A couple of years ago, I was involved in a group that would review eStories whether in eBook form or web form. One of the web serials was Above Ground by A M Harte, and I thoroughly enjoyed what I read, so much so I subscribed to the site, and I couldn’t wait to get the next exciting instalment. The next thing I know, A M Harte is actually PUBLISHING this story! Yahoo! I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy because I loved the characters and the storyline was so intriguing.
When A M Harte called out for others to host her for her Blog Tour, I could not resist having her on here, so without further ado, here is A M Harte:
It’s such an ugly word. One with so many negative connotations. One I generally avoid using.
But as I was browsing through Karen’s posts, I noticed how openly she speaks about it, how honestly, and I thought: good for her.
Then I thought: so should I.
I don’t speak about depression often, but it’s an emotion I know well. I’ve experienced it myself and had loved ones struggle with it. During my lowest points I used to feel it hanging over me, like Sylvia Plath’s bell jar, ready to drop.
I don’t know which came first — whether I started writing to find release, or whether I’d already dabbled in writing before, and it so happened to help me through the low points.
Either way, writing saved me.
When I was writing, it was as if all the bad things were happening to someone else. It was a release, a purge, letting the pain slip out of me onto the page. It was my sanity-check, my life saver.
What I wrote at the time was not intended for public consumption. It wasn’t intended to sell, entertain or enthral. At that time, writing was something I did only for myself, and I needed that private space.
With time, things got better. A series of changes lifted the bell jar and pulled me out of its reach. Yet those hours and hours of private writing had lured me into wanting to write more.
That’s when I hit that oh-so-predictable stumbling block. How could I write anything worth reading without depression to fuel my creativity? That raw burning need for release was gone. The will remained, but now I would have to work for it.
See, I had fallen for that myth that writers need to be miserable in order to be inspired.
Nothing could be more wrong.
While writing helped me through depression, what I wrote in those days — the words I thought so beautiful at the time! — was, let’s be honest, crap. Looking back now, I can see how self-indulgent my writing was, how sporadic my output, how many novels I started and abandoned.
Depression doesn’t just make you miserable. It saps your energy, stifles your spark. Writing a book takes hard work and dedication; it says a lot to me that back in those days, I never finished a single project.
I looked back at what I had written in my low points, at all the words that had helped me soldier on, and I realised that those words were only ever going to be for me. Depression hadn’t given me the fevered touch of genius; it had drained my creativity.
Writing carried me through depression; the least I could do was give writing something in return. For me, that something was to become a better writer.
The transition between writing for myself and writing for others came slowly. It took time for my confidence to build. Initially I struggled to share my work, but with practice, my stories grew less clumsy, and my characters developed into people instead of caricatures of my life.
I began to realise how much better I could write when I wasn’t miserable. As my confidence grew, I found a new source of inspiration: passion. And let me tell you, being passionate about writing has gotten me a lot further than being miserable about life.
Eventually, I began writing Above Ground, what would become my first novel. The moment I wrote those two little words “the end”, a conviction formed within me: I wanted to be an author.
I have loved to write for as long as I can remember. Sometimes I even indulge myself by thinking that writing always came naturally to me. But the truth is that I’ve worked hard at it for many years and will continue to work hard for many years to come… and if depression sneaks its claws back in, I’m going to look it in straight in the eye and tell it to get lost.
Writing carried me through depression. The least I can do in return is to keep on smiling.
A.M. Harte writes twisted speculative fiction, such as the post-apocalyptic Above Ground and the zombie love anthology Hungry For You. She is excellent at missing deadlines, has long forgotten what ‘free time’ means, and is utterly addicted to chocolate. She lives in London, a city not half as foggy as some seem to think.
The first glimpse of sun may be her last.
When Lilith Gray goes above ground for the first time, she hardly expects to stay there — much less be trapped on the surface with no way home.
Hunted by trackers and threatened by the infected, Lilith is on the run, desperate to return underground. Her only hope for survival lies with a taciturn werewolf with a dark agenda of his own.
Lilith’s old carefree life has been reduced to one choice:
Adapt. Or die trying.