In Blackest Night – I’m Going To Write A Book
As readers of my blog will surely know, I have a tendency to say ‘I’m thinking of doing x, y or z‘. The unfortunate thing is, upon reflecting on the use of language, it’s a series of non-committal notions. After all, thinking doesn’t get shit done. By saying ‘I’m thinking of’ doing something, I’m creating an avenue for myself so that, if I don’t do it, there is no accountability. Who am I accountable to? Me.
The trouble with depression is that it comes with excuses. The excuses, to the poisoned mind, seem like rational and decent reasons but the reality behind it is a bitter pill to swallow. My mind makes excuses before I even begin. So by saying I might do something is just the same as I probably won’t do it. But it’s okay…I’m depressed. No, it’s not okay. Yes, I am depressed and yes it will never truly go away. Much like an alcoholic can never go back to drinking; it’s not curable it’s more a case of avoiding the vice or problem. This may seem like an excuse but, unlike alcoholism, the vice or problem isn’t a physical thing (not normally, although there may be physical triggers) so it can be a bit tougher to steer clear of. I’m not diminishing the facts of alcoholism and implying depression is worse; after all, they can go hand-in-hand at times and each one has it’s own set of demons making them difficult in their own, unique ways.
So now I am trying a different approach. I’m going to start saying I will do things – they may not happen immediately but at least there is more of an onus on me to actually do it. They may not be very good, either. The only things I have had published were poems, back in my teens, and they were part of a collection of poems from other writers. I used to minimise that achievement but I was published. Not everyone can say that. I know I should start looking at things from a different point of view and so I certainly will. Again, it may not be successful but it’s something different to what I have been doing so it’s worth a shot.
I have always wished to write a book. A novel, short story…something. The creative process can give birth to new ideas, new paths to follow, new projects…so I have heard. A lot of creators spin many plates – they have an idea and run with it but then come up with something that doesn’t fit with the first project and so it becomes its own. I’ve listened to creators such as Robert Kirkman, Quentin Tarantino, Guillermo Del Toro, Kevin Smith and many others. They all have their own creative processes and, from listening to them, I have picked up some ideas to try out.
My previous efforts failed because of a number of reasons:
(In no particular order)
- Lack of passion (I wanted to do things ‘just because’, with no actual goal in mind)
- Procrastination (I would negotiate with myself saying ‘not now, maybe tomorrow’ and lo and behold, tomorrow never came)
- My working style meant that I had to do it now or never (contradictory to the last point but what I mean is that a lot of projects I started hit a creative wall and rather than park it for another day I would just give up)
- No adventures (I’ve listened to man creators but one that stands out is Grant Morrison – I listened to him on the Fatman on Batman podcast – and to hear his tales of weird and wacky shit he has done made me feel like I need to live an adventurous life in order to create. A task that is nigh on impossible with a full-time job, three kids and bills to pay)
- Lack of skills (despite my ‘Grammar Nazi’ appearance, I actually failed Higher English. I have no qualifications in writing nor anything that I can honestly say proves useful for a 32 year old in this day and age)
- Lack of confidence (who wants to read my shit? But then…who initially felt the need to read Alan Moore or Stephen King? They wrote not knowing what the outcome would be and look at their successes…)
- The notion that I can only write when depressed (in my teens, when I was diagnosed as borderline depressed, I wrote pages upon pages of poems – they all centred around my death – and when I met my partner, who recently became my wife after almost 12 years, I felt I had lost my voice because I was ‘happy’. Depression has been there the whole time but I think, because I put depression on this ‘creative pedestal’, that I created an expectation or a burden which stifled my creativity)
Those are the main ‘reasons’ I can think of although I know there are many more.
So, to get back on point, I am going to write a book. As I said, it may be shit. It could be good. It may be mediocre. But, rather than let the depression and anxiety put a dampener on it by predicting a potential future and focus on the negative over the other good possibilities, I’ll be taking a step forward (progress) as opposed to just treading water or walking backwards.
I’ve never been one to do drafts etc. but even if I don’t do that, it’s my style just like others’ styles may seem unconventional to their peers. I heard Anthony Mackie re-tell a story on the Nerdist podcast of when he attended Juilliard and one of his teachers on the first day said, “Each one of you has a spark. You have something in you that separates you from everyone else.”
For now, I will use that as the creative one-liner I need to keep me going.
Thanks for reading.