It’s been about eight or nine months, so it’s time for another one of these complaint-ridden introspective posts, isn’t it? This time, I’m asking myself – and you, if you’re a writer as well – the question in the title. Seemingly a simple question, but it’s one that all writers have to ask themselves. Why write? What am I really doing here? I don’t make any money off of this blog. I don’t have any plans to use this site as a springboard to write for outside outlets, either; my day job keeps me busy enough, and the people I know who make their living writing have a rough time of it. No, I’m happy to keep writing a hobby instead of a job, though I’m still not averse to taking a freelance job here and there when I have the time. I’m also happy to stay primarily a W-2 employee, because doing taxes is hell on freelancers in the US.
I’ve been posting on a regular basis (at least by my standards) since the end of last year, when I ended my months-long on-and-off hiatus. Since picking up the pen again and committing to it, my life’s gotten more tolerable, and I think there are two reasons for that. The first that occurred to me was that I just like writing about subjects that interest me, and video/PC games and music have been my favorite forms of entertainment since I was a kid, so it seemed natural to write about them.
The other reason I continue writing here is that it’s the best way I’ve found to cope with my depression. I don’t feel like I have any control over my life, and I hate most every aspect of it. I used to drink to try to cope with those feelings – I drank way too much, in fact. Since I thought I didn’t care about living, it seemed only natural to drink until I went numb for a while. Sometimes literally numb, but more often figuratively. I probably don’t have to mention that since alcohol is a depressant, it can deepen depressive episodes and promote certain thoughts that might crop up during them.
I’ve basically quit doing that, and I’m trying to stay on course. It’s hard not to fall back into old habits when that high wave of depression hits, and it always does hit without exception. But that’s where writing comes in. My writing projects, as piddly as they are, give me at least one goal in life to pursue that I actually care about. And since there’s no ultimate goal to writing, no end destination, these projects will hopefully continue until my life ends, whenever that happens. It helps that the subjects I’ve chosen to write about also provide an escape from the shitness of everyday life.
I hope this post doesn’t make it seem like I’m trying to get any sympathy. That’s not useful to anyone, and in any case, I’ve always just tried to be sincere on this blog. Seems pointless not to be, since I can’t get away with true sincerity out in the real world. I also know well enough that since I’m not currently starving to death or living under a dictator, I have it better than a whole lot of people. Having that knowledge doesn’t help with depression, though, as much as it seems like it should (and don’t use this line on someone who’s dealing with it as a way to try to give them perspective – it doesn’t work.)
For some reason, I always get this way around the holidays. Ramadan starts on Monday, and even though it’s not a big deal where I live, it’s a big deal in my family. A whole month of fasting and repentance. I know a lot of people think it’s just an ancient custom not worth bothering with anymore, but I do think there’s value to the fast. Self-denial of that kind puts me in a weird mindset – not weird in a bad way, either; it’s the kind of mindset that’s best for writing. Thankfully, the fast doesn’t include games, so I’ll still be playing them this month as well. That and having a feast at the end, because I’ll sure as hell feel like it by then.
Well shit, that was another rambling bunch of nonsense. My next post will make more sense and actually be about something. In the meantime, if you feel like it, I’d like to hear about your own motivations. What drives you to write?