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June 2018

Anxiety and Writing

I’m kind of writing this in hopes someone will say, “This isn’t anxiety; this is normal.” Then again, I would like the recognition of, “I have never experienced this. I can’t imagine what you must go through.” Not sure which one I want.

Anywho, so, I have anxiety, or at least I did. At any rate, it’s tapered greatly. Anxiety for me is as though I can see the future, like I have a time limit on absolutely everything I do. I’m sure you not-yet-published writers out there can understand where this leads to problems. Take this for example:

I wake, knowing I have to go to work later in the day. I have a few writing tasks to get done. I get done with part of them, possibly enough for most writers, I wouldn’t know. It’s not like I have a writing group where I ask, “Hey, how long would it take you to do XXX?” That seems silly and competitive. But that’s not enough. I can do more. I should do more. I have to do more because it’s not getting done fast enough. That’s the part that doesn’t feel normal.

And for you writers out there, you understand how looooooong the process is. Not “can take”; is. Not the writing itself, I’m talking about not-yet-published authors or indie authors who have to do 10X what the published ones do. The marketing, the writing, the editing, the querying, the cover design, the formatting, the uploading/dealing with distributors, the begging for reviews, the constant battle not to compare yourself to every single other author in the world, the networking, the trying to find cover designers/illustrators/editors, the job you work to make money until your writing takes off. I could go on, but like I said, I have work later today. The fact I get done what I do is mind boggling.

I want you to imagine this though. You have all that, but you see it all being played out in the future, not in a planner or that you have allotted false due dates for everything (trust me, that doesn’t help) but that’s it’s already overdue. You know your entire life’s track, and you should already be on the next train. So when you do your writing project of the day, no matter what it is, there is a tight feeling that starts from your upper arms and pulls into the center of your chest like an elastic spider’s web from p90X. That’s anxiety, and that’s what it feels like almost every hour of every day for me. I feel that way at work because I’m not editing my next ms. I feel that way while editing because it should have already been done. I feel that way now because I see the end of this post and want it done five minutes ago. But I have to keep going. I have to finish typing and then go back and reread it for errors. I’m sure I’ll miss a few, but I have to nonetheless 😉

Now, I could quite literally write a book on this, but I shan’t bore you with the details. Suffice it say I want to know the answer to just one question, “Is it like that for you?”

Describe your anxiety below in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!

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Oh, the dreams we have!

I rarely get those dreams we all see on TV where your spouse is wearing a bunny costume and throwing walnuts at you, and everywhere a walnut hits you grow an eye and lose a thumb (see The Dick Van Dyke Show). But last night I did. Not the bunny thing. In fact, not even the walnuts and thumbs. The eyes though…

Anyway, so last night everything that’s been haunting me came into play. Query letters flew at my face with obvious, hideous errors screaming at me with paranormal wails. I tried to reach out and correct them. Was it too late? Could I resend them? It was a heartbreaking moment of watching my future with a literary agent float away like a ghost of my past. Oh, and get this, these were actual query letters I have recently written with detailed accuracy of every word in them. Except for the errors. Those were added in by my brain demons.

I’ve always been able to control my dreams, ever since I was 10, or thereabouts, and when the next part came up, I said, “No.” Although it was more of a “NO!”. And it wasn’t me. At least not the me I’m used to in my dreaming state. See, when I take control of my dreams, it’s a surreal halfway world, often difficult to wake up from (that part requires a lot of strength and determination and is quite exhausting), and planned well in advance. This “no” came from nowhere. I had only just begun to see the dream. I was still panicking and had not yet realized I even was dreaming. But that no came with a feral voice. The next part was work related.

The supervisor I recently had a run-in with was talking to me about something, I don’t remember, and the coworker who goes out of their way (not daily, minutely-no seriously, every possible chance to be had) to make my life difficult was doing something else. I honestly think I could remember what they both did if I really wanted to, but let me remind you about that negative scream I shouted the first time in response.

So there you have it, my weird dreams. Hopefully tonight will be filled with more enjoyable visions of grandeur.

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