Stuck in the Middle With You

I am creatively stuck. Every day that I sit down and try to put words on the page feels like trying to suck my brain out of my nose with a straw. Okay bad analogy, but let’s just say it is very painful. I usually can just word vomit nicely and come out with decent story. Well decent first draft at least. Right now, I am so stuck I can’t even get a page done. I’m trying to just write through it but it’s like trying to charge a castle by going through mud. It’s slow, it’s tiring and I just want to give up. And I could. Writing isn’t something I have to do, it’s something I desire. That I love, on normal days.

So what do I do? Do I just let this pass? How? Do I keep trying to write through it. Normally I would. But my brain feels like it’s stopped working and I don’t want to do anything. I know this is my depression. My desire to do anything, even fun stuff like video games and reading, hold no appeal to me. I don’t want to watch anything, I don’t want to do anything but sleep. Even sleep sucks right now. Evelyn has been in our bed since 1am and I can’t move her without her waking up. By now, 6:30 its too late to go back to sleep anyways. Like the Whedon mascot says: Grrr Arghhh.

My other option is to stop forcing it and just take a break. But I’ve just come off of a break after Nano, a Nano I did not complete (I got to the end of the story but it was only 35K rather than 50K and I’m okay with that. November was a huge month of me seeking treatment.)

I have zero motivation to even keep breathing, but I do because I need to. Because I know that this too will pass, eventually.

So those who have suffered blocks of some sort for whatever reason, what helped you push through them? Did you take a break? Did you write on through? And those who suffer from depression, have you experienced something similar?

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Two New Adventures

I started two new things yesterday, one writing wise and one mental health.

I started the rewrite of With Teeth. After a particularly difficult time trying to edit the original draft, I realized that not only was it written in the wrong tense, but it was missing a lot, the characterizations were off and in general it stunk. Other than a few ideas, I trashed the novel (not literally, its still on my hard drive) and started over, making a scene for line outline the past couple of months. So yesterday I started with the first scene, completed that and began the second. Today I finished the second and started the third. So far I’m up to 2400 words, which is lower than my nano output. However my goal is 1,000 words per day and I’ve made that twice now.

My prime writing time is when everyone is asleep. Yesterday I was up from about 1:00am to 2:00am and the words came with no interruptions. Today I slept through the night, getting up at 5am to write. Guess who got up with me? Evelyn. I still got the words, but she interrupts every couple of minutes and I fear that the prose will not flow as well.

As for the story itself, I already know the first scene will have to go but I’m not ready to just cut it out yet. I will wait until the revision. Perhaps it will become relevant at that time, but I doubt it. My deadline for the first draft is April 30th, 2014. This is self-imposed but completely do able. I’d rather have it done before then so I can start revisions but I have a tendency to take on too much so this is me being mindful of that and setting reasonable expectations for myself. Two skills I’ve learned through my time at the partial hospital program.

The other thing I started was DBT, or Dialectical Behavior Training. The focus is on learning skills to manage emotional states, cope with distress, interpersonal interactions and developing mindfulness, which is what the program centers on. Mindfulness is the skill of observing what is happening to your body and focus on the moment. It is a very difficult skill and I don’t understand it that well yet.

My DBT group is small but they seem pretty close knit. I won’t be talking about anything that happens in the group in this blog for privacy issues but in general I am both excited and nervous. Yesterday was difficult for me. I didn’t want to go. I wanted to run away, go see a movie, or even just sit in my car for three hours instead. However I had made promises to my family to get better and the least I can do is try. So I went, I stayed, I laughed a little and while being uncomfortable, I will be going back today.

My goals with DBT are very simple right now and that is to just get there and participate. Get to know the others and let them get to know me. That’s it for now. But I am willing and that’s the first step. So baby steps for me now in both writing and mental health.