No idea about anyone else, but my life occasionally gets a thematic earworm. Example: have you ever learnt a new word, and then the damn thing pops up everywhere for a week or so?

Yeah. Kind of exactly like that.

The past couple-three weeks, I’ve been getting quotes in my Twitter feed about how writers surviving a lot of crap makes their writing better, finding Nietsche references in odd places, I’ve been transitioning from one job to another at work (read: working two jobs)…it’s getting to the stage where I expect a Gloria Gaynor soundtrack.

“That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” ~Friedrich Nietzsche

I finally found myself staring blankly out of a bus window with my mind coming off the rails a little, and realised (much to my own annoyance), that there’s a bit of truth in the tripe. I do write more when I’m depressed or under stress. When I’m completely relaxed and happy, I’m very rarely putting in major writing stints. There was a period in my life when I wrote five books in under four years around a full academic load, and I definitely wasn’t lying on a beach with alcohol served in coconut shells at the time. (More’s the pity; much as it annoys my chemist friends, alcohol can be a solution…)

‘What doesn’t kill you will give you a sick sense of humour and a lot of unhealthy coping mechanisms.’ ~Unknown

Having stared at the rain on the outside of the window, and the increasing fog on the inside from all the unaccustomed brain activity for bit longer, it also occurred to me that while, yes, writers are often exhorted to ‘write what you know!’ (try that with a galaxy-wide mercenary cult, I dare you), and that yes, people with the emotional depth of a gadfly are usually uninteresting to talk to, never mind read books by…it’s still possible that we are to some extent arguing the ‘My dog has four legs! Huh. Cats have four legs. Hey – my dog must be a cat!’ approach.

I say this because at least for me, writing is an escape mechanism. It’s my stress release. I write more when I’m stressed because (yes, I know it sounds odd of me) deadly intrigues and paid assassination are often a refreshing change. It’s less artsy and angsty than placing the back of my hand to my forehead and saying that my dramatic melancholy fuels my art, but hey. Be truthful in your writing, right?

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