Are All Authors Like This? My self-worth is directly related to my writing habits…

Until today, I hadn’t added anything to any of my works in progress since January 2nd.  Not a single word, or even a single entry in Evernote.  My goal was to write 500 words a day, but as you can see, that didn’t happen.  In the past two weeks, I have become increasingly unhappy with myself.

Now, I already have issues with depression.  I have for most of my adult life, but I know how to manage it with the help of some small doses of medication.  But in the past few years, I’ve noticed that the pills aren’t enough.

I am at my best– my happiest– when I am writing.  I don’t know what causes the pure elation, but it comes with new scenes, or character development, or good story arcs.  When I write, I am happy.  Everything else in my life can be completely horrible, but I can fool myself into sheer joy by writing a few words.  It’s the greatest feeling in the world.

I am at my worst when I am not writing.  It gets exponentially worse, the more days I go without it.  My mother always asks me, “Is it the guilt you feel for not writing, or just the fact that you’re not creating?”  Sure, the guilt sucks (thanks, Catholic upbringing), but it really does seem like it’s the fact that I’m not creating… because once I start working on my novels, those bad feelings become fleeting rather quickly.  The guilt is completely gone.  I relish in the fact that I’ve written words, that I’ve added to my character’s lives… that they’re talking to me again.  It’s a beautiful thing.

I’m wondering… do others go through the same thing?  And why is it that I know this is going on, and can’t do anything to stop the snow-balling effect?  All I need is to sit down and write!  It’s such an easy thing.  And just doing that will mean, 99% of the time, that I will find things to write about.  How can a person have so much discipline… and yet have so little?

And how can I know myself so well, and still not understand myself at all!?

4 thoughts on “Are All Authors Like This? My self-worth is directly related to my writing habits…

  1. This is definitely true for me, although I believe it extends beyond writing to whatever your vocation is (and I use the word to mean more than what you get paid to do). There are things we find pleasure in doing, and when we aren’t doing them, life seems a little grayer, a little duller, and we ask ourselves what could possible be more important.

    The truth is, though, that external events beyond our control often intervene in our lives, and while I think writers are particularly prone to beating themselves up, we need to fight back against that tendency and accept that some days (weeks, months, even years) are better than others.

  2. The worst thing is knowing yourself and what you need and not being able to find the motivation to do it. I’m an expert in this. But you’ll get there. I have complete faith in you. And, I don’t think Livvy will let you get away with it for long ;D

    Love ya, Lori.

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