Just keep writing: believe in the story, believe in yourself

Today we meet Eric Hanson, and hear about what inspires him to keep writing in the face of severe depression. Many thanks to Eric for passing along his wisdom. If you’ve got some inspiring advice to share, please send it in!

My name is Eric Hanson, and I’m a 27-year-old writer living in Los Angeles. I’ve been suffering from severe depression, and it has affected my personal and professional life. It most often manifests itself in a persistent and overly critical voice that ridicules every misstep I make, even in my work.

Writing is something I love as it is the one practical skill I believe I possess, so I feel very pressured to turn out quality work. This makes me write a lot. This last year I wrote a full-length novel, three feature scripts, three short scripts and two short stories, along with untold essays and blog entries that have been taking up my time.


“When you lose yourself in the story, you forget all about your self-doubt, all about the things that make you sad, and you’re just along for the ride.”


The depression affected me most last month when I started work on my second book in a planned series of four. Writing the first book was a long but very fulfilling journey as I shared an adventure with a cast of characters who captured my heart. Every page I learned more about them—what made them tick, what their hopes and desires were, everything that made them more than just constructs I conjured up, but real flesh-and-blood individuals who kept me in good company.

I had a lot of doubt that I could do it again. I had seen series start out so promising on the first entry only to crash and burn on every attempt to re-energize them that came after. I was horrified that fate awaited the characters I had fallen in love with last year. That voice came back and whispered its usual taunts: “You’re going to fail them. You’re going to let them down.”

In spite of this, I still decided to write it, if only to pass the time.

The first few sessions didn’t go very well, with a mere 1,000 or so words written each day.

Soon though, something happened. While writing, my characters pulled me back into their world, and I wasn’t at the keyboard anymore—I was getting dragged along on another adventure. What helped me get back into the spirit of writing was the same thing that captured me to begin with. I lost myself in the story. When you do that, you forget all about your self-doubt, all about the things that make you sad, and you’re just along for the ride.

The best part though was seeing what was in front of me. It was very flawed, but I could pick out the flaws and immediately got ideas how to fix them. This made me not only eager to move forward with the draft I have, but also excited at the second draft which will begin in a few months.

In the end, the thing that helped me overcome my insecurity was just to write, because when I write, I forget about my self and just immerse myself in the story, and the story is what I believe in more than anything in the world.

Support Eric by sharing this on Facebook!

And be sure to visit Eric’s blog, Never Heroes, Journey of an Aspiring Storyteller.

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14 thoughts on “Just keep writing: believe in the story, believe in yourself

  1. I was diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia, and I find writing the only way to be able to release the crazy thoughts I often get rampaging round my head – probably the reason I write Horror. When you say you forget about your self-doubt and lose yourself in the story, that’s absolutely true. Writing opens a world where you’re free from who you are, and it’s not escapism but a sort of literary therapy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Never Heroes and commented:
    I was fortunate enough to be one of the authors featured on blogger Timothy Pike’s series about overcoming doubts in writing. Be sure to check out his blog and see his content as well as many other talented up and coming authors.

    Like

  3. Totally agree. My first book got me through severe anxiety. You get lost in the story and the characters give you purpose and drive. You must tell their story or die! Sometimes I feel I’m not even making the book up, the characters them tell me what happens next. It’s strange I know, but I know I can’t be alone in this. Haha.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Eric, I enjoyed your post very much. Self-doubt resides in all of us at times, but so do our strengths and talents. I’m astonished by the amount of writing you have achieved. Best of luck on the series and keep writing. Here’s one of my favorite quotes.
    “Words are sacred.They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you nudge the world a little.” Tom Stoppard.
    @sheilamgood at Cow Pasture Chronicles

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for this Tim and Eric. This came at exactly the right time for me, right before I try to tackle my first NaNoWriMo, but with the added baggage of Multiple Sclerosis.
    Writing is hard enough with having to deal with additional challenges.
    Thanks Tim. Reblogged on authorsteveboseley.wordpress.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • Steve, it’s great to hear that you’ve set out this challenge for yourself, and keep us posted on how the month goes. Early next year, I’ll be announcing some fun activities exclusively for NaNo participants!

      Like

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