The Loneliness of the Long Distance Writer

As of today, I am one year late on delivery of my second book.

I’ve been writing lately about my depression and its roots, and about the past year being really rough. Like hanging off the edge of a giant razor blade by your fingers rough.

The manuscript I’m so long overdue on is no great massive volume. I’ve not floundered halfway through my War and Peace. It’s just the second Doc Wilde book, which at editorial decree is to be about the same length as the first, #30-40,000 words. I should’ve been able to write it in a couple of months. That was, indeed, the plan that led to the original deadline.

But, depression. And some major health issues related to it.

I won’t claim writer’s block. I innately know I can write the prose I need to write if I just apply ass to chair and fingers to keyboard as I need to. I also innately know I can lift the weights at the gym I need to to strengthen my muscles, and that I can easily make my bed and vacuum the floor, and that I can go out and about to meet new friends to replace those who’ve drifted off over the months and years I’ve struggled with this dark monster.

No, not writer’s block. Life block.

I am, innately, a man who devours life. I throw myself into experience. I take risks. I sound my barbaric yawp.

Except when under depression’s spell.

Under depression’s spell, I can’t remember a book I read last week. I can’t answer the phone. I wait until dark to go for the mail to avoid human contact. And I don’t get around to a lot of things I really need to, like helping Doc Wilde resolve his latest encounters with peril.

Natalie Whipple is another writer who has had a pretty shitty year (in different ways), as she describes in the latest entry on her wonderful blog:

Today is a serious day. I’m going to talk about things I’ve kept off this blog for about 15 months. I’m going to talk about being on submission—more specifically about what it’s like to experience all those things writers dread happening.

Because, really, no writer wants to be that person. The one who has to go through hell just to get a book on the shelf. You hope with all your being that your journey won’t be too horrible. And you should. Without that hope? I don’t know how I’d be where I am, even if it’s not entirely where I want to be.

But what happens when it is you? What happens when writers list off “horror stories” about their publishing journey and you realize you’ve basically been through all of them?

If you want a realistic look at the realities of the writing life, and how it just ain’t as easy as a lot of people think it is, read the whole entry here.

And, Natalie, I’m rooting for you. ;)

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