Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Monday 15 September 2014

Absence makes the heart grow fonder or Out of sight, out of mind

Looking happier than I feel
So, how long has it been since I last wrote a blog? 

Yep, it’s been a fortnight.

I know that I’ve done things in the last fortnight. I’ve been pretty busy. I also know that it has all been a bit of a trial.

I don’t know whether absence makes the heart grow fonder, or whether out of sight is out of mind. It’s probably a little of each, depending on who you are as a consumer of this blog.

I feel as if I should apologise to those of you who connect to this, who read it as part of your routine, who look forward to it, whether it’s because you agree with me on a regular basis, or because you like to come here looking for something to laugh at or fight with. To you, I’m sorry for my absence.

This latest depression has been an utter embuggerance. I am embattled. It has been four years since my last high, and nine months since things got really bad. I have been particularly flat these past couple of weeks, and the motivation to blog has been one of the things that has been lacking. I haven’t even been keeping a list of blog topics.

In the general run of things, at least once a day I’ll turn to the husband and say, I feel a blog coming on, or that’d make a good blog, or there has to be a more reasonable response to that. I usually make notes on those things. If I feel sufficiently exercised on a subject, I might even sit down, then and there, and write a blog. That hasn’t happened in the last couple of weeks, and the list of topics that pre-dates this last low patch seems stale and dated.

So, here I sit with nothing to say. It’s not like me. It makes me uncomfortable. I’ve always got an opinion. I’ve always got something to talk about.

On the upside, I have cleared the decks. 

I have no scheduled work right now.

I have decided to give myself a breathing space. I think I need one.

That is not to say that I will not work, because of course I will. The difference is that now I have an opportunity to collate my ideas and organise my time. I have the chance to prioritise. I’m going to talk to some people and make some decisions.

The creative life is an extraordinary one. It is a gift. Like all the most wonderful things, it comes at a price. For me, that price is living with the depression. The price had better be worth it, so my creative choices had better be good ones.

The work I do, the stories I tell and the people I work with will be some of the things I think about over the next days and weeks. What genres do I want to concentrate on? Do I want to write more longform fiction or short stories? Do I want comic books to be part of my working day? How much do I want to work with the husband? What tie-in work do I want to pursue? Where will I find the balance? Are all questions that I want to consider.

There are other things, too. There is the maxim that I refer to over and over again, the phrase that I quote back to writers every chance I get. I said it yesterday to a young woman who talked about her reluctance to share her work. It is this, “The point of the writer is the reader”. So, I shall be liaising with my agent for her input on what projects I can usefully be turning my creative energies to. There are publishers, too and other creators and friends that I trust.

This is my time for taking stock.

It might have been a bad year for my depression, but it’s been a good year creatively. I can celebrate my work. This year I have produced two books that I am proud of. Fiefdom from Abaddon books is out now, and Tomb Raider: Ten Thousand Immortals from Brady Games is due out next month. A new Warhammer 40K short story will be released in November, and I’ve also got a short story in the Dangerous Games anthology from Solaris, edited by Jonathan Oliver and available in December, which I’m hugely excited about. 

It is September, and, because I’ve got kids, the year has begun in September for me for a very long time. Perhaps it’s only natural that this should be happening for me now.

Today, I’m going to try to engage a little, and if I do turn to the husband with one of those comments about something being blog-worthy, perhaps I’ll remember to make a note, and perhaps I’ll sit down tomorrow morning, as I have so many mornings over the past couple of years, and actually write something. I do hope so.


  1. Harper Lee wrote published only one book; a book I found only mildly enjoyable. You have published much more than that in books and blogs, and are more interesting.

    So, taking as an axiom I am the measure of good taste, you can take all the time you need and still be ahead of the curve. ; )

  2. Something really just struck me with the above blog. A particular turn of phrase: "nothing to say." I noticed, retrospectively, that when I was moderately depressed I wrote prolifically. It wasn't good, but there was lots of it. Now that I'm "enjoying" a downswing I seem to feel like I have nothing to write about. People poke and say I should write something, but my response is always "what? I've got nothing to say on any subject".

    I wonder if this is either common to or a function of depression? It just seems really interesting that you've phrased it similarly to me in this context.

    1. Oddly, unless or until I medicate, I can always write. I can't always get interested in anything else, but I can always connect to some kind of creativity, although collaboration is more straightforward than working independently.

      It's life I struggle with. My interest in the general nonsense falls away, and that's the stuff that usually appears over here. The World becomes a blur, and I become dull to it.

      This too shall end, of course, and the sooner the better… For you, too, I hope.

    2. I sometimes get to the point where I have typed up a comment on a forum or whatever and decide not to post it, but I've had it happen enough that I've learned how to spot it and take a day or two to refocus and tell the headmonkeys to behave. Sometimes this requires just not getting up at all.

      Can't have the ups without the downs and all that. Seem to be on the way towards a rather large up at the moment though. Things for me have been getting better for a few months and show no signs of slowing down. Hopefully you'll be on the up soon too.

      I look forward to seeing your new 40k story BTW, as Cell was just amazing.