Sat here wondering what to write for a blog, and as usual I did a bit of a look back over the last month. August has been an odd month of highs and lows, and some really low lows at that.
I’ve had a lot of negative feedback through August, which is always a difficult thing to deal with, but I got so much from so many different angles, that I got to the point that I actually wondered is it worth carrying on. The sad thing is that when my thoughts went in that direction, it went further than just the writing.
I’ve suffered from depression for a long time and what happened in the middle of the month took me lower than I’ve been in years. So I have to admit that thoughts of suicide did start to dominate. Luckily I have had a course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, so I did have to turn to those techniques. The thing is that writing has always been the technique I’ve relied on. I used writing as a coping strategy even before I had any idea that it was a coping strategy. So in my darkest hour, I sat at a laptop, tears streaming down my face and wrote a story of depression and suicide.
Then I sent it off to my editor, he said it contained an “exhausted, fatalistic tone of utter emptiness”, which is pretty much what I was feeling when I wrote it.
That was surprisingly cathartic.
It was also a Eureka moment.
I’ve always written and I can’t stop, take writing away and I can’t survive long – about a week without doing some kind of writing. I know this because I’ve had times when I deliberately haven’t written and that’s about as long as I can last. Usually 24 hours is enough to start my brain itching.
There was a high with seeing the Doctor Who world premiere, of course, but what really helped, but what helped most, was a holiday, the last week of August we went away for the bank holiday week. We went up to Matlock and stayed at this beautiful place called Cambridge Lodge, which is actually a converted Service Reservoir, something that instantly appealed to both my husband and I as we both work in the Water Industry.
The place was absolutely fabulous, and the welcome was incredible, unexpected and overly generous. Never mind the weather (which wasn’t good), we had a great chill out week. I made a conscious decision not to use my laptop much.
So I went back to my old habit of long hand writing in a note book. On the Thursday before we left, the 21st, I started a new notebook on a new book, wrote about 1,500 words. On Saturday the 23th, I splurged on a new pen, purple ink of course. By the time we got home on Saturday 30th, the pen was half empty and the notebook about 80% filled, roughly 22,000 done while on holiday. Have managed another 3,000 since.
There’s something I should also mention, it’s one of those reasons to be cheerful that I try to remember. The book I wrote was largely based on a plot I’ve been working on for a while and one I had a lot of help from RR Haywood (https://www.facebook.com/ivan.haywood.5?fref=nf_fr). He helped me to figure out the timeline and made this one of the easiest books to write that I’ve ever committed to paper. So thanks Rich. (And by the way – he writes some stonking zombie fiction)
To round this off, I have had a crappy month, and I have seriously considered giving up writing, but apparently in my brain makes not writing equal not breathing, so I am not going to be giving up writing any time soon.
Just to add the upside, I sent the depression story off and it’s now being considered for an anthology.