In 2012, I reached out to a counselor to try and figure out a way to deal with my depression and anxiety.
One of the first things she asked me was, “If you could change something, what would you change?”
I responded, “My job.”
“Well, what would you do?”
“I don’t know. Write?” I asked because it didn’t seem real to me.
It was something I hadn’t thought about. I knew I was unhappy as a programmer. There is no fire in my gut that gets me up everyday. Simply put, I do it because I’m good at it. So good, that I have been able to keep a freelancing business going for 10 years this upcoming April, and I work solely off of referrals. I may not be passionate about it, but I care about the work I do, and I learn quickly, which is sometimes easy to confuse with passion.
My answer to my counselor’s question would go ignored for many years. She would bring it up from time to time, but nothing really came of it. We worked on building my skills to handle depression, get myself off the couch, working, and into the sunlight.
I started healing.
With healing comes growth.
Two years ago, I realized just how unhappy I was. Not just unhappy, but miserable, day in and out. I went into a session and she pushed me to continue towards the writing, because it kept coming up, and seemed to be important.
I hadn’t written much since 2007. A few travel and prank blogs in 2009, but not much else… I do still have the prank blogs, maybe I’ll post them one day… Almost 10 years went by. My writing confidence was at an all time low, but there is one thing I am great at…
Maybe it’s because I had motivational problems from years of depression. I would constantly watch tv, stare at walls, and absorb myself in the stories of my mind.
As a kid, I had two safe places. My room and the woods. If I was in my room, I was reading or watching tv. If I was in the woods, I was connecting with nature and searching for woodland creatures, even the mysterious.
When I slept, I would immerse myself in my dreams, which meant I slept more because I was I happy and adventurous in those dreams. I used to tell my friends, “If I could turn my dreams into stories, I’d be able to make movies.” Most couldn’t believe the things I dreamt about in my sleep.
Apparently, I don’t dream like a normal human being.
My dreams weren’t all symbolic, subconscious messages. They were made of entertainment. To me, nightmares that make most pee the bed and wake up screaming, were a joy to experience. I learned to lucid dream, and that made things a thousand times better. The ability to control the experience was more than exhilarating. I was battling fantasy creatures, flying spaceships, traveling to the moon…
Back to the point.
My counselor had me start an idea notebook to help gather my thoughts. It was one of the best things I ever did. In less than a year, I filled Bart Simpson’s noggin, a notebook with his likeness printed on it, with useful information.
This task kick started my brain. I couldn’t stop writing ideas down. In the first month, I wrote an entire plot, character descriptions, and more for a story I had experienced for years. I haven’t written this story… yet. The idea to turn it into a novel was mind boggling. I needed to build more confidence.
By recording my ideas, I realized several things:
1. I am a well of ideas. 2 years later, and I’m still coming up with things. I have 3 idea journals, one full, and 2 almost full. I always carry one in my pocket, generally a tiny red book. Writer’s block shouldn’t be an issue. You are also a well of ideas. More on this later.
2. Even though I wasn’t taught creative writing, I had help along the way from some very specific people, who unknowingly helped me find my passion. More on this later.
3) I’ve been writing since I was little. The contents of my first book, circa 3rd grade, are below. It is everything you expect from a writer that age…
… and absolutely morbid…
There are at least 7 more of these books.