I want to talk for a moment about depression. Specifically something I call a Depressive Loop. It’s a personal description for how I experience the disease.
First, the clinical description.
According to the American Psychiatric Association — Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act.”
This article isn’t going to be a scientific treatise on the disease. I’m neither a doctor nor researcher. What I am is someone who’s been battling depression since I was 13 years old.
I don’t know every clinical…
Getting words down can be a pain.
There’s never enough time, or energy or …words. The struggle is real and usually leads to frustration and quitting.
I’ve developed a few ways to help beat the issue but I’ve had the most success with writing sprints.
What is a writing Sprint?
A writing sprint is a timed and very focused burst of creation. You want words on the page ‘by any means necessary’ — good, bad, ugly or indifferent.
During the sprint you do nothing but shovel your brain onto paper. You don’t worry about punctuation or grammar or spelling. …
We humans are remarkably self-centered.
Belief that the universe revolves around our individual needs starts at birth. Babies quickly figure out crying or making a fuss gets them attention.
Of course we’re helpless at that point so the method has merit. The problem is, many of us never leave that level of centrism. Yes, it evolves as we age, but at the core its the same wailing baby that we were back then.
Ego is an artificial construct that builds around us as we experience life.
Needs are met or not met, desires are stymied or engaged. Each win or…
6 years ago I started journaling again after a 20 year layoff.
It’s something I used to do every day when I was a kid. When things got confusing or out of control sitting down to write helped bring the world into focus.
I built entire universes in those journals. They were my deepest thoughts, but they were also full of interesting people who were going somewhere with their lives.
At some point in the dim past I suddenly stopped. I guess ‘real life’ took over and journaling fell off my radar. When I began worrying about paying bills and…
I was fed up with the stops and starts, the mixed advice, the ‘almost were’ projects, the half-finished manuscripts and my own sense of ennui. It felt like there was never enough time to write. And the worst part was — I convinced myself that writing was a frivolous waste of the time.
Somehow I got the idea I should spend every waking moment building servers or learning Cisco networking or studying for certification tests or, well, anything other than writing. Doing those tasks was more ‘real’ than writing could ever be…
It was a difficult and fairly negative time…
Scheduled writing is arguably the most critical process you can build, second only to actual writing.
Seems easy but keeping the promise you make to follow through is about as easy as lifting a car with your teeth.
TRAIN YOUR BRAIN
Do something once and chances are you’ll forget it quickly. Do something repeatedly and it’ll become a habit. Follow this pattern long enough and you end up with ‘muscle memory’. At that point you can literally do whatever it is in your sleep.
Practicing writing on a schedule rewires your brain while slowly building muscle memory.
Start a schedule…
Read articles — take notes — take steps
Sounds super simple, right? Here’s the deal — I’ve been reading Medium articles for 4 months now. That doesn’t count the previous 20 years of reading articles and books and blog posts and self help books and podcasts and, well, I’m sure you get the picture.
Had I acted on the any of what I’ve read over the years my life ‘should’ be in a completely different place. The advice in the sources I mentioned largely comes from writers who’ve ‘figured it out’ and become successful.
So why haven’t I hit those…
If you struggle with believing you can write things people will care about don’t despair. Belief is something you can build over time, just like a muscle.
Writers don’t suddenly spring fully formed from the ground prepared to do battle with their pens.
Even if you’re blessed (or cursed depending on who you talk to) by the writing bug it still takes a lot of development to get anywhere. Some of the best writers on the planet had day jobs while they developed their craft.
· Hemingway was an ambulance driver, a journalist, a big game hunter and a war…
There are times when I feel that my older ‘self’ was much more aware than my ‘self’ of today…
I never used to examine why I feel compelled to write.
I just did it.
All through grade school, high school, the Army and in my life post Army.
In 2012 I fell off the wagon and spent 5 years barely writing anything. There are half a dozen reasons why I stopped but that’s a story for another day. Just know that every day during those years I treated myself to some of the most negative and bullying self-talk a person…
My SF novel Hunter began life as 15 ‘seat of the pants’ chapters. I created a complete outline and knew my characters. I knew what the story was, where it was supposed to go and exactly how it ended.
And then I got to chapter 16 and everything fell apart. I tried for several weeks to restart the story but each attempt failed. I tried the trusty advice of letting the manuscript sit for more than a month but that didn’t help either.
Then I made a horrifying realization — I’d stalled because I had no idea what was supposed…
I’ve been writing on and off all my life. 5 years ago I ran out of excuses for not writing and publishing. Writers must write, damn the excuses…