The Weight of my Words

close up of typewriter page with the words it's all in the journey typed out - Photo by Suzy Hazelwood:

More often than not, when I’m trying to write, the words are slow to flow from thoughts down into my fingertips. It takes effort to mentally get to a place where I can push everything else away and be there. In a world I’ve made, with a character I built a life for, establishing the finer details.

Then there are days when I can’t get there at all. My mind gets stuck. I equate being able to fabricate my own fictitious worlds with my mental health issues. It’s diet psychosis. Disassociation on expert; as I continue giving voice and personality and nuance to things that I know are not real. Will never be real.

Before, when I wrote as a child, teenager, and young adult, I did so because I wanted to escape my life. I needed those stories to be as real and detailed as possible. Relying on them for my own sanity made it easier to write at the time. Writing was the only break I had back then.

At times, I hate that I’m good writer. Not as good as I’d like to be, but well enough to be remarked as such by the few people I’ve let read my pieces.

My strengths as a writer were built from years of survival escapism. My writing voice is a product of rehearsing interactions to ensure the best outcome. My fully formed characters and attention to detail are consequences of anxious hyper awareness. I love writing, I attribute it as one of the reasons I’m still here. I hate the realization that any talent I have as a writer, rests on a foundation of trauma.

In February of 2021, when I picked up my pen and started writing, I did so because I was angry. I journal often when I’m emotional as a way to get the thoughts out of my head, but this was different. I didn’t want to journal. I didn’t want to talk about what was going on with me anymore, but there was so much resentment, bitter hatred, and rage swirling in my mind, that it was beginning to affect my day-to-day life. My work focus was down. Small grievances at home put me in tears. Speaking to friends was exhausting. I could not get the anger out of my head.

Nothing set me at ease, so I turned to writing. I’ve made kill characters before. One-off scenes with an unnamed individual who encounters some horrific end by the conclusion. Vent and shred. Never the same character, or situation.

Until I started writing what became my current project.

I kept going back to the same character, and putting him in more and more frustrating situations. And it grew beyond what I intended. I would kill him, then he’d be alive so I could kill him again. Everything I wrote prompted further questions that resulted in more writing. Who is he? Where is this taking place? What is it like there? Who did he meet? They’re from somewhere else, what is that place like?

I’d written close to 30,000 words before I realized I was writing a story.

Now I have a fully fleshed out plot for a series. I originally planned out a trilogy, but it looks like it’ll be five books when all is said and done.

I’m still writing. I only kill him when it’s necessary for the plot now, haha. And I’m less angry.

For the longest time I discouraged my own writing because I didn’t think I was informed enough to write about the things I wanted to. Everyone says write what you know, and if you don’t know something, research.

In the past eighteen months, I’ve realized that I know a lot about emotional turmoil from personal experience. I’ve been able to write about my depression, trauma, anguish, self medication, anxiety, lack of confidence, fears, and insomnia in a way I never considered before.

It’s hard, but it’s also freeing, so I’ll keep at it until the story is done. However long that may take.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood

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