Downtown in the Dumps

Today was not the best day for me. Oh, nothing went wrong per se. In fact, some would say I had a great day. And yet I could tell early on that I was headed for the emotional locale known as “The Dumps”. If you’re someone (like me) who has struggled with depression in the past (and still fights it in the present), you know exactly what I’m talking about.

I begin to take my eyes off the Lord, what’s true, and the things I love, and I put them on this one bad thing that grows bigger and bigger with each passing hour.

Last September I was on top of the world with my writing career. Two agents wanted to see full manuscripts of Soul Yearning and one editor already had it. My short story, Sweet Victory, was coming out in the October issue of Bards and Sages Quarterly. All my hard work was beginning to pay off.

Well those agents and the editor have had my manuscript for over four months. As per their request, I queried them all on a status update at the three month mark. I haven’t received a reply from anyone. That begins to get one wondering, “Gosh, is it so bad they don’t even know how to reply and hope I’ll just go away if ignored?”

I counter that with a professional reply of “Relax, Will. Work hard. Keep writing. No one gets their first book published. You’re still a newb compared to a lot of writers out there. Hard work will pay off eventually.”

That little war has been running in my mind the last few weeks. What set me off today?

A round of compliments at my monthly critique group meeting.


Why would this bother me?

Because a part of me would rather hear people say, “I just can’t get into this” or “The plot makes no sense”, etc. Now I only say a part of me because I like being complimented. Who doesn’t? But when you keep hearing great things from everyone who reads your story, you start to wonder some things.

Is everyone just being nice to me? Am I good, but just not good enough? Will I ever write something good enough to make an agent or editor rush for the phone? Is this really worth all the time I’m investing?

Yeah, that line of thinking will lead to The Dumps quickly 🙂

Which brings up the most important question: Now what?

When a person struggles with depression, the “now what?” is usually the hardest part. It’s hard to see clearly when you’re staring at a mountain. It’s hard to keep fighting. It’s easier to quit.

Quit is not a word I would use to define myself. Stubborn and hardheaded are more like me. So when the thought of quitting gets in my head, I get angry. Usually at myself. There is a seed of selfishness in all depression because I’m forgetting how my behavior affects those around me when I choose to check out and head to The Dumps.

My wife and children have sacrificed money and time so I can pursue my writing career. I have friends who have poured hours of their time into reading my work and offering critiques. I believe my Jesus wants me to write. This isn’t just about me. If I quit, I haven’t just wasted my time. I’m not just letting myself down.

Whether with writing or some other pursuit in my life, these truths have often brought me out of The Dumps and cleared my head enough to start seeing things as they really are.

The truth? I’ve only been pursuing a writing career for 2.5 years. I’ve had lots of successes and learned a ton. I’ve already gained so many things, and if I persevere through this, I’ll continue to gain even if I never publish a novel.

Does that mean I’ve left The Dumps? Well, anyone who’s been there knows that sometimes we like to wallow in that place for a bit. But I’m on the road out and ready to get back to the keyboard soon.

Besides, I just came up with a cool new idea I want to write about 🙂

About Will Ramirez

Will Ramirez grew up with a love for God's Word and fantastical worlds. The first passion led him to pastor Calvary Chapel Lighthouse for the the last 17 years. The second led him to create the world of Adme, the setting for his coming debut novel, an epic fantasy titled Soul Yearning. He lives in Central Florida with his bride of seventeen years and their four children. Since 2010, he's been a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and serves on the leadership team of Word Weavers of Orlando. He is currently working on the second book of the Godslayer series as well as The Unspoken, book one of a dark fantasy trilogy. In the land of Adme, powerful beings rule as deities and compete with one another for followers. But when a young priest is revealed as the prophesied godslayer, the pantheon unites to destroy him.

4 comments on “Downtown in the Dumps

  1. Great post and I appreciate your candor–too few would feel comfortable sharing so honestly even though it would be so helpful to many people. From the relatively short time I spent with you at the ACFW conference it was clear to me that you are not one to stagger away when rebuffed, and I found your reaction to a difficult experience to be inspiring. I’ve faced many trials that have sapped my time and energy as I’ve struggled to put my story’s vision into words and knowing that others keep plodding up the hill has helped me keep going, too. The pressure of creating something wonderful can weigh heavily on you when others have invested so much time on your behalf, but the end result is worth the risk–God placed the desire to write and to create in you and it is precisely under such difficult conditions that the best work so often emerges, mature, polished, and brilliant to behold. I’m looking forward to seeing where His journey takes you.

  2. Just keep writing! According to people like Dave Farland and James Scott Bell, you should always be cranking out the next masterpiece. In fact, JSB had an article recently about how to work on several projects at once: http://killzoneauthors.blogspot.com/2013/02/how-to-work-on-more-than-one-book-at.html

  3. Awesome article Kessie – Thanks for sharing it! Also, do you get Dave Farland’s daily kick in the pants article? I was wondering what you thought of it.

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