Firstly, thank you to the handful of people who reached out to me after my last post. It’s touching to know that not only are people reading these blogs, but they’re also looking out for me. Thank you also to the couple of people who wrote to me to tell me of similar experiences that they’ve had, and that they connected with what I wrote. Honestly, that’s probably the nicest thing you could’ve said to me and I wish you all the best in your own struggles. To know what something I wrote mattered to somebody else. That’s a beautiful thing and it’s something that I’m sincerely grateful for.
I’m in a much better place since I last blogged. Presently I feel both happier and more stable than before. I acknowledge that this is liable to change but I also feel a little more capable of managing these emotions than before. I have seen my psychologist and spoken with numerous friends since my last blog; all have helped in their own way.
Little by little, day by day, I’m growing more at ease with my decision to decline work and spend time on my writing and also on my self. This aspect of the writing journey is particularly challenging because it’s easy to wake up in th morning ready to write and then quickly find yourself drowning in a sea of self-doubt and fending off demons screaming ‘imposter! imposter! imposter!’ There is no easy way to deal with this but I am attempting to by writing about it here, by telling my friends and by tracking my goals on a daily planner. This provides me with a concrete method for quantifying the progress that I’m making, even if it’s not progress that has amounted to words in a chapter. I am also trying to be kinder to myself and allow myself to relax. This afternoon, frustrated with the limited progress I made in the morning, I stripped off to my underwear, spread out a blanket and laid down in my driveway. There I spent an hour or so reading in the sun. It was glorious. I took myself for a walk afterwards and am now back here, writing a blog as I promised myself I would. I need more of those relaxing afternoons in my life, just as much as I need progress in my work.
So how is the writing going?
Last week I came to a realisation about my writing; I’m writing a portal fantasy and I’m doing so in order to place myself into my fiction and relive traumatic memories from my past, changing the outcomes so that I win. I realised this with great concern and dismay. It is probable that this realisation contributed somewhat to my depression. I didn’t have a story! I only had a narcissistic fantasy world where a random collection of events happened. I think I already knew this somewhere deep within myself and so I’ve been spending the last two years trying to mash the fantasy into something that achieved more. I wanted to force it to be more than a plot device for a fictitious and better me. I failed and, I think, even if I had succeeded, the end product would not have been a great story. This realisation has allowed me to make the most significant change in my writing since this project began. It has allowed me to dump the fantasy component (for now, I may rescue it in the future and give the better parts of it its own tale) and focus on developing proper characters with a proper story. I was distressed about this in the beginning but I’ve since made some wonderful progress towards finding out what this story is really about and am beginning to get excited again.
I want to tell a story that will mean something to gay youth. That will give them hope for the future and let them know that love is out there, that life may suck right now but that it’s changing and that we have the power to make it better. That love for the gay man is as real as it is for the straight and that our love is just as valid. I think, in summary, I want to write a love story.
Why do I need to write a fantasy about a gay youth vanishing into another world to overcome his fears? I know as a youth I certainly lived that reality anyway and I’m sure many out there today do too. What we need are stories that show us how to conquer our fears and find love in the real world. This is what I’m now focused on. Later, I’ll write the gay hero and adventure stories. (Or maybe even fantastic adventure, fantasy and thriller stories where the main characters just happen to be gay, wouldn’t that be nice?)
There is a lot of work left to do and I have as much doubt now as ever before but I also have a lot of excitement. The story seems more real than before and it feels as though when it’s finished, it might be a story that really matters.
That’s it for now, thanks again for reading.