Sunday, September 22, 2013

I Am a Frustrated Writer

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I am a frustrated writer.

I promised to continue blogging as I marched toward my goal of finishing my draft by September 30th, that if I could post weekly to my fanfiction story, surely I could do as much for my blog.

That was two three weeks ago.

And my fanfiction story has been updated but once.

Double sheesh.
Oddly enough, my non-posting is not the result of a lack of ideas. I have several topics for interesting blog posts, epiphanies and anecdotes from which I think someone else might benefit.

Or at the very least be amused.

But I have yet to write them, and that failure inspires the familiar urge to forsake my writing dreams and content myself with the world of fanfiction, a place where I am already established and have no shortage of ideas to present one chapter at a time whenever the mood strikes.

I could do that.

I could totally do that.

But I don’t want to do that.

I want to be a writer.

A professional, published writer.

A professional, published writer with titles on bookshelves bearing her name on the spines—lowercase save my middle name, if you please.

A professional, published writer of fiction and non with a loyal following of readers who get me.

And I know I cannot do that if I let frustration overtake me.

I know all writers struggle with this frustration—the dichotomy between what we are doing and what we think our ideal version of ourselves should be doing—and that knowledge comforts me.

But I don’t know if other writers often fall into crippling depressions when that dichotomy becomes too great, or more to the point, when their focus on that dichotomy overshadows everything else. I don’t know if other writers run the risk of shutting down completely, losing interest in the world around them as they lament their lot and blame themselves for it all.

But I do.

It has been a decade since the last depression took me under but only seven months since its last attempt. This depression is a familiar foe, one I can defeat if vigilant and must defeat if my dreams are ever to exist beyond my active imagination.

But seasons like this where change occurs and my adjustment period is longer and more challenging than I assumed are its catalyst. This is where the cycle begins.

And where I must pause and regroup to prevent its resurgence.

This is not the way it was supposed to go, certainly not the way I expected to feel about these anticipated life-changes. And therein lies part of the rub. The biggest recent change was not only planned but prayed for. I requested this situation, craved it for months. And now I find myself ill-adjusting to and frustrated by its presence.

And berating myself for my reaction.

But that’s okay. Because self-flagellation or not, I am yet posting this message, wading through my emotional minutiae to produce something (hopefully) useful. I am acknowledging my feelings, not hiding them beneath false smiles and forced enthusiasm. And I am putting my issues on notice that they will not get the best of me this time.

Image Courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

And as I continue to make such choices, to brave the rapids despite the turbulence, I will find myself safely on the other side of this frustration with a wealth of experience on which I can hang my tattered hat.

I hope.


  1. Okay, D, honey... Take a deep breath. Walk away from the computer for a bit. Play with your kids, go for a walk, have dinner with the hubs. And do all of this without worrying about writing. Because, I promise you, you haven't lost anything. Your frustration is perfectly normal. However, it gets WORSE if you try to force it, and worse if you obsess about it.

    This blog post was a good thing, because you still need to write every day. Just don't write on your book, or anything you intend to publish. Write about your day, something funny one of your kids did, or describe an old lady you saw at the market, her veined, trembling hands reaching for a tomato. Write about how blue the sky was, or write down a prayer. (Elizabeth I wrote down a lot of her prayers-- I've always wondered if it was to clear her mind before she wrote her greatest speeches.) Write about what makes you happy, what makes you sad.

    Let yourself think about your book for just a few minutes a day. Then, tuck it away to think about tomorrow. If you're like me, things will start occurring to you and you'll make mental notes for when you're "allowed" to think about it again. But keep yourself on a schedule, gradually increasing the amount of time you're "allowed" to think about it.

    When you feel like you're ready for it, go ahead and write some of those ideas down, but don't do it where you normally write. Do a change of scenery. Go to a coffee shop, or even just a different room of your house. Go out into the back yard or a park while your kids are playing-- just something different than you normally do. And restrict the amount of time you're "allowed" to work. Alway stop in the middle of a sentence. That way, the next time you sit down, you'll ALWAYS have a place to start, and you'll be able to at least accomplish getting that sentence finished.

    Cherish the small accomplishments. That way, when the big ones come, it's always a glorious surprise.

    You're okay, hon, I promise. I reiterate that this is perfectly normal. We all get a little lost sometimes. But I know you'll find your way back. You just need to clear away the frustration itself. That feeling is what's blocking you. So you need to cut it off at the knees and structure your day so you CAN'T get frustrated. And before you know it, you'll be past that feeling. :)

    1. Wow, Lissa... I'm.... THANK YOU. I've read your reply several times and have taken your sage words to heart.

      I don't think I realized the frustration itself was the issue until you said that. Here, I've been thinking it was the book, my self-discipline, or recent changes in schedule. But knowing it's the feeling of frustration and armed with those great tips, I know I'm gonna lick this feeling and recover the sheer joy of writing.

      Thanks again! XO