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Last Week’s WW: The Writer’s Roller Coaster

A few weeks ago I wrote about how it’s important to create a schedule for yourself.  About how self-imposed deadlines can help you create, and stop you from procrastinating.  I still believe all of this to be true.  But, those plans don’t always work out.

Everything was rolling right along for me.  I was sticking to the plan.  But then, life came and got in the way.  My okay survival job turned into a terrible you-can’t-survive-on-this job.  I’m beginning to think that waitressing in Los Angeles isn’t a stable career.   So, once again, I was thrust into emergency job hunting mode.  Thus far, it’s yielded no results.  I’ve worked 6 days in the last month.  And they were short, slow days.

At first, the time off was nice.  I didn’t think it would last and I was really productive.   I got the house really clean, I started taking the dog to the park again, I revised 3 short stories and wrote 20,000 words in the first 2 weeks.  There were aspects of it that were wonderful.  If I could live my life that way, I would.

Week 3 was when the stress really started to kick in.  It was obvious that the slowness at work wasn’t going to be temporary.  I spent the next two weeks applying like mad and walking neighborhoods looking for restaurants to apply to and attending open interviews.  I even had a few that looked promising.  But then I never heard back, and my attempts to follow up went nowhere.

It was at this point that the stress really started taking hold.  I’ve got both general and social anxiety, so job hunting is an extra special kind of hard for me.

With so much time and energy spent on looking for work, and the little time but decent amount of energy spent actually working, I wasn’t able to put the time I wanted into creating.  Or, more specifically, revising.

Otherworlders is doing decent.  I’d like it to be a fast, break-out success, but I’m trying my best to be patient and have a realistic  outlook.  From what I’ve read on kboards, it’s doing better than many other debut novels.  But it’s certainly not enough to make a dent in my monthly bills.  Hopefully someday, once word of mouth sets in.  But not yet.

Refreshing my KDP stats wasn’t helping things.  I became rattled.  I have been living in a constant state of stress.  My confidence as a writer got rattled as well.  Not sure why, just my regular anxiety I guess.  But, beyond my flash fictions, I haven’t been able to write.

It went deeper than just writer’s block.  It was writer’s rejection.  My mind wanted to vomit at the thought of writing.  Not because I didn’t want to write, I desperately did, but because there was so much stress tied into the idea of writing- why isn’t my book selling crazy amounts?  who am I writing my current story for?  what if no one buys it or likes it?  I’ve completely blown my deadline!  and on and on…  I’m tense right now.

I’m not sure if this was a good idea or not, but I gave myself some time.  I allowed myself to not stress about it.  I gave myself permission to not worry about writing or even jobs for a day.  I took it easy, watched a movie, played some video games, stayed away from internet things that would remind me… it helped, but only while I was actively avoiding things.  Mention of jobs or writing was enough to send me right back to high stress levels.

As I’ve said before, the only way through is to do.  So, I started small.  I worked on a short Otherworlders bonus scene for my email subscribers.  It went well.  Then, I was looking at my flash fiction story Wasteland, and some of the Terrible Minds continuations of it, and I started thinking – “hey, this could actually be a good serial”.  Will I make it into one?  Not sure.  But it got those rusty wheels turning.  I got excited about writing again.

I know that I’m going to write tomorrow.  I know that soon I’ll get back to revising my short story series and get it back on track.  I know that I still have other things that I want to publish soon.  I won’t let the anxiety and the stress get the better of me.  I won’t let a job that I need detour me from the career that I want.  I will work through it.  I will write.