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Exeunt, Pursued by a Bear

I said I was going to be sharing something every day in my prepping for the novel I’ve had bouncing around in my head, the one I intended to write this past National Novel Writing Month. And yet, I haven’t posted anything in four weeks.

“What happened?” you may be asking, unless you actually have things in your life that are occupying your mind and time.

What’s happened is this: I ran out of one of my psych meds earlier this month and spent a week with very off-kilter brain chemistry. I missed some work, I couldn’t focus on much of anything, and I could brain well enough to put words on paper–or even make notes for putting words on paper. After I got back on my meds and got my back on track, I continued to put off doing much prep and avoided posting anything here. Last week, I realized that the pressure I was putting on myself to prove to everyone that I could be and was a goddamn novelist, forcing myself to hold myself publicly accountable, was making me loathe writing at all. I had a list of novels and short stories I absolutely had to read and TV shows and movies I absolutely had to watch as prep for this novel, regardless of whether or not I felt like reading or watching them. Every minute I wasn’t reading or watching from the required list or making notes for the novel was time I was wasting. And every day I didn’t post something on this blog was another reminder of what a failure I am. Giving myself the label “Writer” was depressing me. This blog was starting to feel like a stone weight around my neck.

I’m 44 years old and I’m tired of thinking of myself as a failure. The real waste of time is not doing what gives me joy and beating myself up for failing to live up to imaginary expectations. If I never get to be a published author, so fucking what? If I’m never considered a “real writer” by myself or anyone else, so fucking what? When I’m lying in my death bed and looking back over my life, I want to be happy about the time I spent doing things that bring me real joy. I want to read whatever the hell I feel like reading at the time. I want to watch whatever the hell I feel like watching at the time. I want to daydream, plan, plot, scheme, write, sketch, doodle, and play as the whim hits me. If I want to share these things with other people, that’s cool. If I want to keep them to myself, that’s cool, too. As much as I’ve wanted to be a Writer, a Novelist, a Poet, what I really, really want to be is Happy.

I don’t know what this means for this site. I’ve had the goblin-cartoons domain for over 10 years. I love the term “goblin cartoons” and still think it’s the best name for the kinds of things I like to create. But right now, I don’t particularly feel up to sharing my writing with the public or pressuring myself to produce more than I feel capable of producing. I think a Real Writer is someone who writes whether they feel inspired or not. At this point, I’m not sure I care about being a Real Writer. If being a Real Writer is showing up and doing the work, well, I’d rather wander around and play.

And I’m more than OK with that.

3 Comments

  1. Star wrote:

    Yes. Happy.

    Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at 7:53 pm | Permalink
  2. Do what brings you joy. You need to take care of you, and not worry too much about what others think.

    Keep writing what you want. Keep sharing what you want. I’ll be honest and say poetry is not my “thing,” and I don’t read every one that you post, but there are some that do touch me.

    Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 9:37 am | Permalink
  3. josh wrote:

    Thanks, Michael. “Do what brings you joy” is one of those obvious things that we all tend to lose sight of too often in life. It’s easy to get wrapped up in stuff that stresses us out, makes us sad or angry, burdens us.

    And I don’t expect anyone to like everything I write. (Hell, I don’t even like everything I write.) But I’m very happy that even some of my stuff touches you.

    Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 9:45 am | Permalink

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