Writing, Depression, and Being Realistic

I know I’ve been rather quiet around here lately. That’s both for good reasons and some perhaps not-so-good reasons. On the good end, May was a productive writing month for me. On the bad end, depression has reared its ugly head once again.

Depression has been a hot topic on the internet in recent days, after the suicides of some high-profile people. It has always been a major part of everything I do. I’ve struggled with depression since the age of ten (so that’s 18 years at this point).

In my case, I struggle specifically with bipolar disorder. It’s predominantly depressive in my case, and the manic side is well-controlled on medication (better-controlled than the depressive side at any rate). Because of these struggles, I am not always as productive as I’d like to be.

To those who are following me, you’ve seen that I’ve been keeping a pretty rapid release schedule, releasing a book every three or four months. So far, I’ve been able to keep that schedule, but I’m starting to feel stressed about meeting these self-imposed deadlines.

And that’s how I’ve realized I’m going about this the wrong way. Writing has always been an escape for me. Since I began self-publishing, though, it has turned into yet another thing to cause me stress. That’s not what I want out of my writing career going forward. I need to find a balance. Some days, I simply don’t have it in me to write or edit. Trying to keep a consistent writing habit makes it feel like a chore rather than something I enjoy doing. If writing becomes like a chore, I’ll lose my will to keep doing it.

So I’m going to be dialing back my efforts. Some people can handle the rapid-release treadmill. I’m not one of them. I have my limitations, and I’ve recognized that. I’m no longer going to beat myself up because I’m not being as productive as I want.

We can all be our own worst critics, and that’s even more the case for those of us who struggle with depression. And we need to call it what it is. It is abuse. If I said the same things about someone else that I said about myself, it would be emotional abuse. And I’d never do that to someone else, so why should I do it to myself?

In the end, life is about finding as much happiness as you can no matter what obstacles are thrown at you. Focusing so much on my self-publishing career has been a rewarding experience in many ways, but it has also driven me crazy at times.

Once, I thought that embarking on a writing career would make everything feel better, but even if you’re doing what you love (if only part-time), you can still struggle with depression, and sometimes that thing you love simply makes it worse. I have to do what’s best for me, and what will ultimately be best for my readers. At the rate I’ve been going, I’ve been on the edge of burning out, and there’s no telling whether I would come back from that.

So, if it takes me six months to release a book instead of three, or if it even takes longer, that’s not the end of the world. I have to find the right balance. I hope you all can be patient with me. I’ll try to be better about keeping everyone updated. Thanks for reading.

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