Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A bit down

I am feeling a bit down today. The day seemed to start well enough, getting up early-ish for me (before 9am), which left me with a feeling of great possibility. But by 10.30, a gloom had settled: I was hot, irritable, feeling unproductive, uncreative. I fell back, I am ashamed to say, on that old mood-lifter, Scrabulous. It gives me that adrenalin rush, that mental stimulation that I crave... but it WASTES TIME, and so I then feel guilty about it.

I haven't eaten properly today - but the highlight (and it's only 2pm) is the package that arrived from J this morning (he is away for a month, definitely a reason for some of my blue feeling) which included this:
Divine Orange Milk Chocolate. And it is. Divine. It was only a small bar, thank goodness, or I would be reporting that I was feeling a bit sick from having eaten it all in one go. Got home from my exercise class, made a cup of strong coffee, and ate it all. Amazing.

Still feeling blue, though. I never had such major mood swings while I was working full-time as a journalist. But in the last 18 months, since I gave it all up to write fiction, my lifelong dream, I seem to get depressed very easily. It is the lack of externally-imposed structure, deadlines? Is it something about creativity? I was happy as a journalist, I liked meeting people, but the writing itself was easy, boring. Writing fiction is the opposite - not easy, not boring, and the people I meet are in my head. Is this a recipe for emotional roller-coaster rides? Anyone have any suggestions?


SueG said...

Wow, you have really hit on a big issue. It is so hard to keep your motivation up when it is only you and no definite glorious outcome. I know the feeling all too well. Plus, there's the old guilt which comes from the "how dare I feel blue when I have self-indulgently let go of everything else just to do what I want to do" syndrome (I think it's listed under 'H' in the medical texts...). It's really tough, but beating yourself up about it just makes it worse. When I get this way, I have a friend I complain to who always tells me to just give it up for the day, do something completely different (like shop or eat chocolate) and come back tomorrow. And she's always right. Hang in there and go have some fun!

Tania Hershman said...

Sue - just you popping by and commenting made me feel better. Yes, that's exactly it! I need a friend to tell me to do that.. I think I shall take myself out for some sushi. I do have my pottery class at 4, that will help, you can't not focus on the pot, otherwise all hell breaks loose!

Anne Brooke said...

I don't know what to suggest, Tania. I'm constantly fighting the terrible mood swings. I try to keep it together with Vit B Compound Strong tablets, De-Stress pills, Quiet Life pills and Evening Primrose oil. Sometimes this works better than other times.

All I can do is sympathise - hugely.



Nik's Blog said...

I think Sueg's made some terrific points. It's a difficult, high pressure, mantally exhausting job, this. It's essential that we put some time aside for non-writing things - and for fun. Being a writer 100% of the time aint a healthy thing, though I'll be the first to admit that getting away from it can be a bloody difficult thing to do.



Tania Hershman said...

Thanks, Anne, I am taking Evening Primrose Oil, iron tablets, and something called Rhodiola, I think it's also called Golden Root, apparently they swear by it in Siberia! And thank you, Nik, for mentioning fun - that something I forget quite easily!

I guess it makes me feel a little better to know that I am not alone in this. We should all know that, that though this is a lonely profession we have chosen, or been chosen for, we are also part of a community, as you have all shown me. Thanks!

I just watched a film, Starting Out in the Evening, where Frank Langella plays an aged writer... and the last scene, he starts typing again, on his aged typewriter, and that sound, the keys, sent such a thrill through me. That's why we do what we do, eh?

Vanessa Gebbie said...

So sorry to hear things are a bit sticky at the moment, T.

If it is any help, I found that once I had begun focusing on the collection - proofing, waiting, covers, checking, production schedules, launches, marketing... I found it very hard to concentrate on new things.

Maybe it is necessary to switch out of the 'new stuff' mode, and sink into actually enjoying the process of getting The White Road out there. It is an exciting time. You've worked for this for ages.

Relax and enjoy it.

Love n hugs


Nik's Blog said...

Oh yes, that's certainly why we do it. And I can tell you with certainty that forgetting fun's all too easy and can be really damaging if we let it get too big. And, I'll second Anne's advice on the B vits.

Big, happy hugs, Tania. Hope you're feeling better and soon; and if you're not, like you say, there are plenty of people, who are solitary buggers too, here to empathise and help.

Nik xx

ireneintheworld said...

tania, i've allowed myself to play scrabulous and scramble and pathwords because they're stimulating and only last a few minutes - you've got to have some treats and at least these are some kind of learning/educational-ish. aren't they? well i'm making them so, so it's alright then. x

Sarah Hilary said...

Not sure I can add much to the excellent advice and support you've already received, except to say I sympathise, hugely, as I'm in a similar place myself right now. And I've not given up anything to write - I'm the sole bread-winner in fact, and a mother, and I just slot in writing when I can - so you can tick that off the list of culprits! BUT I do think that there's an element with writing of "being one's own boss" and that seems to involve an amount (in my case, anyway) of disciplinary hearings, appraisals, deadlines, negotiating - in other words all the nasty stuff you'd think you'd avoid but which seems (as I say, in my case, might just be me) to go hand in fist with setting yourself up to tackle and complete a difficult, exhausting and often thankless task. I think the most important thing - you might even have said it yourself to me recently - is not to beat yourself up for feeling down. Give yourself that space to acknowledge that this IS a hell of a task you've undertaken. Just because it's something you love (90% of the time) doesn't mean it's not also painful as hell sometimes. Take care. xx

KatW said...

The writer-mood-swing is a dance that I move to on a daily basis. I comfort myself with the fact that many a creative genius has suffered with their moods. So I have the creative and moody skills - now I just need to work on the genius bit!!

The one thing I did notice in your post is that the chocolate bar was a small one. This of course may be the crux of the problem - not enough chocolate.

So there are my two probably useless opinions. If neither helps then just be reminded that you are not alone; there's a load of us right here with you.

Hugs. Kat