Going There

I have been working on worldbuilding and plotting  a fantasy novel, with an eye toward a series. I’m really, really excited about it. It’s almost overwhelming, as I’ve never written a novel before, much less one of this scope, but the most overwhelming part is really how much is piling into my head.

For years, when strapped into The Office Job, I did everything I could to quash ideas. I drank. I took sleeping pills. I drowned out my thoughts with audiobooks while I was trying to fall asleep. I could not allow my mind the freedom to imagine because I had no time to actually write any of it down, and because I had to go to sleep so I could go back to the office every day and shave another piece off my soul.

So, when I settled into writing full-time, having ideas at all took some doing. I needed a long recovery period to undo all the de-imagination training I’d done on my brain. All the roadblocks, all the times I’d grit my teeth and tell myself to just stop thinking, had done damage.

I don’t think the damage is entirely undone, but boy, is the Fantasy Project blowing up my brain.

Also symptomatic and weird: I feel guilty writing, even though it’s my full-time job now. I feel like I’m getting away with something, like I’m having more fun that I deserve. It’s hard to relax into the imagining because it’s too much fun.

But fun is supposed to be a good thing. And I need fun, because as a clinically depressed/chronic anxiety person, I’ve been finding horror too difficult for the most part.

I know that bleeding onto the page & turning yourself inside out and being fearless makes the best art, but it also, too often, makes people dead.

Anxiety and my self-imposed punishment of my own creativity for years led to an interesting and shitty side effect: I’m still plenty creative, but it’s more paranoia than art. I’m fantastic at coming up with dark-ass scenarios, defaulting to them, assuming that my car’s going to explode or I’m going to get murdered or imprisoned or maimed or abandoned or any of the above will happen to my loved ones.

So I’ve been reticent to write horror. Been avoiding the dark parts of my psyche because it’s dangerous.

Last week I was asked to write a horror story, and something that I’d been pushing down in the back of my mind burst fully-formed and furious into being. I hadn’t realized how badly I needed to write something vile until I was asked to do so.

It’s going to be good.

And the funny thing is, I have to go within, to the really really dark places. So dark that the things I was avoiding earlier just make me laugh now. Those scary parts were just noisy rust on the hinges of the gate. The really treacherous stuff, the bitterness and regret and fury, waits in the sickened fields beyond.

And I’m unnerved at how eager I am to rush forth.

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