Misc thoughts on depression and writing and my August plan and putting unhealthy stock in things to save you.
I’ve talked before about how one of the things I really REALLY want is to get my MFA from this school that has this kickass low-residency program where you basically just read books and write, and your thesis is a finished novel.
My plan was basically:
- Graduate ( CHECK! )
- Complete one Nano and/or succeed in writing for two hours every day for like two months
- Apply to this MFA program every semester, while continuing to write, until I get in. Even if this takes half my life.
But on the application form for this school, there’s this section where they ask you if there is anything in your life that could prevent you from completing the program in less than three years, including health stuff, mental health stuff, family and finances, etc etc. It’s given me a lot of stress, because I know that the #1 reason I don’t write is because I spend hours and hours and hours lying around trying not to take a ton of nyquil and drive my car into a wall.
A few weeks ago I was starting to get cocky (ha) and like “well I’m depressed NOW but I still write and do stuff. I can just manage it really well and make sure to only do healthy things. Then I can check YES that there is NOTHING that will prevent me from completing this, and I will not be lying. It’s not a big deal.”
And then I fell down into this very deep dark scary well I’m in now. Rawrs.
I’ve kind of been just holding my breath, waiting for camp nano to start. Like when I think about what would fix this crap I’m feeling, I know the easiest is to find a project to work on, but I don’t want to start anything because Nano (also I’m depressed and lazy and any excuse is a good excuse to not start something).
Tomorrow, Nano starts. I’ve decided to work on the big fantasy story I’ve been fussing over for ten years. I’m going to write the shittiest version YET!!! (lulz nothing will beat the version I wrote when I was 13 - there is literally a scene in which the protagonists practice their magic powers by writing secret “omg I like him” “no way I like you back!” notes and trying to read each other’s and squealing about it) I’m just going to write every damn scene, not caring about the fact that I’m not sure which characters should narrate. I’m going to write really elaborate descriptions of everything just to get it out there. I’m going to write out the super boring details that I worry about cutting. I’m going to change styles in the middle. Some chapters will be in first person. Some won’t. Whatever. I’m just going to pile up the words, heap it up into a giant mess, and then edit it later. The few times I’ve actually done this, it’s been amazing. It’s just hard to do. But if there is ANY story that I know well enough to just throw words at, it’s this one. And I’ve already written 17,000 words of it, so if I write 50,000 words in August, I’ll probably finish the damn thing.
I WILL finish Nano this August, or else there is really no reason for me to keep trying to write. And by finish I mean even if I don’t reach 50,000 words, if I’m writing every day and get reasonably close, I will feel like I’ve succeeded. I will know, in my bones, whether or not I actually worked hard and actually accomplished something, numbers or no.
This theme (I guess) keeps coming up in my mind. If I’m not writing, there is no point in my being alive. I am just wasting fucking time if I am not working towards my goals. I know some people can find their meaning in friendship and family and love and future children and a career or whatever but there is only one thing for me in this life and that is writing and all the other interconnecting story mediums that touch my writing. And I know I’m supposed to believe I have inherent value, especially because I believe in God and in his neverending love for humanity. But even my relationship with God is so closely wound around my writing that I’m not sure what to do with him if I didn’t write. He explains himself to me through my writing, and the truth I write is often his truth, too. He and I talk about my writing more than anything else. I use my writing to explore him, to ask him questions. If I don’t write, I don’t think I even have God. I mean, he’d still be there, but it’d be nothing like how it REALLY is. If that makes sense. If I didn’t write, it would be like trying to communicate with a friend when you have suddenly gone blind and deaf. You could still pull it off, but it wouldn’t be as intensive or anything like what you’re used to. I suppose you could adjust eventually. But still.
When I didn’t write before (before graduating college) it was always like “Well it’s okay if you don’t write right now. You’re still learning. You’re busy with school. You have to find a job/apt/wedding shit. Just practice when you can, and eventually you can write in earnest.”
I have no more excuses.
Every second that passes, I need to either be
a) working to make money to sustain myself
b) eating or sleeping or bathing or other things to sustain myself
c) being with friends or loving Chris or other things to sustain myself
d) gathering experiences and information and exploring the world through the internet or books or wandering or talking with people or music or weird food or whatever needs to be done
In reality I don’t think I could really write THAT much (though I wish I could eventually). But realistically if I’m not writing for a good chunk of time everyday, then that day was wasted (unless it was dedicated to a-d above, in which case it wasn’t a waste, but it was still not 100% effective).
THE POINT I’M TRYING TO MAKE IS
I guess it’s probably scary and unhealthy and I shouldn’t think this way but I keep coming back to the fact that I’m at this turning point? This point where it’s like “You either write, or stop pretending like your life has any real meaning.” I need to prove to myself that I can succeed at writing (aka COMPLETE SOMETHING OMFG YOU’RE 23 AND YOU HAVEN’T COMPLETED ANYTHING HALFWAY DECENT EVER) and SOON or else things will get very, very scary and self-destructive very very soon.
Sure, this is very unhealthy.
This is why I get so stressed out everytime I go to write. Because WHAT IF I FAIL. To me, that’s not just “What if I fail and it’s horrible and OH DEAR” it’s more like “What if it turns out that my entire life is a waste of time and the one thing I’ve pinned my entire self on falls out from under me and I really will be driving my car into a wall tonight because I don’t think I could handle 60 years of trying to bullshit myself into thinking my life has any value without writing.”
I wonder why it’s always the creative types who seem to be the most depressed and out of their heads. Is creativity depressing in and of itself? I dunno. #deepthoughtslulz
The point is that it’s wrong and it’s dangerous but unless I magically pull out of this depressing during August and no longer feel strongly about this, camp nano is going to be all-or-nothing for me.