.mattfraction

When you were just starting out as a writer, before you had a family and a career to keep you going, what would you do when depression hit and you couldn't find the energy to write? Would you just force yourself to write anyway, or was there something else you would do?

Asked by
beardmanly

i dunno. i’d feel depressed and write, or i’d feel depressed and not write. i don’t force it well regardless of my mood — forcing me to do anything is a surefire way for that thing to be done in a spectacularly half-assed and resentful manner. 

mostly i’d just… I have to grind it out. happy, sad, sleepy, horny, mad, lazy, in love, enraged, at home, abroad, wherever, whenever. you don’t have to PUBLISH it. you don’t have to think it’s GOOD. even when i have nothing to say i’ll write ‘i have nothing to say’ a hundred times in a notebook or whatever.

sometimes the writing is easier when i’m depressed. i can work through stuff, think through stuff. or just wallow, honestly. sometimes the writing can show you the way out. 

or sometimes i’m so into some other goddamn thing that the last thing i want to do is sit and write and it’s just as much a slog. it’s not a… i don’t understand the feeling of, the way people speak of writing as though it were, like, some kind of djinn to be summoned or like it’s the loch ness monster or seeing a shooting star. it’s a physical act. it is a thing you do with your muscles and your body and your willpower. watch, i’ll show you: get a piece of paper. get a pencil. put the pencil on the paper and write the word “something”

there. you did it. you wrote. you wrote ‘something.’ now put a word after something. Something what? Something… happened? creaked? died? flew? exploded? snapped? Tell me. With your hand, with the hand holding the pencil or pen or marker or crayon, it doesn’t matter, push your fingers and hand up and back and across and back until there is another word after “something”.

There. Now you’re writing a story.

Notes

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