Discouraged whining? Writers don’t do that, surely!?

I’m honestly not trying to have a pity party, here, but someday this might be worth something to someone who is in the same place I am.  And, hey, I’m an over-sharer.  So:

Feeling pretty low today.

Since the new school year began, I’ve been very tired.  My insomnia doesn’t help–the last three nights I’ve had to take something to get to sleep before 1am (I have to get up at 6am; if I go to sleep after 1 I’m going to be useless the next day, and I can’t be useless as a teacher).

I’m not sleepy, I’m just exhausted.  My brain barely feels like it’s functioning, and what little juice it gets I give to my work.  So when I get home, and the Bun is in bed, and I want to write… I can’t.  Words just don’t come.

On top of this, I’m suddenly terrified that I’m writing drivel.  Not “bad prose that can be fixed,” but “oh my god please dig my eyes out with a spoon”-level work.  It’s a constant thought this week, and that makes me freeze up even more.

I keep telling myself that multiple respected writers and editors said I had something worth reading, and one even used the exact words “You’re a good writer,” but right now it’s really hard to take those statements as truth, even though I know the people involved had no reason to lie to me.

Last night I put my daughter to bed, then I sat down with my computer and tried to write. I couldn’t.  I know what’s happening in that scene.  I know what comes next.  But I simply couldn’t marshal the mental fortitude to put words on the page.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m not actually depressed.  I don’t seem to fit the pattern of actual depression, but I do have severe self-esteem issues (thanks, adopted family!); pair that with the natural cynicism my life has given me, and I am my own harshest critic.

So I fight back.  And that works… but I still can’t seem to get anything written.   But I’ll keep trying.

Still plugging away

Last week I was all fired up. Only three more chapters until this, the rough draft, is finished. And they include a battle scene I’ve been planning for eons. No problem!

Alas, that enthusiasm is gone. I’m finding myself wholly unable to focus, unable to get any words on the page that even pass the “permission to write badly” rule.

And yet, I will not yield. Three chapters. Come on, Johnston. That’s nothing–a year ago I only HAD three chapters, notwithstanding the Great Disk Death of 2012, which destroyed the 3/4 done first version of the story. I was devastated when it happened, but really, it was very inferior to what now exists.

Anyway. Back to the comma mines.

How to come home on a hot California day, Sacramento edition

1. Stagger in the door loaded down with your computer bag and your daughter’s backpack. Drop bags in the appropriate places.
2. Recognize the fact that your house is hot; turn on the air conditioner.
3. Fill a cup with a metric buttload of ice and your favorite drink.
4. Grab your kindle and your drink. Head out to the backyard and flop into the hammock.
5. Begin reading.
6. After fifteen minutes, realize it’s way too fucking hot for this shit and go back inside.
7. Collapse into favorite chair. Pull laptop out. Start writing.