Monsters

‘We stopped checking for monsters under our beds when we realised they were inside us.’
-Sam Steven

Confession time: I’ve been on a bit of a downward spiral as of late. Ever since my last post I’ve been struggling to find the urge to even turn my laptop on each day, let alone write something worth reading. In fact I could probably count the amount of times I’ve actually written anything on one hand, and the most I ever managed to produce in one sitting was about two hundred and fifty words. That, my dear reader, is hardly the way to go about finishing one of the multitudes of manuscripts currently sitting half-finished on my hard drive.

So why this complete lack of willpower to create? Why after coming so far with my craft of the past year and a half have I suddenly taken such a momentous step backward leaving me hopelessly floundering through a period of self-loathing? The truth is that it could be any number of things; or more likely it’s a combination of a few influences that has me suddenly apathetic about pretty much everything once again. There’s the medical scare that my partner underwent recently, plus the whole Christmas/end of year wind down that sees just about everybody making excuses for their laziness. Then there’s work matters, family issues, financial deadlines, and just about anything else you can think of that is currently plaguing my mind and literally killing off my desire to write.

These issues are my monsters. They are the things that once lived under the bed and occupied but a fraction of my time as I quickly checked that they were being held at bay before I resumed my everyday life. But somehow, somewhere, the monsters managed to crawl from underneath their shadowy caves and find themselves a home anew inside of my heart and mind. At some point I stopped needing to check for the monsters underneath my bed because they were already inside my head, and they were already fucking shit up.

One of the greatest issues that I have with being a writer is the sole crushing thoughts that usually accompany an overactive mind. I can deal with the loneliness. I can deal with the ridicule of manuscripts shunned, or even the distain of the fucking mouth breathers of the world that assume you are weird or different because you have the intellectual capacity to articulate yourself. But sometimes I really struggle with the monsters of my own mind that constantly over analyse everything. Sometimes I just wish I could step back and take something at face value rather than analysing it until I am certain that understand every minute detail of it. Sometimes I just wish I didn’t feel the need to question everything.

-But this isn’t a negative post. No. This is in fact a therapeutic addition to my ever burgeoning catalogue of thoughts. For you see, one of my greatest joys as a writer is that I do question everything. I love that I’m not willing to accept the world at face value, or that I wish to see more than one horizon in my future. All I am saying is that when times get tough and those monsters that once inspired you to create decide to turn on you instead… Well, you’re kind of fucked.

Right now I’m in that place. That frame of mind where I need to distance myself from my writing and I need to seek out the monsters of my mind and drag them back into the shadows underneath my bed where they belong. It sounds easy enough on paper; and the truth is that it is. The truth is that right now there are people all around the world facing situations that make anything I have ever dealt with feel like a fucking farce. And they are doing so with more gusto and determination that I am. These people are taking to their own monsters with blades held at the ready while I’m wallowing around in self-pity as mine eat my mind from within. I know that I can overcome them. We all can. But we actually have to want to. And up until this post I just haven’t even cared to try.

So, without further ado, here’s to the ensuing battle to come. Here’s to kicking the monsters of my mind in the teeth and dragging them back to the dusty shitholes where they belong. Here’s to me standing up and taking control of my passions once more. And more importantly, here’s to you my humble reader, for finding the courage to do the same.

Author: Chris Nicholas

Chris Nicholas is an author from Brisbane, Australia. He has published two novels, and is currently working on his third.

42 thoughts on “Monsters”

  1. I know what u mean, all of us at some point experience the same struggle. Bug sometimes though instead of fighting them monsters, it’s better to embrace them. Then they’ll soften up and go away on their own. 😉

  2. i don’t think people choose art or words, i think art and words choose people. they come to u. and not vice versa. if you have to try too hard to write, its not worth it. if it comes naturally then that means u are the chosen one. also no harm taking a break from writing. enjoy this phase as long as it lasts.

  3. Know that you’re not alone – I too feel similarly after a lovely day yesterday at the opening of a new exhibition. But I know also that the doubts will pass.

  4. I do, too well, understand that methodical desire. That constant need to dissect everything. Don’t let it consume you.

  5. hi chris, good luck with your writing career. i understand your dilemma completely. The vicissitudes of life can really screw any will power to create. They say you should sit at your desk no matter what and just try and pen anything, but i tend to disagree with that. When I’ve tried to write in my low phases Ive produced material that is maudlin and existential and angry..stuff i would never want to really share with the world. But in that morass of viciously spewed words, I’ve often found nuggets of gold.

    This post of mine on the conundrum of a commercial artist, for instance, though lightly written, posits a theory that occurred to me in a very dark period in my life.

    http://virajrohancircar.wordpress.com/2014/01/07/the-conundrum-of-commercial-art/

  6. cool post! i have the same mind battles. i just stay on my meds and drink copious amounts of red wine. i bend my monsters to my will and have them do my bidding.

  7. Why is it that monsters will come out of hiding to mess with our minds and our worlds? Because they want to destroy that beautiful creative part of us. Good for you for facing them and being ever so much stronger than they are or could ever be. The irony is that our strength that slays them feeds into our creativity taking us beyond our previous greatness.

  8. I cannot agree with you more on what you just said – I started writing a novel a year and a half ago, and got pretty far to about 30k words. Each time I open it, instead of continuing to write, I find myself editing each word and hating how I sound on paper. It drives me so mad that I just stopped writing – it’s been a few months and I am no closer to finishing it. Even writing in my blog has been a struggle…as you said, life takes over and it’s difficult to get into a rhythm. But what I find very encouraging in your post is that you are able to evaluate yourself and you are able to understand what’s happening – people these days aren’t able to assess themselves, so in that sense you are where you are supposed to be. There’s nothing wrong with taking a step back, let life take the lead and then find your way back to writing 🙂

  9. I love this post. What a really perspective and the monster thing….genius. We all find ourselves in that place for a time but kudos to you for acknowledging it and allowing it to be. There are some things we just can’t fight but it sounds like you are ready to kick this one!

  10. I thought of this quote as I read this:

    Next
    Arthur Miller Quote on Suffering and Psychoanalysis: ‘My argument with so much of psychoanalysis, is the preconception that suffering is a mistake, or a sign of weakness, or a sign even of illness. When in fact, possibly the greatest truths we know, have come out of people’s suffering. The problem is not to undo suffering, or to wipe it off the face of the earth, but to make it inform our lives, instead of trying to “cure” ourselves of it constantly, and avoid it, and avoid anything but that lobotomized sense of what they call “happiness”. There’s too much of an attempt, it seems to me, to think in terms of controlling man, rather than freeing him – of defining him, rather than letting him go! It’s part of the whole ideology of this age, which is power-mad!’ (Spotted on Adam Curtis’ documentary Century of the Self)

  11. I know exactly what you mean about over-analyzing everything. It is my life. I analyze every interaction with another person, my own feelings on the minutest details, and the universe as a whole. It is deadly and can be consuming, but once you clear away the smoke, you have more clarity than ever. It is a gift, even when it seems it’s not getting you far.

  12. I am so glad to have found your blog, thanks to Christian Mihai, who reposted it on his blog, which I follow. I will now follow yours.

    That said, I can totally relate to your feelings of lack of motivation in the writing department. My obstacles are self created too, and so frustrating because like you, I had a really productive year before this sluggishness set in.

    My book, a memoir about my life (my husband says I should stop calling it a memoir since I’m not famous and it sounds kind of pretentious), is finished. I don’t have the $ to hire a professional editor, so I sent it to various friends and family for their thoughts, only one of whom has finished reading it. My husband is my editor, and tries to keep up, but he has a full time job, unlike me, which enables me to pursue my writing, so he only has so much time to give me.

    I also started a book proposal to send to prospective agents, but am stuck on the part where I present my platform (non-existent) and marketing plan (not a clue what they want.) There is no way to hustle my way through this. I have to admit I have neither of these things, and face the inevitable rejection that will come, which is frustrating b/c my book is good, and could benefit people facing similar struggles as me.

    Maybe I’ll just start posting parts of it on my blog (cardamonefive.wordpress.com) and see what kind of response I get, but that feels counterproductive to the goal I set five years ago when I started writing it, which was that I would submit it b/c if there ever was a time in my life when I could do it, it’s now, while I’m a stay-at-home mom with kids in full-time school.

    Sorry to blather on, but your post resonated with me, and I felt compelled to explain why. Funny. This is the most I’ve written since before the holiday.

    Cheers,
    Elizabeth

  13. When the monsters get rowdy is when you can know you are on the brink of an amazing creative breakthrough. Something the inner critic resists with all it has. Keep kicking. Keep writing!

  14. About a year ago I went through a similar experience. And when I came out the other side, my writing was better than ever. The well was deeper for my experiences, and I it led me to write the first fiction of mine to get published. When you have slain your monsters, I hope you have a similar burst of creativity.

  15. I know that “I don’t deserve to be feeling down when others have it so much worse” feeling well, and I’ve read something about it recently. If I can find it I’ll post a link here in another comment. The gist, if I remember correctly, was that that line of thinking is itself a stumbling block. Makes sense; there’s GOTTA be some middle ground between obsessive immersion in one’s own problems and feeling unentitled to feelings/troubles.

  16. I too can over analyze situations. Wisdom acquired through age has taught me it is always best to step back and take a look at the big picture. You are unique and blazing your own path, not weird and different, despite the challenges faced. Never lose sight of your goals. Life is a rollercoaster. Go with it and enjoy the ride!

  17. Thought-provoking and clearly, by the number of replies, you’ve hit a rich vein of like-minded souls. Thanks for liking my humble efforts and good luck in all that you do. KEEP writing!

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