The Autumn of My Discontent, Revised

Autumn Leaves

Addendum: For the first time, I’m revising one of my blog posts. It struck me a few hours after writing this post (now cut drastically) that I’ve had a tough year. If I’m a little down, well, okay. Well, not really okay, but all-righty then. I do know that I haven’t accomplished much fiction this year. I’m heartsick about this, true, and I’ve been up-and-down all year, but am I certifiably depressed? Maybe not. Maybe it’s just a mid-life crisis. I can live with that. For now.

I’m here, but not here. Writing, but not really. Keeping it together, but barely. Fighting off the gray weight takes a lot of energy. I only have so much energy to go around, so when I’m struggling mightily on that front, I, simply put, write less.

Excess brain noise fouls me up at times like this. So, when I’m sitting at my computer, page open, character ready to do her thing, somehow…I’m not sure. I have a harder time sinking into the fictional world. Each. Word. Is. Like. This. In the background, my brain-gears grind in an endless, annoying, disillusioned mutter. You know when your computer churns away on a task (you know what I’m talking about if you own a PC that’s got a virus or two or two dozen lurking within it) and slows way down? It’s like that. Kind of.

So what do I do? I keep up with as many of my writing habits as possible while dropping tasks such as housecleaning. I turn on the computer first thing in the morning. I take my laptop to coffeehouses. I think about the current project as I’m drifting to sleep and when I wake up. I remind myself that I’m a good writer and that whatever problems I’m encountering with plot or characterization or internal logic or point of view is as normal as can be, not a sign that I’m never going to get published.

(Okay, that’s more like it. Pisser of a life juncture — especially with regards to my writing progress — but I’ll hold off announcing that I’m certifiably depressed until some other time.)

3 comments on “The Autumn of My Discontent, Revised

  • I hear you and feel for you Lisa. It’s been one of those years for me too. Every word yanked from my brain like a hair from my head only to be thrown in the garbage. We’ll get through it, though. We will…we will!

  • This month’s O Magazine had a great article about several writers, one of whom spent five years writing, not writing, giving up, being depressed, and so on, before finally finishing the novel she had started. Altogether the whole thing took longer than that to write. It then became a best seller. While I don’t think every writer will have that particular outcome, I do think all writers at some point must go through this dark night of the soul, for writing is an art and art is an act of the spirit and we can’t avoid the descent. I’m sorry you’re going through it; but it’s one of those scars you can bear with honor. /hugs

  • Writer’s depression or writer’s block a serious condition. I know, I’ve been there. And, I know, I’ll be there again.

    Staton Rabin wrote an article for “The Writer” magazine in April 2008, titled “How to get past WRITER’S BLOCK’. It might be helpful.

    If you’d like a copy, I can get one to you, or show you how to get a copy for yourself. I’m not sure if they archive that far back.

    I can help as well, if you’d like.


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