Tuesday, July 23, 2013

20,000 Words

Photo edit by Jason Frega
   About a month ago something magical happened... and I have held off writing about it specifically, and in a lot of cases even talking about it, because truth be told I am superstitious and suspicious and  fearful that by nature things don't tend to last. Most things don't, but there are plenty of things that do. Important things. Good things. Being fearful that acknowledging good changes in our lives will somehow change their status as a permanent thing, or speed the process bringing about an almost immediate departure time if those things were meant to be temporary, doesn't really do much in the way of allowing us the freedom to enjoy those things whatever they may be.

   So here's my good thing: writing healed the brokenness in my mind. Not all my problems and not just any kind of writing... but another big shift took place, this time in a really good direction, and I am damn grateful for it. If you were here back in April you most likely read my post in which I admitted that I had fallen back into a state of depression. I sought help like I said I would, I am still seeing a therapist (although less frequently now) and I am still experiencing anxiety attacks (something I actually didn't mention in that post) from time to time, but... BUT! Things are so much better lately. So. Much. Better.

    So, how did writing "heal my head problems"? Well, I received a very helpful recommendation that at the time felt akin to being backed into a corner, but when I responded in trust and stepped in a direction I thought to be backwards, on faith, I found a freedom I haven't known for a long, long time. I was told to funnel my writing efforts in a different direction. A direction that didn't involve direct self introspection or digging into seriously triggering topics anymore, at least for a time. Those things weren't bringing the joy and release that writing had always been for me. Sure it helped me work out my thoughts and crystallize my beliefs on many different topics. But it ceased helping me process my emotions. And that felt like a great big gaping loss.

   In the discussion which this recommendation stemmed from the word fiction was mentioned, and it scared me. It scared me because I had always held fiction up on a pedestal. I didn't trust my mind to formulate ideas worthy of weaving into a story. I had spent years adding more and more constraints to my writing, newer higher standards (that didn't fit my purpose) and ultimately I tried to force my idea of what I would do with this gift that I cherish, into a box that it didn't belong in. A box that allowed me very little room to breathe.

   I did the same thing in many other areas of my life as well, and together all those pieces, those misplaced principles, thoughts and beliefs, built a wall that when fully formed began to cut off my air supply. The good news is that the wall has come down and although a little damage was done in the process it made rebuilding a possibility.

   I am reading fiction again after a long self-imposed, guilt-ridden hiatus. I am also writing fiction for the first time since maybe Middle School. In fact if you follow me on Twitter or are a fan of my Facebook page then you may have already seen the news that I have officially broken the 20,000 word mark on my very first fiction novel. Will it be worthy of publishing when it's done? When I've done all the editing, re-writes, more editing, revisions, and even more editing necessary to turn a draft into an actual book? I don't know for sure. But I'm finally doing the right work. The work that I feel like I was always meant to be doing. I am writing 5 days a week, a minimum of 350 words a day, usually quite a lot more. Eventually that will all add up to a finished first draft, which I know to be only the beginning of a long journey. A journey that I am now officially on. That knowledge alone is enough for me in this moment.

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