Post-Nanowrimo 2015: 804

So it’s been … okay, not even a full week since I last added to my word-count; that’s not too bad. That’s fine. I can live with that.

I’ve been in another slump lately – haven’t been able to motivate myself to write either my shitty YA werewolf thing or my MA, and haven’t felt like doing much else either besides starting to play my way through the backlog of games I have on my laptop and have never actually tried. It’s been a while since I played anything that wasn’t WOW, and holy shit it’s good to have a break from that. I think this might be the end of my second full year of playing WOW, where I finally let my subscription run out. I just can’t be fucked anymore; there’s nothing to do in that game, and plenty of things to do in every other aspect of human existence that I could be doing instead.

Which has been part of the issue with this rut. As with any rut, I guess. But maybe it’s not even a rut. It’s more just frustration that the things I want to do aren’t timely. Like, great, I want to play a bunch of computer games and read a lot. I have shit to do. I can’t just do these things.

Can I?

Spoilers: not only can I, but that’s exactly what I should do, because there is never enough time. And as I keep trying to convince myself and even other people: if you’re going to not do X thing you’re obliged to do, you may as well enjoy the time you aren’t spending doing that thing, rather than just feeling guilty about not doing it and finding an unhappy middle-ground in endlessly refreshing YouTube to stave off your guilt by refusing to do the things you actually want to do, while also avoiding doing the work you don’t want to do. Because that’s just the dumbest fucking shit. Don’t do that. Go hard or go to sleep. Sleep is always a valid option.

Sleep is what I shall be engaging in very soon, but I had to make myself write something, despite not being inspired or motivated to do so, because I know that it’s something that I have to force myself into every now and then just to keep up momentum, or I will stagnate forever, and I don’t want to do that. In the meantime, I’m going to do all the things that I want to do that I could have waited for a more opportune time to want to do, because that’s now how people work and I fucking know it, so I have no excuse for not acting like I know it. Especially the part where I’ll actually enjoy myself instead of feeling unproductive and vapid by procrastinating in an attempt to both keep myself from receiving my guilty pleasure and staving off the inevitable obligatory work I have to perform. Fuck guilt. I’m an adult. I do what I want, because I want to.

So long as it doesn’t hurt anybody else; and I urge you all to do the same.

And also this novel is almost written and, yes, I do still want the sense of satisfaction that comes with hurtling towards the finish-line, and that requires, like, energy and focus and stamina, three things I’m a bit short on at 1:36 a.m.

Satisfaction. That’s what I’m after. And I’m not going to let obligations or deadlines get in my way. Because not only is there no time like the present, there is also no time but the present, so the more of it I use, the less of it I … won’t use.

1:37 a.m. Time for sleep.




Perhaps it’s because it’s currently 1:34 a.m. and I’m staying up because my mp3 player needs its playlists updated, but I’m going to try treating this blog like an Actual Writing Blog for a change. This is a progress report.

The last time I wrote Tallulah, the book I’m Supposed To Be Working On, was over 2 months ago.

The last time I wrote something (outside of thesis stuff, which I’m not counting) was exactly 1 week ago. I guess I did write stuff tonight/this morning, but it was going back through the most recent version of Tallulah chapter 2 and tidying up some of the writing. Nit-picking, in other words, and so no, I’m not going to count that as “writing”. But I am going to count it, because I’m not supposed to do that. I’m supposed to leave it alone until it’s all finished, and then go back over all of it and revise.

How did I get this way?

How did I become so simultaneously pedantic and impotent with my goals? DO THIS DO IT THIS WAY DO IT NOW OR YOU ARE A FAILURE *proceeds to avoid doing thing and thus avoiding failing doing it and becoming a failure*

It’s … it’s not ideal. I know what to do about it, I’ve been doing it on-and-off for years, it’s been getting very, very gradually better …

You know what the most telling part of all this is?

I actually don’t care that I’m not writing Tallulah. Like, I actually couldn’t care less about it. I don’t feel guilty. I come to this blog with these “updates” about nothing happening and going nowhere for the billionth time all prepared to either blast the blogophere with my own personal brand of self-loathing, or to defend myself from it. I come prepared for guilt. But honestly, I don’t have any. I have zero fucks to give. I don’t fucking care if this fucking book never gets fucking written.

And I’m starting to think, at 1:42 a.m. in the morning, that maybe I’ve got a point there. Maybe I started writing Tallulah for the wrong reasons – the wrong reasons to found a whole from-conception-to-publishing novel-writing process anyway.

I wrote Tallulah because it intrigued me that the idea had ever even occurred to me. It was, as I’ve said many times before, a story that I never imagined I would come up with. You know how there are things in the world that, when you come across them, your instant reaction is to go “that is so me”? Tallulah was like the exact opposite of that, and that’s what made it interesting. Throw in some existential gender-perspective writer angst, post-university euphoria and a year and a half free to do whatever the hell I wanted, and you have the conditions under which I wrote the first draft. It was a fantastic, amazing, life-changing process that I would never dream of dismissing as a waste of time, even if Tallulah never does see the light of day beyond its current, unfinished manuscript state. I learnt a hell of a lot from it, and yes, a lot of that had to do with coming to terms with a whole ton of unexamined attitudes I held on gender, and for that I will always be proud and grateful for the experience. I can take that forward into every other story I ever write.

I just … I don’t know what I can do for Tallulah at this point. It’s become a burden, and it’s not getting any lighter. And I think that’s my fault – not like I intentionally sabotaged it or anything, but as in I have such horrible time-management habits that it was kind of inevitable that this would all eventually come crashing down around me. That I’d be unable to keep up with my own thoughts, unable to separate the wheat from the chaff and just have it all mixed up together in a bag that keeps growing until it’s impossible for me to hold, let alone dig through for the good stuff. That I’d lose control over this project, because I have exercised little to no control over myself since the first and only revision of a first draft I’ve ever completed, for Tallulah. I tried so hard, I got so far, but in the end, while it certainly matters, I don’t know if it’ll result in a finished story. I don’t even know if it can. It certainly doesn’t seem like it. I don’t seem to have the focus, inclination or skill to make it work.

I want to hate that, and I don’t. Maybe because it’s late and I just don’t have the energy to care; maybe because I’m used to sealing off my feelings so that I don’t drown in them when they come flooding in. I’m in a perpetual low-level rut, and have been that way ever since some traumatic event happened in my youth that made me stop trying. It’s pretty cliche, and I can’t even remember said traumatic event, but I assume there was one because it makes narrative sense and narrative explains everything, right?

What I actually want to write is the silly, under-developed shit I came up with right at the start, way back when I seriously (maybe put some quotations marks around “seriously” there we go) thought I was going to write a book every fucking year to come out between installments of Harry Potter. The ultra-iterative, self-insert power fantasy shit that I think ashamed of but feel, in the present moment, actually kind of ecstatic about. Or as ecstatic as I can be while actively suppressing every emotion trying desperately to register in my depression-blunted psyche.

Whatever the fuck I had when I was writing my shitty YA werewolf thing is well and truly fucking gone, and it sucks, because it was working. I looked back over my records (really want to keep better records as well) and I was writing that thing for a straight month. I was committed. And then I went to Malaysia and couldn’t pick up the momentum again. It was such a massive experience – and a worthwhile one – that I can’t regret it, but goddamn could I do with the drive I had between May and June.

And I know, as I’m writing this, what the lesson is: routine is important. It’s one of the most important lessons for people with depression or anxiety, and not one every one of us learns: you stick to your goddamn routine, because it will save you, keep you going, and actually lift you up and out of whatever hole you’re in, but only if you stick to it. And that’s the hard part, because depression and anxiety are kind of anti-doing-stuff disorders. That’s kind of precisely what they’re antithetical to, the getting done of things. I should have made no excuses and made myself write that fucking thing all the time I was in Malaysia, kept pace with my ideas, restricted my ideas so that they wouldn’t run ahead of me the whole time …

I don’t know if any of this is actually doable, but it’s what I think. Again, not really feeling much of anything, and that is the kicker. That is the pain, because if I felt something then I’d have a starting-point. I’d have some fucking clue as to what’s going on. But then again, feeling nothing is a pretty big goddamn clue when you have depression. It means I am in the grasp of a depressive episode and I need to do something to shake shit up real quick-like. And maybe if I succeed in doing that everything else will fall into place, and I’ll get my mojo back, realise that I actually can make Tallulah work, or that there’s something in particular that I am passionate about writing and then write that, or realise that I don’t give a flying fuck about writing right this second and would rather do something else and do that instead.

This is totally how you operate a writing blog, guys. Don’t look at me like that.

Shit ain’t happening tonight, regardless of what might happen later down the line, so I may as well go to bed. If I could find something that I enjoyed, I could just do that. And that’s the real issue with feeling absolutely nothing: how the fuck are you supposed to know what you enjoy? You can’t just think about X thing and go “oh yeah, I like that” except in a hypothetical, removed, objective sense, and that doesn’t help anything. I don’t need hypothetical enjoyment; I need something that fucking moves me. I don’t have that right now. I am worried.

There we go. I am worried. I feel something. Mission accomplished.

And now feeling sick so I will disclaim this entire post by saying it was a huge rant during a visitation of depression and that it doesn’t matter in the long run and everything will be better in the morning, because that’s what I need to hear right now.

That’s better.

And the fucking writing …

Fuck it. Author-avatar self-insert power-fantasy ahoy.


This Enthusiastic College Manatee Discovered One Weird Easy Trick to Losing Weight. You Won’t Believe What Happens Next.

Welcome, gentle readers, to another riveting episode of Jason Uses Bandwidth To Complain About How He Doesn’t Get Anything Done Instead Of Getting Something Done.

Turns out there are downsides to uncapped data.

Spoke to a friend tonight who is apparently doing a writing course with their partner and they’ve gotten into the habit of writing every day. It sounds good. It sound productive. It sounds like the kind of thing that only really works if you have external accountability. I remember a couple of weeks ago when I finally got my supervisor for Masters assigned to me, instead of a crushing feeling of despair at all the work I was going to have to do I actually felt motivated to do even more work than I was planning on. Spoilers: it didn’t quite turn out that way – but there’s still time. Just not motivation. But time. And hey, it’s not like I’ve ever wasted any of that before …

I mean that was going to be a self-deprecating joke but it actually just made me feel really depressed.

New angry plan: 500 words a day, and I swear by Dame Helen Mirren if I have to resort to clickbait parodies to prompt myself then that’s what I’ll fucking do.

Anger isn’t quite the same as motivation, but it’s gonna have to do for now. These 500 words a day aren’t going to be devoted to any particular project, other than just getting me to fucking write, to break out of whatever repression, embarrassment, self-censoring, whatever it is that’s keeping me from writing stuff.

You know what really sucks is that I fucking had this, I was rocking this shit a couple of months ago with my shitty werewolf YA thing and now it’s just fucking gone. I can’t remember how to do it, how to get into that zone, or what made me want to to begin with. I wrote about it and I went back and read those posts but there wasn’t enough there to lead me back into it. I was just blathering on about how great it was that it was happening, and it was, but just UGH it’s so fucking frustrating. I had it. I had it in my fucking hand, and now it’s gone and it’s like it was never fucking there to begin with.

No. Okay. What was it? Fucking seriously, what was it? Was it not having an MA looming over my life and giving me something to feel guilty about? Was it the fact that it wasn’t quite Winter yet and well that can’t be right June is pretty much the start of Winter in NZ? Was it that I was feeling like I had more going on in my life in general, and therefore writing was for enjoyment rather than trying to stave off the bitter cold of years of habituated self-isolation? Was it that I just lucked out? I really don’t want it to be that I just lucked out and that I can’t re-create that in-the-zone-ness; I want this to be scientific and repeatable, predictable, quantifiable. I want it back.

519; going good so far.

But this isn’t the kind of writing I want to get good at doing; I’m already good at this stream-of-consciousness bullshit. It’s easy. Because it’s not really about anything. And the writing I want to do should therefore probably be designated “writing-about”, because one day this skill I’m going to spend the next however the fuck long it takes honing and perfecting is going to be transferred to a novel, or a screenplay, or some other long-form writing that requires fancy things like narrative structure because it is supposed to be about something or other, because I enjoy that shit, but it takes so much fucking time. And yes technically this post is about something but it’s about how I’m annoyed at how I’m not writing about other things and have no motivation and, you know what, I’ve written about this so many fucking times that maybe there’s a story in here. Maybe this is the perfect clusterfuck of Refusing The Call, and will serve as a wonderful mire for some hero or other to wade through until they finally reach the wise old mentor again. Or, as is more likely, put in their own hard work and grab another mentor’s attention from the effort they’re exerting.

Just means they have to, y’know, exert. And the mentor in this case is motivation. There is no greater teacher than inspiration that you can run alongside for months, even years, because when we commit to doing something we learn what it means to commit to that thing, and discover who we are as the person who has committed to it. These are the lessons that dig in deep and leave stretch-marks on your soul. Even when it feels like they don’t stick, just like all of my lessons feel like they never even took place in my life, it’s just that there’s a whole lot of congealed bullshit covering them up. Underneath it’s still raw and traced and traceable. You just need to chip away at the surface to rediscover it – and, of course, to open yourself up to being marked with new lessons.

Just gotta do things.

So simple.

I hate everything.