Best laid plans and all that, right?
Previous years, I’d write 90K words in the first seventeen days. One year I hit the last week, didn’t like what I was writing, and decided to write Exhumed instead, and did 50K on that in the last few days of the month. I’ve had 13K word days, FFS–NaNoWriMo shouldn’t be hard.
But Livi #3 is sitting in limbo. I’ve written about 20K total on two or three projects this month, but nothing is going anywhere. I’m used to banging my head against things until they work (you don’t finish thirty-something books without that particular “skill”), but I think, ultimately, it doesn’t want to be written yet. I also think I know some of the reasons why, and I think I know how to solve some of the problems. But there are pieces that need to snap together and they’re not.
I think one of them is me.
All my life–like from my earliest non-traumatic memories–I have just wanted to write/tell stories. It was how I kept myself occupied being alone all the time. It was what gave me strength and power when I had none. It was what made living bearable. It was like breathing to me, and if I had to stop for any reason, I always felt half-alive until I could continue again. For years (right up until the year I got sick, actually) I was writing nearly 500K a year quite happily.
And now I…don’t want to write. And I don’t even care that I don’t.
I’ve been a pretty debilitating depressive episode for a year and a half now, the kind where my continued survival defies all logic. Previously the “fun” (not fun, but anyway) thing about bipolar disorder and rapid cycling was that as awful as major depressive episodes were, I could claw–and sometimes bounce–out of them and feel great. There is no bouncing now, though. It’s chemical, yes, but it had an external trigger that nothing can be done about, because I just get re-triggered again and again every day, and I can’t get it out of it. Becoming someone who will survive it doesn’t mean it goes away, it just means you survive when everything continues to be terrible and always will be.
Of course it only occurred me last week this might be one of the factors, when I looked back and realized I hadn’t finished a book since April (which I barely did) and hadn’t even touched for-pay projects, which normally I can write any time because I have no emotional investment. I know I’ve been suffering freelance burnout, and burnout from my volunteer commitments, but it hadn’t occurred me until recently that, hey, maybe the chronic depression is affecting me too! To be clear, the stories haven’t stopped in my brain. They never have (except while I was seriously ill, and I recovered from that), but I just…have no burning desire to put them on virtual paper. I mostly just want to burn through my day until I can sleep again.
I’ve circled around the “maybe I’m broken and not a writer anymore” thoughts a lot, as if that’s a thing one can suddenly stop being. And then how to fix things, because I like solving problems. I’ve dealt with writer burnout, but that’s not what this is. And I don’t know how to refill a well that seems cemented over, other than trying to keep hydrated and rested, eating foods I know will ultimately make me feel better, and dusting off the treadmill now that there’s snow outside and below zero temperatures. I’m going to take the rest of the year, particularly the last week of NaNo, to write whatever I want and try to find some spark of enjoyment in something.
If that delay’s Livi#3’s projected Fall 2017 release, so be it–you still get her second adventure this February.
There is still a week to enter to win a Livi Prize Pack, and if there are no entries, I’ll use it for a review drive for Solomon’s Seal in December as I’d originally intended. Solomon’s Seal is also on sale on Kobo for Black Friday/Cyber Monday, and Bloodlines will be 99c starting tomorrow until the end of the year.