Sugar in the morning, sugar in the evening and sugar at supper time. Oh yes. That was my daily ritual with writing. And don’t forget the caffeine. Did I mention music or some other background noise was needed? Without these, I couldn’t seem to write. Kids playing video games in the living room or entertaining themselves in the garage with guitars and drums. Bring it. The muses loved the noise. As a matter of fact they thrived on it and I was able to churn out some really good, if not great scenes.
There was also something to writing into the wee hours of the morning. The silence de-cluttered the mind and the muses loved that too. There were no phone calls to interrupt a lovely string of dialogue. No husband or children to ask what was for dinner or help with homework. No chores, just me and the keyboard.
That was my writing ritual until four years ago.
The truth behind that ritual was unhealthy. Not just from the poor eating habits. Seriously who eats candy corn for breakfast? *raises hand with smug smile* And it also hid something far more dangerous.
I’m not talking about the little bit sad that a pint of cherry Garciacan cure, but the oppressive, let me sleep, not interested in life, and I can’t write anymore depression. The type that requires counseling and/or medication. The type that no one wants to talk about for fear of being labeled crazy or worst a pariah. The type where the muses leave and you’re afraid they will never come back.
The writing ritual has changed to include exercise. Some of the better ideas on a plot point come from sweating on an elliptical or the treadmill. Other ideas are tossed outbound while getting a pedicure and nails done. (go see my girl Christina at CJ Nails) And then there’s writing in the day time. The fan on my desk and the AC unit outside my office window provide background noise, as well as the voice on the voiceover feature on my computer.
I still like writing at night for the same reasons as before. Less distractions and it declutters the mind, but it’s equally satisfying to write when the four year old is not around.
If you think you’re suffering from depression or other mental illness, you are not alone and there is help. All you have to do is ask. Writing and reading are solitary acts., finding your normal doesn’t have to be.
If you need someone to talk to:
800-273-TALK (8255) National Crisis Hotline