So, my novel, Somnolence, is still in progress. I’ve had some trouble with motivation, and it took me an embarrassingly long time to understand that writing is just hard. It’s not bad, just difficult. I’ve always had this insidious idea that things should feel easy if I’m doing them right, or if I’m skilled enough. But, that’s pretty much just nonsense. It’s just not easy to write a novel, and even though I’ve been working on this one for over three years, it took me till now to really get that.
Writing was never a hobby for me when I was younger, in part because I’m a weird sort of perfectionist. I never let myself write anything because looking at my own words, out there in the real world, scared me to death. If I’m not good at something, or my personal standards are just too high, I still have a lot of trouble sticking with it. Part of putting myself together has been learning to let myself suck at things because that’s the only way to improve. It’s a struggle, but I’m still moving forward.
Fortunately, I have these two clowns to keep me company while I laboriously figure out basic facts about the nature of art and life and stuff.
This is my first post, and I really wasn’t sure what to say, but I’ve written myself into a sort of stupor today, so I guess I’ll just say something.
I’ve lived with major depression for most of my life. I can’t remember a time when my baseline emotional state wasn’t some level of self loathing, worry, and confusion. So I’m having the strangest experience right now, because I’m not depressed. I feel fine. I’ve felt fine for weeks. More than a month, even. It’s weird. It’s like suddenly hearing silence after living with a buzzing in your ears for as long as you can remember.
My first novel deals with the subject of mental illness. It’s also a fantasy story, but it is very much built on my experiences with depression and anxiety. It’s a scary subject, and an important one, and I hope that I can do it justice. I was at a really low point when I started writing this book a few years ago, and just as I finished my first real draft, it began to lift a little. It’s been a few months and I can honestly say I’m not depressed right now. I’m not going to go into any of the things that may have contributed to this. They’re kind of irrelevant to this post, and the truth is that I really don’t know what did it. It might be a random fluctuation of hormones, for all I know. It’ll probably come back. That’s just how it works.
Ongoing or intermittent, depression is a fact of life for many people. I don’t think I’m alone in the experience of wishing for something to fight to make it better. We often reach for something solid to grapple with when our minds turn on us. You can’t exactly fight the thoughts in your head, and trying to do so can even make things worse. In fantasy, there’s more freedom from these realistic constraints, and it is usually possible to fight the things that plague and haunt us.
So, that’s it. This is who I am, what I’m going through right now, and the thing I am making. In a minute I’m going to go back to editing until my eyes bleed and I hate what I’ve made a little bit.