The Long Walk: A Writer’s Journey #4
The gargantuan depressive slump
So how does a writer get out of a slump? I don’t mean the little tiny ones you encounter just because you aren’t in the mood. I mean the really huge, gargantuan depressive, slumps that make you just plain feel like giving up for good.
You own up to it, and fix it. Call on help if you need to, but make the gut wrenching, knife in the heart twisting and pulling out, and tossing it contemptuously on the ground and spitting on it kind of effort. And you put one foot, in front of the other. After all, that’s what this blog is about, the Journey, more specifically my journey, as a writer, but I’m using myself as a guinea pig. That’s so maybe other writers out there might profit from my misery, from my experience. And maybe others who aren’t writers, maybe fans will learn to appreciate what we do just a little bit more and discover what it really takes out of us to put that good stuff on the page.
As for majorly depressive slumps. I’m in one. And I’ve got to get myself out, because no one else is going to do it for me. That leaves me with two choices. Either just give up. And call it quits.
Or fix it.
So. Here’s the deal. I’m on the ins and outs of writing, wrestling with my demons, anxiety, depression, laziness, distraction, fears, worries, doubts all that crap. And I’ve got several projects on my desk, largely begun, largely unfinished. And I’ve got a novel at the center of it all called “More Than Honor” A civil war story of love, honor and revenge. And I don’t want to finish it. Well I do, I just can’t seem to muster up the motivation to even open the doc, much less put my fingers on the keyboard and move it. I’m not even sure why! I like the story, I like the characters, I like the plot. But right square in front of it all is a massive titan like shit ton of NO MOTIVATION staring me down. Right now I feel likes it’s pointless. Who’s going to read it? Who’s going to care? Who’s going to even buy it much less take the time to leave a review? How is this going to even remotely do anything for my career other than continue to just push it further into the shitter but with more soul sucking aggravation?
Well, friends. The truth is when I stop bitching about it for a moment and really start listening to my heart, my soul, whatever facet of my personality or spirit it is that makes me a writer, I hear something. And that something tells me that all those grievances I just aired, don’t mean squat. They don’t have one iota of impact on whether or not I should write
What matters is my characters, and my story. It’s mine, I started it, those characters deserve life, and they deserve my best because they’re like children. They are a creation, that deserves life, and a life shared with others.
That’s it, in the proverbial nutshell. And I have a responsibility to them.
Now, some might think me a wee bit imbalanced to rave, and rant, and talk about figments of the imagination as if they’re real people, and base my real decisions on what I somehow metaphorically, rhetorically, theoretically, or what the fuck ever owe them.
Welcome to the mind of a writer.
I have an obligation, to them, to you, my reader, and myself.
And it doesn’t matter a whit, how I feel, today, or any given day, or any given number of days.
I’m a writer, that’s what I do, and a writer who does not write is a man going steadily insane.
So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to present to you, my editor, and myself, a solution. Because I believe one should never voice a problem, without at least voicing a potential solution.
In the next week, by the posting of the next blog, I’m going to have a full strength, rock solid ten thousand words of ferocious story work. For an experienced writer like myself 10,000 words in a week is very reasonable, it’s an easy 2,000 a day in five days, and I’m giving myself two days grace to boot. So.
There it is. My challenge, to claw myself out of this morass I’ve found myself in. And dirt smeared, bloody and broken nailed, refusing to quit for no other reason than unbridled hate filled spite for death and quitting, I will do it.
And you my friends, get to read some of the results, next week.
That’s a promise.