of my life. I want someone else in charge of it." That sentiment...more or less. What a poisonous idea in a country that wants everyone to stand on their own.

Anyway...I let me answer the question at hand:

I find that I tend to write a lot more than usual when I've been affected by trauma. So, it is most definitely a coping technique. Sometimes, I work this same trauma through fictional characters, and the whole story becomes a kind of "catharsis" for the feelings that I have pent up inside of me. And yes, sometimes writing helps me through frustrating periods of life, because I feel like I can exert control over the story when it eludes me in reality.

I like control. I'm not to that point where I want to relinquish it. And writing makes me feel like I can control everything, so that makes it awesome.

Did that answer the question? More or less?

Thanks for visiting. :)


  1. Yep, you answered the question, lol.

    When real life is too overwhelming, I find it hard to write it out in a fictional world. Everything I write is chaotic, and whiny. I prefer to spend my time taking back "control" of my real adversities, then use the emotions and experience to enhance my characters when I'm less stressed.

    I'm on the twilight end of middle age, edging into old age. Its a bit simplistic to think old people have "given up control" by occasionally not wanting to learn something new in this electronic age. I've said that to my kids: I don't want to learn that so do it for me. They don't want to learn to wash dishes or do laundry, fry an egg, mow the grass, grocery shop. Or any number of things that automatically make their life easier while living at home.

    My view of young people could also be considered simplistic. They like that every 6 to 18 months everything changes. Some of us "old people" don't. Change and updates for the sake of looking fresh isn't an improvement. Its just frustrating. And remember, if us old people did not pay others to set up some electronics, those usually young people who complain about fixing things someone should just learn to do on their own would not have a job.

    My mother is 76 years old. She still mows the lawn with a push mower, cooks in the oven not the microwave, and if she wasn't half blind and unable to drive a car, she would prefer a stick shift. She has a cordless phone she thinks has to always be on a charger. She has a cell phone because she doesn't like the long distance charges on her land line. I've four cell phones over the last two years because she can't figure out how to tap or slide to answer a call, and can't switch from call log to contacts to find a phone number. She thinks shutting off the internet on the phone saves me money on the monthly bill.

    I try very hard to be patient with my mother because I know someday in the near future I will be her age, and my children will be just as frustrated with me when I can't - or won't - learn to use whatever the latest technology is that has replaced the last latest new thing.

    Yes, control is an illusion. You have it, until you don't.

  2. LOL. Being a writer, being in control of the world you create does feel great :-) Happy IWSG day!

    Ronel visiting on Insecure Writer's Support Group day: Course Correction

  3. I'm not ready to relinquish control either. I look at it as more frustrating that I'd have to give some of that control to someone else.

  4. Author John Irving wrote in one book how bad it is to write as therapy but then he wrote a whole book as therapy so I guess everyone does it.

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  6. Writing is a kind of therapy for me, and for a time the issues were so deep that not even writing was helping. Nor was their time for it. Lately I'm finding time for it and a sense of control is slowly returning. Of course, I can no longer believe that I am ever fully in control after what I've been through. :)

  7. What in interesting digression. Thanks for your insight. I can see how the constant pressure to learn new technology can feel like a burden. Hell, I feel that way sometimes, and I'm only 56. I wish you happy writing in October.

  8. I like that you went off on a tangent. I wish more people did that with these questions.

    I know what you mean. There were times where I didn't want to make a decision. What do you want for dinner? I don't care. But lately, I've found that I'm okay with making more decisions. Funny, that. But if you can find someone to do it all for you, then you've got it made, right?

  9. While it's true that some elderly (or people of any age) don't want to learn new tricks because they want to be waited on, there's also the chance that some of them are suffering from depression, in which case they don't have enough will or motivation to learn; they've sadly just given up.

    I know what you mean about being in control when you write. I like being a god who creates people, creates a world, and can put them into circumstances in which they have to make choices. But then if my characters are real enough, they develop free will and do things I don't plan. Kinda freaky.

  10. My Dad who is almost 83 has always liked technology and still does, but now at his age he just can't do much of it without messing something up or he gets frustrated. He gets locked out of his bank account on a regular basis. I got him a smart phone once. He couldn't even make a phone call on it because he would press the icons too hard, even after several lessons. Then he would get annoyed whenever he saw an older person using a smart phone. Anyway...he had to go back to the flip phone. Sometimes it's better when they let you handle the technology.