I’m supposed to be writing.
I have a deadline. It’s not even self-imposed this time; I need to have a certain writing project complete in a certain amount of time, and it should be easy to do so.
Instead I’m sitting here staring at a screen. The worlds of brilliant color I should be creating are instead gray. My family is puttering around. My oldest son is asking me what’s wrong. I should be helping my wife if I’m not writing.
The last few days I’ve been riding high. I’ve been generally excited about things. Some things fell into place with my writing and talking to various publishers (nothing I can share publicly yet, but announcements should be coming). The writing I’m supposed to be doing was coming freely. I wove worlds vivid with hues I longed to share.
And about two hours ago, the bottom fell out.
I should have known. I should have seen it. It’s a pattern, you see.
I have depression.
This morning my Bride and I visited a bookshop. On the way we chatted various writing and editing endeavors. (My wife edits for a couple of other authors. I personally think she’s rather talented at it. I might be biased, though.) The shop is an hour and a half away, so we had a lot of good conversations. Some friends took us out for sushi. It was a fantastic day. Colors abounded.
And then I sat down to write.
And then I almost fell asleep. (Pro-tip: If the author is falling asleep while writing it, it’s likely not good prose. Or maybe he’s writing about meditation, in which case that’s a good thing?)
And then I went to go nap… and I couldn’t get up.
And here I am, about two hours later, having bounced “down.” This is pretty unusual for me; it seems more bipolar than straight depression. And yet, here I am.
The world is gray.
It is a writer’s job to paint colors that cannot be seen. It is a writer’s task to see a rainbow in a world of grayscale. It is a writer’s dream to introduce readers to spectrums they have never been perceived before. Bring gray to a world of bright yellow, or yellow to a world of gray.
But for that to happen, the writer needs to be able to see the colors himself.
I think perhaps this is one reason why so many writers have depression: We long to paint worlds where we don’t have to struggle with our own colorblindness.
I know that this down period will end. I’ve weathered them before. I’ve been brought through before. I write about it often enough over on my ministry blog.
But for right now, I’m stuck in a world of gray, trying to write a story full of color.