Down Time


It has been a very emotional couple months for me due to a very stressful job environment (as of late), a loss of someone close to me to suicide (the very thing I advocate against), and some personal things that have led to my belief that my very world is crashing down on me with no hope of resurfacing. It has been so much so fast and so tough that I made a call to my doctor that I haven’t seen in three years to request a refill on the medication that I haven’t taken in two. Thankfully, the doctor refused to speak to me or see me because I had stopped going to see him. (Not sure what’s thankful about that as far as our mental health system goes, but that’s ten years of rants that I just don’t have the sanity for right now.)

Of course, I have been through much worse, and I survived. Without the meds.

The head cold that I caught last week topped it all off, and I took a day off and I slept for 24 hours, waking up on Saturday feeling like my positive, chill, relaxed self once again. I put zero pressure on myself this weekend, which includes writing. I basically went to the bookstore and read a book from one of my favorite authors and slept a whole bunch more, and went on Tumblr and Facebook and Twitter and chatted with people and it was awesome.

Regardless of what has caused me to think such things as the world is crashing down, it actually isn’t, and I actually have an apartment I can barely-sort-of-afford, and I have a cat that makes me happy, and I have a few really good friends that are there for me, and countless books, which also make me happy, and I have Rasberry Lemon Kombucha which is gluten-free.

The world crashes down. It wouldn’t be the first fucking time. It happens, and you get over it, and you move on and try your damndest (I have no idea if that’s how you spell that word and I don’t care) not to make the same mistakes again but you probably will.

“One always feels that something should’ve been done, and the worst of it is when something actually should’ve been done, but didn’t get done because you are just a regular human being and screw up a million times a day in a million little ways.” -John Green

On a weekend such as this, wherein one recharges, the fact comes to mind that it is the first weekend of NaNoWriMo. I don’t participate in National Novel Writing Month because I believe in quality style over word count, but I feel like writers put too much pressure on themselves to write for the sake of absolutely having to create something rather than the evangelical zeal one gets from creating something with quality.

“Writing a novel is supposed to be enjoyable. It’s not a term paper. Writing a novel is supposed to be about reflection and entertainment and introspection. By forcing yourself to do it at gunpoint, it seems to me that you take away the reason to write in the first place.” -Maggie Stiefvater

I think as writers, creators, artists–we put way too much pressure on ourselves to go go go all the time. I am guilty (or have been in the past) like most writers who sleep four hours a night and haven’t taken a day for themselves since 2002 and tell themselves that they wouldn’t or couldn’t have it any other way. Pre-schizophrenia diagnosis, I would have agreed with you. Now, I think–know–that it is bullshit. You need sleep. You need rest. You need to read, because if you don’t you’re going to be a shitty writer. You need to watch TV because not only does it give your brain the opportunity to rest but it also stimulates you as a storyteller without having to think too much. You need to eat properly. (Coffee and chocolate is not properly.)

I think when we are forcing our eyes open and forcing ourselves to write for whatever stupid reason or forcing ourselves to do anything for whatever stupid reason is when we get into very dangerous territory because it begins having a negative effect on our physical and mental health. You have to take care of yourself. This is not the age of Hemingway anymore; it is not some mysterious, beautiful, sexy thing to be a writer. Everyone is a writer. Everyone knows a writer and everyone has a book in them. The writers with gorgeous prose (few and far between, sorry) still hold onto that mysterious, beautiful, sexy thing, but they don’t do it drunk. They don’t do it half asleep. They are married and they have jobs and they go to the movies and they work really hard, and then they sleep. Trust me: I know them. It’s why these writers we romanticize were only brilliant writers half the time; it’s why Hunter S. Thompson fucking killed himself. You can be an introvert without being depressed; you can be a writer without this stereotypical air attached that you’re fucking crazy. Creativity is a perfectly normal and beautiful thing. You can sleep. You have to. If you don’t, you will fucking die.

There are so many memes out there that say being creative is 3% writing and 97% not being distracted by the Internet, and they serve no purpose but to annoy me. I’d have to agree with Maggie when she says that the minute we start forcing ourselves to do this thing, there’s no reason for it.

At that point, you must find something else. It’s not writing anymore. It’s an endgame, and that’s all it will ever be.

End = death. Live a little while you’re here. You do have to be productive, but you don’t have to spend every second of your life working. If you do, you won’t have anything left.


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