Completion and Exhaustion

Completion and Exhaustion

Yesterday I finished writing the second draft of Butterfly Of Night. I’ve been working on it for about three and a half weeks, which seems like an appropriate length of time: the first draft took me a month to write, and I’d already written the first ten chapters of this some months ago, but neveretheless I had to work pretty hard to maintain this speed. Because I’m an inconsistent kind of writer, it ended up being a series of unwise 10k days and then several days of doing nothing, usually as a result of wrist pain.

But, it’s done, and I’m pretty proud of it. It’s only a second draft, and I know it will need work — not least because I need a med student or biologist to read and tell me whether the poisoning is at least possible, if not necessarily likely, as I do not science. Leaving aside those details, the plot and characterisation might need further revisions, and I’m waiting to hear from betas on that.

As second drafts go, though, I think it’s relatively polished, and I’m pleased with it.

Theoretically, then, this should mean that I can spend the next few weeks reading lots and writing reviews, which I haven’t done lately, before I go back to working on it in preparation for querying later in the summer. Although I’ve read many books this year, I’ve been a bit useless at actually reviewing them on my blog, though I’m trying to write short reviews on Goodreads as often as possible, and I should definitely pay more attention to my book blog.

But… I’m in a reading slump. I’m halfway through about four books right now, and not enjoying any of them enough to want to finish them, while not disliking any of them enough to want to leave them unfinished, as it were. I’m finding it hard to enjoy anything new, although I’ve reread a few stories, and so I’m reluctant to pick up anything I might’ve had high hopes for, in case I ruin it for myself while in this low period.

I’m not quite sure what it is. I think some of it can be ascribed to depression, which has definitely been winning out over anxiety recently in terms of dominating my behaviour and moods. It’s hard for me to enjoy anything right now, and that’s carried over into reading. And partly I think I’ve just read so much recently that my brain wants a break.

The problem is that I don’t have anything to do.

Well. There are things I could be doing, but unfortunately I don’t want to do any of them. I’ve finished the book I was writing. I don’t want to read anything. I want to read because I want to have something to do, but when I look at my shelves, nothing appeals to me, and I can’t face embarking on anything. I have blog posts I’d like to write, but they’re all too complicated and require too much thinking and I don’t have the energy to write them.

Even while I’m celebrating having finished a writing project, and looking forward to resting my tired wrists, I’m wondering what I’m going to do with the time I have been spending on that, because I no longer have a job and nothing else appeals to me.

Right now, I’m partway through this blog post and wondering whether I can even be bothered to finish writing it. Is it worth saying? Is there anything worth writing about right now? Why am I bothering with this, when probably nobody cares, and it’s just a waste of my time and theirs?

Because that’s another factor — what’s the point in this, does this lead to anything, what will I achieve by doing this? — as well as the exhaustion and disinterest. Maybe if I thought I’d get somewhere with it, I’d be motivated. That’s how I pushed through to write the book, after all: I’ve got high hopes for it, once I eventually push through and convince myself I’ve done the best I can. But nothing else seems to have the same sense of purpose.

I don’t know. Everything seems kind of pointless right now. Including this blog post, which I’ll probably delete as soon as I’ve posted it.

Advice appreciated, I guess. Maybe book recommendations for (short) books that might cheer me up and help me reak out of this slump.

7 thoughts on “Completion and Exhaustion

  1. Congrats on your draft completion! I’ve been itching to attempt another novel, but feeling like I have to wait until school is over to be justified in spending all that time. Also, vacillating between feeling guilty about never having seriously attemptted even one revision of any novel andnreminding myself that one of the reasons I didn’t become a professional writer is so that writing could remain a pure pleasure acitvity.

    Book recommendation: The Spirit Theif by Rachel Aaron. *pokes goodreads recommendation I sent you on it* ” This is a fantasy series that’s high on friendship, low on romance, got good world-building, strong (though not necessarily diverse) characters, and well-crafted plot.

    The friendship thing really made me think you would probably enjoy :) ”

    Pick up recommendation: Try doing something for someone else. I know it’s probably hard to do most things with your wrists, but what about calling people to let them know what they mean to you or just to say hi? What about asking your parents if there’s anything you can do to help them out? They know your limtations, so maybe they can think of something. It may not be the most exciting activity, but the best way I know to drag oneself out of depression is to give.

    1. Yeah. I’ve signed up to do some volunteering at a local library since I left my job last week, but they said they’d get back to me this week. And currently I’m too tired to do anything anyway. Bleh. :/ I’m going to see my friends in Cambridge on Tuesday, which will hopefully be a welcome distraction. I don’t really have many people to hang out with where I am, because they’re all at uni or live elsewhere. It’s one of the problems with being at home.

    1. I don’t really know. I just don’t want to read something sad or melodramatic right now. I want something that will be a distraction, but isn’t too long.

      1. Then let’s start with some things I think are entertaining. provided at no cost to your good self:

        I have some very short pieces for free on my website: https://davidjhiggins.wordpress.com/opus/miscellany-2/#shortstories. Or if you’re looking for some a slightly longer giggle, the first chunk of my comedy sci-fi serial is free in many places: https://davidjhiggins.wordpress.com/opus/greenstar-intro/

        I found Saladin Ahmed’s Engraved on the Eye an entertaining collection of short stories with an Arabian Nights feel, and it’s currently free on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Engraved-Eye-Saladin-Ahmed-ebook/dp/B009CVYQG2/

  2. Congrats on getting through your new draft! That’s always such an accomplishment (although for me maybe it is more because it takes me months to get through those things, blah).

    Hmm… I don’t know exactly what I’d pick to help someone get out of a slump. If you like history at all and you don’t follow her website already, I would check out Kate Beaton’s Hark! A Vagrant! collection, because it is funny and mostly pictures and I think that counts as short. Maybe. I don’t know—I haven’t been reading too many distractable books lately. :/

    1. I do like what I’ve seen of Hark! A Vagrant, but I’m not very good at comics and pictures as I find them difficult to process (idk I just have issues with visual processing — can’t read graphic novels very easily). It’s much simpler than those, though, so maybe I’ll look at more of it. :)

What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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