So Much To Do, Not Enough Time to Be Too Depressed to Do It

Sometimes, I think I do too much.

My wife would argue this isn’t the case, and she’s probably right, for the most part – in general, in life, I really don’t do much at all. I’m actually pretty freaking lazy most of the time, which is why it feels like there’s always so much to do – I never really get around to any of it.

No … what I really mean is that, in my creative endeavors, I overstretch myself frequently. The common trope of the writer is that they’re always writing – anything except their story. Sad, but true. I always have at least two trains of creative thought going at any given time: writing and music. Within that, my writing is split between fantasy (The Redemption of Erâth), which I haven’t touched in a long time, and young adult novels, one of which I most recently completed earlier this year. Music-wise, there’s always so much going on, including three nu-metal albums to accompany said young adult book, as well as grandiose orchestral suites and metal operas. I want to write a goth rock album, and who knows what else as my musical tastes change and evolve.

The problem is time. As in, there just isn’t enough of it. I started work on The Redemption of Erâth almost ten years ago, with the idea to write a seven-book series; so far only three have seen the light of day. I took time off to write two young adult novels, both of which were extremely challenging in their own right (mentally and emotionally draining), and for the past few months I’ve been working on a metal/orchestral suite of songs that I just completed on Friday. Still, I don’t think ten years ago I thought I’d still be trying to write my fantasy series.

To top it off, I’m not getting any younger. I’m not really old enough to be terribly concerned about my mortality (nor am I famous enough that I worry about leaving unfinished works behind to torment my adoring fans), but it does cross my mind that in almost forty years I’ve failed to make a career out of anything creative, and if I died tomorrow, I really wouldn’t have much of a legacy to leave behind.

The worst part is that, when I do have time to create, I’m often too depressed to be able to focus on it. This affliction that’s lasted my entire adulthood is truly a blessing and a curse – it gives me the inspiration to create dark and gloomy worlds, and at the same time prevents me from actually getting any of it down on paper. I want to write; I want to create music; and I don’t want what I’ve finished so far to be all that I ever make. I just find it so impossibly difficult to actually get any of it done.

If I think back on everything I’ve ever started, I’ve actually done pretty well; three fantasy novels, two young adult stories, three nu-metal albums and two metal symphonies are all under my belt, and I definitely didn’t think I’d have been able to finish any of them when I first started (in fact, my first young adult novel, 22 Scars, dates back to 2005 in its earliest iterations). But there’s still so much more to do.

With that being said, I think that now my second YA book is published, my metal symphony is complete, and I’m not overly concerned about writing more nu-metal, it’s time to return to Erâth. I started working on the fourth book in the series almost two years ago, and so far only have six chapters written. I need to clear my schedule, knuckle down, and get the rest of The Redemption of Erâth finished. And not just the fourth book; the fifth, and the sixth, and the seventh one, too. From here on out, this is what I’m going to try to complete.

After that … well, we’ll see. I don’t have any other raging ideas just at the moment, but I’m sure they’ll come along eventually; they always do.

For now – onward and back into the world of Erâth!

New Years, Commitments, and Fantasy

In years past, I’ve often tried to commit to blogging on a more regular basis come January first. (I mean, technically there’s no reason I have to use the passing of a year to define when I should start writing again, but it’s a useful starting point.) I always start out with the best of intentions, and usually end up faltering and ceasing within a month or so. And whilst I can certainly try to do better this year, there’s really no reason for me to expect that 2021 will be any different than 2020, or 2019, or any year before that. I would love for this blog to reach the heights of its early days in 2011 and 2012, but it probably won’t happen.

That being said, I still have marked out in my calendar a regular post schedule (Thought of the Week on Mondays, Movie Night on Fridays, etc.), and I’d like to use it as a reminder of that fact that, at the end of the day, I really do enjoy writing and communicating ideas – asinine as they may sometimes be.

I already wrote a Movie Night and Music I Love post on Saturday to grace the start of the New Year, but today’s post really marks the beginning, as it’s the start of the week, and I want to see if I can outline some of what I’d like to accomplish over the coming year.

I know well enough that getting readership is highly dependent on both quality of posts and quantity – a post a month is hardly going to garner interest – so a commitment to regular writing is important. But I don’t want to simply reduce myself to posting arbitrary thoughts of nothingness just for the sake of it, so I want to outline a schedule that I can at least try to adhere to. So here goes:

  • Monday: Thought of the Week – this is my opportunity to discuss anything that happens to cross my radar – whether it be political, literary, musical, or anything else that seems of interest.
  • Wednesday: Sci-Fi & Fantasy – here is where I will post about things with a focus on science-fiction and fantasy – whether it be updates on my own series, The Redemption of Erâth, or thoughts on other fantasy and sci-fi stories and franchises.
  • Friday: Movie Night – discussions of film, cinema, and movie reviews.

Additionally:

  • First day of the month: Music I Love – this will be an opportunity to discuss all things music-related, wether it be album reviews, discussions of classical music, or anything else.

This will allow for around 12-15 posts each month, which I hope will be manageable and not overwhelming. I think one of the biggest challenges I face when it comes to writing is the fact that I often feel lethargic, depressed or simply overwhelmed, and writing ends up taking a back seat to simply trying to make it through the day. I also hope that, with a planned schedule, I can take advantage of my quasi-random days off from work to write out several posts in advance, so that I don’t feel as though I’m down to the wire when it comes to getting posts written.

Finally, I would also love for 2021 to be the year that the fourth Redemption of Erâth book comes out; I started working on it over a year ago, and took a break to wrap up my second Young Adult novel (under my real name), but I’d very much like to see where the story of Brandyé, Elven and their companions is going. This is going to take a lot of time and commitment, but with no other books in the pipeline, I might just have an opportunity to really tackle this story once and for all.

So here’s to a new year of writing – and hopefully one that will see my word count skyrocket!

Wild Mood Swings

I am getting tired. Tired of so much, in the world, in life, and in my thoughts; but most of all, I’m getting tired of not knowing where my head is going to be next month, next week, or even tomorrow. Frankly, living with bipolar is an exhausting experience, and although I’ve mostly just dealt with it until now, I have to admit that I’m running low on energy – not just energy to live and do things, but energy to cope.

It’s one of the reasons, if not the most prominent one, why I don’t attend to this blog like I did years ago. I feel bad about it, but feeling bad was never much of a motivator for me, so I continue to neglect my daily writing in favor of sleep, TV, and sleep.

Historically, long periods of low mood, energy and motivation have formed a large part of my life, from my teenage years through my adulthood and to present day; I’m no stranger to depression. Often this manifests as wanting to stay in bed, feeling hopeless, and an inability to cope with the most basic of daily functions (e.g. showering, brushing teeth, etc.). I’ll spend day after day not even watching TV, and just staring at the ceiling, waiting for sleep to take me to twisted dreamscapes where I can escape from reality – if not entirely pleasantly.

But more recently, I feel I’m struggling with a new level of exhaustion: one that wears my mind down from an excess of actual mood swings. If my normal depression is akin to the tiredness of a marathon runner nearing the end of the slog, my current state of mind is closer to that of a sprinter after a day’s worth of races: running full tilt, then stopping, then starting again, over and over with no end in sight.

It’s like being on a non-stop rollercoaster. It’s like falling endlessly. It’s like … well, there are likely dozens of metaphors I could choose from, but the point is that I feel like my brain is about to leak through my eyes and ears, a complete and total meltdown from being forced to cope with a rapid cycle of ups and downs in a very short period of time.

Only a month ago, I was suffering from one of the worst depressions I’ve known in recent years. I couldn’t work, I couldn’t play, I couldn’t get out of bed, and I was sorely tempted to begin self-harming again after over a decade clean. Last week, I finished the last pages of my new manuscript after several days of hours-long writing stints. I went from catatonic to manic within a period of only a few days.

I don’t think this is good for me. It’s left me with a whole new level of exhaustion that I’m entirely unused to, and I honestly don’t know how to cope. It was my birthday over the weekend, and I spent it mostly in the loft watching Lord of the Rings and writing emails to people I haven’t contacted in months, or even years. I don’t know what I’m doing.

I wake up every day before 6 AM, but I want to pass out by 7 PM. This is also new; I normally sleep in like crazy, and stay up late.

I wonder if it’s to do with the new medication my psychiatrist started me on; I wonder if it’s to do with the strange weather (70°F in November, what’s with that?). I wonder if it’s … I don’t know anymore.

In any case, I’m done writing young adult/new adult for the time being, which means maybe – just maybe – I’ll find some time to return to The Redemption of Erâth for you all, as I started on book four almost eighteen months ago and never really got too far into it. In the meantime, I’ll see if I can start posting here a little more regularly, as I always want (and always fail) to do.

Many thanks!