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On Writing Through Depression*

1. Sometimes, you just can’t. Sometimes, you need to rest and read and eat and listen to music and just remember how to inhale and exhale. That’s okay. Those things are important. Your health is important; so take care of your health before your art.

2. Write what you want. Let poems happen. Let songs come out of you, even if you don’t usually write songs. Scratch angry prose onto the pages of your journals, and don’t apologize for it. Don’t worry about the shape of your creativity; just let it go, and let it happen, and let it heal.

3. Don’t panic. There is no pressure. This is a quiet, safe place; it’s for you, and only for you. Take your time. Breathe deeply. Enjoy.

4. Take breaks. Work for thirty minutes; then go for a walk. Work for another thirty minutes; then make yourself a cup of coffee.

5. Surround yourself with beautiful things. Write in a place full of color and light. Wrap yourself in a soft blanket. Keep your kitten close by. Light candles.

6. Don’t edit. Just make words happen. Don’t beat yourself up if they are not perfect. Be forgiving of clunky sentences and syntax. Be gracious with yourself and your art.

7. Keep breathing, darling. You’re going to make it.

*And by depression I mean Actual Clinical Depression or just Being Really Sad. 
Kristin Briana Otts

Kristin is an aspiring YA author with an abiding love for her dog, ghost hunter tv shows, and rainy days.

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  2. Aw, this is good. I need posts like these. It's okay to have those bad days. ;)

  3. I didn't write anything for a long while, especially after my cat died early in 2012, until I started taking a creative writing class this year and I began writing poetry and random scenes. It really cleared up my mind for novel-writing. And you're right; I work thirty minutes, then go read my book with a cup of tea for half an hour, and repeat. It's repetitive and nice, after a hard day.

  4. Great advice! I definitely need a post like this to get me through the long stretches of depression. Writing always makes me feel better, and bloggers always make me feel better about writing.

    Thanks for posting this!

  5. Great advice, indeed. For me, the hard part comes when life itself doesn't leave enough breathing room to move through it at your own pace. Some days, I really get the need for a "retreat."

  6. I was having trouble coming back and revising my WriMo novel. I was tired and depressed at how ugly the rough draft needed a lot of work. But after talking with Marissa Meyer at a book signing, she said, "It's okay as long as you come back to it when you're ready." She told me it happens to most writers. I guess needed the validation because afterwards I dove back into revisions immediately with a much better attitude.

  7. At the risk of sounding cliche, writing helped me cope all throughout middle & high school. Even now it helps me cope with life. I wrote some of the best and (most definitely) the worst poems/stories/songs/angry prose I've ever put on paper during hard times. I have every single journal,scrap piece of paper and chunk of cardboard stored away, but not locked up. I need them to be easily accessible. I still carry a notebook with me and only write in pen so I don't erase (or on a computer or tablet, so I don't backspace) anything. Usually, since my thoughts aren't straight, I don't write in a straight line. My words may be in circles, in a maze-like pattern, or sideways on the page. This is such a great post. I will definitely be referencing this in the future. :)

  8. A beautiful post (and well timed), though of course I'm sorry if you're in the kind of place that made it necessary to write it. :( I had depression in the past and though I am significantly better now, I still have ME/CFS to contend with! I can't work as hard as I'd like and can get despondent with the slow progress. It's nice to be reminded that any step, however small, is still in the right direction. :) Thank you for this post. I hope things get back on track for you really soon.

  9. I love all your gentle suggestions. Sometimes lighting a candle or wrapping a blanket around you is the perfect way to feel better. So simple and so powerful.

  10. This was beautiful...and so true!!! It's hard to be creative when you're going through something difficult. Sometimes you have to take it a day at a time and just keep on moving forward.

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Item Reviewed: On Writing Through Depression* Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Kristin Briana Otts