Writing My Way Out of the Black Hole of Death

I get cabin fever. I get cabin fever so badly sometimes that I think I will legitimately go absolutely crazy sitting in Central PA, bored out of my mind. Because of that, I try to get out of here as often as possible, but it doesn’t always work that way. I went for four months without leaving and I almost didn’t make it.

Okay, I’m being a little bit dramatic.

But seriously, I’m bored.

This past weekend, I spent a very long weekend out of town for my birthday. I got to see most of my friends and some of my family all in one place. I had people to talk to and things to do. It was a great weekend and I had a lot of fun.

And then I had to come home.

I have this problem: every time I leave home, no matter where I go, I get into one hell of a wretched mood when I come back. I get depressed because I miss my friends. I get frustrated that I live so far away from pretty much all of them. Then I get discouraged because I can’t find a job. It’s totally worth getting out of here any time I can, but dear Lord does it suck for about a week after I get back.

In my last post, I said that I hoped I’d be able to maintain my writing momentum while I was out of town, and I did. I actually added over 7000 words, so I was quite pleased with my … discipline? Well, anyway, I was happy about it. My NaNoWriMo word count stayed above the suggested word count every day, but as I wasn’t writing quite as much as I would have been at home (mostly because I was actually doing stuff for a change), I was only up by about a thousand words when I got home on Tuesday.

So I wrote, and I wrote. And then I wrote a little bit more. Not all of my scenes are really moving the plot forward, but I have created some images that I really like. When it comes to my writing, I play my cards pretty close. Virtually no one knows anything about my ’09 novel – the one that I’m doing a poor job of editing at the moment. I’ve shared a few details with some people. And still, only a few people know only a few details of the current ’10 novel. For that reason, it would be kind of difficult for me to explain here why I like those images, but I sort of like it when my characters observe or experience things that are, well, out of character for them. That’s been happening quite a bit to my main character this year. I think he’s growing up, but who knows. I certainly can’t tell him anything he doesn’t already know. He’s got a life and mind of his own.

I don’t remember sleeping last night. I basically just spent the night turning over and thinking about how I should be asleep. I’d doze off and wake up to my brain still babbling on. I’d start listening to it (I really kind of sound like a whacko right now, I’m aware), and then I’d get distracted and not be able to fall asleep. So of course today ended up being the day I had to sub. I came home and fully intended on taking a nap. I fell asleep for ten minutes and someone woke me up. I curled up again, desperately trying to fall asleep because I was starting to drive myself crazy with the internal monologue.

Then the internal monologue changed. Or maybe it developed its own internal monologue and started talking over the first one. “Get up,” it said. “Go to your computer. Write it out.”

“But I’m so comfortable in my bed,” I said. “I don’t want to get out. It’s cold out there.”

“Get your ass out of bed and go write. NOW!” it barked.

“Fine, you win, but you don’t need to be so nasty about it,” I grumbled, throwing off my blankets and swinging my legs over the edge. Then I sat down at my computer and I started writing. After about forty-five minutes, I was fidgeting on a more normal level for me, as opposed to the insane foot-shaking I’d been doing before. After an hour and fifteen minutes, the only thing I was thinking about, really, was what I was writing.

I took a break for dinner. Then my family dangled an invitation to watch Harry Potter in the living room with them. They made fun of me when I said I had to write, but that’s all I wanted to do. It’s that kind of writing where I feel like my life kind of depends on it. It’s probably the same reason I’m writing right now. Writing is cheaper than therapy.

So I came back to my room and kept writing, writing, writing. I wrote about 3000 words tonight, and I’m not sure that I’m done, but it feels better to write. It’s something I can control (for the most part) and it allows me to create my own distraction.

And now for a poorly constructed and somewhat abrupt ending, I’ll leave you with this George Orwell quote:

All writers are vain, selfish, and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives there lies a mystery. Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.

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2 thoughts on “Writing My Way Out of the Black Hole of Death

  1. Dude,you got the shakes! That’s withdrawal, haha.
    I hear you on being stuck. We were on a visiting visa out in California last year… being back in ho hum southeast Ontario (despite lovely people) just doesn’t feel the same. I get the same hangover when I go on other trips- exactly what you describe. So even if it isn’t normal, there are at least two people out of six billion who feel the same :) It definitely sounds like you’re morphing from full time teach into full time author. Are you wearing lots of black turtlenecks and berets all of a sudden? The ‘get up and write’ voice sounds phenomenal. Please send it round here when you are done.
    Gooooooo team demon!

    • The Team Demon bit made me laugh out loud! I hadn’t thought about it in the context of a hangover, but that’s a good way to look at it. It’s always happened to me, ever since college. But I don’t remember it being as bad as it is now… most likely because of my lack of job and other things to keep me occupied in a useful and positive way :) I’m glad you enjoyed the ‘get up and write’ voice. I was in writer mode when I wrote this ;). As a general rule, I already wear black a lot…. no turtlenecks or berets though, haha!

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