It’s 8:00 PM on Sunday night and I’m staring at a blank screen. I realzied on a ride back from the Greater Bay Area Costumer’s Guild’s Open House that I didn’t have a blog post ready. I hopped online and asked my friend what she wanted to hear me talk about this week? So Tabitha, this is for you.
Depression is a lying liar that fucking lies. Not the most eloquent way to put it, I know, but it is the truth. It tells you that everything you write is crap. It tells you that you won’t ever be loved/worthy/respected. It tells you to don’t bother to try because you will fail. So let’s look at each of these statements.
1. Everything you write is crap. Not true. Like any skill, writing needs practice. I have written truly horrible things. I try not to think about the things I plotted and wrote in my fanfic phase. I look back at my first draft of Chaos Wolf and shudder. I can see an improvement, and I know that I still have things to learn and places where I need to improve. But is it unreadable crap? No.
2. You won’t ever be loved/worthy/respected. By whom? Of course there will always be the snobs who will think that you’re writing is up to snuff. Everyone has those people. Go look at some of the comments left for Steven King or George R. R. Martin. Look for the people who think you are doing well.
3. Don’t bother to try because you will fail. Guess what, by not trying, you’ve automatically failed.
Now for the tricky part. What to do about it?
You’re going to hate my answer. It depends.
The easy, glib answer is don’t listen to the depression. That’s hard to do when it’s a boa constrictor wrapped around your neck, hissing lies in your ear, cutting off your air. You have to learn to ignore it, to listen to your family and friends who say you can do it. Sometimes, you have to take a break, give yourself time to rest and recover. And other times you have to power through, put your butt in the chair and force the words through your fingertips.
This is all assuming that you aren’t heading towards self-harm of any sort. If you are, get help from loved ones, from a therapist. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
Which one do you choose? Unfortunately that’s something I can’t answer. It’s something personal that only you can determine. What is right for you this time may be wrong the next. But know this.
You don’t write crap.
I love you.
You will not fail.