Posted in about archie, artist life, depression, fear, honesty, inspiration, living life, mental health, practice, self-care, writing, writing community, writing help

when archie writes – writing depressed af

I think I’ve only spent about ten percent of my energies on writing…
The other ninety percent went to keeping my head above water.

Katherine Anne Porter

I have already answered why, as well as where, so let me unpack when I write.

I write when not too worn out by my mental illness.
I write when my chronic depression isn’t so overwhelming that I struggle to function.
I write when I can, in irregular spurts, writing through and in spite of my sickness.

I’ve struggled since early youth with depression.
I remember as early as middle-school feeling at specific times especially anti-social and mournful, without any clear reason or cause. Highschool was a hostile environment for me where I felt plagued by insecurities, actively seeking out bathroom stalls and library cubbies to hide day after day. University saw me continue to try unsuccessfully to cope with self-harming as well as self-medicating with drugs and alcohol.

It was easy in my adolescence to dismiss these spells of moody ’emo’ sadness as just stereotypical teenage angst. In my twenties, however, with my depression still undiagnosed, I felt ashamed for failing to have moved past an ‘infantile’ stage of dramatic mood swings.

Not until after completing a Master’s program, surviving a series of mental breaks and acute depressive episodes, was I hospitalized and finally diagnosed. It came as a surprise that I was actually so relieved to have a name, clinical depression, to explain these problems weren’t an inherent defect of my person but symptoms of an illness.
Suddenly a light switched on for me to see that help through medication and therapy were not character weaknesses but necessary choices for my survival, demonstrations of courage in the face of social stigma.

Soon after I became a writer.

Before committing to writing as a career,
make sure you’re not simply agoraphobic or depressed.

Nell Zink

Continue reading “when archie writes – writing depressed af”

Posted in advice, artist life, craft, fear, free writing, goals, habits, inspiration, practice, procrastination, writing, writing community, writing help

how archie wrote words every day of 2020 (so far, anyway)

Hey, thanks for clicking!
So yea, I’ve been following my own advice – and thus far in this strange year of twenty-twenty, I have been writing every single fucking day.
Imagine that?
Well, I’ve been journaling every day (3 pages, written by hand) and also writing fiction every day but Sundays (750 words minimum, written on a computer).
And no, I haven’t had an easy year either, what with global pandemics to family matters to my own personal struggles inside my head. 
Allow me to explain some changes I’ve been practising that help me be a bonafide writer.
Onwards… Continue reading “how archie wrote words every day of 2020 (so far, anyway)”

Posted in artists, free, lists, writing community

hi, this might help, bye

Hi – will write more soon – until then, enjoy these helpful lists of helpful things…

  1. Resources for Canadian artists, writers, media workers during COVID-19 shutdowns
  2. Help for Canadian artists and freelancers during COVID-19 shutdowns
  3. COVID-19 Crisis Resources for Creatives (A Giant List of Helpful Links for Artists)
  4. Resources for Artists in COVID-19 Crisis (Grants, freelance resources, legal aid, etc.)
  5. Bored Solutions (A list of small challenges for creative people)

archie.

Posted in about archie, artist life, artists, hermits, honesty, writing, writing community

where archie writes – hermit hiding in a hobbit hole

In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for constructive use of solitude.
One must overcome the fear of being alone…

Rollo May

Having answered why I write (and blog and read), allow me to unpack where I write. 

Short answer?
I write outside.
As in, I write on the outsides.
I write as someone who regularly feels out of place, out of touch, out on the fringes – sometimes literally and oftentimes figuratively.

I write there, on the outsides, because that is where I spent most of my life.
Long before becoming a writer, I carried a sense of nervousness and unease that was there inside me wherever I went…
Home, school, church, sleepovers – everywhere I went, there I was.
It was a kind of vague anxious energy that gave me an agitated temperament because I was perpetually in fear-of-missing-out or else afraid of being included – confusing I know, and which was why I could only assume there was some inherent defect within myself.
Only once I began to write did I slowly realize this frustration and discomfort was not something simply to be avoided but could actually be an important part of myself.

Before we get there, though, let’s explore my wonder years some more… Continue reading “where archie writes – hermit hiding in a hobbit hole”

Posted in about archie, blogging, craft, egos, fear, goals, habits, practice, procrastination, writing, writing community

why archie blogs – xoxo attention-seeking introvert hopes for approval of strangers

Whatever [our] social identity, the writer is, by the nature of the act of writing, someone who strives for communication and connection,
someone who searches, through language, to keep alive conversation with … ‘the lost community.’

Even if what’s written feels like a note thrust in a bottle to be thrown to the sea.

Adrienne Rich

I have already answered why I began writing fiction, so let me unpack why I blog.

Michael Scott in therapy

Or, why do I keep a public diary?
I am writing my thoughts and worries for the Internet to gawk at, when I ‘should’ be working on my novels, or perhaps seeing a therapist for proper life coaching, or doing just about anything but this routine of irregularly posting online, hoping for strangers online to affirm my struggles somehow…

Surprisingly enough, there are a few excellent reasons for me to blog – and for you to continue reading this blog.

Continue reading “why archie blogs – xoxo attention-seeking introvert hopes for approval of strangers”

Posted in advice, archie's DIY, artist life, depression, free, lists, living life, mental health, self help, self-care, writing, writing community

archie’s DIY… mental health self-care

Hey, y’all.

For those who know me, or visit this site on the regular, you will know that I am fairly open about my own dealings with mental illness and mental wellness.

It’s not something I apologize for or regret – quite possibly making me more of an empathetic person and a better writer as result – but it is something I do struggle with, some days more than others…

So, having survived nearly 3 whole decades now, I thought I’d share my own go-to strategies that help me get by when the world is looking especially bleak.

This post is for all us folk needing help (tips, support, hacks, resources, pep talks, etc.) to maintain our health, for today, like, right now –
Or in other words, this is to help you get through the short-term by trying some new solutions in the next few minutes.

I have no formal education in mental health (medical, psychiatric, or otherwise), so am only speaking here from my own experiences of spiralling into acute episodes, and what things have helped me survive to tell the tale.
Most of this draws from the area of CBT – cognitive behavioural therapy – and my intent is to offer up some handy resources because it is not easily available elsewhere.

The self-help info below is listed in no specific order, and some may apply better to anxiety attacks or depressive episodes, but regardless it will always be most helpful when you are better able to identify HOW you feel.

So, try moving away from vague words (like “good”, “mad”, “bad”) and try to be more specific in identifying what emotions are being felt because it helps with self-expression, which helps with diagnosis and treatment.

emotions chart
Finally, not everything below is going to be of interest to you, so skip it if so.

Continue reading “archie’s DIY… mental health self-care”

Posted in about archie, advice, artist life, change, failure, fear, honesty, inspiration, living life, procrastination, reality, self help, self-care, writing community

we are afraid of the same thing

I am pretty confident that I can describe your greatest fear.

Not only that, but I can prescribe a formula to squash it flat.
And at no charge either!
(though I’m not responsible either if you fail to squash it right, and then it just becomes agitated and even scarier and haunts you forever, or something like that… okay?)

Okay, but seriously, I probably can describe your greatest fear.

Remember when you were a kid, and you would play games that had this big surprise?
“What Time is it Mister Wolf?”, where “the Wolf” would keep answering your questions with the time 3 o’clock or 12 o’clock or 8 o’clock, until LUNCHTIME!
Scared me every time… I knew it was coming, but still…

Tricycle The Shining

Continue reading “we are afraid of the same thing”

Posted in advice, archie lists, artist life, artists, Iqaluit, lists, living life, meetup, travel, writing, writing community

archie lists… 5 reasons writers should live in the Arctic

Without really meaning to, I seemed to have become a writer’s stereotype.

Since late 2017, I have been living up north in the Arctic tundra, on an island of snow, ice and the occasional sunlight. It’s a small town here, the type where everyone knows everyone, or just about any way. Did I mention there was lots of snow?

archie the writer in the arctic

More to the point, life in the Arctic for me turns out to be damn similar to those few famous authors who found a log cabin in the woods to write their books without any distraction. (As an aside, Thoreau comes to mind as the most iconic cabin-dwelling writer, but how often does that image neglect less-romantic realities such as how Thoreau’s momma lived nearby to do his laundry for him? That truth not only speaks to the unpaid labour of women behind the scenes of famous men but really thwarts that idea of any person as an island onto themselves.)

 Total peace and solitude – a writer’s dream come true, right?

Well, um, yeah, actually, sort of…

Murder She Wrote interested reaction

Continue reading “archie lists… 5 reasons writers should live in the Arctic”

Posted in anarchy, death, fantasy fiction, feminism, fiction, radical fiction, science fiction, speculative fiction, Ursula K LeGuin, writing community

rip Ursula

The one known as Ursula K Le Guin has departed.
So it goes…UKL Guin by Taros

She is survived by books – full of characters and entire worlds – stories and premises that have impacted countless people in more ways than typical for any author.

There’s a point, around the age of twenty, when you have to choose whether to be like everybody else the rest of your life,
or to make a virtue of your peculiarities.
— from The Dispossessed

I felt the need to write something about her passing not simply because she was a writer too, or that I have read some of her books, but because she inspired me by the ways in which she integrated her politics into her craft and persona. 

So here it goes…

Continue reading “rip Ursula”

Posted in advice, artists, craft, goals, habits, imagination, inspiration, practice, reality, video, writing, writing community, writing help

the gap between vision and reality

Hi!
I wanted to share this short clip from an interview with Ira Glass, presented in the lovely format of kinetic typography.
His words are especially relevant for anyone doing creative work because it reminds us all how the quality of perseverance is essential to the long-term success of honing talent.

Everyone needs the investment of time, of practice, to improve any skill set.
For writers, it is the skill of communicating clearly and simply our own inner vision.

 

Remember that – keep going ❤
archie.