Post Project Ennui

So here goes my first blog, because I really don’t know what else to do.

On January 28th, 2018, I finished my second full manuscript, a first draft of what I hope will be a really dark, brutal, neo-noir story where a girl tries to overcome her own limitations, but also involving a gang war between Vampire Aristocrats and Goblin Gangsters. Fun Stuff.

I finished the 91,000 word piece that I began in October when I was not in a very good place. I threw myself into the project and when November came, I wrote as much as Nanowrimo requires. For the uninitiated, Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) is where participants write a 50,000 word manuscript in a month. November is a very bad month for me to do this; multiple birthdays, major issues at work, holiday preparations and exam season affects us all.

December wasn’t much better as I counted down my days at a job that made me miserable. I left some people I really admired, but I had to get out of there. For my own sake. Then the holidays came and me and my family went on what would become a vacation from hell. But that’s a whole other story.

I started the year jet lagged and terrified of this new open calendar. The thing that keeps scratching the back of my head is failure. I have become exactly what all my childhood bullies said I would be, “Living in his parent’s basement with nothing going for him.” I have no real responsibilities or commitments, which my family supports, thank god. So maybe I am not a total mess. I am now an Arts and Culture reporter for the Manitoban. I love this new position. I am learning again, going to cool places, talking to interesting people and getting better at writing.

I started the year being able to wake up at 5:30 am, shower, eat and get writing until noon when I would clean and cook.

I went to a mind opening workshop where I’ve gotten to know some amazing writers and artists who have already taught me a lot and opened my eyes to the realities of the creative industry. I hope to continue a working relationship with them.

And then I finished my manuscript.

Now? I can barely write at all.

I can’t seem to finish a horror story that I’ve been writing and rewriting for weeks. I only finished my first commission because of a deadline and the morbid enjoyment of writing something truly awful. Jesus Christ, the client wanted the worst kind of horror story. Where girls lose their clothes fleeing from monsters and cross rivers of blood. My morals as a writer died, but i got paid.

I can’t seem to sit down and get anything consistent done. My 2,000-4,000 words a day streak has fallen off a cliff and died.

I can’t focus whatsoever. Maybe I just need a solid break? But I’m already doing that, beyond reporting, I am free. Completely free to do whatever and just living off my family.

So what can I do now? Well, if I can finish some short horror fiction I may have enough to self-publish a horror anthology. I have savings to make that happen and now I have the connections. I know I need to bite the bullet, write some awful stuff and fix it. Maybe get something great out of it in the end.

Has my fire gone out? I don’t think so. I still can’t stop thinking about the stories I want to tell, the worlds to explore and characters to journey with. I can’t not see myself as a writer, and I can’t stop jotting down little stories or lines of dialogue.

Maybe this will pass? Through twitter, I’ve learned that this is not uncommon. I also know I need to get up and keep working. Maybe I’ll get that anthology out and done by the end of the year? Maybe I’ll even have a full edited manuscript circling the slush piles?

I will say this, unlike three month ago, I do feel hope again. I am not resigned to this existence. I am not alone in these feelings. No one at age 23 knows what they’re doing and that’s okay. I am out of the black tunnel that was sending me into my worst thoughts and feelings. I am going to be okay (saying that is progress).

So here’s hoping that something will come of all this and I’ll be able to get up and keep going.

Let me know your thoughts? Comment?

Thank you,

ZFSigurdson