Reemergence

Well, this week was a wash.

I didn’t think I’d have a full-blown depressive episode. I think it’s a combination of both missing my s.o. and frustration with my novel. I mean, duh, but how much that had affected me took me by surprise. I think it’s mostly the novel, though. If my s.o. were here I’d have someone to bitch to, and he’d make me feel better somehow, and it wouldn’t be this bad. I’d be slightly productive instead of doing nothing but watch TV and Youtube for the past week. Yeah. Not cool.

I’m doing better today. I just decided to not sleep last night. Not a great decision – I need about two gallons of coffee now – but it somehow busted me out of my useless mindset. No idea why or how. Not sure if it makes any sense whatsoever. But hey, I turned my computer on for the first time in three days (I’ve been using my tablet for binging on crappy shows). I’m writing this blog again, which is writing! My mind’s clear (I did sleep a little after the sun came up). And I’m listening to Adele’s 25 and there’s nothing Adele and a good cry can’t fix. (So bloody glad I saw her live when she came to LA, 180 dollar ticket notwithstanding). I’m hopeful that I’ll get something productive done today. Fingers crossed.

Depression

I think I’m slightly depressed right now. Mostly from loneliness because of the brief separation from my husband. Yeah, a little pathetic, I know, but if you haven’t been apart for a while and you’ve been kind of stuck like glue you sort of feel it, you know? (I was away from him in May while visiting my family, but I had my family with me then, and not just me by myself in an empty house for two weeks). Also I feel a little hopeless about my novel. It seems like I never could progress further than one chapter a week at best, and there were like 10 chapters left when I started earlier this year and now there’re still 10 more chapter left because the book kept getting longer. I mean I’m not artificially lengthening my chapters or anything, it’s just that there’re more and more things to add as I get to know the plot better, the characters motivation better, you know, standard novel draft stuff. It makes me sad that I can never finish anything, it seems like. What am I working so hard for? It’ll never amount to anything. The sheer mountain of work is burying me even thinking about it. So why even try?

I should just suck it up and work regardless. That is the goal – work everyday regardless. But it is so goddamn hard. Just like working out and keep at it, knowing you may never see a result, not even years from now (there’s no guarantee you’ll lose weight, or lose as much as you hoped, even with regular exercising). I did well last week, kinda, but am losing steam this week. I’m not sure what I should be doing right now. I know I’ve been ridiculously stressed because I tend to grind my teeth at night when I’m stressed, and for the past week my jaw ached in the mornings because I’ve been chomping so hard. (It got a little better this week, but I can still feel it). I mean eventually you just suck it up and move on, but I’m not there yet. I have to start moving on, you know? I wanted to write today but couldn’t bring myself to open a word document. I’m not sure how I’ll move through this yet.

One of Those Days Again

Today is one of those days where I just don’t feel like working. I want to lie down on the bed, get some snacks, and read or play some video games. It’s Saturday, I know, but seriously my job has no “days off,” or can have one any day of the week, which I’ve deemed, so far, as Wednesday. And today is not it!

My novel feels endless. I mean, it’s moving forward, yes, but the end goalpost keeps moving too. It has blossomed from a novella to a full blown novel of 40k and now it’s going toward 60k with no stopping. I feel like I’m at the half way mark since forever. It feels so discouraging! Everybody just tells me to “keep pushing” but, what if the push takes 10 years? OK, it won’t take 10 years, hopefully, but another year is a total possibility and that makes me so sad. I’m supposed to be done with this this month and move on to my short stories. What in the seventh hell?

I feel like I know exactly what to do with my life, but that goal is bad. It’s like someone deemed their goal in life is to eat Cheetos and watch TV. Yeah, it’s a goal, but you’ll die if you don’t make money. And that’s where I am. I’m writing a novel with no money. I’m only lucky that I have a supportive family and stuff. And what am I doing? Writing at a snail’s pace on ONE novel, forever. It’s ridiculous. But even keeping up with the daily word count is hard. I should be pushing myself to the limit, but I’ve done that, and all that did was drive me into further depression and completely block my creative side. I’ve learned to pace myself now, but then, the pace is way too slow. It’s like nothing ever goes right in this career path. But then I also don’t know, literally, how to do anything else. And if I try to start over (i.e. give up writing and find a “normal” job), well, I’ve been out of work for five years. So yeah, it’ll be shit with shit pay and shit hours, so, again, not helping any either. It’s really not worth it.

I’m alright. It’s just one of those days. I don’t know what to do with myself besides keep going.

The Usual Gripes – Now with Timetable!

I know you’re fucking sick of me writing how much not working I’m fucking not doing (or doing?) but fuck, work is slow and painful. I am a bad person.

I am not a bad  person. I am trying to be a better person. I am a mediocre person? Anyways, so my s.o., after a fairly big fight and stuff, made a plan. I, like a programmer, apparently, need a manager. Because I suck at setting deadlines and meeting them, and I apparently also don’t know how fast or slow I write. Which leads to bad expectations which leads to unproductivity, etc. So my s.o., the dogged PM in his blood that he is, decided to actually iron it out. We decided every Sunday (or Saturday, depends on our schedule) we set a goal for next week, with stuff I should be doing and estimated hours need to complete, and see how far I get. Better managing expectations. Win-win, right?

WRONG! I sooooo failed the first week. I was supposed to work through a chapter and a half in roughly 15 hours or work. Yeah…didn’t happen. Got through nothing. Partially because this new thing is so paralyzing to me so I got scared (still am, but what else is new?). Partially because I had to brainstorm some large plotholes and of course, did not put that on the timesheet (yes, brainstorm takes time, sometimes days without a word written because you just couldn’t get over where that screw was supposed to go in that imaginary difference engine). My fault, of course, so this week it’s playing catch up. Before I even started. Oof.

And catch-up? Well, theoretically I’m supposed to be working 4 hours a day. However, “working” doesn’t mean “writing,” it also includes lots and lots of kinks in “planning” and “plugging plotholes” and “hating self over how horrible your characters are in their conversations and growth”. So I’ve “worked” for at least 4 hours a day and had written a total of maybe 2 hours, for the past three days. Like, what the fuck. Second week, doing marginally better than first week so I should be happy right? Ha! I’m now 3 chapters behind my schedule. I guess it’s time to readjust but how do you go to your s.o. who tried hard to help you and say, yeah, so, I so failed. So badly. Can we maybe stop doing this or start over or something? Because I’m not working less, I’m just working much, much slower than even I thought I ever could be. Sorry, I suck, I will never amount to anything worthwhile in my lifetime. Sorry you married me.

That sounds depressing, though. I don’t want to end like this. I’m not that depressed, just a momentary relapse into worthlessness. It happens. Today I will finally finish that half chapter, maybe. Oh my god. And to think if I ever finish this draft I have to pretty much rewrite the whole thing again because right now it’s nigh unreadable. Wow. Not going to think about that yet. First, I need to make sure I work at least 2 solid hours on writing and not planning today. Or some such. And keep going tomorrow. And Saturday. And on and on and maybe I can get somewhere. Man, doing stuff I love is this hard? Imagine doing a job I hate – or, maybe don’t imagine. No wonder I was depressed and couldn’t do shit for years while I worked for someone else. Just waking up feels like a chore already.

What To Do…

Sorry for being MIA again. It’s just that these past two weeks had been a major crazy clusterfuck in the US of A. Everything’s so depressing and bleak, and you just watch the progress (as little as there were) getting rolled back to oblivion. I was talking to a friend and we both agreed that California is not a “bubble”, it’s a fucking shield (as is New York, and Washington, and Oregon, and Massachusetts, and whole slew of super blue places). I don’t think I’m ever going to leave.

No, current events did not pull me back into depression. It’s not going to. It took a while for me to sink last time, probably a good few months, and we’re (sadly, scarily) only 14 days into the current administration. I did have a minor panic attack last Thursday, though, that was fun. I’ve recovered, and somewhat calmed down, but am still kind of on edge and generally feeling bad. I’ve also been neglecting my work, which is super bad. I think it’s a vicious cycle of panic – nor work – guilty of not working – bad feeling due to guilt – more panic – rinse and repeat. So to break the cycle I need to fucking WORK, but my head’s just like “yeah you can concentrate on nothing remotely sci-fi or factual or things that make sense” and poof, there goes my day.

I know I’m lucky because I don’t have a 9-5 job. I imagine I’d break down sobbing long before now if I’m juggling a job that I have to go to amidst all this. Yes, writing is a job, but it’s one flexible enough that you’re not answering to someone else every minute of every day. You’re just answering to your own guilt, every minute of every day AND night, which could just be as stressful, but at least I can answer in my pajamas, alone in the house, eating chocolate. Or have nightmares and wake up sweaty but at least it doesn’t impact anyone else.

This entry is the longest I’ve written in days. I couldn’t concentrate to do anything remotely literary (not that this journal is literary, but at least the words are collected, thought out, and written compared to, say, a tweet.) I’ll take it as progress. Maybe tomorrow I can actually write about something harmless like, I don’t know, Fire Emblem Heroes? I’ll take that too.

Moving Goalposts?

Well, more like a more realistic assessment on how fast I can finish this novel. I did a brief calculation yesterday and it looks like it’ll be a few days into March for me to finish it, if I write on schedule. It’s not ideal, but I know for a fact it won’t take longer than that. It’s just…I was hoping it’ll be done mid-February. I have no idea how to convey this to my s.o. because, as supportive as he is, he is definitely on the “omg how long will this take you it’s already been two years!” It’s true. And it’s 100% my fault. (Well, it’s partly depression’s fault, but ultimately that’s kind of an excuse, you know? I could’ve worked harder when I was less depressed, and I certainly could’ve this past month) So I’m just hoping he won’t ask until February and then I can be like, hey I’m done with 25 out of the 31 parts I’m going to have so…please wait a few more weeks?

Yeah…I better get to work.

A Goal

I usually don’t want to get emotional on the Internet. Oftentimes when people pour out their “soul” in whatever blog form they tend to get trolled to death for whatever trivial reason. But I think today, right now, I want to write something stupidly personal. And that is, I feel like I have a purpose again.

Perhaps this is what they meant when you get out of depression. Nothing major has happened, just a series of light, seemingly unrelated small victories (like successfully bake a cake, or put your laundry away on time, or finish that paragraph of that chapter you’ve been working on for the past week). And you mentally tally them together and compare you to yourself six months ago, and you think, wow, something has changed. You feel like you just woken up from a long, tired dream, and the day doesn’t look brighter or anything cliché like that, but it just feels like a day instead a dread. Today I will wake up, fix some food, and sit down and write this chapter. Tomorrow I will move on to the next chapter, and in a couple of months every chapter would’ve been written and I will have a first draft of a novel in hand. And that’s it. No fanfare, no agony, just a clear, achievable goal. And I will feel like I’m working a real job, and am a real writer, even though I still haven’t earned penny writing. Yet. That “yet” doesn’t bring me pain, or massive amount of guilt, anymore.

2016 has been a shitty year to many, many people. But it’s the year I’ll always remember as the end of a long depression. I didn’t know it wasn’t over until it’s over, you know? The whole thing started years ago, and finally, today, I feel like I’m completely out of it. Through therapy of many forms. When everyone’s dreading January 2017 in America, I’m looking forward to it. Because that’ll be the month when I finish my novel (well, that’s the plan, might spill over to February, but whatever, close enough.) And then I can work on editing my short stories, and send them out, and all that jazz. And I’ll maybe earn like 300 dollars, and then I’ll have physical proof that yes, this is a career choice and not some childhood fancy, and I’m not just a jobless bum with illusion of grandeur who lucked out on marrying someone with steady income.

Now – back to work!