Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Oh, Look, Another Post About a Depressed Writer

I've started this post a dozen times and never finished it. I've rewritten, rearranged, added, and deleted. In fact, I've seriously considered just deleting the whole thing. I mean, there are only so many times you can read about a writer who's struggling, and I feel like those other posts have been far more insightful.

But for better or for worse, this IS my life. It's what I'm going through, and in that way, it's mine. Besides, I've never been very good at disguising how I feel, so consider this another in the long line of posts in which I wear my heart on my blog.

Being a mom is HARD. Like, write-ten-thousand-words-in-a-single-sitting hard. It seems like it should be doable, but the pace is so relentless. You're on every single minute of every single hour for the next eighteen-plus years, no sick days, no vacation. I suppose that should have occurred to me before I got pregnant, but the reality never sank in until I was knee-deep in kids.

Lately, I've been so jealous of writers who don't have these pint-sized distractions, who can pick up and move to Singapore to finish their revisions. Or write until three in the morning because they know no little hands will tug at their covers a few hours later. I've desperately wondered what it would be like to sit down and write whenever or wherever I wanted because no one was demanding anything of me.

The rational side of me knows that this is only the depression talking. (Have I mentioned I have depression? I haven't had a problem with it since high school, but in the last eight months or so, I've noticed some of the old thought patterns cropping up: the indifference, the negativity, the overall can't-do attitude. It's great.) The rational side of me also knows that EVERY SINGLE WRITER has to overcome one obstacle or another. But knowing and believing are two completely different things.

You'd think these sorts of feelings would have come up sooner. From a writing perspective, 2013 has been a very good year for me. But it's also been stressful (something I've learned about submitting is that it often takes weeks and sometimes months for the first hints of good news to blossom into book deals (if they blossom at all)), and I didn't expect that. Add to this three crazy kids who are just starting to have lives and interests of their own, and you've got one off-kilter Krista.

I want to say for the record that I don't regret being a mom or a writer. I chose to be both, and I stand by those decisions. You don't give up on something just because it gets hard. And it's not as hard as it could be. I'm still mostly functional, still capable of writing more days than I'm not. Hopefully, I'll be able to get a handle on this before I sink too much deeper.

For those of you waiting for the inspirational ah-ha moment these posts often include, I'm sorry to disappoint. I haven't figured anything out yet. But if I don't blog or tweet as often as I used to, I hope you'll understand. I'm trying to slow down, dig deep, get back to the basics. I've got a long climb ahead.

30 comments:

Jer said...

I always appreciate it when people have the guts to be honest. Thanks for sharing this.

I've struggled with depression myself, and it's a tricky little beast. And writing and mothering is not for the faint of heart.

For what it's worth, you've always been a huge inspiration to me--a great example of perseverance and dedication. I know you've probably got a wonderful support network, but if you ever need to add another person, I'm a great listener. :)

Hang in there.

Susan Adrian said...

It's always, always useful to others when we do these hard posts.

Hang in there, Krista. I know how much stress there is in both of your professions, but you'll make it through. With flying colors!

And my email is always open. :)

Karen Clayton said...

Understand completely. I feel as if you've said so much of what I feel. I myself write. mother. repeat. None of that is easy. I've only recently discovered your blog and have thoroughly enjoyed it, but you and your family comes first. Wishing you the best. Hang in there and stay strong, you are doing a great job as mom, a writer, and a blogger, and I am sure so much more.

Kathleen Basi said...

I want to say I understand, but I have the frustration and the multiple kids (4) but I don't have the depression issues. Take the time you need. Writer mamas everywhere are giving you virtual hugs.

Eliza Tilton said...

My daughter is ten months and my son is 4 yr. I go to work, write during lunch and then go home to two kids who are excited to see me. There are days when I want to rent a hotel room and write. I try not t o get frustrated but it's not always easy.

Our kids are only young once and when they've all grown up, we'll have all the free time we want. Of course by then we'll be missing those days when our kids tugged on our covers.

Enjoy the small moments and write when you can. It's the best we can do.

Jessica Lawson said...

Hang in there! I can empathize with being a mom and not having any sick days and having to choose sleep over staying up to work because of little ones. One day at a time~ remember to revel in that great book deal news!

cindie said...

My mother once advised me as I grappled with the demands of young motherhood/personal ambitions: "Life is like weaving a beautiful cloth. You can use any threads you like, but remember, you don't have to use them all at once." So choose your threads for right now and be happy with them. Much life still lies ahead. btw, I am a fan.

May K. Cobb said...

This should be required reading for all mother/writers. Thanks for being brave enough to share the truth and here's to hoping the funk lifts soon!

Amy Trueblood said...

Hi Krista:

Please know that you are not alone. So many of us like you (and me) are trying to do it all. Be the BEST wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and writer we can be and it is SO overwhelming at times.

I think you are doing the right thing by stepping back. Recharge yourself and put things into perspective. Once you feel back to yourself, and things settle down, the writing will be there.

You are so extremely talented and that will NEVER go away.

Melodie Wright said...

It's not so long of a climb.
In fact, it's more like an eye blink.

Can you tell my oldest is a senior this year? AAAH. I'm having the opposite problem. *clutches teen with death grip* And so will you, sooner than you think.

As LM Montgomery once said: you're writing living apostles now.

Mara Rae said...

I can relate 150%, both on the depression front, and on the kid front. Add living in Russia to the equation and it's been a tough year! Try not to be too hard on yourself; you're doing a lot, and you're succeeding (even on the days it doesn't feel like it). It's hard when we're in the thick of things to see the forest for the trees, but I promise: this too shall pass. *hugs*

LH27 said...

Great post! Not that great that you're depressed, of course, but great message. :) I can relate.

One thing that sometimes helps me when I'm depressed is when someone says something nice to/about me. So...just stopped by to say thanks because your blog was the first author blog I found and it ended up being the gateway drug to other author blogs and agent contests on author blogs. It's opened up so many opportunities for me, and for that I am eternally grateful.

And you have a cool author pic.

You've inspired me even without an inspirational ah-ha moment. :)

Leslie

Riley Redgate said...

Ah, I'm so sorry, Krista. I hope your depressive thought patterns disperse soon. Those are so frustrating, so crippling, and so unfair. It's like yo, really, I have better things to worry about than YOU, brain chemistry. *pokes brain hard*

I can't even imagine all the hard work that goes into raising kids, how alert you have to be of them every second of every day ... good Lord. You are a champion to be able to write kick-butt books on top of that -- and you're still a champion on the days when you can't write, and of course you're no less of a writer for break days, or weeks, or whatever length it takes before the muse settles back on your shoulder.

I certainly hope you find levity and full productivity soon. You are wonderful and you deserve wonderful.

Maria said...

Thanks for writing this post. As a mother who writes while dealing with anxiety attacks (which once turned into a scary period of depression), I know I am not alone now. We all support you and understand--maybe a little too well!

Pam said...

Adding to the pile, you're not alone in this. We're all here with you, and we're happy for your success and can understand your frustrations. As others have said before me, the kids will grow up, and then you'll have more time to focus on your writing.

Anonymous said...

I also have three kids and stuggle daily to balance them and my writing. I have had so many literary rejections, too many, that I plummeted into a state (i guess depression) of not caring anymore. I am worthless, dumb, a nobody. These were my thoughts. I know I am not worthless, nor dumb, and am everything to my kids but those damn rejections really got to me. I am working through this. Your post in my mailbox today was perfect. I felt less alone. So thank you.

Myrna Foster said...

*hugs*

Kelly Miller said...

I'm in the same boat you're in and can really relate to your article. I'm a SAHM of three an am trying to get a writing career off the ground. I have one book published and another out in December. I've also battled with depression since I was a child. So I know where you're coming from.

I think the best advice I can give you (not that you asked) is to find the best balance between mothering and writing. Only give to your writing career as much time as you can without making yourself crazy from being too busy. I know this advice sucks because you really enjoy writing as much as I do. Even though you love your children, your probably would rather be writing than doing anything else. But because of your family responsibilities you're not able to give as much attention to the writing as you'd like. That's frustrating I know. Especially when your internal soundtrack is always asking "What about me?"

For now you're forced to do less and unfortunately, until you accept it, you'll drive yourself crazy and be unhappy. Figure out what you love most about writing and focus on doing the thing that fulfills you most.

Because of time constraints, I've had to focus mostly on just writing. The marketing has taken a back seat. Has it impacted my sales? You bet! But I can't do it all and still stay sane. however, I can set up my life so I get to do the things that make me happy.

If you ever need to talk, reach out because you're not alone. The depression will tell you that, but it's lying. From the comments I've seen today, I can tell you have a community that cares about you. You can count me one of them. I'm always looking for new friends, especially those that match my same life experiences. If you ever want to talk, contact me. Good luck in finding your balance!

Krista Van Dolzer said...

I'm trying to spend less time on the Internet (though today's been kind of hectic), so I won't have a chance to respond to each comment individually. But I just wanted to say that I so appreciate your positive thoughts and encouraging pats on the back. And for those of you who mentioned you were in the same place right now, my heart goes out to you. I hope today is a good day for all of us.

Natasha Hanova said...

Can relate. Mom to active 9-year-old twin boys + 4 year old girl.

You're singing my life with your post.

One moment at a time, Krista. One moment at a time...

Stephanie Garber said...

Thanks so much for posting this, Krista, and for being so honest and open. My heart broke a little when I read this post. I've struggled with depression since high school as well. I'm fine most days but I still have days where I can't do anything. So my heart truly goes out to you. I hope that taking a little break from all internet things helps restore you!

Sometimes I think the internet is the best thing ever, but sometimes I think it's like poison. I try not to compare myself to others, but the more I'm online the harder it is to do this!
















Elaine said...

What an awesome, honest post. Thank you, Krista. You are wonderful. Keep climbing.

Jessie Oliveros said...

Yes mothering is hard! I don't deal with depression, but with anxiety...which sometimes feels like depression. Hmmm. Just--I know. I wish you lived in Texas and we could have a play date, and while our 6 children played together, we could pretend we were in Singapore.

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Thank you so much for these thoughtful, encouraging comments, ladies. It really does make me feel better to know I'm not alone. And Jessie, it sounds like we all could use a play date. Too bad we haven't figured out how to teleport:)

Tara Dairman said...

Hugs, Krista. And you can always call or e-mail me as well. I hope that your break from the web brings you some serenity--getting offline for a while always helps me reset, so I support that decision.

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Thank you, Tara. You're a good friend. And it's funny--I often agonize over Internet happenings, but when I finally unplug, I don't miss it. That should probably tell me something...

Kate Hart said...

Just throwing in one more message of support and commiseration. Will be thinking of you. {hugs}

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Thank you, Kate. I really appreciate the concern.

Karen lee Hallam said...

I don't think I could have gotten anything done while my boys while younger. THey are full on and very needy boys, now 13 and 15. With help from my workaholic husband, I can finally stretch my wings. Amazing that you can do anything with young children--especially more than two. whew!

And it's always comforting to learn of a writer struggling with self-doubts, push through them. Inspiring. Thank you. I try ever so hard to keep those negative emotions far away as possible. :)) and you're awesome!

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Thank you for this lovely comment, Karen. It made me feel better:)