Sometimes I think writing has got to be the worst thing for my mental health.
Do you know what it does to a person to have worked your arse off to create a life where you have free time to write, and then not feel able to use the free time to write?
What even is that sentence?
Okay, for example, today:
I work at 5 am to teach exercise classes, I finish work at 9:30, I now have until 6:30 pm to write. This is the life I’ve created for myself, I’ve designed my life so that I have time to write. But, since 9:30 this morning I have sat curled up on a ball in my couch. I have been online for most of it, done a little bit of my other work, eaten some food, gotten online again. Three hours of nothing, and I’ve worked myself up into an anxious, crying, self loathing mess that will probably mean I don’t get anything else done for the rest of the day, (let’s hope the blog pulls me out of my funk…)
I have zero motivation right now. I’m human. Zero motivation occurs in human lives. Actually, it’s not quite zero, I’m still forcing words out on some days, like squeezing the very end of the toothpaste out, (when it’s really at its end and you have to roll it up super tight and then when you brush you know that, if you were being honest with yourself, that really wasn’t enough toothpaste to clean your teeth…) Ya get what I’m saying?
I’m at an awkward spot in-between books, I need to find an editor for one and I need to research the next. I’m moving house. I’m not used to my early hours yet. I’m trying to start a new muggle job. It doesn’t surprise me that I’m having a hard time right now, but it does fucking annoy me. For some reason, there are very few excuses that I find valid for sitting on my arse for hours at a time when I could be telling stories. This is my fucking dream Amie. Come the fuck on. Write. Or if you’re not going to write, I could whip up a list of productive things to do that will help me step closer towards my hopes of being a published author. I haven’t even procrastinated nicely, (How I would love to procrastinate by reading fiction or meditating), I’ve just drained my soul away online.
I do write. Don’t get me wrong I write. I have finished the fifth draft of a 130,000 word book. But the creation of this mighty beast took many many days of sitting, doing nothing, knowing that I should be writing. These days are so painful. Some days I think TOO painful.
What toll have these days taken on my soul? How can I change this?
What is the answer?
A big part of me thinks that the answer is, unconditional self love. Fuck I’ve said that a hundred times before. But the answer probably is being merciful to myself. Being forgiving. Being gentle. But these are not small things. These things are not easily learnt. I am trying. I am taking deep breaths and saying nice things to myself. I am seeing the good in the small things. But it’s hard. Especially when you want something badly, and you don’t feel like you’re doing enough for it.
A part of me hopes that If I am ever lucky enough to have my book read by others, that that will help the process. As I’m sure you can attest to, it is not easy spending huge chunks of your life on a project that has essentially zero impact on the world. It is only YOU, it is only ME, that keeps us writing OUR books. It is entirely self driven. No one is making us. That shit is hard. No one is praising us. No one is waiting for us. No one depends on our books being written. When we finish a chapter, we feel good, but we don’t see any actual consequence in the outside world due to our achievement.
Last year I wrote an email to an acquaintance answering a mundane question she had asked. She replied: “Thanks Amie! That was really helpful.” I still remember that feeling of absolute elation. I couldn’t believe I had done something helpful or useful to someone else… it was so small, but I think it really opened my eyes to the minimal feedback (Esp. positive feedback) I was getting about anything I was doing with my life. Writing on your own, by yourself, can leave you starving for proof that you affect the world you live in.
But perhaps if my stories are ever given out to the world that might help, perhaps this stage of the creative life eases when you can see your story working its way out into the world, making change, affecting people. I think I want that quite a lot.
Sometimes I feel that perhaps a lot of this journey should de diarised in a paper book and then be burnt. Not branded onto IG and WordPress with a terrifying cyber-permanence. A lot of the recording of my journey is me battling through the huge imbalances and difficulties of living a life so different to muggles. From the bottom of my heart, I don’t want to be some winey little Hemingway, who clogs your feed up with the pools of self pity and struggle. I just want to be real with you, because you’re doing this too, and I really like sharing the journey with you all.