Why Do You Continue?

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This may be a rough post, but we’ll see where things go.  It comes from a lot of stress and talking with people who are in similar situations.  Pretty sure I might regret this once comments start, but I couldn’t get this off my mind.

I find it difficult to muster the energy and will to continue.  This isn’t me claiming to be suicidal, but there are people I know like that.  I will admit that there are days where I wonder why I exist and if my purpose is to suffer.  Nothing is exciting and stressful events strike when I’m already low.  This is when people simply trying to blindly help with cheerfulness and positive speeches pop up to make me feel worse.  I get the sense that these things are done because the other person doesn’t want me to feel sad for their own benefit.  It isn’t to make me feel better, but to make themselves feel either helpful or they have a low tolerance for people suffering.  Think I’m getting off track here.

The real target of the question is my writing and really anything that involves a sense of ambition.  I don’t sell books because I lack the time and money to do any types of promotions that would work.  My notebooks gather dust because I end every day collapsing on the bed.  The dream of being a full-time author never appears in my mind, which has been a problem for around 2 years.  It’s all about my son, struggling to survive, and the overall state of the world.  The stress is crushing and I can no longer carve out enough time to write my worries away.  Even when I don’t have anything to do, I get bombarded by enough unexpected events that I get very little done.  It just adds to the anxiety and . . .

I’m rather lonely most days.  It isn’t a relationship thing because the thought of dating gives me panic attacks.  Feel like I’m far too damaged and my situation is too messy to subject someone else to it.  So, I just sit around by myself.  Being around single people who are ready to date makes me feel uncomfortable.  Being around married couples without my son around makes me feel a little sad.  Think the big thing is that I spent most of my life with someone I could bounce ideas off of at any moment and just hang out.  I don’t have that any more and I still haven’t been able to function enough that I trust my own creative instincts.  At least not entirely.

Takes me months to write a book and that’s being generous.  Takes me years to outline a single series even when I have all of the notes scattered about.  I used to be able to write a ton and get things done even with a job and a social life.  Now, I’m just plain exhausted, but it’s a mental one instead of physical.  My body can have energy while I just don’t have the will to do more than television and jigsaw puzzles.  Probably doesn’t help that I’m always in my room because being anywhere else makes me feel exposed.  Winter means no outside and we have to wear masks in the library.  Spend most of my weekdays wearing them at work, so I don’t like the idea of wearing them while writing.

Could it be an effect of the pandemic, which won’t freaking end?  I will admit that it didn’t do me any favors even though I was able to write the last 3 War of Nytefall books while the quarantine was going on.  That might have started this whole thing, especially since I wrote Do I Need to Use a Dragon? (Fantasy Writing Tips) and Slumberlord Chronicles: Darwin & the Fate Bracelet.  I had a big run of productivity and then it suddenly stopped along with my will to continue.  There’s a flicker there, but I have the sensation of being in a ravine and the walls are too slick to climb out.  Seems to get worse every time I hear something along the lines of ‘be patient’ or ‘you will get the time eventually’.  Can’t help but think of how many people were told that, believed it, and then died in a freak accident.

This whole rant comes down to me wondering why I should continue.  I mean, where am I going here?  People keep telling me what I should do even if I don’t have the time and money to do so.  People keep telling me to give up on other things.  I might just be stuck in place for now and I can’t even access the one thing that always gave me a good shot of serotonin.  That’s the happy stuff, right?  To be clear, I’m not talking about drugs or alcohol here.  Never touched the former and the latter has been limited because I can only have it when I’m feeling good.  Otherwise, it just enhances the bad and I don’t like that road.

I remember way back in college, I realized that I get depressed and angry if I don’t do real writing at least once every three days.  Maybe things have built up since I barely get time to write.  I may go weeks without doing anything and this year is looking like it will be slim in terms of releases.  Again, I find myself wondering what to do.  Do I continue or finally call it a day?

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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18 Responses to Why Do You Continue?

  1. noelleg44 says:

    As I used to tell my medical students, Charles, it’s not about the goal, it’s about the journey. If you are enjoying what you are doing, then that is enough.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah . . . To be blunt, this journey is kind of sucking lately. That’s what makes continuing so hard and questionable. If the journey is nothing more than pain, suffering, disappointment, and stress then one has to wonder.

      Liked by 1 person

      • noelleg44 says:

        If so, then you need to alter your path on the journey! Write less or even take a break until you feel the urge to write again. I write for my own pleasure, and if someone else happens to like it – which is the case with your books – so much the better. Don’t listen to the publishers or find one you really like – maybe an indie?

        Like

      • That is where people get things wrong. We assume people can alter their journey, but that’s not the case. Most people I know are trapped in a state of survival mode. Their jobs wear them down to shells of human beings, so they have no time or energy for joys. They can’t quit because they don’t know if they can get anything else or they’re too broken to start over. I can’t cut some stresses of my own life without abandoning my son. I can’t tell certain people to go the fuck away because I’m too indebted and dependent on their help, which they know. My life has become a nightmarish cesspool of horrors and my greatest escape (writing) can’t even be done. In fact, I tend to be punished if I try to write or even hope I’ll sell a book.

        I have no agent or any contacts. Publishing was always indie with dependance on word-of-mouth. I don’t have that anymore. I don’t have any time or energy to put towards submitting either. It’s been like that for nearly 6 months and the next 6 don’t look any better. This entire year might be a wash the way things are going. It’s all because I’ve been beaten so badly that the only urge I have is to not let myself die in a freezing gutter. That’s where my journey is now and there is no sign that it’s going to change.

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  2. L. Marie says:

    Charles, I won’t give you a pat answer, because I don’t do those. I can only share my experience. I quit writing for three years because no publisher would take anything. One editor kept a book for a year, knowing that she would say no. Another time, I quit writing for a year because 89 agents said no just for one book.

    The only reason why I’m writing anything is because of my belief that writing is what God would have me do. I’m not suggesting that this be anyone else’s motive. Again, just sharing my experience. I’ve had more books go out of print than many authors write in a lifetime. I don’t share that on my blog, because my blog is written under a pen name. If it were up to me, I would have been done with writing long ago and either gone to law school like my parents wanted me to or continued in full-time editing (rather than freelance).

    Your books have so much verve, imagination, and joy. I can sense your enjoyment in the process. So yes, I can imagine the pain of what seems to be a lack of reception from others. It sucks yes. I have experienced that pain. I’ve also had this conversation with many friends who are authors and are at this juncture.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’d heard of editors keeping books, but didn’t know they’d do it with something they knew they’d reject. That sounds cruel.

      I used to believe the God thing for myself. Then I began wondering if it was a joke he was pulling. Give someone creativity and an urge to write then drop them in a world that won’t let them do it. It’s torturous and probably plays off his Judaism doesn’t have him being a purely good entity.

      I looked at my sales this morning. Been a month since anything moved beyond a few freebies. I’m wondering if I should switch everything back to $2.99 come the summer or even April. I mean, what’s the point if even 99 cents won’t work?

      Liked by 2 people

  3. L. Marie says:

    I forgot to add that when I quit writing, I felt miserable–more than I felt looking at 89 rejections for one book

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I am not the one to offer advice. I’m frequently at the same place, but for different reasons. My life has been a sine wave lately. I got feeling pretty good, had a banner day, then everything crashed around me this week. If I make it to the weekend, I might not even get out of bed.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jennie says:

    Yes, writing really fuels the spirit. If you can write something, anything, even random ideas for what you want to write, you will feel better.

    Like

  6. Victoria Zigler says:

    Only you can answer the questions as to why you should – or shouldn’t – continue for yourself. But I’ll tell you why I continue: because I don’t like the alternative. So every time I stumble I pick myself up and keep going. Keep writing. Keep coping as best as I can with whatever life has decided to throw at me this time. Keep surviving. And I do it with a smile, because – no matter how tough things are, or how they might behave towards me – I don’t want to drag others down with me. I don’t know why I’m still here. With one thing and another I shouldn’t be. But since I am, I might as well make the most of whatever time I have before my luck – or my strength to keep fighting, whichever it is that’s kept me alive to this point – finally runs out.

    Like

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