Whirlpools

Years ago when I was first starting my writing career, I used to read Dean Wesley Smith a lot, and I attended one of his workshops at a writing convention. One of the words he used that stuck with me is the concept of “whirlpools” that writers can fall into. These whirlpools represent situations or issues that stop all progress forward and can suck a writer down into oblivion.

I seem to be stuck in a whirlpool right now.  A bunch of monkeys on my back dragged me into it–monkeys with names like “Laid Off” and “Major Paycut” and “Sole Breadwinner.” Not to mention “Chronic Pain,” “Buried By Debt” and “Medically Untreatable.” It’s rather dark in the whirlpool, and it doesn’t help that I’m also trying to support a partner who struggles with anxiety and depression, and a soon-to-be-graduating child with issues of her own. When I try to write, all of that crap invades my head, and I can barely get a word out.

I know this whirlpool is temporary. I’ve already let go of the worry and despair I felt last year while battling the chronic hip pain, and settled into a sort of acceptance of “Okay, so this is the new me. I hurt most of the time and I can only do a few activities each day. Oh well.” And then I try to celebrate each little thing I manage to get done. And the financial situation will also be temporary, because I’m already moving up in the mundane call-center job and one way or another I’ll fight my way back up to a livable wage. Or I’ll sell enough crap to make a dent in that fucking debt. One way or another, I’ll survive.

All of this doesn’t change the fact that I feel bad about not getting the books out faster. It pains me to know there may be readers waiting for Book 3 of the Oddities . . . and it’s not even close to done yet. I’m sorry. I’m working on it, and eventually I will finish the book and get it out there, but I truly regret the delay.

So anyways, here’s the current WIPs as of 4/30/2018:

  1.  A Conspiracy Uncovered (Book 3 of the Oddities series), at 65,850 words, moving into the steady climb toward the climax, and still estimated to be about 95k when complete.
  2. Fae Fortunes (YA M/M paranormal), currently at 64,689 words, just about at the climax scene, maybe ending with 80k??
  3. The Gang’s All Here (Deena and the Professor Part Nine, BDSM serial romance), currently at 8584 words, estimated to be 12k total.
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Are Writers Unhappy?

I know there have been some studies saying that creative people (and writers in particular) are more susceptible to depression and emotional disorders. I’m not sure of the statistics and I don’t qualify as someone who has ever been clinically depressed. But I do have to wonder sometimes if writers inherently need unhappiness in order to write compelling tales.

I say this because I know quite a few writers, brilliant writers, who struggle daily with personal situations that would drain the life from many people. Physical disabilities. Relatives with autism and/or Alzheimer’s Disease. Writers who had an extremely tough childhood, are bi-polar, or clinically depressed.

Me? I live with someone who should be clinically depressed, has been treated for it before, but isn’t taking any meds right now. And you know what? It sucks.

I personally have never been diagnosed with any kind of mental or emotional issues. I tend to bounce back quickly from strife and have a positive outlook on myself and life. But I swear, I must be either a masochist, or I just like to invite unhappiness into my life, because I always seem to find myself with people who bring this sort of thing with them. In college, my roommate had a breakdown (nearly pulling me down with her) and was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Incidentally, my aunt is also schizophrenic, and it was very creepy dealing with her when I was young. I’m pretty sure I have low level ADHD myself. Squirrel? But anyways, I can’t think why I always seem to find myself with people who for one reason or another are unhappy. It makes me unhappy as well.

And yet it seems like the times when things are most unhappy in my life, I produce the most writing.

Coincidence? Or maybe just a simple cause and effect such as “you can’t write what you don’t know”–if you haven’t experienced suffering, how can you write about it? Or maybe I write more in those times as a means of escape?

I don’t know. What I do know is that I’ve been having a rough last two years, and yet in the last two years I published my first novel (under another name), finished another one, and am now well into writing a third. Plus short stories and novellas on the side.

This will probably be one of the most personal posts I make in a long time, because I tend to be a private person by nature. But after two hours sleep, I just had to put a few thoughts down on paper. (Or a screen. You get the idea).

My partner has told me on more than one occasion that I seem to like conflict and drama, that I act in ways which create it. She could be right. The inner drama of my stories might be manifesting as real life drama (or the other way around, not sure).

All I know is that when these surges in creativity happen, I just try to ride them for as long as possible.

And hold on.