View Full Version : Too down to write

12-15-2008, 08:59 PM
I'm not in an all-out, hide-in-bed sort of depression, but I'm definitely in a mid-grade funk and hating the world. I'm also full of guilt and anxiety, and my writing is receiving a lot of that now because I hate wasting time that I could be writing and I have so many projects I want to be working on. Once in a while, I'm able to channel my feelings into my writing, but I haven't for this episode.

When I just have regular writer's block, I focus on submissions and the more "business" end of things, but that doesn't go so well with hating the world.

I'm doing everything I can on the medical/psychological end (meds, counseling, exercise, light therapy 'cause I live in New England, but I'm still finding myself tired and angry much of the time.

If/when you get like this, do you just ignore your writing? Or what do you do with it?

12-15-2008, 09:09 PM
There are a lot of us with you, starry. All you can do is all you can do. Write if you can, if you can't, write something else, just to keep the habit (write to us, we like to listen.) Keep doing the stuff you need to do to get better. The sun will come back sometime, probably in the spring if you live in New England, but don't lose hope.

12-15-2008, 09:38 PM
Health before all else (except maybe family). I hope you find your healthy self soon. In the meantime, don't worry about anything that causes added stress, even if that includes writing.

12-15-2008, 09:50 PM
If/when you get like this, do you just ignore your writing? Or what do you do with it?

been there for at least a year... ain't purdy!

donno what to tell ya, coz some people can work (write) through it (so maybe you can), all you can do is try.

sending good wishes your way.

12-15-2008, 09:56 PM
Starry, we share a boat in so many ways--where the hell did the oars go? *ba doom cha*

I'm in New England too, and winter's tough on those prone to/with depression. I just saw a book at work in the psych section--if only I could remember the editor--a collection of essays by numerous writers with depression. It's worth perusing.

PM me if you want; we can gripe about early night, chapped hands and angry wind. :P At the v. least least we can take solace in Clemens' wisdom: "If you don't like the weather in New England, wait a minute."

Chin up. :) You're taking care of yourself. Many times a difficult thing for the saddened person to do, and always admirable.

David Erlewine
12-15-2008, 10:19 PM
So sorry to hear about your hard time. I hope things improve for you.
Maybe go for a good run. Or watch Arrested Development. Or act happy. Re the latter, sometimes the very act of grinning actually does help. Good luck.

12-16-2008, 03:16 AM
I just got diagnosed with Severe Major Depressive Disorder (I swear the guy must have made that up...) and I am on Wellbutrin and the like. For me, I have so much trouble concentrating thanks to this depression that it is near impossible to write, but I am occasionally capable of chugging out some decent material. All I can say is keep your head up and do your best to get through this. Good luck!

12-16-2008, 03:21 AM
...If/when you get like this, do you just ignore your writing? Or what do you do with it?

I write more, 'cause writing makes me feel good.

12-16-2008, 04:39 AM
Thanks, guys! Sympathy is nice, even if none of you have the magic cure.

Yeah, selkn.asrai, winters here suck. I've only been up here a year, so I'm very much still adjusting.

And good luck, XxDethmetalxX. Wellbutrin is good stuff. I take that and Cymbalta both and wouldn't give them up for anything. In fact, that reminds me that I've been thinking about asking my doctor to up mine. Whee!

12-16-2008, 04:44 AM
Hey Starry,

I am with ya! I don't know if this helps, but what I do when I get in that funk is write about my life. I start at my childhood and write as if I was writing a novel. For some reason this makes me feel a bit better and at the same time, I am still exercising writing.

Sometimes I just cant find the right frame of mind to even THINK about plotlines or stories, sometimes I just feel like an utter failure.

I hope the best for you and hope you know that there are lots of us who feel the same way and when we dont have it in us to cheer for ourselves, we do have it in us to cheer for other people. JOO CAN DOOO EEEET!

(P.S. I am totally hating most of the human race right now. Until today, when one sweet little old lady made me smile and I realized that there are some really cool people out there)

12-16-2008, 05:09 AM
We all have days like this: days when we just want to stay in bed and do nothing and the world is just ugly... Take it easy. And give yourself some time and cut yourself some slack. Do something fun and remind yourself why life is still good. Having a support system is important, too. Be kind to yourself and take yourself out on a date.

Remember, life is not a race, but a journey. If you don't feel like writing today, or this week, take a break. Your health is the most important thing.

Also, GUILT is one of the most useless emotions. Get rid of it. Bury it. Do whatever you have to. Kill that guilt and live life without it.

Just Me 2021
12-16-2008, 06:02 AM
Hey Starry,

I've been there, and you never know, I might be there again tomorrow - I never can tell. Be gentle with yourself and you'll get through it. I try to take those days as hints from my body/psyche that I need a rest, a day of self care, a time of trying to let go. That's hard to do because there's always the pressure to do more and not waste time - we are so strange with that, aren't we? As if there won't be enough time or there is some kind of time limit for how long it takes us to write a piece? So I remind myself that the book will still be there tomorrow or next week when I am healthier, and I try to get extra sleep or invest in something that makes me feel good.

Wishing you well...

12-16-2008, 06:11 AM
Sometimes when I don't feel like writing I just daydream and let my story/ideas play out like a movie :) I can put it to words later if it's worth getting down.

12-16-2008, 01:17 PM
Usually when I'm in that state I ignore my writing. Sorry that's not much help.

I really just want to say that it's wonderful that you're taking care of the medical/psychological stuff. If it's not helping you feel better, then perhaps it's keeping you from slipping into a deeper funk. In any case, keep on trucking. We're here for you, and you will feel better.

Also, I have learned this: just because I could be writing doesn't necessarily mean I should be writing. When I'm tired and angry it's often necessary to take a break and heal first.

Mythical Tiger
12-16-2008, 02:02 PM
Sorry that your down.... Usually writing helps for me. Or hanging out with my horses.

12-16-2008, 04:57 PM
We've all been there, starrykitten. Some people find that writing helps when they are down.

Me, I find I can't write when I feel like this. I have to go easy on myself. Go off and do something completely frivolous. Playing computer games is often a useful distraction (especially Resident Evil, I find...nothing like blasting a few zombies to make a person feel better)

Allow yourself some time to heal, and I hope you feel better soon.


Wayne K
12-16-2008, 07:19 PM
I find a good physical distraction like hard work is good for depression. Writing only gets me more focused on the problem.

12-16-2008, 08:21 PM
I've been pretty down for years now. Tried medication, all it did was make me put on 40lbs. :( Seeing a psychologist, but every other appointment seems to end up cancelled, so although we're supposed to meet once every two weeks, I'm lucky if I can see her once a month. Even with that it doesn't seem to be helping much since I don't really have friends or a support network to rely on, so I pretty much have to go it all alone. I, too, haven't felt much like writing (despite having ideas and hopes and plans soaring all through my head).

I haven't any sort of advice aside from making yourself work on it when you can--advice I myself need to take more often...I find that writing gets easier when I make more of a habit of it, but the mere act of starting is very hard and often doesn't feel worth it, especially when one writes to connect to others and others just aren't connecting.

So I rather know the feeling. Here's hoping you pull out of it faster than I do (which I'm not, unfortunately).

12-19-2008, 02:36 PM
WackAMole, yer readin' my mail! I've been considering writing my memoirs, or at least making a pretense for the excuse of writing something.

12-20-2008, 03:51 AM
It's the darkest days of the year.
Time for a good book. I mean good. Your favorite author.
"This too shall pass." Remember the story about the king who was told that "this too shall pass?"

12-20-2008, 07:49 AM
If you're angry turn that towards a story with a lot of violence, for me that is more theraputic than actually breaking stuff or getting into physical fights. I Agree with Wayne though, sometimes when you're depressed you need that physical disctraction of hard work, I make soap. Or if you're just in a funk about your writing go back and do whatever inspired you in the first place! believe it or not, I've watched the movie that got me back writing millions of time and it's helped me write at least 4 screenplays, and right now I've got this favorite author thats really got me inspired to write a novel (I'm still a little to scared to try to jump in and tackle this one again, soon though. I keep re-reading her books)!

I hope this helps some and I hope you REALLY feel better soon! I think the most important thing is to listen to your body and then do what it tells you, it usually knows best.

12-21-2008, 06:53 AM
Starrykitten, been there, am there now. It's been an awful year, in general, and for me specifically, and the dark and the cold doesn't help at all. Some year, I absolutely intend to spend Christmas week somewhere bright and warm.

I do often ignore my writing when I feel like this. And sometimes I'll open up the file and just stare at my story. It's like the words are trudging through snow and ice and are taking their time getting onto the page.

I often read instead, something that will take my mind off my own situation. Or I might crochet. It doesn't take a lot of creativity, yet it keeps mind and fingers busy.

I also suffer from SAD. I had one of those expensive bright lights, but it got lost in the last move. (Or maybe the movers made it disappear.... I lost a lot in that last move.)

12-21-2008, 08:00 AM
[quote=tehuti88;3071730]Seeing a psychologist...Even with that it doesn't seem to be helping much since I don't really have friends or a support network to rely on, so I pretty much have to go it all alone./quote]

Just a rant on that: I always find it annoying that most psychologists want you to build up a social network so you can rely on that for your problems, but if you're really depressed your friends tell you to seek professional help. Sounds like a lot of passing the buck if you're not in a state to appreciate their respective motivations.

I can definitely relate to this thread. I've been in a big funk of my own lately.. deeper than my usual lousy baseline. I'm to the point where I can't even enjoy getting together with my writing buddy, who usually cheers me up.

I spend too much time in my own head to be able to write much when I'm down. As someone mentoned above, I need to do really mindless things to shut my brain up... play games, do crosswords, go for walks (sometimes that helps but sometimes it makes it work), eat junk food (helps in the short term; makes it worse in the long run), go to the gym, etc. I can't daydream storylines because all my internal narrative wants to talk about is how much I suck.

But actually one of the suggestions above is appealing to me right now. I don't journal or do morning pages or anyhting like that, but I'm thinking I might spend some time just getting my personal aggravations out on the page, if only for the sake of mimicking the act of writing. Maybe I'll put together some clever lines or inspire some ideas to write about. More ideally, I'm hoping that writing it on the page will help get those broken record thoughts out of my head to free my mind to start thinking about other characters than myself for once.

Phoebe H
12-21-2008, 08:11 AM
I'm right there with you. There are many wonderful things about Seattle -- but the winters are not one of them.

I have two seemingly contradictory pieces of advice which might help.

1) Write anyway. A lot of my writing time is time that I *can't* be doing anything else (ie commuting on the bus). If you can sit down and try writing for just 15 minutes, you can still break through the funk a lot of the time. You may not get much actually accomplished then, but it will make your *next* session a lot more productive.

2) Give yourself permission not to write. I find that something that is very important is to make sure that you are very mindful of the times that you have chosen not to write. If you are not going to write on a given day, then don't write. Give yourself the day off, and don't waste time feeling guilty about it.

What you don't want to do is "maybe write". You know, those days when you go through the whole day saying "Maybe I'll do some writing" but then you end up doing something else. And then when that's done, you think "Maybe I'll write now" but then you do something else. And so on, until it's bedtime and you realize that even though you really 'wanted' to write, you didn't, and then you spend the rest of the night feeling guilty and beating up on yourself.

The key is intentionality. That's the best way to defeat paralyzing guilt.

12-21-2008, 09:25 AM
I'm also noticing that I'm suddenly convinced that I have nothing worthwhile to say, which I imagine is another manifestation of the way depression zaps pleasure from things. I'm still making time to write and trying to be present for it if it happens, but it's rough going.

Phoebe H
12-21-2008, 12:09 PM
I'm also noticing that I'm suddenly convinced that I have nothing worthwhile to say, which I imagine is another manifestation of the way depression zaps pleasure from things. I'm still making time to write and trying to be present for it if it happens, but it's rough going.

Yeah, that.

At times like that, I remind myself that in the final analysis, I'm writing for myself. I don't have to say anything worthwhile at all.

The other thing I do -- and this may not work for everyone, but I'm a spreadsheet geek -- is I keep a running day-by-day total of words written in an excel spreadsheet, and I have a couple of different charts that are generated off of that.

Some days I am only writing to make the blue squiggly line go up, or to keep the yellow squiggly line from going down.

12-21-2008, 09:21 PM
My schedual turns upside down, night seems safer, friendly, even though the days are often bright here.

Games are good, the mindless repetitive ones bedazzled jewel matching, not the complicated ones. Crosswords, you can always say you are practicing matching words for later. The games eventually let me see what's wrong with my books.

The one thing you don't want to do is decide your book sucks and throw out the hard copy and the disks and delete. Just leave it alone. It is better than it appears right now. I put the disks for the one I was working on away, to protect them from me.

Supprt systems are tricky since you want to be with people, but you don't want to be with people. You don't want to say anything superfical, or too intense, too revealing, or anything.

I try to think of it as part of being a writer. It isn't one of the better parts but it's a part of the whole, not the whole.


12-24-2008, 06:42 PM
Boy do I ever relate, I was so stuck in depression this year that I didn't know what to do or how to make it stop. I tried a new medication and it helped but it killed my creativity, so I gave it eight months and NOTHING! I was totally incapacitated as a writer. I gained about thirty pounds and though I felt better emtionally, the lack of ability to sit and write depressed me.

I ended up weaning off that med and starting back up on wellbutrin and it was like a switch went off in my head and I just started writing again! I mean damn near 15K the first day! I did 50K the first week! And it was my memoir, I was down from the previous version's inability to get the attention of any agents this year and as I rewrote the memoir, I started feeling so much better. But in my heart I know it's something to do with Seratonin that was keeping me from writing and then something to do with getting it right that helped set me free to write again.

It's such a terrible feeling to be stuck in depression. I really do understand starrykitten. I wish you the best of luck in finding the right combination of meds, counseling, exercise and light therapy to help make your mind more at ease emotionally and that you get writing again soon. I was in a funk for nearly a year and I wasn't in any mood to query or send out letters to agents. I just hated everything too. I know it's hard, but it will get better, hang in there! :D

12-28-2008, 02:20 AM
I have suffered from depression for a few years now, and while the Lexapro helps, I still have days where I feel like I am carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders.
Strangely enough, it's on those days that I seem to be most productive. I generally write horror fiction, so perhaps it's just a case of being down enough to think of ingenious ways to off people. I don't question it, I just go with the flow.

12-28-2008, 05:55 AM
Writing is my refuge from everything else in this world. When I feel down doing it, it's time to do some serious recreational reading to find that inspiration that's missing.