My days are full of as much structure as possible — a rigorous therapy schedule. In a way, it reminds me of college. This time block for writing, this one for meditation, this one for Yoga, etc.
Sometimes I’ll throw in something else crafty, like drawing or honing my skills with Photoshop. Then I’ll go back to the writing. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
I’ll do this over and over again in a day until my eyes cannot continue.
And everything I do is meant to keep me calm and less on edge.
The most significant part of my therapy — the part that helps me the most is writing, delving into the mind of someone else. I can only do this in short bursts because I can’t concentrate for long periods of time. When I move on to something else, it’s meant to allow my eyes and my mind to rest, to reorient myself and start again.
But since I finished writing the last book, I needed a break.
So did my mind.
And I’m suffering for it.
My stress is high. My migraines are worse.
The nightmares that haunt me are vividly horrifying. Imagine waking up paralyzed, or feeling the pain experienced in the dream lingering for hours or an entire day.
Sometimes I think the world is coming to an end. (Not literally, but sometimes it feels like that.) Yet I’m still avoiding the very things that usually help me. It’s like a sickness. I just cannot help myself.
I’m wasting time binge watching bad urban fantasy dramas when I should be binge reading the books in which they were based. I should be editing. I should be writing.
But here I am, bitching about my own procrastination. I know why I’m doing it. And I know how to break it, but yet, I’m forcing myself to take a little break.
You see, I’m punishing myself. After a year of this rigid structure, turning to writing as my only pure source of help, and transforming it into something beautiful, I felt like it was only a matter of time before those shaky legs I was finally standing on were kicked out from under me.
And that’s exactly what happened. Sort of.
I created a system that was crazy efficient, and I developed the novels in my head and documented everything in OneNote before I started writing the first word. So the books were written fast.
Or so it seemed. Since I rarely sleep, those blocks of time allowed me to write a fair amount in a day, but it was spread out over the course of about twenty hours. Every single day.
But I was forgetting something important.
All over the internet and in print you’ll see writers saying that to be a writer you: 1) need to write a lot and 2) you need to read just as much.
Well, I wasn’t doing that. Not much anyway. Reading one chapter of a book a night before going to sleep wasn’t enough. I didn’t want my writing to suffer, and I felt that I needed to adjust my therapy to account for more reading.
It wouldn’t necessarily be a terrible addition, because it’s still delving into someone else’s mind.
But I don’t handle change well.
I needed to breathe. I needed to grieve that sudden shift in my life. I needed to reorient myself and then start again. Better than ever. It’s the wait that’s torturing me. The wait is my punishment.
The stories you’ve come to know and love in my books are far from over. Connor and Aisling are far from over. The werewolves, vampires, witches, and many other creatures you’ve yet to see are far from finished telling their stories.
When I do start writing again, I’ll go full speed ahead, because that’s how I operate. I’m going to tell those stories that are knocking around in my head. I’m going to dictate those movies playing in my mind’s eye.
Though I’m aware that this “vacation” from my therapy schedule is a detriment to me, I felt it was necessary to step back for a little while. But it’s starting to wear on me. So it won’t be long before I push myself to start again.
I’ll get past this hurdle. And I’ll be better than ever. Back on the road of therapy and hopefully, there in the distant horizon, is the freedom I so desperately crave.
The freedom from the fear — the abuse I endured. Of all he said, all he ever did to me when I was a child.
Until then, and long after, I’m going to keep writing. Because that’s my passion. It’s what I do that helps me feel better. And I’m going to kick ass at it in the process.
At least, I’m going to try my best, like I always do.
© Sarah Doughty