Fri.May 09.2014 – get it together, me.

Eren02_c7Hi.  Eren here.

I posted a chapter of Midnight Moonlight to cover the one I missed last week, and I’ve scheduled next week’s chapter.

The rest of this post is me being kind of down and rambly, so feel free to skip it.

So, I’ve been kind of down lately.  Which sucks, because I’ve been having about the longest stint of being happy I can recollect.  As near as I can tell, the problem is twofold.  On the one hand, my day job bores me to tears.  I’m not bad at it, but I’m not passionate about it, either.  How do you be passionate about existing in a cubicle?  On the other, I’ve had less and less time to spend on my writing. :/  This does not make an Eren happy.

Don’t get me wrong – I do still want to be doing my writing, but my wife is rapidly coming up on graduation, which is awesome but also means an upcoming visit from the in-laws, which in turn means lots of effort being put into getting the apartment presentable – effort that cuts into my writing time.

On top of that, I’m trying to get more experience with CSS, HTML5, PHP, Javascript and C++.  I’m an experienced python programmer, but that doesn’t seem to be enough to guarantee me work that I enjoy – and I’m not crazy enough to think I’ll start publishing books and wham-presto be making a living of of it.  Building a skill set that will let me move to a position where I won’t spend my days bored to tears is the sane, reasonable; practical thing to do.  Whatever else happens with my writing, I’m going to need a day job for the foreseeable future in order to support myself, my wife, and hopefully progress in my transition.  But the catch 22 is that developing the skill set for a job I can enjoy means cutting more time still out of my writing.

It’s intensely frustrating because writing fiction is the job.  That’s what I want to do for money, full time; all the time.  That’s the goal.  And I feel like any time I take away from that is time spent keeping myself from where I want to be.  If it takes two years to develop my programming skills to a breadth that will let me move into a programming position, then that’s two books I could’ve published instead.  How many books do I need to publish before being an author becomes a viable living?  I don’t know.  But if I’d been writing instead, I’d be two years and two books closer to my goal.

Unfortunately, I know it’s not that simple.  If that’s all there was too it, I’d be much further on the author’s path by now than I am.  The thing is, I’ve been trying to get this going for nearly a decade now.  And all of that time has been time I’ve been too depressed or anxious to get anywhere.  I’d reboot projects over and over again, I’d jump between story ideas… I finished books and couldn’t submit them because I was so anxious I became physically ill over the prospect.  It’s only been relatively recently that I’ve started getting therapy, came to terms with my gender dysphoria, and started taking medication for anxiety and depression.

So, sure, two years might mean the difference between finishing two more books – but only if I’m not too depressed to write them to begin with.  So I’ve got to do something to improve my day-to-day workload.  Unfortunately, although I get that on an intellectual level, it does nothing to alleviate my knee-jerk “I’m not doing enough about the things I really care about!” guilt/depression reaction that hits whenever I make a sacrifice on the writing/art front.  It hit each time I cut back my writing schedule; it hits every time I post a chapter without an illustration, every day I don’t finish a chapter on paper; every weekend I don’t get all my handwritten chapters typed up.

And it sucks.

Okay, deep breath.  In.  Out.

Part of that is an ingrained mindset of negativity from being depressed for so long.  Depression is a self-sustaining reaction, and I’ve been depressed for so long in the past that it’s become my ‘neutral’ state.  If all other things are the same, I gravitate toward being depressed.  Which means that right now, while I”m feeling listless about my writing stalling out and my transition standing still, I’m consistently catching myself feeling down.  I don’t like that my writing schedule is taking a hit, I feel like my transition has been standing still for the past couple of months, and my day job doesn’t utilize any of the things I feel are my genuine talents.  There’s nothing bad going on per se, but without anything good going on for me to get enthusiastic about, it takes effort to not be depressed and to keep motivated.

Despite all that, it really isn’t just gloom and doom.  Even when I’m feeling down, it’s not as bad as when I’ve been depressed.  And even when I’m feeling down, I’m not feeling hyper-anxious, which was seriously crippling in the past.  Plus, feeling down like this is a relatively recent development.  For the past few months I’ve been pretty positive.  I strongly hope that even if I’m not writing as much as I’d like I can get this turned around after all the graduation visits are over and I start writing more than I am now – or if I can pull it together enough to actually get book 1 published.  That will be a huge step for me, and now I find myself wondering if some of this motivation-sapping depression isn’t just self-sabotage to keep myself from taking that particularly scary step.

Anyway, that’s enough of that for now.  To anyone who’s read to the end of this, thanks for letting me vent a bit.  I’m going to try and pull things together a bit more this weekend and pull together all the edits I’ve gotten so far for book 1, and then kick that draft back to my editors for a final read through.  That’s my goal for the end of this weekend.

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