Depression Doesn’t Help

It started out so well.

Book six. I knew the characters. I knew the situation. I had the conclusion outlined. On the first day of drafting, I wrote nearly six thousand words. I decided I would aim to write five thousand words a day. I kept to that goal for five days straight. That means I was within sight of the end; the entire novel was going to be about forty thousand words.

And then.

As I write this blog post, I haven’t written in that novel for three days . It’s not that life got busy. It’s not that I was suddenly under some unexpected stress. Nope. The happyman decided I didn’t need a visit.

That’s right. Depression came to stay.

This has been a bad stretch. For those three days, I did basically nothing. I canceled all my appointments. I didn’t drive the kids to school or pick them up. I ate way too much Taco Bell, my depression meal of choice. I stayed in bed and accomplished… nothing.

I try to be transparent with my depression for days like this. Some people romanticize depression. They make it look like doom and gloom produce good books. The tortured artist must be tortured to get art, right?

Wrong.

Yeah, I know I’ve written on this topic before, but it bears repeating: Depression doesn’t make art. Artists make art. Writers write. Depression simply leaches the ability to move. It’s rather hard to write if you’re not moving.

Can depression help in the end? Well, sure. It helps me understand different emotions and different states of being, and I can bring that into my writing. It helps me learn that I am not enough; that I must lean on others. There are indeed benefits to depression, but those benefits are not better art while I am crushed under the weight of darkness.

I’m doing better now. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be writing this post! I’m hoping tomorrow to get back to that work in progress and maybe finish the rough draft before the end of the week. I can only do that as the depression lifts, though.

It started out well. It’ll end well.

But that depression interruption in the middle… that wasn’t so good.

Published by Jon

Jon lives in Kentucky with his wife and an insanity of children. (A group of children is called an insanity. Trust me.)

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