A few months ago I decided that I wanted to write a blog. It wasn’t a difficult decision to make; I didn’t undertake any ground breaking epiphany during which I decided that the world would be forever enriched having received my innermost thoughts on a sporadic basis. Rather, I simply stumbled upon the idea whilst sitting at my computer staring at a horrifically blank white page pondering how on earth I was going to break through a case of writer’s block that had besieged me for what would eventually add up to almost twelve months. You see, I am a writer. Or at least I would like to be, and therefore that case of writer’s block had become the bane of my existence. As it would eventually turn out, my problems actually ran a lot deeper than mere writer’s block, and it’s only now in hindsight that I can see the where my lack of enthusiasm to create stemmed from. So after months of procrastinating to avoid following through with my plan to blog, here it is, my first ever foray into the online world of web logs. I am now one of billions of undereducated, over opinionated and outspoken bloggers clogging to internet with their bullshit. Enjoy.
The aforementioned writer’s block was the by-product of what Lemony Snicket would call a series of unfortunate events that had taken place between February 2011 to August of the same year. To summarise some of the turbulent events that shaped those six months; I relocated interstate to attend university, sending myself broke in doing so (at times skipping meals because I couldn’t afford to feed myself). I witnessed a car accident in which a young mother lost her leg, administering first aid and phoning her husband to notify him of the incident. I travelled overseas. My father suffered an aortic aneurism and almost died, being airlifted to hospital for emergency surgery; his subsequent illness and road to recovery seeing him fall into financial difficulty for a few troublesome months. My younger brother suffered from anorexia nervosa, and subsequently failed to attend school before eventually leaving to pursue a career. And through all of this and more I worked my fucking arse off just to keep myself afloat and the debt collectors at bay.
Then, in late July of 2011 a funny thing happened, I found half an hour to write a short story that I submitted to the Heading North Young Writer’s Competition, and guess what? I won. I kid you not. Through the eye of the storm that had become my life, a small victory was afforded to me for my toils. As part of the prize for winning this competition, I was awarded a seat on a panel of young writers at the 2011 Byron Bay Writers Festival, as well as a mentorship at the Northern Rivers Writers Centre. And for the first time in a very long time, things were looking up. I attended the festival, and spoke on the panel, even getting a few words of praise for my words. Then almost as soon as the incredible elation of this small achievement subsided, the depression hit and I stopped writing completely.
I call it depression upon reflection, here is where the hindsight I have previously alluded to comes into play. At the time I called this affliction writer’s block. Because that’s what it felt like; it felt like all of the turbulent experiences of the preceding six months manifested as one and built a roadblock inside my head that was trapping all of my creative thoughts. There were no inconsolable moods or days where I thought the world was not worth living in, no, there was just an extreme lack of enthusiasm to sit at my computer and create. Here I was, a young writer on the rise, with a mentorship to prove it, and I couldn’t think of anything remotely creative, inspiring, or interesting to put onto paper. So I abandoned it. I failed to undertake the mentorship and I packed my computer in its case, let my notepads of ideas gather dust and I walked away.
That’s pretty much how my writing implements remained for nine months, save for the occasional attempts to write something imaginative enough to earn me a pass at university. I didn’t write, I barely read (when usually I would devour novels with an insatiable lust), and somewhere along the line I managed to shed ten kilograms of bodyweight from anxiety. At the time I was stressed to the max, I was pushing myself harder and harder with work, and the gym, all while trying to solve my family’s problems from four hours’ drive away, while burying my own. My life became a relentless grind, and I was too rundown and exhausted to realise it. And all the while I was depressed and angry because I had abandoned the one thing that had always kept me level headed; writing.
Then, after nine months hovering in a bullshit limbo of confused thoughts and no creativity, I decided to write a blog; this exact blog as a matter of fact. But at the time I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t prepared to face the fact that I was miserable and depressed, so I began writing stories as a means of procrastination. I started with something short; a thousand word piece of shit in which I managed to dump all of the rust accumulated on my mind into a menagerie of poor grammar, a shonky plot, and all round terrible writing. Then I started to branch out; to take on longer projects, and before I knew it I was writing almost every day, tracking my progress in each session with word lengths, content and thoughts upon reflection. And somewhere in all this writing, in all this time huddled away from the world, away from the demons that had crawled up on my bed and wrapped their fingers round my throat, I found happiness in what I was doing. I found the ability to let go of my nightmares, cast aside the shackles of dejection that had bound me, and let those that I love the most fend for themselves. My father took greater care of himself, my younger brother discovered a passion that would help him overcome his illness, and my zest for life that I had always known lay dormant inside of me returned with unparalleled gusto. I found myself in my writing.
That was a couple of months back now, and during that time my life has turned a lot of corners. I am writing as much as I can, whenever I can, about whatever I can, and I am loving every single moment of it. I’ve also decided that I am going to spread my wings and swan dive headfirst into the writing industry again (my last two attempts saw me land a contract that turned out to be bogus, and fall agonising short of seeing my work in print with a legitimate print company), and I’ve even decided to chase up the writer’s centre and see if they will honour my mentorship from last year. I know that the chances of this are slim, but as I have learnt over the past year, you never let an opportunity go to waste; so if hassling the shit out of a desk jockey in Byron Bay helps put my career on the right track, then that poor woman has no earthly idea what she’s in for. My mind is creating stories again; stories that I want to share with the world.
So here we are, sink or swim time. Either I make it in this industry or I don’t. If I succeed then that’s great. If I don’t, then at the very least I want to be able to say that I gave it my best shot. Ten years from now, I want to be able to say that I had what it takes to look depression and misery in the eye, and tell it to fuck off.