|My brain is on vacation or hiatus. It hasn't told me which or where.|
They're called the winter blues for a reason. Something about being cooped up inside and missing out on sunlight, which depletes our energy and gives us a funk. (It's science.) I've always found this to be an interesting sort of explanation, at least for me. While I definitely get the winter blues, I find it hard to believe it's all weather related. I mean, it's not like I'm an outdoorsy person in the spring or summer. So am I really getting that much less sunlight? (Maybe I am. I'm not a scientist.)
It's no surprise that in the final days of January, with the distance between the holidays and today growing bigger and bigger, I'm pretty drained. Unmotivated. Maybe even a little bummed--or bored. It's hard to say. It's not like I'm unhappy. Not even fully exhausted. Just ennui with a touch of apathy.
Yes, it's true. I have the blah, blah, blahs.
This really became more apparent to me yesterday when a fellow author/friend mentioned how nice I make the writing life look on my Instagram feed. It's true, I usually try to highlight the nice, because I truly feel lucky to be telling stories and have anyone want to read them. But it isn't always pretty and filtered. And maybe I'm not being honest by only showing the good in my attempt to be positive.
So here it is: honesty. The past few months have been hard for me as a writer.
For any number of reasons, the words just aren't flowing as nicely as I'd like. For one, my head and heart are full of thoughts and feelings that have little relevance to the stories I'm trying to tell. I could try to ignore them, but they're too important to erase. Also, as I mentioned, it's winter. I'm not outdoorsy, but I miss the sun and not wearing a coat or gloves. I'm also probably giving into temptation to buy donuts and cookies at the store too often (which is either a lack of willpower or an attempt to give myself short bursts of energy and excitement through the ennui). These and other issues are all swirling together to make me a bit of a pile. I'm an author pile.
I've tried all of my usual practices to get myself out of this funk: going to a favorite cafe, reading other stories that inspire, re-working my outline/character charts, drinking more water, taking baths. When those have failed, I've tried new approaches: ordering a writing desk to try writing in bed before work, carving out specific time to relax, etc. These attempts haven't been a total failure. I still managed to write some words this month. But each word feels hard fought. I feel like my head is full of cobwebs or slush.
Then there are the comparisons. Even as I'm painting a pretty picture of my world via photos and quirky posts, I'm comparing myself to others. If I could change one thing about myself, it would be that I'd stop holding myself up against others in an effort to see what they have that I don't have. That's not healthy. Admiring others--appreciating their successes--is okay. But looking at them to try to find some magical spark about them that proves why they're better than you isn't good for anyone. It's unfair and unkind to myself and to everyone else.
Still, I keep trying. Because if I've learned anything while living with anxiety issues and bouts of depression, it's that I have to keep trying, to keep moving on. Otherwise I get stuck, which feels worse.
I'm not 100 percent sure what I'm trying to say here with this post. (As I've mentioned, I'm struggling to put my thoughts together at this time--particularly when it comes to writing.) I guess my big point is that it's okay to have down times. It's even better to know when you're managing or when you need to do something more or different. Like for me right now, I'm managing. But that's about all I'm doing.
I've been managing for a couple of months now, and I need to do more than that. Maybe I go back into counseling. Maybe I carve out more time for exercise. Maybe I take more of a break from social media. Maybe I cut out processed sugars. (I really hope I can change my feelings and thinking without swearing off sugar!) Maybe I need to ask for more help. It's okay to ask for help. It's okay if everything isn't always pretty and filtered.
Other point of this post: It's also okay to sometimes write a somewhat (or maybe totally) nonsensical blog post or scene just to keep yourself writing through periods when the words aren't flowing easily. At least that's what I'll keep telling myself too.
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