It’s been a slightly difficult day, a day when it was hard to do things. In some ways, I feel very “blocked;” in others, I’m making progress, of varying degrees. It’s hard to assess how it’s been overall. The good news first.

I’m going to be volunteering tomorrow morning, packing food packages for the vulnerable. Hopefully this will be every Wednesday morning until at least the end of the year. I will have to get up about 6.30am, as if I was going to work! However, it will be finished by 11.00am, so I should be home by lunchtime and able to take things easy in the afternoon. It is through a major Jewish organisation, the one that ran the asylum seekers’ drop-in centre where I used to volunteer until that was stopped by COVID. I just hope I can do what I’m supposed to do; at the drop-in centre, I came to feel that I was not doing much good, if not actually being a liability. I’ve heard autistic people say they just get in the way when people want them to help and I fear that describes my attempts to help too. I don’t know if it’s something about not being able to “read” a large group of people and follow implicit or unspoken instructions well enough to do what needs doing and not get in the way, but I seem to get stuck and get in the way, more so than if I’m just left to sort something out by myself.

PIMOJ is really positive about my volunteering, which is good, as I worry she will lose interest in me if I can’t find work, although she has shown no sign of that so far.

I did manage to get through to the psychiatrist’s secretary today, but there is no sign of a letter from the psychiatrist to the GP. The secretary said she would speak to the psychiatrist. I’m worried that I may have misunderstood something about changing lithium brands.

Other achievements: I tried to go for a run, but after changing and warming up, my foot started hurting. The pain didn’t go after a minute or two of running, so I decided not to risk pulling something and went home. I cooked dinner, but had an, um, culinary malfunction (too much salt fell into the pasta and changing the water didn’t help), so it was rather salty, less than ideal (or healthy), although still edible. I spent half an hour editing something I wrote here a while back into a devar Torah (Torah thought). It’s a bit shorter than what I usually write, but will probably be OK. I’d like to add 100 words to it, but I’m not sure that I will be able to do so. I tried to do some Torah study after that, but was too tired and a bit depressed and also anxious about tomorrow (this was late at night; I’m not narrating in chronological order).

The main thing I did this afternoon was some redrafting on my novel. It was one of those days when it’s really hard to write, and I was dealing one of the most autobiographical passages, and one that brings up difficult memories for me. I did more cutting than anything else. I cut a load of stuff as irrelevant and/or verbose and over-written, including one of the surreal interludes I wrote that I now think simply didn’t work, much as I like the idea of having them in theory. I think I only spent about forty-five minutes on working it, excluding procrastination time.

I feel a lot more negative about the last couple of chapters I’ve redrafted than I did about the first couple. I guess some days go like that, particularly as I had other things to do. It just makes me think that I’ve got a lot to learn and do if I want to be a writer, or even to get this book into a sellable shape. Sometimes it’s so hard to find the words to express what I think and feel. Do other writers feel like this sometimes, struggling to write anything at all? I guess I associate the “churn it out regardless” type of writing with people who write reams of genre fiction of little depth as opposed to more emotionally-real, thoughtful or experimental writing, but maybe that’s me being a literary snob. Part of me feels I should just give up, except that I feel that I have something to say and don’t know how not to say it any more. Plus, I’m beginning to doubt whether a career other than writing is really open to me any more.

A different problem about self-expression is the fact that I increasingly feel I need to write something here about politics – not policies and people, but how lonely and scared I feel at the moment. Scared that I’ll be rejected for what I think. Scared because there are people I respect who I fear don’t respect people like me. Writing something about it, however short or inadequate, has become a challenge I feel I need to meet regardless of the outcome, in the name of fighting social anxiety and self-censorship, but I’m lacking bravery or, today, time.

The other reason to write about politics is that I feel I’m running out of things to say, while still needing my blog as an outlet. I feel that at the moment things are OK, but there isn’t a lot that’s changing that I can comment on. I write this for myself, but I don’t really want to either bore or alienate my readers. I guess I don’t really know why anyone reads this, but I feel dependent on my blog commenters as part of my support network, alongside more traditional support like therapy, my parents and depression and autism support groups.

12 thoughts on “Writer’s Woes

  1. Hey, just thought of dropping a little encouragement to make sure that you keep writing, no matter how much doubt you feel. Anyway, the volunteering gig does sound interesting and I hope you write about that too. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think the volunteering thing is a good idea. If you are like me it will take time for you to be truly useful but if you put in the time and become familiar with what they need I’m sure you will be an asset. Just be patient with yourself. 🙂 I think you should write what you think and feel. I know it’s scary but it can’t get to the people who need it if you don’t put it out there. It’s true that some people won’t like it or will disagree but that is unavoidable. I have this feeling that the things you need to say are felt by many people who can’t even speak or be heard so you should do so on their behalf if you can. Look up Iddo Kedar. He is a young man who has nonverbal autism and has to deal with many scientists saying his communication isn’t even real. But he has written a book about his experiences and another book that is a novel. Ya, you should definitely google him and find his blog. I think you both think very similarly about autism. I am preaching to myself right now because I’m always holding back in some way cause I’m afraid of people’s reactions.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think you blog primarily for yourself – it’s your online journal – and not to entertain us. We will all find different things interesting – some your religious thoughts and Jewish culture – other your philosophical musings about life – others mental health issues and some your interest in sci fi and fantasy. Yet underneath it all is you – and once you get to know someone even if it’s only online – you develop an interest in the person beneath the writing. And not just an interest, but you also begin to care about them and this is what holds the interest. So, I wouldn’t necessarily censor or tailor what you write because of your audience (though you may do so for other reasons of course). People who care about you will stick around. And I think you should blog about whatever you feel moved to write about. Try to be less worried about what we may think of your politics or other views. You may be surprised, some of us have some unconventional or non-mainstream ideas too. And in any case, do you want friends who are so intolerant of views they disagree with that they reject you? There’s a lot of that around nowadays with cancel culture etc but hopefully you and we are above that!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love the idea of volunteering and would like to do something also. (while minimizing my risk) Some days we feel blocked or uninspired. Hoping for a better day!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. For whatever it’s worth, I enjoy reading your blog 🙂
    Re: Politics blogging hesitation….I want to tell you to go for it, that people who care will stick around, but I have the same fears myself about the potential backlash, with the culture/world being what it is, which is why I haven’t done it yet myself. Do it if you want to, but not because you feel obligated to entertain your readers.
    Novel writing is hard and it sounds like you have made considerable progress.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks, I’m glad you enjoy reading this.

    Yes, if I write about politics it will be because I want to confront that, not from obligation.

    Novel writing is hard! For the moment I want to just concentrate on plugging away at it until I get another draft or two finished.

    Like

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