Upon Emerging from a Deep and Abiding Funk

You may have noticed that I haven’t made a blog post these last couple days. Probably you didn’t notice.That’s okay too.

Were have I been? I’ve been battling my way through the absolute worst bout of depression I have seen in years. And it was bad. It got so bad, I seriously considered quitting. I thought, if writing is going to bring me this much grief then what’s the point? Why go on with something that hurts me so badly?

Fortunately I have a loving wife who gave me as much encouragement as she could, and put up with my black moods for nearly a week, and that helped me get over my desire to quit writing. Also, Ellie Soderstrom said she’d kill me if I stopped.

However, some things are going to change. Specifically, I’m shifting my attitude about blogging. Trying to get something new posted every day is part of the reason I think I burned out so badly. I had an expectation of what I could do with this blog that fell far short of reality, and it hit me all at once and took me down hard.

So for the time being at least, I’m backing off on that. It’s not that I’m going to quit blogging entirely, but I’m no longer going to strive to put something up for every weekday. After all, it’s not as if I have anything to say writing-wise that you can’t hear somewhere else, from someone better qualified and probably far more interesting.

So, I’m going to give myself permission not to blog when I don’t feel like it. I’m also going to stop trying to hit any kind of arbitrary word count.

Because somewhere in the middle of the terror that was last week, I realized that I wasn’t having any fun anymore. Blogging had become a dull and tedious ritual. I know that there are some things we should do regardless of how we feel. But it isn’t exactly as if blogging is bringing in the big bucks for me. It’s not even bringing in the little does. (Hunting humor: a sure sign you’ve been working in Sporting Goods for way too long.)

Put differently, this is not my job. And since I already get depressed often enough about the job I have, why should I let blogging add to that pile?

It’s possible I’m way off base with all of this. Maybe I should keep pushing through, regardless of how I feel. It wouldn’t be the first time I wrote something that I ended up disagreeing with later. But for now, I’m gonna take it easy. Hopefully it will help me improve my outlook and avoid falling into another nasty week-long funk.

If not at least I can promise you one thing: whatever happens, you can read about it on my blog.

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16 responses to “Upon Emerging from a Deep and Abiding Funk

  1. I’m glad to hear that you’re going to take it easy on yourself. When you start contemplating quitting writing (which I hope you don’t do) then it’s time to step back, take a break, and let yourself breathe- in my opinion. Someone out there said “it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

    So there’s no need to burn yourself out so quick. I feel like it should be ok to take your time and allow yourself to take it easy if you want to. Blog when you want to- and your readers will be here for you Albert 🙂

    • I have gotten back on the horse when it comes to writing. I was scratching down notes for NaNoWriMo again last night. Also, I have to finish editing Clockwork Hearts with Ellie.
      And thanks for reading. It means a lot to me.

  2. The idea that we should blog every single day (maybe with weekends off) has been propagated by people who blog for money, and somehow that’s slopped over into the world of people who write books. Supposedly, if you don’t write regularly, your readers will forget all about you and go elsewhere. In the age of RSS, email subscriptions, and following through various venues, that’s complete nonsense. When you post, your readers will know about it. They don’t spend every day clicking on your blog to see if there’s a new post and then say the hell with it when you’ve taken some time off.

    In other words, relax. Writing is hard enough. If it isn’t also enriching your life, it isn’t worth the bother.

  3. Whatever else you do, I’ll always remember you wrote “A Prairie Home Apocalypse,” my fav dog’s POV story.

  4. Glad you’re back, Al.

  5. “After all, it’s not as if I have anything to say writing-wise that you can’t hear somewhere else, from someone better qualified and probably far more interesting.”

    There may be plenty of writing tips out there. But I found this blog and this is the place I go to for writing tips. If you stop writing I’ll have to find somewhere else to go and I don’t wanna do that while I’m comfortable here =P Besides, I like your writing style =)

    • I’m not giving up blogging. I’m just getting slightly more casual with my schedule. I’ve actually let myself skip a few days over the last few weeks, but this is me making my laziness official.

  6. I think all writers go through these Dark Nights of the Soul. But, it’s good to re-evaluate your expectations about your blog and your writing. Personally, I’d love to read more about your life with kids, the different twists your dark mood took, and thoughts about working in the Sporting Goods section. You write with such wit and a unique, quirky twist of language, I’d love to see what you do with these topics.
    And if you want help with depression, come on over to my site. 🙂

    • The next post I have in my brain is actually about the joys of being dropped into parenthood. Having the kids around actually helped bring me out of my dark moods over the past weeks. It was when I was by myself that it all started to fall apart. Thanks for the encouraging words.

  7. Good for you. You are not a slave. Many writers feel you should write every day, and you should. But not all writing is typing. You’re supposed to come up for air, too. Life is for living. Writing is work. If you agreed to work every single day for anyone else people would think you were a fool. In the words of that great philosopher, Gracie Slick, “Feed your head.”

    Good luck.

    • Thanks man. Your blog is an inspiration for me. I wish I could sit down with you in some book store coffee shop some day and just listen to you ramble for three or four hours. That would be Grade A gormet head food, I believe.

  8. Thanks so much for sharing. You sound like you’re losing a bit of confidence in yourself as not only a writer, but a person. That is bad! Keep your head up high (way, way up there!). Something will work out for you!

  9. Albert, I’m glad you are no longer writing every day. i get a lot out of your writing and really enjoy it over some coffee when I have a moment to relax. Your writing here teaches me things about writing, life from a different perspective, and is just plain a good read. However, even living by myself these days, I haven’t the time to keep up with anyone’s daily post. I unsubscribed from your posts at one point because I realized I had over 10 of your blogs in my inbox I was never going to feel I had time to read. Now I’m going to surf your page when I have time to log into wordpress for my own bouts of writing, and see what you’ve been scribbling. Write when you can, write when it makes you feel good. I can tell from your writing that will generally be fairly often.

    I’ve written much this summer here and there, but not here on wordpress. Its nice to be back now that I’ve got some time to myself.

    I also liked your post about your foster children. The short time you are there to provide them with a taste of normalcy, stability, and support will carry them father than you might imagine. : )

  10. Looks to me like you have a pretty good blogging support community (what a great bunch our fellow bloggers are!), and that’s a very good thing. I hope your onsite, everyday home community is equally powerful. Been in that funk groove before, too, and it takes a whole lot of people and love and good-crazy support to get one through it. Every time! Sounds like you are playing it smart by giving yourself breathing space and taking wise advantage of the great resource that being needed by your foster kids can be for you too. All good stuff. Your writing is terrific and no, NOT less ‘qualified or interesting’ than others’, for pete’s sake, and both you and your work deserve friendly attention. So keep the faith. Keep looking out for your needs and letting the writing come when it wants and needs to come, and let yourself enjoy the other good stuff that’s in your life in the meantime.
    Cheers!
    Kathryn

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