How to Survive in the Creative Darkness

I feel like the only appropriate way to start this post is with a quote from George Washington in “Hamilton” by Lin-Manuel Miranda:

“Check it–

Can I be real a second?

For just a millisecond?

Let down my guard and tell the people how I feel a second?” 


It’s one of those seasons for me where everything feels a little darker than usual. There’s a heaviness to the air, in my limbs, and in my soul. Yeah, it’s dramatic, but we’re writers. Drama comes with the territory.

I’m guessing most of you have been in one of these seasons, and if you haven’t, you likely will be at some point in the future. Especially for creatives, the dark seems to follow us around a little more.

So today, when I just don’t know if I can get the words out any other way, I have this bit of encouragement for you–and for myself. 

Pressing Against the Darkness

Like the heroes and heroines in our stories, we know that the fight is never an easy one. But the important thing to remember is: don’t give up. In the best stories, there’s always hope on the horizon–even if it’s a long way off.

sang-huynh-347221Sang Huynh

Gather your people around you.

One of our best resources, in writing and in life, are our tribes; our communities. If you find yourself in a dark space, do what you can to make sure you’re not alone. Your people–the folks you have in your life who truly “get” you–don’t want you to fight alone. So keep them close. You’ll be glad you do.

Hold onto whatever stardust you can find.

I know, it sounds super cheesy, but hear me out. Whatever little things you can find that bring light back into your space? Those are the things you must put in your supply bag. Even a few tiny sparks of light can make a massive difference. These can include a song, an inspirational quote, a memory, a favorite snack (croissant, anyone?), or your comfiest sweater with the hole in it. Whatever those things are for you, keep them close.

Take heart.

The good news about darkness is that it doesn’t stay forever. Take heart, dear ones, because it will pass. As the Unicorn says in C.S. Lewis’s The Last Battle (The Chronicles of Narnia), “Come further up, come further in!” Keep pressing on toward the light. If we do this in our writing as well, who knows what kind of spark we can set on the world?



Dana, signing off.


“You are amazing. You’re a brilliant sparkle of hope-filled light in a dark world, and I love you. In case no one’s told you, you must know.”

3 thoughts on “How to Survive in the Creative Darkness

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