Archive

Monthly Archives: February 2017

The room where I go to write and be alone with my creations is a dire mess, and it’s a very real, tangible piece of what’s been holding me back. The chaos of my writing space has been mirroring the chaos inside of me. One of my recent goals has been to fix this mess and restore some order outwardly, in the hope of helping to restore some inwardly. I’ve never been the neatest person, but when I let the mess reach critical mass like this, it starts to have an effect on my mental and emotional state. Writing can be challenging, and at times that’s useful, but I shouldn’t have to feel smothered by my surroundings when I sit down to write.

Here, take a look.

20170227_170939

Now, I know there’s not much here in terms of perspective. Trust me when I say, it was worse a couple of weeks ago. Just outside the frame of this picture, there’s a large pile of other assorted belongings that I’ve sorted through and need to remove from the room. And you can’t see any evidence of it here, but I also recycled about a hundred pounds worth of old school notebooks and photocopies. I threw away stuff that I didn’t even remember owning, that’s how much crap we’re dealing with here.

This is a small room that we’re talking about, and the area in the left side of that picture is behind my desk (which you can see a little bit of, toward the far right). It’s not clear from this view, but the desk itself is going to be a project all on its own.

See those bins, the big trash bag in the middle of the floor, and that bookcase that’s missing some shelves? Yeah, none of those belong there. I’ve been shoving everything into this room and making piles on top of piles for months, just ignoring how much of a mess it’s been the whole time. The madness needs to stop.

I will continue to sort and toss, rearrange and remove, and eventually give the room a good dusting/vacuuming. Once all of that is done, I shall return to this post and update it. Until then, I’m going to curse the room every time I walk into or out of it.

For now, I have to keep repeating these words in my head like a crazed mantra: Think of how great it will feel once you can sit down at that desk knowing that everything is in its place, imagine how free you’ll feel!

Advertisements

Today I’m doing something that terrifies me, something I’ve almost done so many times before. There are a few things I need to say, and I need to say them where anyone can see. For a little over a year now, I’ve let anger and depression dictate how I live my life. Maybe even longer than that, depending on how you look at it. Even worse, I’ve been so afraid to talk or write about it that I haven’t done much other than stay quiet and isolated. I’m very good at cutting myself off from the world at large and falling into safe, familiar ways of living. If I could only pick one lesson that I’ve learned during that time, it would be this: keeping my darkest thoughts locked up and pushing people away when I need them most will only make the problem worse.

It’s not enough to make the same excuses over and over again, finding new ways to push my problems under life’s proverbial rug. Besides, the dust under there already

I’ve stopped short of writing about this in the past for different reasons, but I can only hold back so long when I feel something in my gut telling me, ‘You need to say this, for you.’

I’ve been afraid that others might judge me for using this space to talk about my struggles with my mental health. After all, this is a website that’s supposedly here to present my views as a writer, a place to talk about stories, and it wouldn’t it be a bit strange to get on here to talk about my personal problems? But that doesn’t matter; it’s my blog, so I need to stop worrying about that. I’ve been afraid that people would see this as a cry for help or some attempt to draw attention to me. I know that it’s not either of those things, and that’s what matters. If no one ever reads this post, that’s fine with me–I’m here to write this out, because I’m tired of swallowing this poison.

I struggle with depression on a day-to-day basis, but that doesn’t mean I have to devote half of my energy to hiding it all the time. Some days I can almost completely forget about the demons I carry around in my head, which is more than some people can say. I’m not trying to say that my life is bad, because I know I have many things to be grateful for, even on my worst days. I’m engaged to a beautiful, caring woman who knows me better than anyone on Earth, and I’ve had the support of friends and family for as long as I can remember. I know how lucky I am. I haven’t been the best version of me lately, and I know I can do better.

I already feel relieved, just knowing that I was able to sit here and type these thoughts I’ve had roaming through my consciousness. And I don’t intend to make posts like this a regular occurrence on my blog; quite the opposite, I intend to start devoting more time to this site and begin filling it with worthwhile content. I’m sure it won’t be as easy as I would like, but that’s always true when it comes to my writing. I seem to always find new ways to challenge myself, but I keep running into the same problem. I have a hard time letting go of setbacks and failures, and I readily assign blame to myself at the first sign of struggle. The new challenge has to be to push myself and be ready to forgive.

On a similar note, I’ve decided that I need to stop filtering so much of what I say and worrying about how I say it. It’s too much work to re-read every little thing a dozen times and second-guess every word I write. That kind of self-censorship isn’t benefiting anyone. I have more than enough material that’s waiting to be mined, but it’s up to me to write in a way that’s true to who I am. No one else can make me, and no one should have to.

Before I wrap this up, I want to apologize to all of the people that I’ve been pushing away. Whether I had a reason or not, it wasn’t the correct way to handle the situation. I can’t say that I won’t make the same mistakes again, and I can’t say I’ll always be the kind of person that I want to be. I can be more open and honest, though. I owe it to all of you, whether you’re reading this now or you’ve long since given up on me. I know this won’t erase any of what I’ve done, or what I’ve failed to do. I know that I need to say it anyway. I am sorry for all the lost time, for all the promises I’ve made and not kept, and for failing to give back the love and support I’ve received.

Life is full of opportunities, and I hope I’ll have a chance to repair some of the damage that’s been done. As always, thank you to everyone, whether you’ve stumbled upon this post or you’ve visited here before.

(And, I swear, I’ll be posting on here soon about the status of my stories and give some idea of what I’m planning to do next. I have a few different ideas, and I’ll be discussing them with an eye toward getting some feedback about what people might like to see here, what they would read, and what sort of content they’re just not interested in.)

The problem in question: much of the writing process has lost its appeal for me. There are several causes that I can point to, but perhaps the biggest one is that I stopped having fun. I can’t continue to use that as an excuse to shy away from writing, to put in the work that creating quality stories demands, or to throw up my arms at the frustration of it all.

My best option, as I see it, is to return to the aspects of writing that I enjoy, as well as search for new and engaging ways to experiment with my craft. I know my mind, and I know it well enough to unequivocally state the following. I will never make progress as a writer if I cannot find a reasonable balance between the work required and the enjoyment I find in said work. I suspect this balance is different for everyone. For me it’s a matter of motivation, because the work itself is not enough motivation on its own.

I want to write, despite the nasty voice of doubt that always seems to lurk behind every thought I have. The characters, words, and worlds that insist on populating my consciousness are evidence of my will to create. It’s my job, my duty to myself, to push back against my doubt and find the spark to set me on my way again.

With that in mind, I intend to post more of my WIP-related content here. I don’t want to make predictions about when or what, yet. Some of it will be fragmentary, like a few older posts I’ve done in the past, while some will have a more polished feel. I don’t know how much interest they’ll generate here, or anywhere else, but I’m hoping that I can use this space to present some of my concept art and notes for a number of fictional settings I’m developing. I’m still debating whether I’d like to create dedicated pages here on the site for different projects; that might depend on how much material I decide to publish.

Of course, I have unfinished stories waiting for me. (And the question of how I’m going to use my social media accounts going forward, but that’s a topic for another post.) I’ll return to them when I’m ready, and until then I’ll work on whatever keeps me writing. Worldbuilding and sketching aren’t the most important parts of my process, but they’re like fuel for my stories, without them I’m not going anywhere.

A number of weird and confusing posts might begin to appear on this blog in the near future. I expect they’ll be very hit or miss, but who knows, right?