Constipated Storytelling

At the beginning of this, about a month and a half ago, I wrote that my goal was to post three times a week for a minimum of six weeks.

Yeah. It didn’t happen.

There’s a lot of things going on that I could blame. First, I’m a pastor, and this is Lent – the buildup to the Festivals of Jesus’s death and resurrection. And this is a hella busy time for me. But I pulled this off with even more writing last year, so I really can’t blame that. (And honestly, my ministry in general was busier last year.)

I am getting paid for a few writing projects, and those take priority. Go figure. However, while those projects do take up time, I should still have time for pure “fun writing.”

Honestly, my non-writing comes down to two factors: I’m healthy, and I’m not healthy.

Let me explain.

Since January, I’ve been going to the gym to run three times a week. The hard part is, the only time I have to run… is the time I typically write. I still haven’t figured it out. Honestly, my body is much healthier than it’s been for quite a while, but my creative outlet is now plugged with running. (On the other hand, the treadmill has a nice little shelf that I can balance my nook on, so I’ve been getting lots of reading done!)

So a lot of my free time has been sucked up with me being healthier.

But I’m also less healthy than I have been, too.

Over on my other blog, you can see how I’ve been struggling with depression. The times I get to sit down and write, I have a very hard time concentrating. Last Sunday, I carved out a good hour and a half to get the next section of Barrelbottom Tales out… and I couldn’t even get a sentence on the paper.

I’ve struggled with depression before. I’ve used my writing to channel that darkness in the past. I’ve written some really messed up stuff, most of it in high school or shortly thereafter. (In other words, I was pretty normal and angsty.) This time around, the darkness isn’t leaking through my fingertips and onto the page, though. The ink wants to stick in my veins.

This is worse depression than I’ve had in a long time, if ever – which is why I’m finally getting checked over for it.

There’s something about depression that tends to lead to either diarrhea or constipation of an imagination. I’ve experienced both. There are manic moments where the fingers fly across the keyboard, unable to keep up with all the thoughts, all the wonderful ideas exploding behind your eyes, painting words into new combinations that conjure unique images. My first novel came out of a place like that – at the time I was unemployed and my Bride was eight months pregnant. And the story came.

I will note, that creative diarrhea, as the name might suggest, guarantees a plethora of words and concepts, but not necessarily quality. There’s a reason that novel sits unpublished, though my Bride occasionally prods me to go back and rework it.

And then there’s times like now, when I have creative constipation. Oh, the ideas are there. And I can mechanically plunk words onto the page. And, as noted, I’m still writing – I have my call as pastor, so there’s a sermon every week that I spit and polish. I want to proclaim God’s Word faithfully, after all! And there’s those paid positions I have to work. I can force myself to do that.

But for simple pleasure? To sit down, for the love of a story, to explore a character, just because?

Apparently that’s currently beyond me.

Some professionals have told me I need to back off and do less. I’ve been doing that in my call, and while my not writing was not an intentional response to that, perhaps it’s helping. I’ve been doing better lately… I think.

I hope that after Easter, some pressures will relent, and I’ll be able to get back to writing purely for fun again. I miss it, and I need that pressure valve. We’ll see what comes of everything, of course.

I do have solid plans for Barrelbottom. I really love some of the residents – Magisaur probably being my favorite, though I’m loving Samantha, as well. Samantha who? Well, she’s in a number of the stories already posted… if you go back and look, you’ll meet her.

So maybe I need to take some creative Ex-Lax and get unconstipated.

I think I broke the metaphor.

Well, whatever. I’ll be back here as soon as this clears up, and quite possibly before if the constipation turns into diarrhea. You like creative diarrhea, right?

Don’t answer that question. There isn’t a good answer for it.

The point stands, though: I will be posting more fiction – just not right now.

One thought on “Constipated Storytelling

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