Every so often I get into a “Why do I bother?” funk. I think this is something all writers run into. This is what my funk looks like:
A brain weasel slinks in the door and takes up residence at my keyboard making it impossible to get any writing done. He perches on my desk, looking ready to eat my face. He opens his mouth, baring razor sharp teeth. He speaks. “Why are you bothering to say anything? No one wants to hear it. Someone has already said it better.”
Then another brain weasel joins him. “Shouldn’t you be doing something constructive?” she asks.
I look around at my house. There are many, many tasks that need doing. It is always in some stage of renovation and always in need of cleaning.
There are also the many tasks that must be done to keep our business running. I teach a class, so there are classes to plan. There are forms to fill out. Invoices. Schedules. Expense reports. Taxes.
Care of Self and Family must happen. Food must be bought and turned into meals. Sleep must happen. Clean clothes are preferred.
My friends and family would probably like to see me once in a while.
I think, “Yeah. I’m wasting too much time with this.”
The brain weasels twirl their whiskers as though they were Snidely Whiplash and invite other brain weasels over for a party.
They troop in. Get mud all over my floor. Turn up the music. Complain about my housekeeping. Tell me I’ve gained weight. Complain that I don’t keep any good snacks in the house and I should go to the grocery store right NOW and get a couple of tubs of Ben and Jerry’s.
They point out that writers never make any money and anyway, all the writing I’ve done is mostly fanfiction and what am I doing trying to publish anything?
They’re especially bad whenever I enter a new stage of my writing process (like trying to crowdfund an original novel for instance).
I consider mopping the floor, but it seems futile. Brain weasels are great at making everything seem futile. Now, I am paralyzed–any task that crosses my mind seems like the wrong one to get started on. I sit down at my computer in a grim mood. Pour some coffee. Wonder if a Ben and Jerry’s run is a solid idea. Check email.
And then a miracle happens: I get a review that reads something like this:
I wanted to thank you for writing.
I have been dealing with [pick one] depression/a family member with mental illness/disability/a suicide attempt/a significant other’s death/a breakup/a whole bunch of stress
It helped me to read [your character’s] inner thoughts regarding suicide/cutting/drug use/family member’s drug use/child abuse/sexual abuse/mourning. It’s not an easy topic . Thank you for making me feel human/sane/understood/not a complete failure.
HA! Take that brain weasels!
I go back to writing.