For those who are following the progress of my book, I’m at that rewriting phase of “My gosh. Who wrote this crap? I hate this so much! I want to quit.” Seriously, why in the world am I doing this to myself?
I don’t need to write a book. I can sit back and watch America’s Got Talent everyday and then flip the channel and make fun of politics. I have no clue why I’m writing a book. I’m sure at some point I enjoyed this, right? Someone remind me that I actually enjoyed writing, because I’m at the point of chasing people around with chainsaws and getting lost in hedge mazes.
I know I do like writing. I just need to remember rewriting can be difficult. I mean, how many times can you read a book over and over before you get sick of it? Well, that sometimes applies to your own books as well. Especially when you have to read one sentence a hundred times, then you realize that it doesn’t work in the story anyway. That can become frustrating, but it’s a perfectly normal feeling (having the urge to drink is also normal, at least for me it is).
The hard part I’m facing is, this rewrite is going to take me much longer than I expected and I will need at least one more personal rewrite before I can send it to an editor. I’m not looking forward to that last rewrite. I can see me facing tons of self doubt and it won’t be pretty. I’m pretty sure there will be tears. I don’t cry the pretty TV tears. Nope. I have the red puffy eyes, swollen face, and snot running down my nose. When I cry, it’s an ugly cry.
It’s no secret I also suffer from occasional bouts of blues, depression, anxiety, frustration, grey hair, stinky feet, and severe doubt in my personal abilities to do anything great. To be fair, if a person survived almost 50 years of living on this rock, raised a few kids, and survived a few divorces, without gaining a few mental diagnoses they weren’t trying hard enough (I just happen to have more than a few, but that’s for a different conversation).
Now, don’t get me wrong, most of the time I actually have a strong sense of self worth and a bigger feeling of self confidence, but there are those times when I know this is all a dream (or nightmare) and the world will fall out from under me and find out none of this was real. I wake up and I’ve been living in a mental facility the whole time. Yes, I know. That’s a pretty specific fear, but the way TV portrays mental facilities, it’s a pretty rational fear.
The crazy part is, in both my fabulous careers, I succeeded in everything I set out to do. I’m very critical of myself and I work very hard. At every step of the way, in spite of my anxieties and fears, I won many awards and made some great memories. But I always have this little voice telling me that it could be all a mistake and I’m not really good enough. (I really hope I’m not the only one who feels this way sometimes. I would feel so much better if I knew others suffer from anxiety and self doubt. It would be really good to know I’m not the only one who is slightly off balanced.)
Before becoming a writer, I could hide these self confidence issues. I could plaster on my smile, pull my shoulders back, grab a cup of coffee, and prepare myself to tackle the day (Hiding in the bathroom from time to time to face the fact the world out there is willing to crush me like a little bug).
When I decided to write, I found out writers are vulnerable to the public. I didn’t want strangers judging me for my shortcomings, while they were hiding behind their keyboards. I wanted to be remain nameless and unknown. I almost quit before I even started.
Now, I’m writing a blog, I fight against injustice, and I’m writing a book. How? I took a look at all my anxieties and instead of avoiding them, I looked those damn anxieties in the face, grabbed them by the neck, squeezed them like a shampoo bottle the day before payday. I made them into a bubble bath and jumped my butt right in a tub full of my anxieties. I wanted to keep them close and control them. The crazy part of trying to control something, sometimes it still tries to act out. Even after years of success, in many different fields, my mind still questions my abilities.
After writing a few chapters, I look in the mirror and wonder, “Why in the world did I ever think this writing thing was a good idea?”
It may be a few years before I ever write another book. I’ll need time to recover from this personal beating I’ve given myself and I’ll probably need some serious therapy after this book is published (Yes. I know I need therapy now, but that’s besides the point).
But no matter what, I’ll keep plowing forward and so help me I will finish what I started.
That’s the most important thing. If you face even a little of what I go through, don’t quit. You are allowed to acknowledge the pain and the agony of putting yourself out to the world, but don’t let those feelings paralyze you.
If you are writing a book, you have to stick with it. Don’t let doubt get you down and convince you to quit. Telling a story isn’t something that happens overnight. When you want to hit delete or toss the whole thing out, take a break, get some coffee, stretch, and breath. This is a marathon, not a sprint. We need to breath and take water breaks. The time is not important but sticking it out and finishing is. When you body wants to collapse from pain, your arms are weak, and your brain tells you to quit, don’t listen. Keep going. When your brain tells you no one will judge you if you drop out right now, don’t listen. Keep going. Keep typing and keep writing. You can do this. I can do this and you can do this. We can do this.
I promise this, if readers don’t like my book, it won’t be for lack of trying. I’m pouring my heart and soul into this book. I’m going down the rabbit hole and I’m taking the readers with me.
In all the craziness and pain, I will bring you stories of survival and happiness. I hope you will laugh and cry with me. This is why I will keep writing. I don’t want to tell you what I’m writing, I want you to read what I’m writing. I will continue to write, no matter how many times the black dog barks at my heels, and no matter how many times doubt enters my mind, I will keep writing.
I want you to keep writing too.
I know it’s hard, but no matter what, never quit. Just keep writing.
Until next time…be safe, be kind, and always be happy.
(and of course, when I’m done, you need to buy my book.)