Pretty much this entire year, thus far, I have been struggling with depression. I’m doing better now, but I had to shed a lot of responsibilities that I had over committed myself to in order to get there. That’s another story, and I won’t bore you with it here :)
But, during all this, I wasn’t writing. Wasn’t doing research, wasn’t brainstorming, wasn’t journaling, wasn’t working on my story – nada. The only writing I was actually able to make myself do was the few blog posts I had committed to doing – like this one. That’s it. This was not helping my depression either because I felt guilty I wasn’t working and I felt, acutely, the loss of my creativity.
I was talking to a friend (thank you, Wendy), who had just come out of some rough times herself and is also a writer. What she had done and suggested I do was to listen to a dark song and write a character sketch for an antagonist with no intent to necessarily use the character. Just to get dark feelings out. Any song that took me to a dark place would do. It took me a few songs and I had to get some suggestions, but I found one (Closer by Nine Inch Nails – the uncensored version – if you’re curious) that was sufficiently dark to me. So, I listened to it a few times and started writing this antagonist.
What happened half way through was that I could see all the potential for a story using this character. When I finished with him, I started sketching out the hero and heroine (I write romance – remember). Already, I was feeling better and inspired. Then I started writing some rough plot points, followed by the intro to the story.
And now, I’m writing. It worked. I hadn’t done any writing in months and through one cool exercise, I was back. It is such a relief to be feeling more like myself and being creative. So, I would suggest this exercise to anyone who needs to shake off some darkness from within.
How do you get through rough times when you’re struggling to create?