“When life knocks you down you have two choices- stay down or get up.”
— Tom Krause
I've wanted to write this post a hundred times, I think. I've had it half-drafted for months, but it never felt like the right time. I've been pretty quiet on social media, especially as "Jade Eby - Author" but there's been a reason for it. Several reasons actually. I've had a lot of questions about my sequel to Whiskey and a Gun or when I was coming out with something new. I've mostly been side-stepping or skirting around those questions, but I think it's time to answer them.
I think the biggest, most obvious reason I haven't been active in my role as a writer is that I've been kind of preoccupied. At the beginning of 2014, my husband got the opportunity to begin working for a wonderful, growing company. Taking the job meant moving to a new state, new house and being away from friends, family and familiarity. It was something we couldn't pass up. So we leapt in with both feet.
The thing about jumping in with both feet is... you don't have much time, energy or head space for much else. I had to switch from "writing-during-free-time" to "packing/moving/acclimating-during-free-time." When your life is in disarray and chaos, it's pretty hard to concentrate on things like writing and reading, especially when you have a full time job. I never realized how much "life" can impede on your free time and the things you enjoy. This is definitely not something I planned for or even something I anticipated affecting my life as much as it did. Now, it's the middle of April and I *finally* feel like things are starting to slow down and come back to a "normal" routine.
I haven't been publicly vocal about this next reason, but it's also something I've never been shy talking about either. I've struggled with depression and anxiety since I was a teenager. I think a lot more people struggle with depression and anxiety than people realize. What you might not know is how utterly debilitating it can be. Let me tell you, depression is a real bitch. It will take a normal, well-adjusted person and bring them to their knees. It will take someone who thrives on creativity, dreams and laughter and turn them into a walking raincloud. Since about mid-November, I've had quite a bout with my depression. It has affected not only my personal life, but my writing life as well. It was near impossible to look at my work and feel anything but hopelessness, despair and sorrow. Some writers are able to turn their depression into massive, amazing words and others become...stuck. Unfortunately, I am one of those that can't seem to do anything but... nothing. It's been a long last couple months, and sometimes there's nothing to do but "ride it out," but I finally feel like I'm on a good, healthy path. I see my dreams blossoming before me and all the possibilities ahead.
This last reason is probably for the hardest for me to admit. Because, to me, it feels like failure. It feels, looks and sounds like a giant, steaming pile of dog shit and it makes me angry, sad and frustrated. I don't know that I would call it "writer's block" but I would liken whatever has happened to me, to that. The thing that other writers never warn you about is what happens when you experience success. And what happens when people suddenly have expectations of you or your writing. After Whiskey and a Gun came out (which I really had no expectations for), I was ASTOUNDED with the amount of people who read it and sent me messages. It was more successful than I could have ever imagined and I'm grateful for every single reader who has read it and expressed their enjoyment of it. But the thing is, when I started to work on The Finish, it was a completely different experience than writing Whiskey and a Gun. I suddenly had people waiting for it, I had expectations from readers, I had expectations from myself. And I started to doubt myself, my writing abilities and even the story itself. I started to freeze every time I sat down at the computer to write. I tried a hundred different things to break loose that fear, doubt and uncertainty. I changed up my writing space. I replotted, outlined and wrote against my "process." I talked and talked and talked to my critique partners until I was blue in the face.
So I took a break. And then the move to another state happened.
So, the truth of the matter is... I still don't know what's going to happen. As a writer, I'm incredibly terrified for myself. Will I ever finish this book? Will it be good enough for me? Will it be good enough for the readers? More importantly, will I do the story justice? I honestly don't know that answer. I can't promise that the book will get done. And that KILLS me to say. But I've always told myself that I would always be honest with my readers. So there it is. All laid out. I understand the disappointment (if that's what you feel), I understand that I'm not delivering on what I've said I would (yet!) but I can promise you that this girl is not done writing.
I don't care how much life knocks me down or how hard depression hits me. I don't care if I'm stuck for months on end and the act of not writing kills me... I will never give up on this dream.
So, I'm asking you, dear friends and readers, to stick with me. Because I'm not done writing the crazy characters in my head. I'm not done sharing my passion of writing with you all.
5/26/14 Edited To Add:
I've gone back to the post several times to remind myself where I was at and that it's possible to pull out of my depression. I've also read some beautiful posts from other writers on this subject and felt like directing you there in case you want to read about other victims of depression. Stephanie Perkins (who is kind of my hero) wrote about her battle with depression HERE. Myra McEntire wrote about hers here and Libbra Bray bravely described her experiences HERE.