For the past few weeks, I’ve been working on the outline for my first novel! It’s turning into a culmination of a lot of ideas and feelings I’ve been having for the past few years or so– ideas and feelings about the world we’re all living in right now. Don’t worry, I’ll try my best to make sure it isn’t too depressing in the end. Or depressing at all, for that matter. Who needs more of that right now? But my novel still won’t avoid confronting the real world in which we find ourselves right now. Wish me luck in pulling this off! 

I’m working on a novel now. Follow my progress by following this blog.

Follow this blog, Daily Drafts & Dialogues, or follow me on social media (@kecreighton), to keep up with my progress. All links are at the bottom of this post. 

A while back I parted ways with my paying clients to start writing what I really wanted to write, finally… only to realize that I wasn’t exactly sure what I should start writing. *sigh* Why? Well, after I made this enlightened and bold decision of mine– to bid adieu to nice, respectful people who were actually paying me quite well– there were suddenly too many topics to choose from to write about at the time. Why? Because the world and everyone in it had essentially gone completely bonkers overnight, and in so many different and interesting ways that were impossible to keep up with. At least, if you wanted to maintain some modicum of sanity, and integrity, as a writer.

When I said sayonara to my clients, Trump had already been in office for a few years and COVID quarantines were being announced. Sure, such times created saccharine fodder for many ambitious and voracious writers and authors out there (I mean, there was material out there that could practically write itself, even without much help from newer A.I.). But the toll everything I was reading and experiencing was taking on me, a highly empathic and contemplative person, was an extremely heavy one that would not let up. 

As the world was constantly abuzz, arguing and protesting and doomscrolling and searching for toilet paper, I was continually searching for a place to breathe and think and process everything that was happening so that I could write about everything, or anything at all, with a clear and forward-thinking attitude. I knew that I needed to do this. But it seemed impossible. 

As a writer, I quickly came to realize, on a more intuitive level, that I couldn’t simply add more noise to the cacophony of vitriolic things being written about and published on a daily basis. The thought alone of doing this sends me into a state of panic and depression. And makes me downright exhausted. I wish I was being melodramatic here, but I’m not. Truly, more glitzy and entertaining yet hateful and polarizing content is the last thing the world needs right now. Or ever. 

Inspiration from Hannah Arendt

Trying to keep up with everything going on in the world to respond with formidable action via writing, and remain sane was, and sometimes still is, dizzying.  Without realizing it at the time, however, I had already started conducting research for a book I believed needed to be written. I was collecting books, articles, and research at intense rates. And I thought that book I was supposed to write would end up being a work of nonfiction. But for some reason, writing a nonfiction book didn’t ultimately feel right to me at the time. Which is why I never completed it. For a long time, I didn’t really understand why and continued down the road of depression… until the day I came across something Hannah Arendt had written.

“It is true that storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it, that it brings about consent and reconciliation with things as they really are, and that we may even trust it to contain eventually by implication that last word which we expect from the ‘day of judgment.’”

Hannah Arendt, Men in Dark Times

I’m still unpacking that quote and what it means. But, on an intuitive level, it finally offered me the moment of solace and clarity I had been searching for, for years. I still re-read that quote every day before I sit down to work on my novel.

What had finally occurred to me, is that in order to reveal the meaning of our time, to reconcile things as they really are, storytelling is what is essential. As humans, we are storytellers. It’s innately how we understand our world. So what better way to understand our current human condition, and the world in which we’re living, than to tell a story. So, telling a story is what I’m going to do now. Wish me luck. I would appreciate all the support I can get now. And stay tuned!

“If you want to tell the truth, write fiction”

Joshua Halberstam

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