Tag Archives: Anxiety

My Greatest Fear

You’d think it’d be something really dramatic. I mean, my greatest fear, my ultimate fear, the one that if I think about too much head on, it induces the closest thing to a panic attack that I’ve ever experienced, is death. Just the idea that I’m not certain, despite my faith, of what happens after and possibility that one day, everything I could know would just go black and that’s the end of that…fucking terrifies me. So that’s my greatest fear, but that’s not the focus of this post. It’s like how, when someone asks you what your favorite book is (ignoring the fact that I can never truly pick one), I’ll usually list off a couple, but I always make the caveat of, “But after Tolkien, because he’s on a totally different level.” Death is a different level as far as fears go.

But my greatest every day fear?

It’s getting in trouble.

Sounds so pathetic, when I write it out like that, yeah? And I didn’t really realize it, not fully. Like, I always knew how much I hated getting in trouble, but I never truly realized that I feared it, quite truly. I’m not even sure where that fear comes from. I mean, I’ve always been that goodie-twoshoes type, right? That stereotypical “good kid” who was a worry wart and cared too much about what everyone else thought and focused more on getting straight A’s than anything else. Growing up, I got grounded a couple of times, but nothing super major; nothing to warrant this kind of true fear I have with getting in trouble. Yet it’s definitely there, from not speaking my true opinion because I don’t want to upset someone or doing (/avoiding) something because I don’t want to get trouble, it’s constantly surrounding me and affecting my decisions/choices.

the sandlot GIF

Hell, even the other day, I said something to my boyfriend and he turned around and asked, “Why are you always so scared I’m going to be mad at you?” And he was right to question that, because he’s never done anything to make me worry and believe that something I choose to do or something I say is going to upset him. Yet I’m always nervous that something will. Same thing with my friends or my family, to the point where I get nervous tightenings in my stomach when I have to tell a friend I can’t make it to an event they want me to be at or I’m running late, because I’m so worried they are going to be upset with me.

Perhaps it’s just not the fear of getting in trouble, but the fear of disappointing others, too. A nice, lovely combo, that.

Where does this fear come from? What’s my source?

I wish I knew. I wish I could tell you, because perhaps if I could figure out how this switched from just your general uncomfortable feeling you get when someone is upset with you to a genuine fear of it happening, perhaps I could do a better job managing it. But I’m truly not sure. And that’s…well, that’s about all I have for this post, honestly. Just some ramblings over another realization I’ve had about myself and how my brain works.

Sorta.

Cheers.

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Doubts and Fears In-Between My Ears

I’m dealing with impostor syndrome really heavy this week, friends (I think).

I don’t like it.

I’m not really sure where it’s coming from. Last week, I had such a stellar writing week and I’ve finally reached the point I wanted to write about the most in this story. This is the climax, this is the end game! Yet I’ve struggled to write the past two days, barely reaching the 600 word count goal required to keep me on track to finishing this book by my self-imposed deadline. I feel like I should be flying through this section, barely having enough time to write and wanting to sneak in more and more words.

Not barely being able to finish a paragraph at all.

I’m really not sure what’s brought this on. I think it’s a combination of things, but mostly? I think I’m just terrified of the idea of both not making it as a writer…but also, making it.

I like using Twitter to connect with other writers and authors. It’s a great community. But it’s also filled with advice from all sides and angles and sometimes, that advice just…causes me to lose momentum, I guess. Even though I know, mentally, that every bit of advice is subjective and what works for others won’t necessarily work for me; if I don’t listen to a piece of advice, doesn’t mean I’m going to fail–or succeed–as a writer.

Even still, I read a piece of advice the other day that I’m completely not following. Basically, it was, “Don’t write the sequel to the novel you’re querying, write something new.” And I can totally see it’s merit and that’s what I’m doing now…sorta. I ended up writing the second book of a quintet while the first book was being considering for it’s first round of queries (so, didn’t follow the advice there), but then, after finishing the first draft of that second book, I’ve now moved along to a standalone (so now I am, in a sense, following that advice). I wanted to do it because I thought it’d be a good change of pace from the other series and after learning that the market for the series I really want to be writing isn’t truly there yet. But I also have every intention of going back and polishing that first book again, before going through and editing the second one. So now I feel like I’m doing something wrong, because I want to work on this series, even though urban fantasy isn’t in right now and, by doing so, I’m not doing myself any favors of actively writing something that will help start my career and help me become published.

And that’s sorta a shitty feeling.

Add on, too, with the book I’m currently writing, I’m just so terrified who I am going to offend by writing it. It’s a book I really want to write–and I know you can’t please everyone–but this book is risky. Really risky, with how the culture is based around periods, talks openly about them and is set in a tribal setting of which I have no cultural connection to. As I near the end of the first draft, I think I’m just scared that, once it’s finished, that means it needs to be edited. Then beta-ed. Repeat as necessary until I’ll finally reach that next step: trying to take it out into the world. And I want it to make it out into the world. I want to tell this story. I’m just terrified of how it’s going to be received and I think that fear is causing me to drag my feet in regards to finishing this draft.

*sighs*

I know this post is all over the place. It’s not very coherent and it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Basically, I’m just…I’m so tired of overthinking everything, when it comes to writing. I just want to bloody write, but I keep getting hung up on the politics of it, the desire to be published, questioning if I’m good enough, if these stories deserve to be told. And it’s effecting my writing, more than it usually does. I miss the days where I was a bit more naive about the industry and the politics behind it and, because of that naivety I was always killing it with my writing output. But, on the flip side, I was writing novels that would never get published, because of their quality and their problems. Yet, then again, I was writing with a love and passion that is weighed down by stress and doubt and pressure, now, and I’m not even published yet…

I just want to write, dammit. I want to write stories that I love, characters who I care about and do so to the best of my ability, each and every draft. So brain, can you please just let me bloody do that!?

Cheers.


Dreaming Amongst Reality

I’ve always called myself a dreamer.

That’s what I’ve always felt, and believed myself, to be. Yet I’ve hit a couple of occurrences lately where I’ve found that to be less true and that I am, in fact, can be more of a realist.

Example time.

So, you know when you have those bad days at work and then you immediately go searching for another job, even when you have no (real) intention to quit (maybe)? My boyfriend had one of those days and sent me a job that he was super excited about, working with robots. Something I could totally see him doing and being happy doing. But the job was in Boston and we live in Kansas.

Before I tell you how this bit ends, let me paint a parallel for you.

The other day, there was a posting for an Editorial Assistant position, working with science fiction and fantasy publications (my dream job, basically, aside from writing full-time). I sent it to my boyfriend, freaking out and quite possibly considering applying, before I thought to look at the location. It’s in London. We still live in Kansas.

Now, here is how my boyfriend responded: with empathy and excitement, he told me to apply. He knew how much that job would mean to me and knew how badly I wanted to work in a position like that. It was so sweet and I felt supported.

Here is how I responded to him: freaking about about the fact that it was in Boston, we have no money saved up to move halfway across the country, would he want me to move there with him, would he expect us to do long distance, where would I work, what would I do, money money money, panic panic panic.

I didn’t ask, at the time, but I doubt he felt supported by me in that moment.

I didn’t realize how crushing my respond had been until we had a reverse situation and I saw how he responded. Even later, after we talked about it and we knew it really wasn’t realistically possible for us to just hop over to London if I actually landed that job, he didn’t crush it right away. Instead, he supported my enthusiasm and made the personal decision that, if there was actually headway on that position, we’d discuss our options on how to make it a reality or if the price of making it a reality was too high for us to pay and I’d have to decline it. Me, on the other hand, went straight to freaking out about all the impossible logistics we’d have to overcome, instead of encouraging him to chase this opportunity that got him excited.

Though he tells me not to, I still feel ridiculously horrible about this.

It’s happened a couple other times, too, where instead of being supportive and looking for solutions to work around a problem that is preventing an opportunity, I point out all the possible roadblocks and immediately panic. I’ve noticed that this “realist first” kind of thinking usually only happens when money is involved. Money could be considered, easily, the bane of my existence. It stresses me out almost more than anything else and yet I have strong budgeting skills and a (un)healthy frugal way of spending.

I don’t like this approach.

I do think it’s important to be realistic about things. Just because I want to write full-time doesn’t mean I can simply quit my day job and start doing that and be okay. I have bills to pay and a part of my soul to reclaim still from student loans (only nine more years…) But I also think it is so, so, so important to chase after those dreams and opportunities, even if the realistic choice would be to do the opposite. Sure, if he got the job in Boston, we’d have a lot to consider and a lot to work through. But together, we could have done it. It was feasible and not as impossible as my realistic, overthinking brain first panicked it out to be.

I guess I’m just realizing that I’m not just the hardcore dreamer I’ve always thought I was. I’m more realistic than I ever considered myself to be. A little bit of both, if you will. And that’s not a bad thing. Honestly, that’s probably a good thing. But, like so many other aspects of my life, it requires a certain balance to get it right.

*sigh*

Balancing is not easy, friends. It’s something I think I’ll always navigate through, never perfect, never master. But realizing that need for improvement is a pretty good first step.

Cheers.


A Small, Mental Quandary

Writing this latest book has been….really different, especially from the last one I just finished a few weeks ago. Before, I was hitting every word count goal I made each day and usually surpassing it, averaging between 2,000 and 3,000 words each day. Sure, I had the harrowing experience of knowing exactly what was wrong with the book and exactly what I need to change about it the entire time of writing it, but I still made really good progress and was particularly excited about the ending chapters, giving me hope for the entire book as a whole.

This book, I’m struggling to meet the bare minimum word count every day. I do. I push myself and make sure I make it and sometimes go a couple hundred words over, but it’s not nearly as impressive as how I wrote the second book in the Artemis quintet.

I’m not exactly sure how to read that, if I need to read into it at all.

Part of me fears that this book is just horrible and everything is wrong with it (beyond the usual happenings of a shitty first draft) and that’s why I’m struggling to write it. Another part of me wonders that, because I’ve increased my writing output so much this year, writing five to six times a week on a consistent basis since February, if I’m not potentially burning out (though I really don’t feel that is the case, in my gut).

But mostly, I’m not sure why I’m not cranking out the word count left and right with this one.

Don’t get me wrong: a thousand words a day is nothing short to balk at. And I do think the pace might increase once I get my characters out of this maze and into the next hurdle they have to endure–that one, I know is going to be really fun to write and explore. I recognize that, though I also can’t help but get hung up on the fact that I’m not writing as quickly as I usually do.

Honestly, I’m probably just overthinking the fact that I’m writing less and comparing myself too much to other writers, authors and even my own past works. I don’t want to give up on this novel (again). And I have no intentions to, because I know I can make this story something really special. I think, instead of focusing so much on how much I’m writing or how quickly I’m writing, I just need to be happy that I’m finding time every day to write and I’m making progress on this novel and am still well on pace to finishing a draft by the end of June. Once I get a draft written and can look at all the flaws together, then I can decide if this is a book worth editing or a story I truly need to give up on.

But not before. Not with this book.

Cheers.


So Guess What, Brain?

This mini…dare I call it a rant? I think it’s more like word vomit. Yeah, let’s go with word vomit. Anyway, this word vomit is brought to you most likely by a combination of period hormones, the general nature of an overthinking soul and the need to release emotions through writing it out.

Ta-da.

So, feel free to just brush off everything that follows because it’s a result of all of that above, or feel free to continue reading and then offering your own two cents in the comments below. You do you, I’m not here to tell you how to live your life.

Except, don’t compare yourself to other people.

Because honestly, it really doesn’t help anybody.

So, I overthink. That’s as plain and obvious as gravity or the sun shining (the latter being a little more questionable, thanks to our unrelenting winter, but you get what I mean). Recently, it seems like I’ve been overthinking everything that happens to me or everything that pops into my brain. By stopping to try and think for a second, instead of just doing what overthinking does, where I have a thought and then let my emotions run away with it as truth, I’ve come to realize that a lot of my overthinking–and the negative outcomes that I create as a result–is thanks to my comparing my current experiences with similar ones I’ve observed others go through, instead of looking at what I have and appreciating it for what it is.

psych GIF

Let’s show some examples.

I love my boyfriend. Seriously, he is positively fantastic and I adore him and I am so, so, so incredibly happy to be with him and consider myself beyond lucky. Our relationship, however, has always been pretty private, on his end, especially on social media. Me, I enjoy posting pictures of us together and writing gushy birthday posts like I did for him last weekend. Him, not so much. When I do, it doesn’t bother him at all (I’ve asked), but he isn’t one to really do that that often. So when I wrote a gushy birthday post for him, he didn’t “like” it or say anything about it on social media. Did he thank me 100 times for making his birthday awesome and going above and beyond with the cheesiness levels in person? Absolutely.

Yet did I still get a little bit bummed that he didn’t say anything on that post? Or that he doesn’t really post cute, cheesy things of us together?

Sure, yeah, I did.

But why?

It took me a while to figure it out. It’s simply because that’s what I’ve always seen only couples do. When I reached the age where dating started to become a thing was also the time when social media really started to pick up, so I’ve always been used to my friends having very public relationships on social media. So that’s what I’ve always expected to have, while I dreamed of being in a relationship for so long. Now, I finally found a man willing to put up with me and he just happens to be the type where he uses social media to share recipes and DnD memes and that’s about it.

Guess what, brain?

That’s okay. Stop trying to convince me otherwise and get upset when his way of showing affection is slightly different–and more private–than yours. If he doesn’t comment or like something you shared? That doesn’t have to mean he doesn’t like you–so stop telling yourself that, you dolt.

kenneth branagh film GIF

Let’s take another example.

Because I’m a writer, I absolutely love to read the acknowledgements sections in the books that I read, because I understand how much work it takes for an author to write a book and I like to read who they thanked in helping them through that process–because after it’s written, it becomes a very big team effort. Plus, I just like reading them and then dreaming about writing my own, one day.

When I read them, the expected culprits are usually there: parents, siblings, close friends, partners, dogs (because let’s be real, dogs are an amazing support system). And I read about how vital the support from those people was for the authors over the book I’m currently reading and sometimes I feel…jealous.

Because when I start comparing, my experience doesn’t feel the same.

I’ve written quite a few books, now, and I have a great support system. My family, close friends and my boyfriend all believe in me fully and don’t hesitate to tell me that. Their support is…everything. Yet my best friend has read a novel I’ve written. My Mom, two. No one else has read any of them, not even when I actually sent them out to them and invited them to read them and tell me what they think. I have my beta readers who have read more, of course, but sometimes I look at how little those close to me have actually read and I begin overthinking why they haven’t.

It’s because my books suck and they lose interest. They believe in me, but they don’t actually care about the books I’m writing. I’ve somehow failed in ways that these other authors haven’t…

Yeah, I know.

Ridiculous.

For one, everyone’s experience is different. Two, I have no idea, when an author thanks someone for their support, what that support looks like. It could be reading every draft they’ve written of every book they’ve written. It could be texting them and asking how writing is going. Or it could be cooking meals so they have extra time to write or telling them they believe in them, even if they haven’t read a single word they’ve written. Just because my support looks different doesn’t make it less. Just because I read about someone else’s Mom reading their novel in one sitting doesn’t mean my novel is suddenly worse because mine doesn’t.

Guess what, brain?

Support comes in all different forms and just because mine is different than what I read about and see (and don’t fully understand) doesn’t make it any less important, meaningful or real. So let’s back up on the self-pity and novel-deprecation, okay?

You see what I mean?

dule hill burton guster GIF

Through comparison, it’s so easy to take something good: like my healthy, loving relationship with my boyfriend or the amazing belief, faith and support I get from those close to me with my writing; and suddenly become insecure or question how those relationships and that support works, simply because it doesn’t match up 100% to those similar to it I’ve witness or seen and believe to be good, as an outsider. Obviously, that’s a silly thing to do, because I do have a wonderful boyfriend who treats me right, loves me and is fantastic…even if he doesn’t use social media to shout out those truths or he doesn’t always text me back. I do have a great support system with my writing from my parents, sibling, close friends and boyfriend…even if they haven’t read the books I’ve written.

It’s time to stop comparing what I have to what others have and instead, remember and look at what I have and been thankful and cherish that. Because honestly? I’m really damn lucky and I’m tired of my brain trying to convince me otherwise.

Cheers.


Huh, Would You Look At That?

As everyone does with their dreams, sometimes (read: all the time), I question whether I have the chops to actually achieve it. If I have the talent, the drive, the passion, the work ethic, the stubbornness, to pursue writing and my dream of being a published author (hint: I do, but it’s easy for my brain to convince me otherwise. Yay, overthinking!).

Usually, I’m able to swallow those doubts, shove them into a dark place I hope to never discover again, even though they always resurface eventually, and I push forward and continue on. I realized something, though, the other day, that will hopefully make these recurrences happen a lot less frequently, so I can continue chasing my dreams without interruption.

I write.

A lot.

That might seem like a dumb statement or like that’s not important or perhaps even obvious. But I didn’t realize to exactly what extent that I truly incorporate writing, almost every single day.

Let’s just look at an average week, based on what it’s been like for this year, and you’ll see what I mean.

I’ve been writing, on average, 2,000 words a day for five days a week, so 10,000 words in my new book. Then, I usually write three blog posts for this blog, all of them averaging another 1,000ish words, so there’s another 3,000 words. Plus my book review over at Erlebnisse, so that’s another 700 words right there. Then, emails. You’d think that wasn’t a lot, but between responding to work emails, catching up on personal emails, not to mention the few email chains I have to stay connected with Twitter friends (and each of those is easily 1,500 words, because hey, each of us are writers and we have a lot to say to one another), that’s a lot of words. Those email chains alone, I prolly have roughly four or five of those going, so let’s say another 10,000 words, just for shits and grins.

All in all, on an average week, I’d probably say I write at least 30,000 words before you even start thinking about social media sites, random letters I get to respond to, texts, etc.

That’s a lot of words.

And aside from the work emails, practically all of that is not only voluntary, but unconscious, on my part. What I mean is, I write that much because I can’t imagine doing anything else. I write books because I love it. Same with blogging. Email chains to stay in touch with out-of-state friends make sense to me, even though it’s weird to other people. I like writing book reviews to help authors out, make connections and rave/rant over a book I’d just read.

Looking at all that, how can I ever, even when the overthinking is strong, question my passion for writing or my desire to chase my dream focused on it?

Cheers.


Wow, That Sucked

I was plagued by influenza for the past eight days.

And wow, did that suck.

I’m still not fully recovered. My body is achy, this cough continues to linger and even going back to work today is taking it’s toll, but I’m nowhere near as bad as I was the past week and a half, and for that, I am ridiculously thankful. I can’t remember the last time I was that sick. I’ve definitely never been sick in that kind of way before; to the point where your body is literally so weak, you can’t actually function. You can’t move, you barely have the energy to eat, let alone do things like shower or walk from room to room. Your entire body aches and becomes sore. I felt like I was coughing up a lung every time I coughed and, towards the end, struggled enough to need an inhaler, just to help after a really bad coughing spell.

Oh, I was also on my period and couldn’t stop focusing on the consequences of being practically bedridden for past two weeks.

Trust me, you don’t need anxiety and stress on top of not feeling well, but I had it in droves, particularly about missing work. Though I had a doctor’s note and I very obviously should not be in public with anyone, lest I infect them, too, and spread this unhappiness around, I kept worrying–like I do–that I was going to lose my job for something completely out of my control. Which obviously wasn’t going to happen, yet that stress was there, too. Not to mention I fell behind on everything: writing, reading, blogging. And I missed all the fun things, like two DnD sessions and a family gathering I’d been looking forward to all week.

Saying that the last week and a half sucked feels like an understatement and I’m not even 100% healthy, yet. Yet it also was a needed reminder, even if I wouldn’t have minded getting the reminder in a different manner.

In a blink of an eye, my life was swept out from under me and suddenly I was ill as ill can be. The entire To-Do List I made for the week? Unaccomplished. Goals I’d set? Forget about them. I missed meetings and work, phone dates and time with family, hanging out with friends and even just going outside. All of these things are things I enjoy doing…most of the time.

Lately, I’ve found myself complaining a little more than usual. Not wanting to go to work, just out of laziness. Not wanting to work towards my two main goals–working out and writing–out of laziness and fear, respectively. So sometimes I’d be lazy or sometimes I’d complain, wishing I could do something else or wishing that I didn’t have to work for the things I wanted.

And then, with this flu, all choice was taken away. I had to lay there, in agony, and do nothing. It didn’t matter what I wanted.

Of course, it’s a really intense flu season right now and cases are being taken a bit more seriously thanks to the severity and the magnitude of the outbreak. When my chest started hurting, I’m sure it’s no surprise to you, with the anxiety like mine, that I feared hospitalization or perhaps even death (because my mind always goes to the worse case scenario) and all I could think about was everything I haven’t accomplished yet and how much I still want to do; how much I missed living. I kept thinking how lucky I have it, to have a job that provides for me, that I enjoy and can count on. I have dreams that I know how to chase and I’m taking the steps to do so, even if that’s hard to do, sometimes. Sure, sometimes I’d love to just spend the day at home playing PS4 all day, instead of working. Sure, I have complaints and bad days.

But damn, compared to suffering from whatever strand of the flu I had, I have the best life in the world.

Going forward, I’m hoping to remember that. Of course, there are still going to be days where I complain or days where I’m not feeling it. There are going to be days where laziness and fear and apathy and doubt win out over passion and creativity and hope and motivation. There will still be days when I take things for granted. But I’d like to lessen how often that happens by choosing to work, choosing to be grateful, choosing to remember how quickly everything can change and suddenly, choice is the last option available to me.

Stay healthy, friends.

Cheers.

PS: Also, a quick shout out is in order, both generally and then specifically. When you get that sick, you also get really lucky to know how much people care about you. To my family and my friends who reached out to me and wished me well, including my parents, people from work, my Grandma, my writing group and then still others, I can’t tell you how much that was appreciated and how much that made me feel loved. So thank you.

But I also got to thank my boyfriend, who I don’t think likes public adoration very much, but he doesn’t read my blog, so he won’t get embarrassed by me gushing on him for a bit. 😉 I’ve never had a boyfriend when I’ve been sick before and I never realized how amazing it can be to have someone take care of you when you can barely move; someone who does your laundry and runs to the store and buys everything on your list (and then some); someone who checks in on you and adds another blanket when you get cold and makes you eggs a billion times in one week, because you’re craving it and can keep it down; who doesn’t complain when you keep them up all night coughing, who takes off work to take you to the doctor when you’re too weak to drive, who stays up late playing Borderlands with you after you slept all day and can’t sleep any longer.

Babe, you’re amazing and I don’t deserve you, and I will never be able to thank you enough. You’re positively wonderful.