It’s the middle of February and, while it hasn’t been a bad winter compared to the past couple years, seasonal affective disorder has been sneaking up on me. With long nights and grey gloomy days full of snow, I’ve been feeling a little worn out and lacking the creative pep I usually have.
And I know I’m not the only one.
I’ve commiserated with plenty of my fellow creators about winter blues since the beginning of January. Once the festivities of December are over, there is a harsh coming down in the next month.
Any bit of good weather has been clung to like a life raft, any reminders of spring—even just from others’ Instagram accounts—have been gazed upon with awe and love. But all that can’t seem to fully fix this vague apathy that seems to drape over me in these months. When I need to be working towards my writing goals, I find I don’t have the energy. When I want to begin new creative projects, I can’t seem to muster the motivation.
I’ve also been dealing with some weird health issues that started late last year and have carried over into this one. While nothing is quite confirmed, I know I need to take some time to care for myself.
How can I balance my health with wanting to constantly be working on different projects?
I need to keep working on my query letter, which I’m submitting to a Twitter-based author mentor program. In order to do that, I’ve had to rewrite my whole letter and edit my synopsis, while researching mentors I want to submit to and what they’re looking for in a submission. All while fighting back my fears of rejection.
I’m also drafting a brand new novel and trying to get the first draft done in the next couple months. This has been more fun than working on the query, because it’s purely creative. I haven’t planned much at all and I’m writing whatever comes to me at the time. I’ve been handwriting it and I’ve found that I quite enjoy it.
Along with my desire to write more poetry and get more into painting, I don’t know how I can have time to do everything I want to. I also have been thinking about putting some of my art on Etsy to sell, but I have no idea if anyone would actually want to buy anything I’ve made.
But most of the time lately, I haven’t been doing much of anything because I’ve just felt so awful and tired. A toxic mix of SAD and whatever is going on with my health. And it’s hard to tell if I’m tired because of SAD or if it’s something wrong with my health. Not really having answers about my health was also wearing me down.
I’ve been wanting to try something new creatively. Though I don’t know what that is. All I know is that I’ve had this stagnant feeling for a while.
My goal going into 2020 was to create more. So far, things haven’t been as productive as I’d hoped. But these feelings of wanting to try something new means I have the desire and sometimes hints of motivation to get going.
Writing a couple new poems has been fun, and it’s the first time I’ve written any since I was an angsty teenager.
I’m also trying to get back into writing short stories, which I haven’t really been able to write since I started writing novel-lengthed things. It’s a long and complicated issue full of self-doubt and second guessing and lack of ideas that don’t need 80k words to explain. But I’ve begun working on one and I feel good about it.
Not writing related, I also want to branch out with my painting. I love painting birds and other animals, but I’d like to try abstract painting a little bit. Letting my feelings come out through the paint a little more, getting a little messy, experimenting with multiple mediums.
Another thing I wanted to do this year is getting into photography properly. I was lucky enough to get a really nice camera for free, but I barely know how to use it. Most pictures I take are on my phone, and while they work fine, I want to do more with an actual camera. I love photography when done well and it’s so inspiring.
While I’m certainly not an expert on healthy coping mechanisms when it comes to SAD or any sort of emotional distress, I can offer some advice:
- Do your best
- Be kind to yourself
- Small steps are steps nonetheless
- Appreciate the little things
- Get as much sun as you can
I’m feeling hopeful now that this rough week is over and there’s a long weekend ahead of me. I plan to do plenty of relaxing, reading, and writing. Maybe this will get me back into a better creative groove to move forward with my creative projects.
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