Those Clarity Moments

Do you know the one? Where you notice you’ve been thinking about something, or approaching something, in completely the wrong way? And then suddenly you realise in one brief moment of clarity that thinking about it a different way potentially changes everything.

In many respects, this has been a big part of treatment for my depression and anxiety, but this particular moment… I don’t know. It relates to everything I’ve thought and believed about working, dreaming, ambitions and careers, for at least 10 years.

There were a bunch of points I wanted to make about this, but I’ve forgotten them, so this post may seem a little disjointed and rambling at times.

Let me start by saying I’ve endured a bout of depression and anxiety for a little over a decade. It’s played a huge part in grinding me down for a long time. This past year has seen a big change in that, thanks to the principles of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. I’ve begun thinking about things in different ways, focusing on ‘being present’ and ‘being mindful’, and it’s helped immensely.

When I was younger, I wanted to be so many things; an astronaut, a lawyer, an assassin, a dinosaur trainer (still kinda want to do that, if I’m honest), and then, I fixated on becoming a writer. For a while, I could only think of being a ‘published writer’, but now I realise that writing is what I want to do, it’s what I am best at (despite quite imperfect work), and it’s the one thing I most enjoy doing. I put so much pressure on myself to get published, to write a marketable story that I lost sight of the ‘right motivations’ for writing. I had to want to tell a story. I found that again, this year, and that has helped me rediscover this desire to be a writer. Not a published author, but a storyteller. I’m not a great storyteller, but I’m learning every day.

This is the main point I wanted to address; for the longest time, I’ve had this crippling fear of ending up in a so-called ‘dead-end job’, one without prospects or desirable career paths. I’ve always been haunted by the idea that I had to be successful, earning a respectable wage, in order to be happy. In order to stop being the toilet paper the world uses to wipe its arse. I always thought my life would be a failure if I didn’t end up in one well-paying position or another.

The only thing I need, in order to consider my life a success, is to be able to do the thing I want to do. And that’s write. It doesn’t matter if I’m earning six figures in a high-powered position, or earning living wage on the checkout in a supermarket. That’s my realisation. That one, single thought, has cut my anxieties in half. I still have social anxieties to contend with, but that’s another fight for another day. Right now, I’m no longer stressed about being forced into a small job, for a small wage. Because the world needs small people, too.

I’m not saying I don’t have ambitions, because I do. I’m not saying ‘don’t dream big’, ‘don’t strive for more’, or ‘limit yourself to second best’, I’m saying find a way to do what you want to do. It’s not an earth-shattering thought, and it’s not ripe with profundity. I’m sure to a great many people, it’s common sense. But that’s the thing about depression, it clouds judgement. For me, what might be a singular, small thought to one person, has potentially wide-ranging implications. I’ve come to terms with the idea now, that whatever I end up doing, as long as I have the time to focus on writing without having to worry about stability or security, then I can be happy in the knowledge that I’m doing what I want to be doing.

Having gotten to the end of that thought process, I find myself thinking ‘well, that was an underwhelming illumination, wasn’t it?’. I don’t know how much this post will mean to people, or if people even read this far. Maybe it’ll mean something to somebody, though. Maybe it’ll help someone see through the fog of futility.

The Real World Is Just Time Off Between Holidays.

*wishes it were true*

I’ve just come back from a fortnight spent first in the south of Scotland, in and around Dumfries & Galloway, and second, in Fort William, up in the Scottish Highlands. I’d hoped from the off that this little get away would help to re-ignite my fire, and Christ, I was made to wait! It took me 10 days to figure out what I wanted to do, after picking up a book from the gift shop at Glenfinnan. A collection of folktales proved to be, hopefully, exactly what I needed to get back on a fantasy track.

Inspired by gorgeous Scottish scenery, Welsh and Scottish folklore and Scottish castles, I am hoping that I am, at last, on a productive plane of existence. This is good news, and I feel optimistic. Next comes characters, names, and places. This time, however, I won’t be waiting to solidify all this information before starting to write. One or two characters, I should think, 5-10 names, and I’ll go from there.

“I am the rightful Eldritch King! You will kneel at my feet, or you will die by my hands!” This quote, at the moment, sums up my hopes and dreams with regards to thematic and stylistic choices. I do feel pretty good about it. There are some interesting plot points swimming around my head, as well as some particularly curious folktales. I’m looking forward to dallying with folksy beasties. 🙂

Final(?) Draft…

Oh, it would indeed be nice if it were so, but when are dreams anything but dreams in the waking world? The notion that this draft might be the last one has a distinctly awful probability of being a pipe dream or a day dream. It’s one step closer, at any rate. I’m now on page 204/803. So there’s a yay on that front. 

I’m at a crossroads, in each direction there is a story I want to tell. Long May Men Have Voices, or the first book at any rate, has to be my priority. There are others I want to tell before I finish this trilogy but the likelihood of focusing my attentions elsewhere until the last book is done is so slim it’s sad.

I’ve had an idea recently, for a trilogy of stand alone novels set in various parts of the world and being very heavily based on different cultures. They would be an adventure into different worlds, much like all stories, but there’s something about them that calls to me on a level that LMMHV doesn’t. An aura of epicness perhaps. Highbrow Low Fantasy, I want to call them, but I fear that may sound a little conceited. 

Regardless, my writing continues. I’ve recently begun writing a high fantasy story based on Runemir (I’ve previously posted the map). This story is solely for the purposes of developing a platform, and can be read here – http://www.fictionpress.com/~kplanyon

For any of you who visit FP regularly, I’d be glad to hear your feedback. More chapters will be uploaded from time to time, though the regularity of which is something I cannot commit to. I’m also writing a crime/mystery novel for critzngigglez, so with this third draft in full swing and constantly planning two more novels that are years down the line, I’m quite busy. I like it. 

I hope one day I get to show the world my work. I hope one day the world enjoys my work. One step at a time though, ey?