Not to my liking The mask worn, cracked. Scars of the silent pain, Never seen.
What horror does it hide, Untold beauty of suffering, Held by nothing, By will and devotion.
Played in the rules of society, Ridiculed by the ones who suffer the same. I ask the question, To those who feel the same pain, Whose words pierce my weary heart, Is kindness so estranged, By you, The ones who understand The agony of life?
They say no one is going to doubt you or criticise you more than… Well you! And boy were they right! The summer heat is here and I am dying but with it I somehow become a master procrastinator. Truly it’s a skill I mastered, I know beside my day job I consider writing not just a passion but a second job as well! But truth be told, leave me in an empty room, take away Netflix, Xbox even the Euros (it’s coming home!) and I would still lay down on the ground, look at the ceiling and be mesmerised by it! I need help…
The art of doing nothing
I need to do stuff! The blog ( which we passed 1k views, thank you for that!), the upcoming book and the one I am currently writing, I want to take seriously. I was half assing things till now, but I promised to myself to finish two tasks till the end of the year. 100 subscribers on the blog and finishing the new book by September. So far I am fairly consistent when it comes to my blog, we crossed the half way mark to that magical 100 number. And the book is progressing just… fine? 20ish pages done, but with the Euros and the heat coming over to distract me, things got really… difficult… My AC unit just lost its will to live and left this world, so right now I am stuck, just me and this unrelenting heat.
Feeling every single mosquito bite and the occasional warm breath of the wind ( I swear summer is doing it on purpose) I still find myself laying on my bed and looking into the empty void of the ceiling. Usually I would blame the occasional depressing thought passing by and preventing me to do anything productive, but no! I keep on zoning out, looking at nothing. At least I kept my one talent, professionally doing nothing.
The awkward interaction
With what little free time I have I started to do something I previously despised, spending more time on social media. True, it’s a useful tool when it comes to writing, but I want to make friends and connect with people, especially with other writers, but being an introvert with depression, you can imagine how well that turns out to be. But hey, if you see me around, tweeting semi-funny stuff, say hi, don’t be a stranger! These days social media is a must have, especially for us writers, as promotion and advertising, the hell it brings, is done mostly online. But I feel like most of us (or just me) are put in the vast and unknown space (sometimes weird plane) of social media, left to our own devices to fight out of the sea of many. But then again you can’t over do it, because people will get tired quickly of you just saying one thing over and over again, even if it’s your book. I don’t know maybe it’s just me, but I feel like it’s a part of writing that feels all but writing, a part that is mandatory yet feels unnatural. If there is any veteran writers who can help me navigate these uncharted waters, do contact.
Hit and miss
One of the reasons I am fairly reluctant on engaging people is the lack of response. Yea I know I ain’t the funniest person out there, definitely not the most interesting, but I do have my moments. I am still new to Twitter and, like all, I am still learning but it happens that from time to time I say something and I get the all known crickets as a response. Ah yes, the awkward silence, feeling the fictional tumbleweed rolling. And got to admit, it kinda hurts, you get the feeling of why do I even try. It might be the mighty Twitter algorithm that is mostly responsible for it, but like with everything in this line of work thay comes to strike you down to the pits of discouragement, we need to pull forward. Be it harsh criticism, doubt in our own work or skills or the lack of response we get when we try to engage with people, this job will test your self belief and it will make you trust in yourself more, even if at times it won’t seem like it.
When all fails, you won’t
Sure procrastination comes easy and it is easier to get lost in doing nothing so we forget to even start. But just remember, it was you who was at the beginning of all. You started this journey. Only you have the means to continue it. Taking a break is fine, even when we are just overwhelmed by the sheer tasks we face, be it promoting, writing new stuff or like me just connecting with people, it is important to catch a breath and remember why you started this in the first place. Sit. Relax. Find a way to vent it all out. I found that writing a once a week segment to get personal to 2,3 people who read it (hi you magnificent humans) does the trick! But remember why you do this and that there is only forward. Don’t dwell on the past, accept it and act in the present for your better future!
Final words of encouragement
I will try to cut it short. The blog just passed 1k views and I am eternally grateful for all of your support! I know I post more or less just poetry which is my medicine against depression and it works. But POW (Process of writing) is this project for me to try and open up, write more personal stuff and try to connect to more people. I thank you all, no matter how few of you are, that share this journey with me! And seeing the site grow, I can only hope to grow alongside it and perhaps to revive a few decent projects that were put on hold. But until then, I will just go pull my fridge near my desk and keep its door open. Don’t judge, I need to get crafty! Till next time, wishing you a great start of the weekend,
I feel the rumbling storm approaching… The thunder pounding, like a hammer on an anvil, It tears and rips through the darkness. The wind howling, in its way it strikes all, As the black clouds descend. In the middle of it all… I stand… Feeling the rain on my cheek, As the thunder speaks to me… It tells a tale of remembrance, It speaks of a future yet unknown. I stand and listen, Every word, Every whisper, Every thought… As it collides and shifts, One movement becomes many, I feel it… For the heart it sings, Striking and tempting, Throwing a tantrum of a spark, To ignite the will that sat in darkness for so long…
Sometimes I think it is all a bit too much. With anxiety and depression, I often ask myself have I bit more then I can chew. I became a friend of inconsistency and doubt. But lately, one exercise helped to ease my mind. Only forward. That’s what I keep telling myself. Whenever a panic attack occurs, whenever anxiety gets the better of me, I just repeat in my mind, “Only forward.”
What it can be and what it should
Why do we always put the burden of what it can be? Throughout our life, every decision even before it’s made, is presented by our mind running all viable possibilities. How often we don’t even make the first step in our journey because we tend to overthink and focus on the 14th step of that same journey? Do we plan for the future too much that we neglect the present, our time to act? Like the stories we write, isn’t it better to focus on our current process, never focusing on the whole structure, caging the narrative, but knowing the basics of it, tucked somewhere in the back of our mind and let the story flow through its natural course? For life, for writing and for pretty much everything, shouldn’t we jump in the river and let the current do its thing, rather then overthinking what could happen and find ourselves left behind on the shore?
Why to write?
This is something I often ask myself. The doubt is always there, but somehow is the self criticism that gets the final nail. After writing “The Lonesome Road” (coming 2022) I found it hard not to “not” write, but to get behind what I wrote. Maybe it sounds crazy, I really don’t know (not overly sane myself so how should I know) but I wrote 5 WIP all to chapter 4 or 5, after I “temporarily” abandoned them. It’s not they are not good, but I found them lacking that “something” that kept me writing the damn 90k+ words for “The Lonesome Road” and to be honest it pisses me off. But I am grateful for it, as all of those attempts were 5 times I learned something new and started a WIP that I am passionate about.
“The Lonesome Road”
Like I said before, I never started writing because I wanted to become a writer. All of this was a project to fight depression that somehow ended with two written books and a blog filled with poems. Strange is how life turned out sometimes… (that’s kinda the letting go for the flow thing) But my first work is special. Not just
it’s my first and like some writer-mom I find the first always special (love all of your books equally, that’s what my mom always said for us kids even if we knew she loves the youngest the most), but yea the first one started as a commemoration of sorts. A book that is fantasy, that depicts a tale of a man who finds himself in a barren wasteland, alone, in a world that is ridden of all life, but yet looks so familiar. He seeks the remnants of his kind, faced with solitude and the heavy questions is he the really the last human left alive… But this man does not remember anything. Not his name, not how he got here or how the world ended. So this journey really is about finding himself, finding answers to hard questions of mortality and life most of us don’t dare to even ask. But one night, while taking shelter from the in an abandoned house, the last man on Earth gets a knock on the door. But like I said, it’s not just a fantasy book with good storytelling, unpredictable twist and a bleak yet beautiful world filled with memories and secrets. It’s a tale of depression, meaning of life and love, quest of finding ones humanity and inner strength that can make you stand on your own two feet when the world abandoned you. I wrote it for the sole intent that whoever felt or is feeling like me, broken, misunderstood and alone sees there are still us who fight the hard battles within ourselves, that even though these wars are hard, they are not always lost. That for the thousands of those who don’t understand, who tell you to just be damn happy, stop being sad, it will pass and all that crap, there is at least one of us who is going through the same thing you are. And trust me friend, one person who understands what you are going through, is worth a lot more then a thousand fools who don’t.
The inevitable process of writing
I am making a habit of sharing the advices I got and passing them on here, so why disappoint this week? For us as writers to grow we should do two thing: Read, keep on reading, because that’s how ideas get born, by fuelling the creative furnace and to learn how to write in the first place. And to learn how to write I want to share what one of my fellow writers said to me.
“Just write. Each day. Each week. Each month. It doesn’t matter how often or how much. But just start. Don’t be afraid to suck at the beginning. We all had a beginning and sucked. But to get further and progress, don’t be afraid to start what can be a magnificent journey!”
My friend J
Yea, even though it pains me to admit, because of his ego, he is right. We all have a beginning. We shouldn’t burden ourselves with things that can be or what will become. If we don’t focus on the moment, we might just lose it. Till next week,
Each cut carries a story, A tale of loneliness and despair. Faced in the mirror it flashes the guilt, The memory of mistakes. But hope, A treacherous companion, Leaves me still standing, Now watching it whispers, Memento mori.
Fragile things we are, And broken mind still repairs, Now I remember, My mortality, My mistakes, My hope…
I feel grateful, firstly for the opportunity to be in this position to pursue writing passionately. Secondly seeing the first part of this series being greeted so warmly, can’t stress enough how good it made me feel. So decided to make this a weekly thing, a series not just about writing but about battling depression and anxiety.
What they don’t tell you
You might heard the expression “You never defeat your demons, you just learn to live with them.” But they don’t tell you, it never goes away. That feeling of guilt, that anxiety of the constant pressure from the smallest of things that presses your heart and contracts your mind, making the breathing inconsistent, putting you down so much you just find yourself on the bedroom floor crying, unable to find the reason to get up. The harsh truth here is, it never gets better. One day you will get up, go by your day, make coffee, go to work and perhaps you will just find yourself sitting down and realising you haven’t thought about the crap that puts you away in that tiny box of thoughts. But some days… It will come creeping behind the curtains of a sunny day, deceiving the perception of potential happiness. So the harsh truth no one dares to tell you? It never gets better, but you do…
Pity instead of understanding
You heard the stories. Some of you knew the tales from first hand, be it personal experience or losing a loved one. It’s difficult to open up, even to someone we love, trust or know for a long time. I did the same mistake, opening myself to disappointment. You expect not a shoulder to cry on, but someone to have your back, someone to listen, someone to understand. How many of you, like me, got the whole known response of pity, heard the good ol’ “depression ain’t real, just don’t feel sad all the time!” The world and the people in it can often be disappointing. What you have to understand is… There are us who been through what you might be feeling now, you ain’t alone, don’t be afraid to reach out… Because we do understand…
You can’t please everyone
I talked about the imposter syndrome, how it always keep coming, making you doubt every written line and it’s quality. But haven’t touched on one thing. When you start this journey, becoming a writer, you post your work (be it a book, a blog or a tweet) for everyone to see. You expose yourself to everyone and their feedback. Sure, you are well aware that the negative words and connotations are inevitable. But you never are really prepared for its impact it can have on the already broken mind. I spoke before about my good friend and one of the first things he taught me is this. You can’t please everyone. If hundred people read your work, be ready that at least tenth of that won’t like it. The most important thing is this. Whatever you write, write for yourself, not for others. If you are proud of what you wrote, people will rally behind it, they will see the soul and heart behind the work you left. And feedback? As authors we need it to grow, take it to heart, correct your mistakes and grow. But distinct real feedback from malicious words of ill intent.
If you are just starting or even if you are as me for quite some time in it, rally behind this amazing community of writers. I got to admit I was sceptical, afraid and somewhat hesitant of reaching out to my fellow writers. As a depressed introvert I still find it hard to reach out and talk to people. But believe me, they will not disappoint. These people are the most amazing and supportive you will find. You will find friends and allys in your journey. And they know well what you are going through. Same as with the struggles of depression and life, the struggles of the writing path you don’t need to walk alone. There are always people willing to help.
A note of gratitude
I enjoy this, perhaps I am using it just to vent out, say the words I couldn’t usually say out loud, but I want to believe it’s more then that. A manifesto, a note to all that might feel same as me, that they ain’t alone and perhaps they can find solidarity in these written words. I want to thank you for taking your time to read it, the support you provide and the amazing work you do. I found joy in poetry that I wrote often here, joy that battles hard with the heavy thoughts that come knocking. It’s a daily struggle, but realise this. If you have the strength to survive those thoughts on a daily basis, you have the strength to fight back. All of you have the immense strength inside you and never forget that.