Writing 101: Unlocking the Mind – Sometimes it’s dark.

It may have been a mistake to sign up for this, but oh well, too late for regrets. So much going on this week especially, but hopefully it will slow down to a reasonable pace.

But my writing habit has… nearly vanished over the spring and summer. And I don’t want to go into NaNoWriMo cold turkey, and hopefully I’ll get at least a few back-up posts out of this.

The assignment for day one of Writing 101 was to free-write for 20 minutes, and the optional part was to post it on your blog.

When I finished, I really didn’t want to post it. But the things going through my head right now are affecting the way I react to people, and affecting what I can accomplish, so maybe you guys (my regular readers) need to know.

If the assignment had been for 40 minutes… this probably could have gotten scary. Read with a shaker of salt, please. A single grain won’t be enough.



Late. I feel like I am always running late these days, and it’s annoying and frustrating because I was raised to always be prompt.

I’m late with this ‘assignment’ – in the loosest sense of the word, of course. There are no grades hinging on my completion of it, just my sense of self accomplishment that is practically non-existent these days.

It’s so close to bedtime already, and I’ve only just found the time to write. And even though I’ve accomplished so much today – the weekly menu and grocery list, collecting Grandma’s grocery list, playing with the dog, medicating the cat… showering, neatening the house, making dinner… – I feel like I haven’t accomplished anything that really matters.

My life has become a series of chores, both chores to maintain my own home, and chores to maintain the lives of those I care about.

Though sometimes, because of the repetition of those chores, I grow to resent those I’m supposed to care about.

And now my phone is ringing.

Always when I sit down and finally start writing.

It’s Grandma, of course. Who else on a Tuesday night.

The question is if she will leave a message, or if she’s going to call me back multiple times, or if she’s going to start calling everyone else in the family because I didn’t answer my phone.

But the phone ringing disturbed the dog. He had been quietly focused on chewing his bone. And now my 20 minutes of writing time are… disturbed.

Because of responsibilities.

Always responsibilities. I have to let the dog out back now, and according to my timer I’ve written for 6 undisturbed minutes.

It appears that Grandma has actually left a voicemail this time, but I won’t check it until I’ve written for 14 more minutes. Neither will I let the dog in until that time has passed.

I’m allowed to be selfish, right?

At least a little.

If I’m not selfish, then I simply become the invisible one… and I have felt so invisible these days.

I cook and clean and buy groceries, take care of the animals and the garden, with rarely a thank you from my husband, and an overabundance of thank you’s laced with the silent claws of guilt from my grandmother.

What would we do without you? We’d probably starve! Thank you for getting the groceries this week.

What do I do when I want to have children?

I’m so tired already.

And I don’t think most people understand it when I say I’m so tired.

I’m so tired I can’t think most days. Which stunts my creativity, and then I feel like I’m starving. Or suffocating.

I live for stories.

But my life rarely allows the time for them, it seems.

Another interruption. My husband tries to loan out a movie of mine. No. That’s my movie. He doesn’t even watch it. I bought it with my own money, scrounged up from odd jobs and hoarded gift cards. Mine.

I’m selfish.

I feel selfish, and yet I never accomplish the things I truly want to. Why?

Why can I not stand up and focus on something for more than 20 minutes at a time before I need to lay down because I feel so weak?

Why can I not write for 20 minutes without more than one interruption?

Why can I not get everything accomplished in a single day that I need to?

I wonder how much of this might be depression – there’s certainly the signs of it.

But I wonder how much of it is actually something wrong, and I wonder what lengths I will have to go to, to find a doctor who will listen to me.

I am frustrated that I have two people who share a house with me – heck, my husband shares my bed – and yet neither of them seem to see that I feel so… invisible.

I’m everyone’s maid, and no one’s joy.

I spend so much time doing things for everyone else, that by the time there’s a moment to do something for myself, I no longer have the strength to do what I really want.

And so I waste time, trying to find some hidden reserve inside me that is still creative. Still energetic. Still young.

I’m not even 30 yet. I shouldn’t feel this old.

Also, why can I not churn out this many words this quickly in November? I could write two novels so easily in that case.

Recent Comments

  • Isabella LeCour
    September 16, 2014 - 11:35 pm · Reply

    Yay! A fellow NaNoWriMo’er. I as well did not want to go into NaNoWriMo cold turkey. I’m doing both the Writing & Blogging 101 assignments. I’m sprinkling on the salt for sure. You have a point, it might be depression. And I can relate to feeling invisible. It’s happened to be more than a few times over the course of my marriage. I hope you do find the joy to pursue to lift your spirits and I’m looking forward to November and NaNoWriMo. I hope to see you there.

    • Rebekah Loper
      September 17, 2014 - 1:03 pm · Reply

      I thought about doing Blogging 101, but I looked back at the assignments from the last round (or have they done it twice now, lol), and most of it is things I’ve already figured out. I’ll wait for the next round of Blogging 201. As long as it doesn’t fall during November!

      I will definitely be there for NaNoWriMo, even if I don’t feel like it, because I’ve already signed my Municipal Liaison agreement for this year, lol. A literal catastrophe is pretty much the only thing that would stop me now!

  • Candace Gauger
    September 17, 2014 - 1:30 am · Reply

    It isn’t easy to find those few precious minutes to do something for yourself. I know how dreadfully hard it can be. Responding to this is taking effort because I see a lot of how I feel in this post of yours. With everything to do between college and work, there’s no time for writing. Just staring at a blank page when everyone is asleep.

    It could very well be depression. I /might/ do NaNo this year. For the first time in a decade, I’m not excited about it and the ideas are just dust whirling around in the corners of my mind.

    I pray it is better for you and the desire to curl up in a dark corner and sleep stays far from your doorstep.

  • Maria Zannini
    September 17, 2014 - 6:41 am · Reply

    Your stream of consciousness writing reminds me of a day many years ago when I finished hauling feed to over a hundred rheas and emu, cleaned stalls, mowed the back forty, did laundry, vacuumed, and fed dogs, but when I asked the husband to refill the dog’s water bowl he balked and said he’d do it later. (He was reading the newspaper.)

    I exploded right then and there and we had a ‘come to Jesus meeting’. He got the message and never again took me for granted.

    He still balks on occasion but he always does what I ask him. He’s also good about helping me around the farm and helps with the cooking. The family rule is: if one works, both of us work. This way stuff gets done faster.

    • Rebekah Loper
      September 17, 2014 - 1:09 pm · Reply

      I try to give hubby a bit of slack, because while I do take care of a lot of the house, he is the one going out and working 40+ hours a week, and his job is somewhat physically demanding, so he is tired and has probably done as much or sometimes more work each day than I have.

      But I’m still standing firm on my “If I do all the cooking, I sure better not be doing all the dishes afterward, too.” stance. And that’s the one we seem to have the most problems with. *sigh*

  • Patricia Lynne (@plynne_writes)
    September 17, 2014 - 7:06 pm · Reply

    Ugh. There are quite a few points where I feel like I’m certain you’re writing about me. The tiredness especially. You’re not invisible to me, and I hope you find a reservoir of energy. I’d send you some, but I’m lacking in that department myself.

  • Elea Andrea Almazora
    September 18, 2014 - 2:35 am · Reply


    Thank you for writing this. Sometimes, it’s easy to overlook the good things other people do; you’ve given me something to be more mindful of.

    I can only imagine how you feel; however, I hope that you can hang in there and find a means of helping your loved ones understand just how much time you need for yourself and just how important writing time is to you.

    I wish you the best.

  • S.B. Roberts
    September 21, 2014 - 8:15 pm · Reply

    Sounds like you have so much on your plate, but you do an awesome job. Even though it wears you down, and even though it’s a thankless job. Know that, even if they aren’t saying it, they are appreciative.

    As someone who’s seen how detrimental depression can be, please talk to someone if you feel it weighing down on you. You’re so precious and so important. *hugs*

What do you think?

About Rebekah

Rebekah Loper writes character-driven epic fantasy featuring resilient women in trying and impossible circumstances who just want to save themselves but usually end up saving the world, often while falling in love.
She lives in Tulsa, OK with her husband, dog, two formerly feral cats, a small flock of feathered dragons (...chickens. They're chickens), and an extensive tea collection. When she's not writing, she battles the Oklahoma elements in an effort to create a productive, permaculture urban homestead.