For about two weeks, the week of Christmas and the week of New Year, I was in a funk. I was filled with anxiety, overwhelmed and stressed out, depressed, and I could not write. I didn’t have the time, or when I did have the time I was too stressed out and overwhelmed to write. I sat down at the computer and as much as I wanted to write, I just could not get the words out–and they were there in the dark recesses of my overworked mind, but they were buried underneath the chaos of my life (the holidays, obligations, anxiety, depression, etc., etc.). So I felt like a F.A.I.L.U.R.E.
Writer’s write. That’s what we do. If you can’t write then what?
Immediately after the holidays I had a meltdown–you know the kind where you’re overwhelmed, filled with anxiety, stressed out beyond belief but you don’t realize how bad it is until you finally sit down to do something like write and then you realize–WTF! I can’t write. The blank page is staring back at you, screaming silently for you to write, just one fucking word, something, anything, but NOTHING comes out. Your mind is racing, the thoughts are somewhere deep inside there, you know it, but all of those thoughts are so jumbled that you can’t untangle them to even come up with a few coherent sentences.
That was me on January 2nd.
I decided to film a video for my YT channel instead. Maybe talking about writing, doing something creative like filming a video, would help the, dare I say it again, “Writer’s Block.” But a little into the video I began ranting. I hadn’t realized I’d had all of that angst underneath the surface just waiting to boil over and out into the world…
Things changed after that… Drastically.
The moment I sat down with pen and paper to go over all those things, and actually listed my goals again I knew I needed to re-evaluate how I planned on making them happen–writer’s block or not, I needed to write and I wanted/needed to do it every day. I also needed to get rid of my first 4 chapters and re-write the first few chapters because I hadn’t started the first chapter where the action is, it was all pretty much backstory.
I started reading again. I started art journaling again. I started, what I call my “personal” journaling, and my “writer journaling,” again.
I started writing in my novel again. I wrote the new chapter one, went through my outline and started making changes to it so that it would reflect the new chapter one. I felt so good about the novel, so excited and passionate about it that I fell in love with it all over again….
I realized while reading, art journaling, and personal journaling, that I need those creative outlets, as much as I need to write… Maybe more so when I am writing. Writing a novel is an intense project. It requires a great deal of focus, determination, resilience, patience, passion, and imagination. If you don’t take care of yourself, especially if you’re like me and you have anxiety, depression, ADHD, then those “things” tend to get worse.
Those two weeks of the holiday, the week of Christmas and the week of New Year, I drained myself dry. I was overwhelmed, stressed out, not writing other than a little personal journaling and a little “writer journaling,” and I barely art journaled. I was too busy. I was too anxious. I was pulled in various directions. And then added to that was the socializing, the lack of any real “me time,” and “no writing,” and I should have known that at some point I’d just crash.
And crash I did, but crashing also allowed me to look at things from a different point of view. It allowed me to see my mistakes. What I was doing wrong hit me full in the face when I had the meltdown and maybe that’s what I needed.
All I know is that after the meltdown, not immediately after–it took a few days for me to really get into a new routine, to change things up and figure out a few things, but now…a little over ten days later, I can look back on that and know, without a shadow of a doubt, that if it hadn’t happened then it would have happened eventually, and better it happened sooner rather than later.
If you’re suffering from Writer’s Block, then it’s probably more emotional than physical. At least, for me that’s how it is. The moment I take a step back, really take a step back, and look at what I’m doing, how I feel, what I’m thinking… I can usually pinpoint something that’s underneath the surface–something that has reared it’s ugly head and is preventing me from writing. Maybe it’s self-doubt, insecurity, fear, exhaustion, a lack of focus, distractions, pain (physical and/or emotional), anxiety, depression…The list goes on. I know what works for me now, and I made a video about it…
I’m participating in NaNoWriMo, if you’ve read my blog posts or seen my videos or FB or Twitter posts then you know, and if this is the first post you’ve read then now you do 😀 (and thank you–all of you for taking the time to read my post),and part of the reason I love NaNoWriMo is because of the writing community. Whether it’s on the NaNoWriMo website and in their forum, or on IG, Twitter, FB, WP, G+, YT, Tumbler or whatever other social media that is out there. The Writing Community has been so supportive, motivating, inspiring, welcoming, and understanding. Because of the Writing Community I’ve slowly but surely realized that I’m not alone out here (well I am, I live in a small city, big town, and we don’t have a ML for NaNo, my county isn’t even listed on the “list.” But anywho).
I’m an introverted extrovert. I was born on the cusp of Cancer (my
sun sign) and Leo (my rising sign) , so I’m a bit of both, along with a bit of Aquarius, which is my moon sign. If you’re not into astrology, that’s okay–broken down into layman’s terms… I’m an extrovert when I’m comfortable with people, my true self, and physically my outward characteristics are more Leo, but on the inside, or when I’m not comfortable with people, I’m an introvert, a bit of a loner, and the person who sits back in the corner and watches, but if I’m at home (in my comfort zone) I’m out front, bold, sassy, and a talker.
It’s easier to be bold, sassy, and talkative when you’re comfortable with people. I spend so much of my writing life alone that having a place where I can socialize, learn, and share is refreshing, as well as both motivating and comforting–as in comfortable. It feels like a writerly niche.
Maybe it’s just that when I’m writing, I feel the most at home, as at home as I feel when I’m creating art, when I’m with my husband who is truly my best friend, or with my daughter is also my best friend, or when I’m busy working on DIY projects for our home. Though I prefer to be the one taking pictures–the whole behind the camera thing, since last year’s NaNoWriMo I’ve been vlogging, which means me in front of the camera. I couldn’t have done that if the writing community wasn’t so encouraging and supportive. Let’s face it, when you’re talking about someone who is an introverted extrovert with ADHD, Anxiety, and Depression the last thing you really want to do is make videos. I fidget, I stutter, I talk really fast or really slow, I lose focus and ramble, change subjects rapidly and then back to the original subject, sometimes without pausing.
Some people think that NaNoWriMo is all about quantity over quality, which is not a good thing if what you really want is to write a novel that will be publishable, but the first draft is not usually publishable even if you’re writing it on your own without NaNoWriMo. I tend to use description, notes to myself when I get stuck about what I want to do with the scene, character, setting, plot, etc, which increases my word count. I also tend to be long-winded anyway, which is helpful for NaNoWriMo but not helpful when it comes to editing. I’m writing because I have a story to tell, one that I would want to read, and I’m an avid reader of various genres.
One day I hope to have my book published, so I’m not killing myself worrying about my wordcount, but I am trying to make sure that what I do have is at least a decent first draft, BUT mostly I’m writing for me, because I love telling a story, because that story has been bugging me on and off for years wanting to be told.
I’m including a video I did in response to someone who 1. Doesn’t participate in NaNoWriMo 2. Believes that NaNoWriMo encourages bad writing habits, but I also did the response video because I believe that NaNoWriMo has helped a ton of writer’s start writing again, write their novels, whether they ever get published or not, and I’m a huge fan of their Young Writer’s Program. I hope you’ll watch. 😀