I had a little flare-up last week.
For anyone who doesn’t know, I get occasional bouts of depression. Sometimes they’re cyclical 🦈 sometimes they’re seasonal 🥶 sometimes they hit when I’m sick 🤧 and sometimes they just hit.
It’s fine, I’ve had it for years (possibly long before I got a proper diagnosis) and know how to manage it. I’ve been on and off meds, I mind my nutrition and activity levels. Depression never goes away completely—it’s more like a radio that plays softly in the background most of the time, but sometimes goes all the way up to eleven. But I’ve learned to use the ups and downs as part of my guidance system.
I think I’ve been off for a while, though. Maybe for a few weeks… or more? I hit a huge low over the weekend.
To be honest, I would have just put it down to plain old busy-ness and thought nothing of it, but what tipped me off was receiving an email I’d been waiting on for months. When it came in, instead of being excited, I felt nervous, scared and instantly drained.
That’s not right at all.
So, I looked at other areas of my life—sports, gym, martial arts, language learning, blogging, texting (yeah, look, I love this, okay?), going out and seeing my friends. I’d been flagging on all of them, and yet I’m actually quite passionate about them. I mean, yes, I’m categorically an introvert and do withdraw from time to time, but not like this.
Sarah Smith’s article on taking pride in her work as a romance author really spoke to me. It’s what prompted me most recently to look at my approach to well, everything. With Marie Kondo all the rage right now, I’ve also been reminiscing about how KonMari changed my life back in 2015. Cleaning house forced me to let go of things that were bogging me down, got me out of a career I’d fallen out of love with, and got me back into writing.
There’s a lot to be said for tidying up—in a physical sense as well as in a scheduling/mental/psychological way. It could be that it eliminates the impact of physical clutter on our ability to focus (even though mess can stimulate creativity). But with more abstract stuff like writing projects and social media feeds, maybe it’s reducing the ‘attention residue’ that subtracts from our cognitive capacity.
I don’t know how I lost focus so badly. It may even have started last year. Maybe I felt the pressure to publish and started hoarding projects. Maybe 2018’s sudden random stress points (death & illness in the family, impromptu travel, getting sick from travelling) got me all razzed up and I acted on impulse to my own detriment, slowly and insidiously.
Wanna know how bad it got? My head’s been so full and fuzzy that I didn’t catch how dubcon one of my scenes was until after it went out to beta. I mean, I was aware there’d be implications if the context wasn’t written properly, but I thought I had it covered. Nope! In the universe of awkward, writing accidental dubcon into a redemption story is turtles all the way down.
On a sunny Saturday in a quiet Leederville café, I sipped strawberry tea and took stock. Somehow, I’d managed to accumulate seven writing projects on my radar:
- The Dragon’s Den
- Sunset on a Distant World
- A Touch of Holly (working title)
- Tropical Nights (working title)
- April Showers (working title)
- The Trip (working title)
- Under the Boab (working title)
So, uh… yeah nah. Even if I was the kind of author to hire ghostwriters, this would be way too much to manage. Plus now that It Starts With A Kiss is going into edit with Kyanite, imma have my hands busy with that manuscript too. Then there’s my overstuffed inbox full of new subscriptions, old notifications, and the personal emails I really look forward to but take ages to reply to because I feel so overwhelmed by input. Agh!!
I’m cleaning house.
Over the weekend, I cut right back on my current projects. Camp NaNoWriMo starts in April and my book launches in September. I’m all The Dragon’s Den and It Starts With A Kiss for the foreseeable future.
This site has also had a makeover—something that’s been ticking away in the back of my mind for a while. Done and dusted now. I hope you like it!
This morning, I’m sorting out my inbox over a spot of tea and breakfast. Then I’m going to sit in the park for a bit and think about writing.
Have a lovely day, everyone. If you’re in need of a fresh start, may this week present you with an opportunity to get one. Take care. x