Me and My Little Dark Cloud

Little dark cloud

It’s time to come clean. A problem shared is a problem halved. Better out than in. Get something off my chest.

Other clichés are available.

I’m not really sure where to start. I know what I want to say, but I don’t know how to write it. A bit concerning, given the fact that I rely on words to put a roof over my family’s head and food on the table.

Maybe I should begin by introducing my little dark cloud.

My little dark cloud appears without warning. There’s no forecast. No sense that it’s lingering on the horizon. It just arrives like an unwelcome guest. It could be days, weeks or even months before it goes again.

My little dark cloud duly appeared on Monday morning. I should have expected it. I’d just spent two lovely weeks with my family, having plucked up the courage to take some time away from the desk. A risky move, given the events of 2020 and the effect it has had on my income.

Monday was awful. I can’t see the little dark cloud, but it’s omnipresent. It fills my head, stifling my creativity, killing my productivity, turning me into a lazy bugger. Everything is an effort. The simple act of leaving my chair becomes a chore.

I wrote what I had to write, but the mountain of emails, the list of things to do, and any form of human engagement beyond basic pleasantries were pushed to one side. I have an ever-growing list of ideas for features and/or videos, but I have zero enthusiasm or motivation to do any of them.

Thanks, little dark cloud.

Dark cloud in head

Some background. I fluked my way into the world of motoring writing in 2010. Even now, ten years later, I don’t feel like I truly belong. If I accept things, the walls will come crumbling down. That’s the fear.

I know I’m not the best writer. My style has been described as ‘quirky and unviable’, which I’m okay with, but it means that I’m unlikely to be listed as one of the luminaries of the writing world. I’ve hit the glass ceiling.

Worse than that, my little dark cloud says I don’t belong here. I’m only one article, feature or news item away from being exposed as a fraud. Smoke and mirrors will only get you so far. Stop the pretence, son.

Social media has been a blessing and a curse. Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to grab even the smallest of footholds on the motoring writing mountain. Twitter, in particular, has been hugely beneficial. It was also there for me when I was mourning the loss of Skomie.

It’s not always a force for good. There are times when scrolling through the tweets feels like I’m at a party I wasn’t invited to. I’m stood outside with my little dark cloud, peering through the window as the events unfold inside. It’s why I tend to disappear from Twitter for long periods of time.

One day I’m tweeting trivial nonsense and enjoying the chats, the next day nothing I want to say passes the ‘so what?’ test. I’ve come close to deleting my social media profiles on many occasions. Maybe it would be better if I did.

Because I can’t see the little dark cloud, or understand what triggers its arrival, I’m powerless to send it packing. It just hangs around like a… well, a black cloud.

The darkness descends over everything. My already shaky self-confidence hits rock bottom. Nothing I do is good enough. Everybody is better than me. Things that gave me pleasure yesterday seem dull and uninteresting today.

I want to create more YouTube videos, but my little dark cloud tells me not to bother. I want to plough through the 100s of articles I’d like to write for PetrolBlog, but the cloud says it’s not worth it. My heart says tweet something, but my head says otherwise.

I hate the feeling. It affects my family, my productivity and my hopes of remaining a motoring writer/blogger/rubbish YouTuber beyond this year. If only the little dark cloud could be chased away with a stick or tickled into submission.

I know the feeling will pass. The fog will clear and, for a few days or weeks, the motivation will return. Momentum restored. Confidence raised. Good words written. Cars restored (at least partly).

In the meantime, it’s good to expose the little dark cloud for what it is. That’s if it allows me to hit the ‘publish’ button. Thanks for reading.