The Empty Cup

November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. Around the States, and even around the world, people are pounding away at their keyboards to draft a full novel in only thirty days.

I’ve been writing a novel a month for over a year, but I thought… hey, why not use November as an excuse to challenge myself? Most of the books I’ve been writing are around 40k words. Let’s do something bigger. Let’s do a book that’s 60k. A challenge, but it should be doable.

I wrote nothing on the first day of the month. No big deal. It was a day of heavy ministry. The next day I made up for time lost. I was doing well…

Until Tuesday of this week. Depression hit. I spent most of the day laying in bed.

Yeah. It’s fine. When I have bad days, I usually recover fairly quickly. I should be able to make up for lost ground on Wednesday.

That didn’t go so well. I was able to force out about a thousand words. Not enough.

Now, it’s my guess that I’ll still be able to wrap up this rough draft by the end of November. It’ll probably be close, but I do think I’ll be able to pull this off. But this week… this week, I didn’t do so much.

Depression laid me low. I tried to write. No words came. The creativity muscles failed. They didn’t have the energy to function. If I was going to create anything… I had to rest. As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup, and my cup was so, so empty.

I’m not entirely sure what hit me so hard. I have bad days, but not usually two next to each other. Is it because of Daylight Savings? Is it because it’s getting darker? That’s not normal for me, but maybe?

Really, the cause doesn’t matter as much as the fact that it did hit. And on days like that… writing stops.

And that’s okay.

If you try to pour from an empty cup, you can get frustrated. You could crack the cup in your anger. And once a cup is cracked, you can’t fill it with liquid again. It’ll leak right out.

So instead of forcing words, I lay in bed. I rested. I read a book. (Drawn in Ash by John Otte, which I recommend.) I waited for the cup to fill again.

I hope I don’t give the impression that I’m just fine with all this. I was incredibly frustrated. It wasn’t just my writing. My ministry paused. I spent very little time with my family. I canceled appointments. No, I’m not happy about it.

But I am getting to the point that… well, this is just how I live. I have depression. This is what my life is going to look like for now.

So yeah, I have work to do to catch up. And again, that’s okay. Not great, but okay.

Better to be able to catch up than to be unable to write at all.

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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