A writing confession

All right, writer confession time. I have not been writing lately. That’s why I was putting off this blog post. Usually I blog about my writing process and I had nothing to write about writing.

I have been tinkering away at DRAGON GIRL, and in fact got 2,000 words in. I’m still excited about this story; I am definitely not blocked on actually writing it when I can force myself to sit down at the computer. I have 8,000 words left to write. My rule of thumb often tends to be that I get the bulk of my writing done on weekends. I try to write every day, to at least sit down at the computer after work and stare at a blank page, but lately that’s not been happening.

Yesterday, I felt suffocated by 92-degree heat in a house without central air, so I was in a self-destructive, apocalyptic mood, a mood I’ve found myself in a lot lately. Someone on Twitter asked yesterday, “What are you most sad about today?” I know it’s in vogue to swim in your depression on that site, to revel in it, but I cannot. Yesterday, I was not sad all day. Sure, it’s sad to learn about people dying alone, and the rate of COVID-19 infection is rising, and people are going out anyway. All of that is sad. But I wasn’t sad. And I’m not ashamed of that. I was actually in a good mood all day, for once; but I felt increasingly irritable in the heat, and the state of the world makes me feel bitter and angry. Not helpless. Just angry.

And yes, I know that anger and irritation are signs of depression, too; depression is not always about sadness and hopelessness. But I see the signs of depression coming and I’m trying my best not to give in to it. Many people nowadays are dealing with mental illness for the first time in their life, given the global trauma we’re all experiencing, but I have coped with it for much longer. I can only imagine what I’d be like during such a pandemic only a few years ago. I have really come a long way in my mental health, and I am proud of my progress.

The pandemic, and racial injustice, however, has combined to fray my nerves. Isolation is getting to me more than I like to let on. I find myself irritable a lot lately, and it’s not just the heat. I feel as if I have withdrawn inward and forgotten how to deal with people; everyone on the street is a threat who politicizes wearing masks, even when they’re actually responsible citizens. I find myself using social media excessively because I get consumed by a fierce sense of loneliness. And I find that I am moody and sensitive often. My mood can shatter to pieces at the slightest misinterpreted provocation. Some bot called a poem of mine a “rage log” the other day, and I feel like that’s my life, sometimes.

My boyfriend went shopping yesterday and he said fewer people were wearing masks and practicing social distancing, even at Trader Joe’s, where people seem to be more vigilant about actual science than other stores. He came back cranky and snappy, and understandably so. My friends are getting haircuts and seeing their family for Father’s Day. I just can’t yet. My hair is long and I need a haircut and I miss my parents, but I think it’s still too risky to break quarantine, especially with cases on the rise. People are acting like it’s over, like it’s all overblown and it’ll be all right if they just stand six feet apart, and it’s far from over; it hasn’t even finished its first wave. That said, I can’t expect people to stay locked down for a year; however, I am not willing to risk my life for a hair cut, or to see people because I can’t for some reason video chat. I’m not an extrovert, so maybe I can’t understand why people are willing to take the risk, but I quite frankly don’t understand.

I feel angry, bitter and drained when I think about that stuff.

I am also still looking for ways to get involved in racial justice issues. Where I see the movement going now is renaming street signs, sensitivity training, instituting holidays and buying books from Black authors. I fully admit I bought two books from Black authors last week. But it felt like a hollow gesture to assuage my white guilt. White people are also going on a censorship rampage. I think that’s a white guilt thing too. It doesn’t address systemic racism to tell people what they can’t write, or to ban books. But it might make you feel better about your white guilt. I find it is mostly white people saying these things, and I think that’s interesting.

I haven’t yet found a group to volunteer with but I am looking at a lot of Facebook pages and groups and seeing who is most active. I think the issue that a lot of people are working on now, police reform, is something that I’m perhaps too close to. Instead I’ve been looking at the Americans with Conscience checklist, and thinking about issues about which I can write to my Congresspeople. I am thinking of focusing my efforts on immigrant justice, as well as health care for all and climate change. It’s difficult to get involved for the first time with an organization you don’t know remotely, I think. But I can still take a few actions every week, on my own. When I’m not trapped in a paralysis of bitterness.

I started writing in my morning pages. I find this to be a helpful exercise when I am enmired in writers block. I try to do it first thing in the morning when I am still shaking the cobwebs loose from my brain. This way the stream of consciousness effect is fully realized. It is three pages every day of just random thoughts. I often write about my struggles that I don’t wish to share with the world on social media. Or I write about my ideas and my stories, ways to stay creative. I got a brand new journal for the effort. Start the last half of the year off right. I find it therapeutic.

Also, I have decided to start going to bed earlier and to attempt to wake up early to write every day before work. Hopefully around 5-6 a.m. I have been trying to make evenings work but so far, they are difficult for me. Part of instilling a consistent writing habit is finding a time that works for you, your schedule and your priorities. And it’s also making it a priority, even when you don’t feel like it. I am sleep deprived, also, which isn’t helping my creative efforts.

In other news, I got another Instagram account. I decided I needed a break for a few months and I wanted to detach myself completely from the model photographer community. I felt they weren’t taking COVID-19 seriously. They were doing photoshoots as early as March, only quarantining for a few weeks. One model started shooting – for free, not even for money – only a week after her boyfriend recovered from COVID-19. I couldn’t take it. I felt bitter, angry and judgmental about everyone on the app. So I decided no more selfish 23-year-old amateur models. My goal for my new page is to focus on writing, books, a moody aesthetic, and nature photography. Follow me at http://www.instagram.com/quillandlens.

That’s about all. My goals this week, for what is left of it, are to write, even if it’s just 200 words a day. I want to get back to doing yoga and exercise. I want to keep cutting back on drinking; it’s no good for an apocalyptic mood. And I want to get more sleep and use social media less.

I guess my goals are the same every week, but such is life.


Support my creative work? Donate $1 to my tip jars! http://www.venmo.com/denise-ruttan or http://www.ko-fi.com/fieldofstars

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