How to Write When You’re Depressed

No really, does anyone know?

If you came here looking for answers, you’re probably going to be disappointed. I’m not sure there are any answers. Depression is a terrible creature. It rears it’s head at the most random moments, leaving you with a terrible feeling of inertia that’s almost impossible to explain, even for a writer.

I guess it all depends on how depressed you are. Is it depression with a little d or Depression with a capital D? If it’s the latter, reading a blog entry or trying to psych yourself up probably won’t do anything. Then there’s situation depression vs chemical depression. Each requires different approaches, many requiring professional help. (Seriously, don’t suffer alone. Get help. There are so many places that can help you. No one should have to go through depression alone.)

Today I wanted to write. I really did. I’ve been busy with stuff related to a family wedding (congrats Cal and Amberlyn!) but now that it’s over with I finally have the time and brainpower to write.

But I couldn’t. It really is the weirdest thing. I know what I want to do, I know what I want to write, but somehow I just can’t make myself pick up my laptop. It’s right there but my body doesn’t listen to my brain and I just CAN’T.

Today I didn’t write. Sometimes it’s better to recognize the feelings and give yourself permission to just take care of yourself. I went on Twitter. I talked to my mom. I identified today’s depression as situational (I miss having a cat) and took a step to change that situation (I put in an application for adoption at a shelter. Don’t tell my dad!).

I even did something writing related. I picked out a notebook to make a ‘story bible’ of sorts in. I looked at articles I’d saved on Pinterest and made a list of things I want to include. I made a list of characters that need profiles or short bios (Dang this book has a lot of characters).

After all that, I felt a little better. I decided to write the blog entry I’d jotted down an idea for earlier. I’m ignoring my perfectionist side and posting this without a fancy graphic or making sure I share with every social media page I have. I’m just putting the words out there and maybe I’ll come back later and do the rest.

I don’t know how to write when you’re depressed. I don’t know how to write when you aren’t. All I know is what I do and whether or not it worked for me on any given day.

Do you suffer from depression? Or any mental illness really? How does it impact your writing life? Is there anything that helps you when you’re having a bad day? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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  1. Thanks for sharing. I can understand depression over missing having a cat. I’m glad to hear you’re taking positive steps towards remedying the problem. 🙂

    Some days I can’t write. I don’t let myself feel bad about it – self-care is more important. I curl up with a book, or watch TV, or sleep, and hope the next day will be better. The last thing you need when you’re depressed is more guilt over the things you’re not doing.

  2. I so hear you with this.?I do have diagnosed anxiety/depression and it’s REALLY hard to be creative with them somedays. I think people have this idea that artists are supposed to have them and that’s what “makes us artists”…and it’s utter nonsense. It’s so much easier to create when the world is full of possibilities instead of feeling like it’s smothering us, gah. My #1 method of still creating when I’m depressed is just making myself to do it. It doesn’t always work. But even if I come up with crap, I still feel a bit better at least for TRYING. ?? (I love how you work to take control of your situations though.!! That’s really inspiring!!)

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