Hey #sff #writingcommunity! Before the new year, I talked about how this year I wanted to write for myself and why that was important to me. I started out all right; reviewing my drafts and journalled a bit on each story. The games I'm working on for DMsGuild.com and the Salercian Vault are a bit more straightforward—I just have to brush up on the rules from a designer's perspective and dive in.
This week, I didn’t write. I refreshed my to do lists and categories of them. I decided I'd take 12 months’ worth of challenges. (I’m not going anywhere for a while, so what the hell I say.) I took a few classes online. I practiced self-care. I over-caffeinated. I played games. I didn’t sleep. I had nightmares. I had a blast talking about career goals and writerly journeys at SFWA’s New Year Procrastinator’s Party. (I’m adding tarot deck recommendations to my Amazon Wish List. If you have any, please comment so I can keep track!) And, I was reassured that I wasn’t alone, that these powerful emotions I’m feeling are shared by others I admire. Despite all of this, I succumbed to my fear and didn’t write.
I am afraid. And, that’s the reason why I didn’t write this week and why I’m not enthused about writing a #musicmonday post or any other flotsam and jetsam—because the act of writing happy stories felt inconsequential. This particular story I’m working on comes from a place of deep, deep joy, and I can’t find that happiness when I am terrified. My anxiety brain told me not to, you see. It screamed that the house was burning, and spritzing myself with rose water wouldn’t douse the flames.
To put out the fire, I’m being gentle with myself. I wrote this post a while back about 75 tips for self-care, and I’ve added a few of these to my To Do list. I encourage you to do the same.
While self-care and decreasing my caffeine are both crucial for my overall well-being, especially now, it doesn’t put out the flames entirely. That fear, that panic—it’s all still there as if I’m surrounded by electrical wire-snakes.
So, I’m channeling that fear into my next creative challenge.
It feels appropriate to tackle my anxiety using this approach. A lot of writers talk about themes in storytelling, but I am proudest of the work I do when I channel my emotions, when I am honest. The story that I wrote for Sisterhood: Dark Tales and Secret Histories, for example, is titled “From an Honest Sister, to a Neglected Daughter” is dripping with my fear of a narrowly-defined womanhood and the options a victim has to wrest her agency back.
I’ll write up a proper post about it, but here’s my project overview: in February, I’m writing #28DaysofPoetry. Instead of mulling over topics or prompts each day, I’ve decided my theme will be “Into the Dark” and I’ll be exploring the shadows. This creative challenge will be extremely personal and offered to my patrons through my Patreon in February.
When we get a little closer to February, I’ll do a proper announcement just in case you want to sponsor this challenge for $2. My hope is that by directing these feelings I have into a creative project, I can feel a little less cheap writing a joyful story and slowly moving ahead on my 2021 goals.