My Jackbooted Thug

So, I haven’t been doing much writing lately. The occasional blog post. Some witty retort on Twitter or Facebook. And that’s about it.

I just haven’t had the urge or the motivation.

Part of it has been the fact that since I started actively sending stories out to markets three years ago, I have yet to be published. It’s hard having that much rejection staring you in the face. It tends to suck the fun out of the process.

The thing is, I know (at least, intellectually), that rejection is part of that process. You take the rejection as a badge of honor. As a place to move forward from. As a spark to learning how to do better. And I try to take it like that, and succeed for the most part.

But then–there’s this little voice. A 400-lb. Mini-Me on my shoulder that always asks me the same question:

Why are you doing this anyway? Nobody cares about this writing stuff but you.

Mur Lafferty, a writer I admire who’s much further down the authorial path than I am, spoke about this recently in her blog “You Sneaky Sunnuvagun“. She could have been writing it directly to me. I, too, carry a little jackbooted thug on my shoulder that likes to kick me when I’m down. He has a name.

Depression.

I love to write. Once I start, I get caught up in it and lose myself in the worlds I create. I love it. And part of me thinks I’m good at it. But lately I just can’t drive myself to start.

It doesn’t matter.

Like I said, part of it is the rejection. But, really, it’s only part. In reality, the fact that I don’t have an obligation to an adoring public or a critical editor should be freeing. It should allow me to write more fearlessly. Try new things. Do it for fun, like when I started.

But it’s that voice. That steel-toed kick to the ego from that little sunnuvagun on my shoulder that stops me, drags me down, and keeps me from writing.

Why bother?

That voice has been with me a long time–for as long as I can remember. Sometimes it tells me how terrible I am. How if people knew how I really was, I’d be shunned in every possible way. Most times, it just tells me how nothing I do really matters.

Get up, don’t get up–don’t matter. Write, don’t write–don’t matter. Get out, stay home–don’t matter.

I’ve dealt with it most of my life. But in the past nine months or so, I’ve been actively trying to combat it. I’ve gotten some help and I’m more aware of when I’m legitimately sad and when the depression is just aggravating things. Some days I win; most days, I lose.

This isn’t intended to be some sort of “coming out” or a “poor pitiful me” post or anything. It just helps me to write this stuff down. To organize it in my head. To turn my incoherent vortex of thoughts into something cogent. And if I can’t be self-indulgent on my own blog–then where can I?

Plus, this is my writing blog. And this is very much about my writing–or my lack thereof. And if another writer is dealing with the same issue (and, frankly, there’s a pretty good chance of that), then maybe knowing that they’re not alone will help.

So hopefully I haven’t alienated all 5-10 of my daily readers. And don’t worry, it’s not going to be “Depression Pity Party” all day, every day, around here. I just felt a need to get this off my chest and out of my head.

There are enough voices rolling around in there as it is.

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About Shedrick

I am a professional librarian and a part-time writer that's working to do that the other way around. I currently live in North Texas in the lovely city of Denton (“The Home of Happiness“) with my lovely wife and the obligatory demon-spawn cats. When not writing, gaming, or watching cheezy kung-fu flicks, I can sometimes be found in a pub (or the American equivalent) enjoying a fine brew.
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2 Responses to My Jackbooted Thug

  1. Jane says:

    Just keep putting it out there. Publishing successes may be few and far between, but that doesn’t mean your writing is ending up in a slush pile because it’s not good. It takes a lot of time to research the markets and scan publications and the internet for competitions, submission opportunities, etc. Don’t let that nasty little writer’s voice keep you from keeping on. Good luck! Jane

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