It may be the change in season – some form of SAD caused by it getting darker earlier after the change in the clocks – or possibly something to do with some other aspect of my lifestyle at the moment – diet, sleep patterns, something like that. It may simply be the cycle of the moon or some hormonal flip or even a low level flu or other bug. Whatever it is, I’ve not been feeling in the best of moods lately. Today seems to have been the deepest trough, however, and the major effect seems to have been on my own self esteem.
In short, I have spent the last few days in the absolute and inviolable belief that everything I have written, am writing and will ever write is utter rubbish. I came to realise this when I found this thread in the Absolute Write forums – Convinced WIP is awful. I also realised on reading this that it is not so unusual for writers to feel this way on occasion. In the rational part of my brain, I know full well that this is a ludicrous thing and probably indicative of a mild depression – possibly triggered by not yet adapting my body clock to the new daylight times. My intellectual brain is citing various pieces of evidence at me such as:
1) There are lovely, wonderful people out there who have said that they like your writing.
2) You have actual publications and apparently some people who are not you, your family or your friends have bought and read them.
3) Lots of other writers have the same feelings and it is not indicative of you, your writing or anything like that but merely an expression of some deeper neurophysiological issue.
However, as anyone with an endocrine system knows only too well, in cases like these the intellectual part of the brain never gets a vote and the rampant craziness is given free rein on the mind.
As a result of this, I have actually done very little writing today. I did achieve my daily word count goal but rather than write something interesting and creative as part of a story I slogged out 700 words on a guest post I have promised to another writer. And I wasn’t 100% certain that I liked those words. I’m still not. I may delete the whole thing and forget all about it at which point I may as well have not bothered writing anything in the first place. I had intended to go through some stories and chapters I had got some beta reader notes on and make the changes but every time I tried to do that I just could not summon up the enthusiasm. I’d also intended to schedule a guest post someone had kindly done for me, which should have been a 5 minute job and therefore an easy win and I couldn’t even do that.
Instead my day involved sitting with the dog on the settee and watching DVDs and surfing the internet. I suppose you could call that research but I never really ever intended to write a story about sitting on the settee with a dog.
So, here is the question. How do you get over these slumps? What techniques do you use to overcome the feeling that everything is futile and worthless? I suppose in my case my technique is avoidance. I have removed myself from writing in the hope that my keen will return following the rest. Are there any other methods?
Tomorrow I intend to be more proactive and actually do something. But then I said that yesterday as well.