Anyone out there experience seasonal mood disorder? *I think that’s the name?* I didn’t know it was even a thing until years after I’d been scraping myself off the floor in January and February, wondering why I seemed to look at the world, blinking in a fog, wondering what was happening. Wondering if I’d ever feel normal again. Wondering…if I’ve finally reached a breaking point.
Then spring would slowly close in and I’d remember I was okay. Or at least, I sensed I’d be okay SOON. Days got longer and brighter, and suddenly that book I didn’t think would ever get written does – my Muse shows up and wants to play again. I am saved.
It’s a cycle I know well, but I always veer into panic sometime in February when I’ve been fighting through and I realize I’m going to lose. For a while. My creativity dries up. My energy depletes. I’ve learned to give myself grace but as a proud overachiever, I kind of hate babying myself. I long to write well, but I can’t.
I try extra vitamins and movement. I try the special lights that resemble the sun. I try to breathe the fresh air when I step onto my porch. I know the tools well. Sometimes, I use them. Sometimes, I don’t. Whatever I choose, there’s always the same pattern.
I usually settle for long hours at the computer, until the trickle of dead words begins to take life, more like a cactus than a rose, but at least it’s something. I water it a bit more, pray a little more, wait a little more. And I get there. I write the story. I find the good stuff. I am not over.
After fifty books and a decade of a full time career, I still struggle. If I look back, do I wish someone had warned me it would never get easier? Sure, there’s easier TIMES and BOOKS but the process never does pick up. So many false starts and petering out midstream. You need so much grit to be a writer. And faith. And if you have any desire to be somewhat normal – whatever normal is – you need to give that crap up.
We talk to imaginary people and live half in this world, half out. We see ghosts, my lovelies. We live with them. Hell, we invite them in to take a seat at our table and sleep beside us.
But too many ghosts at one time creates overwhelm. I just finished a long ass book that was hard, but I love how it turned out. I’m about to dive into another one which has a two and a half month deadline. I’m writing a serial novel so I write two chapters per week. I’m opening a Shopify store and started a subscription. I’m promoting my newest release in May and already begun to worry about it.
I like work, it completes me. But in the winter, I’m much better off giving in to my input and intellection rather than my achiever. In a perfect world, I’d take these two months off to watch tv and sleep and read and watch movies and recharge like a bear.
I can’t though. The majority of us can’t. I’d rather take time off in summer, so I can be with my kids and vacation and do all the other ninety nine tasks I need to focus on other than writing. So, I push through winter each year, and each year I find myself spinning out, staring down the barrel of mid-winter blues, in overwhelm.
What is the point of this post? How will this add VALUE or HELP or ENTERTAINMENT?
My point is to simply reach out to all my beloved readers and writers and reflect on our humanness. To take a breath and tell you I see you if you are struggling. I see you if you are staring at your manuscripts, dreaming of doing nothing for a change and not worrying about it. I see how we struggle to keep up with others, who seem to do more and make more and be more, while we berate ourselves for not being as –fill in the blank here.
I see the amazing creatives we are, and how much we handle, and how much we want to give of ourselves through our writing. That it’s hard a lot of the time.
That it’s okay to be not okay some of the time.
It passes. We finish the book. We start a new one. We ease past the bumps. We cry. We sleep. We dream. We hope.
We get back to work.
And spring comes around again. For a little while.
Share with me if you’re struggling with anything right now. Or if you just need to a little quiet and understanding rather than a motivational speech or another task to complete so we feel good about ourselves.