On Being Enough-- Facing Writer's Depression

Feb 2, 2011

Today has been one of those days. Gooser is teething, which makes him whiny and clingy. The dishes have piled up so high they're spilling over the edge of the sink. There are bits of day-old food on the floor, unfolded laundry piled up in the bedroom, and toys scattered across the living room. My query letter is a mess and I'm starting to wonder if my book is even worth querying.


It's too much, and I'm feeling not enough. There's a voice inside us that whispers that to us a lot. You are not enough.

It's an affliction we face often as writers, I think. There are millions of voices on the internet, at conferences, and in books that tell us how to be enough. If we don't reach those goals, we just aren't enough.

You don't write everyday. You are not enough.
You don't blog three times a week. You are not enough.
You haven't been writing since you were three. You are not enough.
You can't afford to go to a conference this year. You are not enough.
Your plot is weak, your characters are flat, your beginning isn't gripping, your idea isn't high concept. You are not enough.

Some days, like today, the voices are louder. With Gooser finally quiet while he munched on cheese, I fought back my depression by tackling the dishes. My husband came home from school, gave me a hug, and thanked me for doing the dishes. And I nearly cried, because it was only dishes, but he told me what I needed.

You don't have to do it all to be enough.

You are trying. That's enough.

So, my friends, today I pass that on to you. You are trying. You are enough.

20 comments:

Amparo Ortiz said...

I. LOVE. THIS. POST!!!

*gives you a billion hugs*

Thanks for making my day :D

Karen said...

Thanks for the post, Shallee! You're amazing. And it's always encouraging to read posts like this. :) Knowing that every writer goes through it sometimes makes it easier to bear. At least a little. You're fantastic--an amazing writer! I'd say you're definitely enough. :)

Melissa said...

I give you massive hugs and want you to know that you are enough. Trying - the simple effort of continuing to move forward, to get everything done, to keep at it...that alone is enough.

Your husband is sweet for knowing just want you need.

I hope you continue to feel better and know that you are not alone in these feelings! I'm tackling my own feelings of not enoughness by visualizing all my obstacles as a stupid troll man and I keep thinking of ways to get him out of my way. I posted four on the blog today but I keep coming up with new ones. It's making me smile. And boy does THAT feel nice.

Abby Minard said...

wow, this is exactly how I feel sometimes. It's awful to feel like that! We have so many things bombarding us from every direction, it really is overwhelming.

All I can offer is to keep plugging along, and the tide will change soon enough. We all go through this rollercoaster- you aren't alone! Sometimes I jsut wnat to kick people in the teeth when I hear all that you mentioned about blogging, writing, conferences, etc.

Naomi Canale said...

I love how honest you are. Thank you for sharing this with us. I too, feel like when I do get up and take a break from a moment of frustration and do something like the dishes, how much better the world is all the sudden. Hang in there and just remember that some great writers like Jay Asher just about gave up and never surrendered. An author is just a writer that didn't quit.

Karen Elizabeth Brown said...

I opened this up after telling myself that I shouldn't even be trying to write anything. You hit the nail on the head, girl. I almost cried when I read the thoughts I've been having right there in black and white. Is it possible there's a little gremlin out there, just for writers, that goes around looking for the worst possible day and then he whispers in your ear: You're not good enough! Well, I'm telling that gremlin, adios! Thank you for your bravery to put up such an honest post for us.

Akoss said...

sendings billions of hugs your way...

L.A. Colvin said...

Thank you for reminding us that we ARE enough just the way we are. I hope you take your own advice Shallee and a deep breath. One day at a time and one word at a time. It will all come together. Thank you for being so open about what every single one of us goes through. Happy thoughts coming your way and a big blog hug for you and your thoughtful hubby.

Michelle Merrill said...

Shallee, I'm so sorry you're having one of those days. I probably didn't help. Really, don't have these thoughts! You are doing so many great things and your book is rockin' awesome! I'm sending lots of hugs and happy vibes your way :)

Jennifer Hoffine said...

Sending hugs of encouragement your way...since your entry felt like a hug to me.

We've all been there, and being a mom and a writer just compounds the issue. Thanks!

Faith E. Hough said...

Thank you! I needed this today. I hope your day is getting better!

sonia said...

Good post! I have lots of days like that.

KarenG said...

Depression and writing go together, don't they, isn't that why so many of us are addicted to something? Seriously tho, I love your message and keep trying!!

alexia said...

So true! It is hard when all of the professionals tell us we have to be positively amazing to break into the market... it can be daunting.

Madeleine said...

Thank you Shallee, I was only being told that yesterday, that I should be proud of my achievements and not give up when the going gets tough but keep going. So yes keep at it you're great! We're great! :O)

Teralyn Rose Pilgrim said...

Having read your book, it's interesting that someone as talented as you still has doubts. I often think to myself, "If I was good, I would know it and then I wouldn't have doubts," but that's not how it works. Even the best of us feel down. I hope you get a fresh batch of energizing confidence soon!

wordknitter said...

Oh Shallee, I know how you're feeling. Still, you're wonderful for keeping going! I know you (and your book) are on your way to greatness.

Ginia said...

I feel the same way. I could blame it on the weather, the messy house, the sick kid, but I won't. I'll keep going.
Thanks for sharing this post.

Virginia Bell
www.virginiawashere.blogspot.com

Abby Annis said...

Awesome post! So hard to remember in this business. Hope you're feeling better soon! :)

DL Hammons said...

Post such as this one prove YOU.ARE.ENOUGH! Kudo's!!! :)

 
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