Friday, August 22, 2008

Loneliness: The Not So Silent Killer "Confessions of a Writer"

Hey everybody,

Tonight, I'm going to express my feelings on a particular subject I was hoping would vanish with time. As a matter of fact, I've been thinking of posting my thoughts on this personal issue for quite some time now. But I hesitated. I guess I didn't feel like throwing stones at myself.

Then I thought about it and came to the quick conclusion that: this is my blog - my journal - a diary if you will - my intentions were to expose myself to whoever was interested and more importantly, I needed a creative outlet between my film projects and everything else I was doing in the professional world. Essentially, blogging is a form of therapy. I enjoy writing and lately I've come to embrace it more then I expected to. Of course this is accredit to anyone who has left a positive comment or sent out a friendly e-mail.
What might appear to be an effortless gesture has suddenly became tiny accolades in a sea of uncertainty, in which I'm referring to my becoming of a successful writer/film-maker.
All in all, you guys rock. This is me being real, I'm not trying to patronize any of you. To know that there are some people who actually appreciate your work, whether it be a few to a few hundred...is such a comforting notion!

film schools
So now that we got that out of the way. I'd like to comment on something you don't normally see writers talk about. Which is the depression, all of us face (at one point or another) when we're alone, in that dark room focusing on the computer screen, typing away into the wee hours of the night. It happens all the time and it comes in waves. For example: when I wrote the first draft for "Damaged People" a script on which I had no experience on. I locked myself away for an entire month, only surfacing for food and water. Talk about extreme measures, yet the funny thing was...there was no deadline, no studio or producer waiting for a copy, not one person waiting to read what I have just accomplished.
In all honesty, I could have cared less. I felt like I was doing something special, not so much for the project but for myself...and as the last page fell out of my printer, I felt like "Wow, this is the real deal. I just wrote a ****ing screenplay."
After a week or so of some much needed R&R, I felt sullenly aloof to my personal life. There was a disconnection that happened when I was immersed in crafting the script. You can't pin-point the moment of incident, but you can definitely feel it, gradually making us weary. This especially goes for writers who race to meet deadlines. I mean, you get out of it, eventually. That's what friends are for - same goes for family, spouses, boyfriends/girlfriends and little pets that fit the palm of your hand...lol.

The reason I speak about these things; is because I feel like there are hard truths that may seem daunting to confront, but need the attention of the unsuspecting.

Unfortunately at the moment, I'm riding a wave of loneliness that has resulted into a hint of depression and anxiety. As we speak, I'm waiting for the green light on a current project of mine, in which I spent the last few months re-developing.
I feel like I'm desperately chasing cars and because of my inability to nurture a relationship, I feel like I'm going at it alone.
It's hard for me to articulate my feelings and as I said before, everyone looks out a different window, so my experiences are nothing but subjective thoughts against the narrative of a million voices. But I'm vocal so therefore I am...if that makes sense.

hollywood writer
About a week ago, I finished watching all the episodes of "The Office" and as I played the season 4 finale, I felt sad...not necessarily because I had ran out of episodes but mainly because I had nobody to share the moment with. I had been too wrapped up in my work, that I completely forgot about my personal life. During the next few days, I was sort of depressed, moping around in my pajamas and sh** I needed a fast kick in the arse. I've been trying some meditation techniques, it helps but still I need a break. Maybe I'll go out and meet someone - or - maybe you can just hook me up with a friend? Doesn't have to be the prettiest girl, just as long as she's semi interesting. I'm joking, just joking.

So yeah, that's it...people get depressed, it's part of life. But, I wanna let you know that writers and in particular - commissioned writers with deadlines - fall into depression quicker then others because of the techniques we utilize to craft our so-called masterpiece. Also, it is my personal and humble opinion that writers are also some of the most under appreciated talents in the industry.

In conclusion, I write because I love to do it. Even more so now that I have found somewhat of an audience. This is not a complaint, or me whining about the obvious, consider it more of a chronicling of the unsaid. These were my intentions. Thank you for reading.

UPDATE 08/30/08: Before commenting or expressing your thoughts on the matter, please understand that sometimes writers can be self-obsessive which is a fault to the many attributes of this profession. I failed to mention the sudden shifts we can go through when exiting a crazy work environment. For instance it's been a week and change since I wrote this piece and now I feel completely different. I took a break and as expected, I'm much more relaxed. Still no cure for my relationship blues but that is irrelevant to what I do professionally. I would like to thank all of you for sending me e-mails and leaving comments, expressing your personal views on the matter. As I said, we are all different in how we handle depression. Some are quicker to realize that our troubles might be minuscule in a grander scheme or some might take depression and loneliness in a whole different manner due to what might be a situation in need of dire recovery. Just stating the obvious. In all actuality, I'm a rather happy individual who thrives on helping others. No shit, lol. If you read the article again, you'll notice that I'm also trying to express my love in regards to my profession and not so much to thrash it. So, it's not all mope and sadness. I just wanted to post (in real time) my thoughts on how I felt at that particular moment, after all this is the forum to do so. Again thanks for the feedback. We're keeping it interesting here. In a second conclusion...I say, people are complex and that is all.



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27 comments:

Melanie said...

You're not alone!
You know you have a friend.
I'm happy to give you a kick in the pants when needed. ;)
You are appreciated &
Keep up the great work!
You will succeed because
you want to & you can.
Your feelings are normal
and you'll get through it.
In fact sharing yourexperiences will be your road to success.
Use them to your advantage as you've just done.
I'd say this was one of your best.
Keep writing. :)

jcrn said...

You aren't alone, really. I'm so sorry that one site had a huge glitch right when you started writing there but I immediately recommended you for a special award there (hope you know which one I mean). The thing about writing and the internet is that you never know who is reading your material. You can feel alone but you might be watched by people - or read by fans - without knowing it. I write this as someone who had a fan base of readers for a long time before I knew it.

Creative people do tend to get depressed more easily than others. Did you know that? Loneliness goes with the territory, that fine line between solitude to let ideas grow and the edge where it veers into too much solitude.

ms mcky said...

I feel just the opposite. I am so focused on creating right now that the hours I churn into my 3 projects get me tha much closer to being able to escape my "day job". You are heading in the right direction, know that. You are talented and your art will find it's arena. It can happen in a blink. Be grateful that you KNOW what you want and are rockin towards that goal. Millions of people never find their purpose. You will get there. You are young and way ahead of the game! I have been in promotions for a long time. The workaholic wins!
I'll keep my eye on your projects. Your blog is very interesting and I know this may sound corny but have you read "The Secret"? If not, get it.
Hang in there.
Ms Macky

Chili said...

Even thou, I can relate to your experiences, in a cold dark room hammering away at the keyboard. I have a trick that I use to eliminate the loneliness factor. Go grocery Shopping, Hell, if nothing else it'll scare the crap out of you when you look at the prices (especially @ midnight) and the bonding factor is amazing. Keep up the excellent work, live your dream. Because so many people forget their dreams as life progress's. Kudo's to you!!!!!

the slackmistress said...

Being a writer is an INCREDIBLY solitary pursuit. Even when I was on staff of a show, a good portion of my time was locked in a room tippy-tapping away at the keyboard.

Being married has changed that a small bit, but during the day I'm still mostly totally alone. On the flip side, Will has to deal with people all day at work, so he wants peace and quiet when he gets home while I *need* someone to talk to.

The good part about being friends with other creative people is that they understand that sometimes you need to disappear a little.

Floyd said...

I like very much reading what you write,you have some real talent and lots of people read your work as one commenter stated above,probably more so than you know.

A lot of individuals out there get depressed and some live with it daily in their lives and I myself have it from time to time,relating back to what chili said even grocery shopping can give one a change of heart,,cheers my friend.

☮~alapoet~☠ said...

Great post, John.

This is really how it feels!

Jim Gaudet said...

I have to say that although the Internet is nice place and people talk to you, it is nothing like a night out at the bar with some friends.

I am alone in Costa Rica, have no "true" friends here, so most every night I am here, by myself. And, I can talk to my friends in the US via the Net, but it's not the same.

My only outlet is to hit a bar and make new friends. It helps...

Fryerman said...

It's funny because a lot of times I wonder what keeps me writing. I haven't made a career -- or even a one-time gig -- out of writing. Not yet. It's still a hobby for me. The only reason many people write, I think, is because they love to put thoughts into text.

Some people, like me, are the most articulate and observant when they write stuff down. I think that's why we like to discuss things like depression. Because we do all experience loneliness. And by exploring loneliness we try and figure out the meaning of our existence. That's a hefty subject to blog about. And when we do, we rant and ramble, but it's definitely a cleansing feeling.

I write not because it's my job -- although I wish it was -- but because it's like free therapy. Nothing is solved. Nothing is fixed. But in a few hundred words I put my voice out there and had a little conversation with myself and that's all. But that's all we need, sometimes. To vent. And writers have that ability that many people don't. Most people keep that stuff bottled inside.

So I haven't looked into your website much because this was the first thing I read, but I always feel a little more connected with humanity when someone else talks about dealing with the same mental hurtles. Just know that you are definitely not alone and, also, probably more well-off than most.

As for advice? Start drawing.

Chuck P. said...

The life of the artist can be extremely taxing. I know I ended up choosing, without realizing, between a future with a woman I loved deeply and my pursuit of writing and directing.

The levels you have to sift through to do it well, take time, energy and your life.

We will probably spend our whole lives working for something everyone tells us we'll never reach.

But if can move an audience, opening a person's mind to alternative possibilities then it's a life worth living.

Sadly, our pathes take us different ways and we may not want to but we do have to walk large parts alone.

And the wolf is always out in the woods waiting for us to falter.

Keep it up, all of you.

Look yourself in the mirror and be proud.

Chuck P. said...

OH, before I forget.

WE NEED TO GET THE WORD OUT ABOUT THIS FILM! http://www.splitdoc.com/ Check out the trailer and you'll see why!

Rebecca said...

Been there!

My advice is to get in the car ~ drive out to a lake or other peaceful place and take a nice long stroll. Stop and lay back under some trees and look up at the heavens. Notice the little wonders of life around you.

Take some pictures and make a screensaver to remind you how important it is to get out of the house and fill you lungs with fresh air and spirit with fresh perspective. :)

Michelle said...

AMAZING READ!!!!

Barbara(aka Layla) said...

Hey John, just found your blog (thanks for adding me at blog catalog). You are write about writers being under appreicated, the irony of it is pretty amazing. No writers - No nothing. It starts with the writers, nothing can happen without the writers.

About loneliness and depression...damn I relate to the degree that I may just take a nap all day to escape feeling it. I hope you meet someone special. If I was still young and pretty I'd drive down to LA and meet you for a ______ (smoothie, margarita, chai tea, coffee, beer - whatever).

Thomas said...

Such an engaging post. I too feel the same way at times. And yes people are complex. Nicely put.

Jules said...

Hey John,

I'm not a writer; I'm not creative nor artistic, and I most definitely am not talented.

And I don't think I'm too self-obsessed.

But the day-to-day fluctuations of my mood is comparable to those you see in the stock market these days.

It's alright to allow yourself to FEEL and to express your feelings in ways that are not destructive.

We shouldn't have to apologize for being human.

Having mood swings means you're NOT STUCK in a bad mood and you do get out of it.

That's a good thing :-)

You write well. And you're so young. You'll have a bright future in the industry. Stay focused.

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Stumbled across your blog today while searching for information on the loneliness faced by writers.

There are so many average to poor blogs that I had to comment on how great I found yours.

I see you have many admirers and I have to say "loneliness = No comments on your blog" you are not lonely...

*Smiles*

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