Every week I sit down to write this entry and wish I could tell you that this is the week everything came together again and I’m back on track. Unsurprisingly, it’s not that easy. I am, however, happy to say that I think there’s some signs of improvement.

Most of it isn’t writing-related, though I did finally get one of my short stories resubmitted to another publication. That definitely counts as one of this week’s wins. It’s mostly been little things, like I’ve been wanting to be more active and I’m feeling small urges to be social even at times when I could easily just stay home. But since my depressive phases affect all aspects of my life, improvement in any area is a sign that other areas will also soon improve.

I still didn’t get any writing or editing done this week, but there’s been a shift in my thinking there. I’m seeing things from my writer friends – one getting his first short story published, some getting nominated for awards, one getting new reviews on his self-published novels – and I’m starting to find that inspiring again. While I’m always happy for my friend’s successes, in my depressive bouts they also start a guilt cycle in my head where I know I should be writing, feel bad that I’m not, then get more depressed and less likely to write.

Now I’m seeing their successes and it’s making me think “Maybe it’s time to get back at it.” It’s a gentler thought than the depressive “You should be writing, Whiteley! What the hell is wrong with you??” There’s no guilt tied to it, so it doesn’t have that same motivation-killing power. Obviously, that’s not the same as actually getting to it, but we have to start somewhere, don’t we? I’ll take the not-beating-myself-up any day.

This whole experience has made me even more grateful for my writing group. Far from being a source of pressure, they’ve only provided support and sympathy. Having the group means that I never just push the writing aside entirely. My friends there make sure it always stays front of mind. And while yes, sometimes I get into a guilt cycle, I’d do that to myself anyway and it’s never from anything they say/post/do. My writing group reminds me that I’m not alone in having these bouts of non-productivity, and provide inspiration and help to get out of it. I guess what I’m saying is, find people doing the things you’re doing. It helps.  

For myself, I’m going to try to get another bit of editing done today and try to get another of my short stories resubmitted by the end of the week. Progress is being made, albeit slowly. I’ll take it.

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