Saturday, November 08, 2008

Writing…My Antidepressant

I’ve been reading a couple of books from Eric Maisel, who is a creativity coach and psychologist. Recently I came across an article in RWA’s Romance Writers Report by Eric Maisel that talks about what I’ve been reading…creativity and depression. It’s something I’ve been dealing with a lot lately.
I’ve always blamed it on my job. Oh, if only I could just quit my job and write whenever I wanted. I wouldn’t get tired at the desk job, sitting at the computer, entering monotonous data into the system. I could focus on my story whenever I wanted and wouldn’t be too drained to write when I came home from work. I had (and still have) a romantic ideal of what my life could be like if only I made enough money writing and could quit my job.
With that notion in my head, I became even more depressed. I can’t quit my job and write. I may never be able to quit my job and write. I may have to steal (make) time whenever I can to pursue my passion and not let my full time job affect my creativity. I became even more discouraged. I wanted to write, but didn’t have the energy. My job drained me, I couldn’t deal with my boss another day, I couldn’t find another job that wouldn’t require me to commute up to 60 miles one way. What was the point in writing? Never mind the fact that I love it. Writing is like an anti-depressant and is truly the only thing that makes me feel better at the end of the day. It makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something, and that is what Eric in his books discusses. Even if nobody ever reads my stories, I’ve created. Creative people are more prone to depression because their life has to feel meaningful. For awhile, I lost my meaning. I published two books, but my life was still the same. It took a lot of work, I hated my job, and things didn’t change. If anything, I had to work harder. I had two books published, what would happen if I didn’t publish anymore? I had to work to get my name out there, talk to people about getting my books on the shelf, set up my own booksignings when I barely had the time to write, much less sit in a bookstore where the only person who comes to your signing is a friend.
There was always some kind of discouragement along the way. If you believe in God, then you can believe Satan was after me. After all, he doesn’t want us to succeed at anything. And boy, did I have plenty of discouragement. My internet at home had its ups and downs (the joys of living out of the city limits of what is already a small town). Health issues arose (that weren’t that big of a deal unless you already have a full plate). A hail storm, family issues, other financial problems. Lightning struck my home and I lost my computer (thank God for back ups). Just when I decided to start blogging again, I lost my internet for a while. Starting a new business while I continued to work my full time job and the downtimes the business had, with growing financial problems. Whew, how in the world was I going to balance everything?
A friend likened my life to pie. I have certain sections that I must take care of and at the moment, I wasn’t. Hand over some of these issues. Let my husband take care of the business side while I take care of the home side. What?!? My husband can run the business, but even he doesn’t want to run the finances. I have to take care of things.
Hubby asked me if I was going to use these experiences in my story. What?!? I want to forget these experiences, not use them. No, but my heroine has her own full plate and is able to deal with it. She’ll deal with it better than I ever did.
It got easier along the way. We’ve been in business for a year and though it’s not enough for me to be able to quit my job and write full time, we’ve accomplished something and I’ve realized a few things. I want to write. I will write because I love it and for no other reason. Nothing, not even my own inner critic (telling me I didn’t go to college, what right do I have, blah blah blah), can stop me.
I lost my way for awhile, but I found it again. Writing is the only anti-depressant I need!

1 comment:

Carol Ann said...

Oh, Emma, you've just explained my feelings in this post! hit a nerve. I've been floundering in these same "if only's" and allowing my inner critic to make my life miserable. Thanks for the post and for letting me know I'm not alone, nor am I insane for feeling this way. Sending cyber hugs...