It’s been difficult to write anything lately. I’ve even been avoiding just little blog entries. My friend sent me this link from July 4’s entry in the Letters of Note blog. It’s an open letter from Pixar animator Austin Madison written to aspiring artists as part of the Animator Letters Project, which collects letters from successful animators to inspire those seeking to enter the industry. I love Pixar. I overanalyze their screenplays like a complete nerd. It’s a not-so-secret dream of mine to somehow be one of their writers even though they do all their stories from within and I have zero experience with animation and no hope of getting hired. So even though it’s geared towards animators specifically, I’ve found it helpful to think about as a writer and also just in getting through my day-to-day life.
You should definitely read the whole letter, but here’s an excerpt for you: “PERSIST on telling your story. PERSIST on reaching your audience. PERSIST on staying true to your vision.” It’s what I’ve been struggling with recently. I have revisions I need to make, I have new projects I haven’t started, and with everything going on in my life, I’ve had zero motivation to write or to do much of anything. Even going out and being with a group of more than a couple people has felt overwhelming. One month from today I’ll be heading up to Maine for the Freedom Art Retreat, and I don’t want to feel completely out of it or rusty when I go. I need to find a way to persist. To be able to know that it’s ok to feel the confusion and loss, to feel overwhelmed at times, and to still be able to carry on. First get started writing again, and then work up the strength to write through the creative droughts and keep pushing forward.
It’s just been really hard. It’s not a step-by-step process where you feel a little stronger every day. There’s good days and there’s bad days. Good hours and really horrible hours. Days where I don’t even want to get out of bed. Other days where I’m so worried about the rest of my family that I don’t let myself focus on how I am dealing with things. There’s times where I’m feeling ok and then feel guilty that I’m feeling ok. Which I know is silly, because my father wouldn’t have wanted me to feel sad, etc., but I haven’t been able to make the guilt go away yet. Nice sunny days make me feel awful because I think about how he isn’t able to be there and enjoy it. I feel bad if I feel like I’m mentally painting too polished-over a memory of him, but I also feel horrible if I remember the not-so-great times too. I know this is all part of the process of dealing with things, but being aware of that doesn’t help much at all.
So that’s where I’ve been. Persisting. Or at least attempting to. Knowing that I still have stories to tell, visions to stay true to, and (hopefully) an audience to reach. Knowing that eventually I’ll get back to a place where I can write without all of this hanging over my head. But in the meantime just trying to persist.