Sunday, August 17, 2014

"Writing is the hardest thing you will ever choose to do."

Jayrod and Jenny on Graduation Day

It's time. Time to wipe the dust off this blog and start making it good for something again. Its been a while and I'm grateful that it has. Not because I don't like sharing my thoughts, but because I needed to do some things for me that were more important than being here. Some of those things included joining a twelve step group, saving my marriage, earning bling for my college graduation, and culminating in that graduation. Words fail to express how much it means to be a college graduate. I know this work will change the lives of my wife and children in time.

Of course you didn't come here to listen to me brag about myself. Because let's face it that's pretty damn boring. However seeing as I graduated nearly three months ago that story might be worth sharing. But it isn't. I was depressed for much of the past three months and it crippled me. I sat at work waiting for someone to come in and talk to. And as soon as that picked up I found what I thought would be a great new job. Unfortunately they closed three weeks after I started with them. I soon found myself taking care of my wife after a major surgery, and when I wasn't taking care of her I played Skyrim. I played until I got tired of being depressed. (Note: A sign that your depression isn't clinical is that you can do something to change it.) So I put the game system away, started reading again, and most importantly I began writing again.

Few things have been as difficult as the choice to begin writing again. I stopped around the time I graduated and by that time I hadn't worked on any fiction in nearly a year. I had written plenty of poetry, and too many essays (one essay is too much) but no fiction. That's not a bad thing, except my favorite thing about writing is telling stories. And for some reason I had run out of stories to tell.

Bret Anthony Johnston wrote a book called
"Remember Me Like This". Go buy that book.
And I had to figure out where to start if I didn't think I had anymore stories to tell. I realized I had stories I hadn't finished so of course I hid and played Skyrim and tried to forget I wanted to be a writer. I realized I was afraid after a while, and I couldn't really place why I was afraid. It wasn't until I stopped playing games that I understood. I was afraid because I know "Writing is the hardest thing you will ever choose to do" (Quote by Bret Anthony Johnston). And I wasn't sure I had it in me to do it again.

This past Monday, I was released as the president of a writers group I was a part of. And I found myself so overjoyed that I came home and I wanted to write. The desire to create became stronger than my fear of the words. As I write this today I have written nearly for a week straight. My sentences haven't been perfect, and my ideas still struggle to flow, but I am putting in the effort. I am giving my creativity a chance to flow.

Writing is the most difficult thing we can choose to do. Because as Nikki Giovanni says, "If you wrote from experience you'd get maybe one book, maybe three poems. Writers write from empathy." And following empathy to write takes us away from the comfortable. It leaves us to choose to look at tragedies such as what Robin Williams chose to do and get in the same space as he lived and come to understand how depression and Parkinson's Disease drove him to that choice. That's no place any of us wants to go. But thats where the story with meaning will be found.

Oddly enough, I chose to join a twelve step group because I have spent my life avoiding my own feelings. I'd shared empathy with others, but not with myself. I reached for the stars, but misunderstood my own heart. Those who hear the poetry I write that is about me tend to say that it has power that my poetry about other people lacks. I think thats because its hardest for me to find compassion for myself. And that's the choice that I have to make to write.

Today is August 17th and I am jumping back into where I was a couple of years ago as a participant of A Round of Words in Eighty Days (#ROW80). I realize they are 49 days into the challenge, but I need a network of folks to write with. So here I am.

My goal for the next week is to complete a short story I have been working on since NaNoWriMo 2012. That is the only writing project I am concerned with at this time. I'll share a short update on Wednesday with some more musings. Thanks for visiting.


  1. It's and interesting coincidence that we're both in the same boat right now in terms of diving back into writing and trying to jump over our fear of words and the fear of failing. I'm right there with you, having "officially" started to write again about two weeks ago now, a result of serious soul-searching and a heart-to-heart with one of my writing friends.

    I, too, had to prioritize graduating and getting my head into the teaching game over the sprawling roommate that is writing in terms of brain space. Tackling depression and anxiety attacks did not help with that but by now I feel I am slowly reclaiming writing as something I feel I can do, even if I slowly have to ease into it, on a daily, or near-daily basis.

    And you're right. It's hard. There are all these nagging self-doubts that come with my personal brand of impostor syndrome. There's that feeling of not being good enough, of feeling like I'm making my work worse rather than better by over-editing and over-thinking it. That's where community comes in. I love my writer friends for the support, and by support I mean occasional ass-kicking, they give, cheering me on relentlessly and offering an outlet to share those doubts and fears while keeping an overall goal in mind.

    For me that goal is wrapping up my edits on my dystopian novel within the next week and, more importantly, to stick with writing and start new things (a short story or two are on my priority list of things to write) once school starts again.

    So, if you need more people to support you and write with, I'm in. Let's do this.

  2. Lucky you, we're only 42 days into this round!

    You sound very positive, despite everything that's gone on, and that's great. Hope all goes well with all your endeavors, especially saving your marriage. I'll be interested to see how the short story goes. It's always tough to pick something up after it's sat for a while.

    John Holton
    The Sound Of One Hand Typing

  3. It's just good to see you back. (o:

  4. Writing IS hard work. One of the tough parts about being an writer, aside from showing up at the page and mastering the craft, is not knowing where you'll end up. Will the story I'm working on ever see the light of day, will it ever reach readers and, if it does, how will they respond? It's that desire to reach others with my work that both scares and challenges me.

    Good luck with your journey. Congrats on your college graduation!


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