Every so often I get into a really large funk, where instead of writing drama, I create it in my own life. I’m writing this now, in hopes to express to my friends and family why I do the things that I do, hopefully shedding some light on my otherwise insane personality.
I know this is a topic I’ve covered before, but I’d like to give you a practical list of symptoms that I suffer from whenever I’m avoiding my work. I think this rings true for any author, but it has especially become a problem for me. I can look at a calendar and my rage-monster personality usually surfaces whenever I’m avoiding a large chunk of work. This in turn causes me to lash out at my friends. Hopefully this list can help writers like me, stop these behaviours before they start.
Do any of these sound familiar?
1. Everything is going peachy until someone disagrees with you!
We’ve all been there. One moment you’re having a casual conversation about why this movie is really great, or why this book is really important, or why John Oliver is the greatest human being alive. Then suddenly a close friend of yours comes in with an opinion that rockets you out of your boots. How do you deal with this? Instead of celebrating the differences we have, this becomes a personal attack! Wait… no, scratch that. It becomes a full on war! This usually leads to one of two scenarios. Either you blow up at them and the room becomes silent, or you bottle your rage and save it for another day. Which leads me to point number 2.
2. You bottle things up instead of express them.
Why share how you feel? People will only disagree with you. Besides, you have writing to do, damn it! You don’t have time to share your feelings with others. They wouldn’t understand. If they disagree with you, surely they won’t believe your opinion matters. Maybe you use this as fuel for your writing. Surely that’s the healthier thing to do, rather than talk things out with your peers. Right?
3. You start antagonizing your friends with hollywood-worthy scenarios.
It’s at this stage that during your car ride, or waiting in line at the bank do you start dreaming-up scenarios where your peers turn into back-stabbing Judas worshipers! Instead of sitting down to write your story plot, alternatively you plot out how your friends are secretly amused by your buffoonery. You might fantasize about the things you might say to get back at them. So you do the only thing you know best, you bank these insults for a later date.
4. You avoid socializing with people because you know it can only lead to trouble.
Sure this might be healthy if you feel you might blow up at somebody for no particular reason, but it’s equally unhealthy to sit at home and brood instead of having any kind of fun. Do you use this time to work on your book? Hell no! You binge watch Netflix, sit on your ass, and text on your phone for hours on end until you’re convinced your friends hate you. How dare they not ask how I’m feeling. How dare they have fun without me (even though you chose to stay home).
5. You decide to write out of spite, rather than write out of love for your craft.
I’ll show them! you may think to yourself. In lieu of creating a new character for your story, you find ways to satirize your friends in these ridiculous situations. It is in this moment you realize your writing doesn’t have its usual whimsy. Instead it comes off as whiney and juvenile.
6. You pitch half-thought out ideas in hope people will praise you for your genius.
You may have had a hard week, but suddenly you’ve come up with a brilliant idea for a movie script! Do you sit down and write the script from beginning to end? PFFFFFT, Screw that! Let’s pitch this idea before it’s ready to our friends! You don’t need to be satisfied with it. Their praise and attention will be the fuel you need to write! Then it happens. You pitch this idea… and WHAAAAAA? THEY DON’T LIKE IT? THEY’RE STUPID! THEY’RE DUMB! WHAT DO THEY KNOW? MAYBE THEY’RE RIGHT? OH GOD, THEY’RE RIGHT. OH GOD ,YOU’RE A FAILURE. OH GOD… WHY… WHY GOD… WHY!? Their reactions didn’t meet your everest-high expectations? I’m not surprised.
7. TIME TO GET WACKY!
At this point, you’ve avoided being creative for so long, that you drum up insane jokes and search the web for insane pictures or video content. OR… you can do what I usually do, and go on a POSTING SPREE on every social media platform. Want to send a photoshopped picture of Mary Poppins sucking a huge D to all your peers? NO PROBLEM. Surely EVERYBODY will think this is funny. RIGHT? RIIIIIGHT?
Oh god. People think you’re insane. You’re a failure at life! You’re a failure at writing!
8. Let’s open up the bottle!
Now, it’s during this time any normal healthy human would discuss their problems with a professional, or write them down in a diary before unleashing them upon their peers. What do you do instead? You write a scathing email or letter. You send a blizzard of text messages. You call and leave angry voicemails. You need to get your point across so deeply. These people have hurt you. You didn’t do this to yourself! Did you? Maybe you did… Maybe you shouldn’t have sent that email. Oh God! HERE COME REPERCUSSIONS! YOU DIDN’T EXPECT THOSE! AHHH! THEY’RE EVERYWHERE! How many people have you pissed off?
9. Let’s dig some holes!
Alright. The worst has happened, but instead of picking up the pieces and getting back to work, you find another way to resist writing by becoming an apologetic apostle. Already apologized to that person? Let’s apologize again! And Again! AND AGAIN. Apologize so much that it makes things all better. Now your peers don’t know what to make of you. It’s like walking on eggshells every time you’re around. So what do you do? You repeat symptom number 4 and avoid communication with everyone you’ve wronged.
10. Time for a pity party.
You could turn your feelings into a productive action but instead you start to feel sorry for yourself. This is usually when you turn them into some kind of vice. IE: Binge Eating, Smoking, Drinking, Drugs, Sex, you name it. All writers have something they turn to express their feelings without writing a single word. For me, it’s eating a bag of potato chips every night until I turn into a starchy, unhealthy hot mess.
11. You pick up the pieces, only to repeat step 1.
This is where the cycle can end, but instead of focusing on your work, you focus too much on what people say about you in the aftermath of your actions. Everything is going peachy until someone disagrees with something you say. This turns into a personal attack… no- a full on war… and yadda yadda yadda.
To everyone that has had to deal with my shenanigans over the past few weeks, you have my sincerest apologies. It’s hard to find a way out of these ruts when writer’s block has its hold on you. If you or someone you know causes this sort of drama, please know the best thing you can do is be patient and treat them with love. They’ll appreciate you a lot more after the fact.
All in all the best thing you can do to combat these things are to stay active, exercise, talk to a professional, journal about it, and above all stay productive. Write on your worst days. Write through the blocks. Write through the challenges. Just- Write. I promise when you have a finished draft, you can settle back into reality.
Happy Writing Everyone.