Writing, Depression, & the Future of the Portland Pack Chronicles

For the last 7+ months I’ve been fairly open about my struggles with writing and depression, and more recently, the mystery illness that landed me in the emergency room and countless doctors’ offices over the last month (and has yet to be identified). Those of you who follow this blog or are friends with me on social media have doubtless seen some of my posts. I decided to be open about the depression in particular for two reasons:

1) The stigma that surrounds depression/mental illness is seriously upsetting, and I feel the only way to change that is through open discussion and for the people who suffer from depression not to feel forced to hide it like it’s some shameful secret.

2) Out of respect for my readers. See, I do 100% believe I’m entitled to my privacy and I don’t blame any author who might be in a similar situation for keeping it quiet. This is a decision every individual has to make for themselves. But, for me personally, because my depression affects everything in my life, including my writing, I wanted to be upfront about it. I didn’t want my readers to think I’m just taking some extended vacation and hanging my unfinished series out to dry without a care that people are waiting for more books. Authors are human—we need breaks sometimes, it’s true—but the reality is I want to be writing, and the fact that my words have seemingly abandoned me is a pain I deal with every day. I’ve written since I was around eleven, since the time when the only people who saw my stories were my friends in junior high, and I didn’t even entertain the hope that I might be able to make what I loved a career someday. Writing has always been cathartic for me, and being unable to write for over half a year now makes me feel like I’m missing some critical part of myself, my soul. Believe me, I didn’t make the conscious choice to stop writing, and I’m fighting to get through this block every day.

The TL;DR version of what happened is that back in October I got hit by the worst bout of depression I’ve ever dealt with. I experienced suicidal ideation, nearly ended up in the hospital, scared my family and close friends, and had to seek the help of a therapist for the first time since childhood.

I am only now, nearly 8 months later, getting to the point where I’m started to feel excited about writing again and hopeful that I’ll be able to break through this block and start putting words on the page. Still, I’m taking things cautiously. When the words do start flowing, I want to allow myself to write without any pressure. I’ve realized lately that I can’t write on a strict schedule. I have to focus on the story that is calling to me most strongly, and yes, that does mean that sometimes it’s a long wait between books in my series. I apologize for that, but I just can’t force myself to work on a project simply because I know I should try to keep series releases consistent, not if in my heart of hearts, I’d rather be working on something else instead. Forcing myself to try to write what I should be writing only stresses me out and makes it feel like a job. And while, yes, this is what I do for  a living, I started writing for love and for fun, and I don’t want to lose that feeling—the happiness I experience when I’m working on a project I’m truly excited and passionate about.

So, with all that being said, I’ve had to make a tough decision, and trust me, it’s not one I made lightly. Tears were shed. But being that I’ve received dozens of messages, tweets, and questions about the Portland Pack Chronicles, I know it’s a series that readers are eagerly awaiting more of. My coauthor, Kenzie Cade, is also eager to get back to our boys and continue writing. Unfortunately, due to my current circumstances, I’m the one holding things back—and I don’t think that’s fair, not to her, and not to the readers who’ve enjoyed the series so far, not when she could keep writing and get the stories to you faster than if I stayed involved. Because right now, with the lingering depression and the health issues that have plagued me over the last month or so, the only answer I can give about when I’ll be able to return to the Portland Pack Chronicles is “I don’t know.” So, sad as it makes me, I feel like this is the best decision for the future of the series. I’m sure Kenzie will more than do justice to the Portland Pack boys on her own. She’ll rock it—I’ve told her so—and I wish her much success!

As for my other in-progress series, fear not! The series I’ve started on my own will be completed eventually, even if it takes me much longer than I ever anticipated. I will break through this! I have so many stories I want to write and projects I’m excited about. I’m not giving up. Definitely not. Watch this space, because I’m sure, in time, I’ll have a much happier update to post.

In the meantime, thanks for your patience and understanding!

♥♥♥

~Piper

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About Piper Vaughn

Piper Vaughn wrote her first love story at eleven and never looked back. Since then, she’s known that writing in some form was exactly what she wanted to do. A reader at the core, Piper loves nothing more than getting lost in a great book—fantasy, young adult, romance, sci-fi, she loves them all! As a bisexual and Latinx person, Piper takes great pride in her heritage. She grew up in an ethnically diverse neighborhood and strives to put faces and characters of every ethnicity in her stories, so her fictional worlds are as colorful as the real one. Above all, she believes that everyone needs a little true love in their life … even if it’s only in a book.

Posted on June 1, 2016, in personal, piper vaughn, portland pack chronicles, writing, writing update and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. You have to do what feels right for you. Thank you for being so brave and sharing with us- I know it’s difficult. Big (((hugs))) to you. ❤

  2. I am very happy that you are working through this and got help when you needed it. Please continue to do whatever you need to do for you. Your health is most important, physical and mental. Stay strong: you have many friends and supporters!

  3. ❤ for you, girly!! ❤

  4. Be well. We’ll all still be here 🙂

  5. Hang in there. It gets better!

  6. Do what feels right for you. We’ll all still be here when you and your wonderful books return. ❤

  7. I don’t know what to tell you since we do not know each other personally (and I don’t want to put my foot in my mouth) other than I’m glad you got your groove back and I wish things will get better soon.No matter how much you love your job,you need to take care of your self first. ♥

  8. You need to do what works best for you. I totally get not being able to work under a schedule. When my anxiety and depression laid me out a few years back, I barely wrote at all. I went months without a word. If you’re one of those people who puts yourself under pressure, like me, it’s really hard to escape. We can’t just go home for the weekend and veg. Our personal responsibility comes along for the ride. I hope by sharing this with your readers, you’ll be able to let some of those exterior pressures you’re feeling down for a bit. Take care of you.

  9. In the past years I understood depression need time, help and love. So just take your time, we readers will be here, no pressure. And find help and love wherever you can.
    Big hugs Piper.
    Stella

  10. Best wishes always! Cannot wait to see you on the other side of this crisis. I’m sure you’ll knock us right out of the park! Hearts, love, flowers and support–always!

  11. So many people think art has to come from darkness and depression, but many others (myself included) find that their art is connected to joy. I hope you can reconnect with your joy and I firmly believe that the muse and your fans will be there waiting for you. Wishing you well with the medical mystery as well… hang in there!

  12. Taking care of yourself and enjoying what you write is the most important. I am sure your fans only want the best for you and will be happy with whatever you write, whenever you write it. Big hugs and lots of love.

  13. Heidi Deguzman

    Please take care of yourself, I have a family member dealing with depression and know it’s a hard battle to get back to anything like normal. As a fan you are worth the wait. Can’t wait to see you write next. Hope and hugs.

  14. Thank you for this. As an addict struggling to recover I have found that the majority of people do not want to acknowledge problems that cannot be held in their hands or dissected. I cried in a restaurant with no concern for the people nearby while I read of your thoughts and feelings. We should treat people suffering depression, bipolar disorder, addiction, or anything similar as we would those with visible diseases. You bring the issue right to the forefront in a way that expresses compassion and honesty. I sincerely hope that you have a network of people to lean upon during times like what you explained. So, before I need to split my message into chapters and call a publisher, Ill wish you the best and a healthy recovery that brings you back to wherever you want to be. I sign off on this message with admiration for your ability to see this kind of project from beginning to end. (thank you and best wishes to get well soon)

    • *hugs* Thanks so much for your comment. ❤ Best wishes on your recovery, too. It's hard and yeah, so often people dismiss depression and addiction, etc. They're invisible diseases and I've found that only others who've suffered in a similar way can truly understand. I do have a network of people to lean on, and I hope you have the same. If you ever want to send me a message, feel free to use the "contact" form on my website.

  15. Thanks so much for the comments, everyone! I’m sorry I didn’t reply individually when I first posted. I was pretty upset and haven’t often come back to this post, but I appreciate everyone who took the time to comment and support me, from the bottom of my heart. ❤

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