So, um. I hope it’s okay but I’m going to take a little break from writing Death Of 1000 Cuts posts for a few weeks. This is definitely not one of those ‘on hiatus’ things that basically means giving up forever. It’s just, well…
I am trying to a draft of my next novel finished and I need to knuckle down. This means action stations, balls-to-the-wall, write-like-you-mean-it level commitment. So I need to clear the decks a bit. I love writing DoaTC but it takes me about half a working day to produce each one, so – for at least the next few weeks – I need to put it aside.
But mainly, I have been struggling a bit with depression and anxiety. Actually, not just a bit – a lot! I always feel embarrassed and a bit crap about admitting it, but there we have it. I’m doing a lot better than I used to, and this is the first big whack of depression I’ve had for years, so I’m making progress. Still. It has been a tough year and both conditions make producing anything way, way, way harder than it should be. That jokey voice authors say they have in their heads, telling them: ‘This is shit! This is useless! You should give up now!’ Well, I have that shouting at me all the time, and also if I stop writing it just code-switches to: ‘You are shit! You are useless! You should give up now!’
We get told all the time that, if you’re a writer, you need a thick skin. You have to be tough, and if you ever question whether you’re a writer, you’re not a writer. Writers just do it, because they have to, because it’s a compulsion, because it’s as vital to them as breathing.
Which is, of course, self-mythologising bollocks. You’re a human being, and to only think of yourself as a ‘writer’ is to internalise a constrained view of your own humanity. Also, if you think of yourself as a writer, whenever you’re not writing, you start to feel this sick, ontological malaise, as the very basis of your identity begins to ebb away. So you write, to shut down the self-loathing and the nausea, and you tell yourself you have to do it because you’re a writer.
Well, you know what? There is another way. Being kind to yourself and writing because you love it.
So I am working on approaching my work with a kinder, more positive attitude, and slowly rebuilding my self-confidence. I am okay, by the way. Please don’t worry about me. I have heaps of support and I am having good patches along with the tricky ones, so it’s all right. But I need to not take on too much while I pop my poorly heart in bed with a mug of cocoa and some Super Nintendo.
Once I am a bit more back to my old self and feeling more on top of things, DoaTC will be back stronger than ever. I was really pleased with the response to last week’s post about Amanda McKittrick Ros and the next step is recording a pilot podcast. I would love to do a short season of DoaTC podcasts alongside the weekly posts. And I’m hoping to arrange some more live DoaTC events next year. The panel at 9 Worlds was really fun and went better than I had expected.
If you want to get in touch between then and now, you can do so via the ‘contact me’ button on the right. I’m still taking submissions for the blog, as well as mailbag questions if there’s anything in particular you want me to cover. And hey, if you’d like to buy my first book, The Honours, (that’s your Christmas gifts sorted for all the weird, artsy people in your family) that would be lovely too. Yes, I am attempting to leverage my sadness into book sales. DEAL WITH IT.
So anyway, I suspect I’ll be up and running in a few weeks. See you then.