Julie Freaks Out About Freaking Out
TODAY’S BREW: I’ve filled a Santa hat with black coffee and I’m going to put it on and let it wash over me, Carrie-blood-style
I’ve heard plenty of writers freaking the fuck out that because of the holidays, manic and near tears and dying inside, losing their shit like that girl in The Yellow Wallpaper.
They’re either have already lost traction on their manuscripts or are deathly afraid of doing so. I get it, you guys. I worry, too.
BUT CALM THE HELL DOWN.
I’m a sonofabitch with a self-imposed deadline. I ALWAYS meet them. Every time. And they’re pretty challenging. I never take a total break from either editing or writing fresh material, and always have a plan in the works. I know already what I’m working on for the first half of 2014.
This being said, I know I probably won’t do my duties with the RUNNING HOME sequel daily, and will probably barely touch it for a few days, and it will seem cool right now, but then I’ll come back to it on December 26th like this.
And I’ll scream like a burned-alive banshee, “FIRST I WROTE TOO MANY WORDS AND THEN NO WORDS AND THE WORDS I DID WRITE WERE STUPID AND WHAT IS THIS WHO IS THIS CHARACTER WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT PLOTLINE WHERE THE FUCK AM I OH MY GOD” *hack hack hack* until there’s nothing left but a pile of words that go together like my relatives at a cocktail party and like that party it will feel good for a few drunken moments until around 10 pm when this happens.
Then around New Year’s, I’m figuring, I’ll beat myself up about the stupid sequel I’ve finished on time, despite all the hoopla, and say it isn’t worth jack shit. I will cry at Kristen’s house over a beer or forty, kick her out of her bedroom so I can pass out there, wake up and puke around 4am, then go home and realize the sequel is actually really good. Plans continue as usual, but I will have forgotten that I did this same thing last year and everything worked out fine.
It is this way because as a writer, I don’t like fucking around with RULES all that much. I make my own, break them, get pissed at the results, cry over it, then remember that they were my rules to fuck up to begin with. I remember that there is no WRONG in art. That I can only create to destroy and do it all over again. I remember that a creative mind needs space and room to breathe, and that the two sides of the brain don’t play by each other’s rules.
Then I remember that the holidays are meant for enjoying, refueling, being a kid again, letting your self-imposed regulations go, embracing the world and letting it fill you with fresh new invigorating feelings and ideas. The time of renewal for me is not spring, never has been. Winter and fall, the death of things, the end of the year, this is my time to fall to ashes and rise again.
And those of you out there who suffer from seasonal depression, I feel you. I don’t have seasonal depression in the winter, mine comes in the summer. I loathe hot, bright and loud things, get really panicky with that much sensory overload, and basically spring and summer is my desert of the real. I have to deal with it for months. I understand that winter is the typical time for depression, and know what it feels like. I’m here to tell you that there is another side to the depression. It ends. And when it does, you’ll burst from it like a phoenix, ready to eat those emotions and spit blood all over the page with them. You’ll feel like this dude.
And a lot like this.
This time of year can be hard for many, but for a writer there can be a blackness of the soul that hides in winter, and when it comes out in the written word, it will be a glorious thing.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS, WRITERS!