I haven’t been much for meditation the past few years. I find it difficult to concentrate. Funny, how something that used to be so easy, nearly effortless, can feel like work to me now.
Writing is like that. There are days when the words flow like a waterfall after the spring thaw. Then, there are days when it feels like I’m trying to squeeze blood from a stone – all the effort I can muster and yet, nothing.
I’ve spent the last week or so focusing on discovering the cause of my writing problems. I’ve got a laundry list of things to blame (all legit, some more serious than others), but it all comes down to me trying to force something that wasn’t happening. If I’m being honest, writing hasn’t felt effortless for an extended period of time in years. A lot of that has to do with the pressure I put on myself after having a book placed with a publisher. When I was going through old blog posts recently, I noticed a huge change in the tone of my entries, starting around the beginning of 2011. I went from being ambitious and hopeful, excited about everything all at once to feeling overwhelmed and hopeless, like I couldn’t do all the things I’d set out to do and had no idea why I’d imagined I could in the first place. It’s nearly as if two different people had written them.
Depression is a huge part of this. I’ve known what was going on with me, to an extent, since I was 12. I’ve gotten insight, and medication, from a professional in the meantime, but sometimes it feels like the words are just a hollow expression of how much I suffer under it every day. Depression. Anxiety. PTSD. Words with meanings that fall just a bit short unless people know what it feels like to deal with it personally every day. There’s a sad sort of understanding we all share. The kind of camaraderie no one wants. It never goes away. It’s never “cured.” It just becomes manageable, at best. At worst, all-consuming.
Add to this my shaky job history the past few years and it’s a wonder I write at all. But I do. I love it. I live for it. It’s my catharsis, sometimes the one thing that makes me feel sane when nothing else in the world makes sense except tears and profound sadness.
Today, I wrote. It didn’t feel like work. It didn’t feel like I was putting crap on the page for the sake of saying I’d done something today. I closed my eyes, really listened to what my character had to say, and put something beautiful on the page. Being a superstitious sort, I wonder if even talking about it here will somehow jinx me. Will I be unable to write in so uncomplicated a manner tomorrow? Next week? A month from now? Is my bad streak finally dead now that I’ve found a way to break through the horrible barrier that’s been keeping me from writing for so long? Or was today a brief reprieve from my lingering misery?
Only time can tell. All I can do is be patient and hope.