Good morning, y’all, and welcome back for another Writer Wednesday!
Today, we have a really great post for you from author Brynne Seabrooke, who’s working on aer book, fondly referred to as #BisexualDads. Ae is here with us today to talk about depression, losing your inspiration, and finding it once more.
Scroll down to take a look!
I don’t remember exactly when I gave up on writing a book.
All I know is that when I started college at nineteen, I had dreams of writing and publishing a novel, but by the time I finished at age twenty-two, those dreams had died. There was no death date, nor was there a death certificate, because depression is rarely so neat about things. It sneaks up and wraps itself around you so slowly that it’s often difficult to realize that it has you in its clutches until your heart is already heavy with darkness.
I still wrote every day—more because the failure to do so made me fear the wrath of my Writing Fiction professor—but I limited myself to poetry and one-shot fanfiction, most of which were short and shallow pieces never meant to see the light of day. I’d originally decided to major in English with an emphasis on writing because of my longstanding dream of becoming a published author, but after hearing one too many snide comments about the inferiority of “genre fiction,” I realized that my penchant for writing romance and fantasy stories was the exact opposite of what my professors wanted.
So I hid my words in secret corners of the internet and resigned myself to the fate of writing short fanfiction pieces as I dragged myself through my first year of graduate school—which consisted largely of imposter syndrome, crying, and visits to my therapist and doctor to get proper treatment for the depression I’d been hiding for over a decade at that point.
The first year of graduate school is rough on everyone, but I feel that mine was especially so.
But it did get better, thankfully. At some point in the middle of 2016—after I’d found the right dosage of my medications and had somewhat adjusted to the pace of graduate school—I had a fanfiction idea. As I often do with fanfiction, I let the idea marinate in my daydreams for a few weeks before writing it down. Then I decided that I hated the beginning that I’d written and rewrote it. I did this again. And again. And a few more times, until I eventually had the beginning of the project now known as #BisexualDads.
And I kept writing. I wrote smutty scenes and silly scenes at first, but eventually I began to fill in the plot and put meat on the bones of my story. When I hit about 20,000 words, I realized that my silly fanfiction project was much longer than anything I’d written in years.
It took me months to accept that #BisexualDads might be publishable someday. I’d spent all of high school and the first two years of college trying (and failing) to write an entire book, had spent the last two years of college feeling guilty about my inability to write anything but genre fiction, and had been too weighed down by my depression to have faith in my own ability to do anything worthwhile. For a while, I wasn’t sure what had given me the drive to create again. Was it graduate school? Was it my cross-country move? Was it the fact that, now that I had reached the ripe old age of twenty-four, I had somehow achieved the proper level of enlightenment, which I could now demonstrate by writing the Great American Novel?
Spoiler alert: it wasn’t any of those things.
It was my medication.
When you’ve been living with depression for over half of your life, it becomes difficult to recognize when its grip on you tightens. You just assume that everyone experiences this persistent darkness and heaviness inside of them because you can’t remember anything else. You don’t realize when it takes your dreams away.
For me, finding the right type and dosage of medication slowly loosened the hold that depression had on me. Once I’d begun to heal, all of the things that depression had stolen from me—my love of long fantasy novels, my persistent interest in all things medieval, and my passion for writing fiction—came flooding back. I was not magically cured—and never will be—but I at least felt like myself for the first time in years. Existing is still a struggle—as is writing a book—but at least I have an easier time catching brief glimpses of hope in the heavy darkness that often surrounds me.
I wish I had some kind of cure-all advice for writing with depression, but I don’t. All I can tell you is to get help and keep moving forward. There may be days when you can’t write—or can’t get out of bed at all—but don’t give up on yourself or your project because of that. Slow progress is better than no progress and someday, you will be able to share your next project with the world.
And I can’t wait to have the privilege of reading it.
Brynne Seabrooke is a genderfluid romance author with a master’s degree in English, a collection of anxiety disorders, a cabinet full of tea, and a heart full of sunshine. Brynne is currently working on aer novel #BisexualDads, which is the first in a planned series of romance novels with various pairings and plenty of queer characters. When not writing, Brynne can usually be found reading a novel, playing a video game. You can find Brynne on both Twitter and Instagram.