I've noticed a very disturbing trend lately. When I sit down to write, nothing but complete drivel comes out. There's no flow, no joy, no flashes of inspiration. It's pure drudgery.
I hate it.
This is why writers who've been in the game long enough call it what it is: hard work.
I've gone through these cycles before, which means this will pass and I'll have days where the writing is not so hard and I can bask in the bliss of words again.
I'll be honest. This time, I feel like something has changed.
When I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), I had no idea that it would have an affect on my mental abilities. I just figured it would attack me physically, which it has (rather well sometimes), but not so much emotionally.
As I've connected with others who have RA, I've learned that they, too, have experienced this same emotional turmoil. Brain fog, short term memory loss, not being nearly as sharp and quick as we once were, lack of motivation, depression. Some of this is caused by medication and some of it is caused by the disease itself.
I'm on a powerful drug for my RA, and I've definitely noticed a difference in my mental abilities since I've started taking it. My doctor and I are trying to see if we can help ease that situation, but what we're trying so far isn't working.
The racing thoughts, lack of focus, inability to think clearly, and malaise are all a threat to my writing. On some days, it takes a supreme amount of will power just to get myself to look at my novel. The Internet has exacerbated this lack of focus as it gives my racing brain plenty of reasons to keep racing. Click, click, click! It's maddening.
This disease hasn't just robbed me of my physical health (which was precarious to begin with), but I also feel like it's robbing me of my mental health and writing ability. It's not that I'm not passionate about writing, because I am. But getting myself to mentally commit to it, to be in the story, is increasingly difficult lately.
To say I'm scared is an understatement. Writing is really who I am. It affects so many parts of my life that I would be completely lost without it. I'm terrified that this is not just a normal part of the writer's cycle, that this disease has made it incredibly difficult to write like I have before, that I will regress instead of progress.
But rest assured, I am not giving up. Oh no. It's not in me to do that. I will keep writing, and trust that God will see me through it, and trust that the writing ability is not gone, only hidden behind a veil of a medication-and disease-induced, misfiring brain.
This quote by John Wayne aptly fits:
I'll saddle up. I'll keep forcing myself to write, even when it's hard, even when the words are stuck in the mud and muck of my befuddled brain. I'll keep pushing, keep trying, keep living.
P.S. If you want to participate in the "Where I Write" blog carnival, details are here.