Posts Tagged ‘depression’

5 Ways to Not Be A Lonely Writer

Writing is known for being a solitary pursuit. While there are writer’s groups and ways to create a network around writing, the work itself has to be done alone. Chatting with friends cuts into writing time. It’s easy for a write to tumble into THE ANTI-SOCIAL BUBBLE aka the thunder dome where no one makes eye-contact or speaks. It’s even easier when the creative life takes a nosedive and depression crawls in.

You get wrapped into the world of writing and see relationships drift away until you look up to see you’re a thousand miles from where you started with no one there to help and little energy to even call for help.  There’s a reason that the classic image of a writer is someone alone with nothing but a bottle keeping them company.  Writers tend to be introverted but that doesn’t mean that you don’t need people, social contact and to remember how to say hello and have a conversation. Having a rich fantasy life won’t save you from having to still call the phone company, interact with readers/reviewers/editors/people or any number of other things.

Not to mention that writing can be an emotionally draining and challenging roller coaster. I always fall into a heavy crash after I finish a project and even though I don’t want to be around people, it’s what I need to help get me out of my funk and into the next project. A support system can be a lifesaver.

Here are five ways that I try to get myself out of the bubble and back into being a somewhat functioning part of life.

1.     Make plans in advance

Know that you’re finishing a draft at the end of September and going to crash emotionally? Make plans with a friend to do something you’re excited about. It could be a big trip, or it could just be watching a TV show you’ve been meaning to catch up on.  Have those plans in place in advance.

2.     Reach out online/text/phone/video

Sometimes the people you most want to see aren’t able to physically be there. That’s okay. We live in the future and you have a device around where you can send someone a message. Email a friend and talk about what’s going on. Text a friend that you’re having a hard time. Skype with your sister. Send a silly cat video to your friend who lives in Korea.

3.     Celebrate.

I like throwing parties so planning a gathering almost always helps throw me out of a funk. There’s so much to do to get ready that I keep myself busy and excited about my friends coming over. Plan parties around times you think you’ll be feeling rough.

4.     Go to a class

Interested in Sky Yoga? What about marketing? Find a class, online or in person, and go check it out. You’ll learn a lot and meet interesting new people. Who knows, maybe you’re next story will spring from what you’re learning?

5.     Find help.

Sometimes you need more than just a friend to talk and you need to look to talk to a therapist or other type of professional. There are options online, there are help lines and ways to reach someone at little to no cost. Don’t be afraid to reach out for that lifeline.

The roller coaster of the creative life can be a challenge to manage, especially when you’re a new writer and still learning what patterns your work might trigger, or when you’re querying, going on submission, or through a rough edit for the first time.  There’s no shame in reaching out to the people around you for support.


Book Releases and Tears

Today my first stand alone work debuted on Amazon (which you can buy here).

It’s been an incredible trip to get here, and I have a confession to make.

Today, after getting home from work, and just staring at a book cover with my name on it, I  burst into loud, ugly sobbing for about thirty minutes.

Because a year ago, I didn’t think I’d ever be here.

I wrote the Bone Queen while I was in my second to last semester of grad school, and I was ready to give up writing. I hated the first draft of the Bone Queen. Hated it. I was ashamed of what I’d written.

I lost all faith in myself as a writer, and resigned myself to never writing again.

And for about six months after that, I didn’t write. I was at a point of exhaustion I didn’t think could exist. I was past just running on fumes; I ran on nothing but spite, hate, and caffeine. Graduate school really did nearly kill me and every creative bone in my body.

It wasn’t until I had turned in my thesis that I even really gave writing a try again, and I was shocked at how much just writing again helped me feel like me again. It helped me be not so exhausted, not so depressed, and anxious.

It was like falling in love with words all over again.

The Bone Queen’s revisions all happened during that slow return back to words. The first few revision drafts were painful and awkward like trying to crawl through a mine field with your arms and legs bound behind your back. But by the time the third draft was taking shape, I felt confident in my own fingers again.

I found my footing, and The Bone Queen’s story found its heart.

Seeing it in print, knowing that everything had paid off in the end just sent me into tears of relief, and joy at knowing that I did it, that I was much stronger and way more dedicated than I ever gave myself credit for. (and waaaaay more dedicated to writing than to say… getting up early to exercise. hahahaha)

So, here’s a little bit of encouragement and hope out there for anyone whose struggling with writing, who can’t see the end of the road. It’s out there, and you can get there even if you have to crawl through the mud, and drag your exhausted body across coals.

I know a lot of people are starting Nanowrimo right now, so just buckled down and crawl through the fire.

You can do it.