Yikes! Yesterday was the first day of February. I set a deadline to finish a draft of my memoir by September first. I don’t know where last month’s thirty-one days went. I swear it was just yesterday that I welcomed in the New Year with excitement. My head was filled with ideas. I jotted down notes every time a new one came along and began getting out of bed at six-fifteen every morning so that I could walk the dog, get some exercise in, and have breakfast before plunging into a two-hour write.
I set of goal of writing for at least twelve hours a week. It doesn’t sound like much for a serious writer, but that time allotment does not include reading other blogs about writing, checking email, wasting time on Facebook, meeting every two weeks with my writing coach, or keeping this blog up to date.
I also decided I would no longer allow myself to get fixed like glue to the television screen every night after the evening news, even if there is something “good” on. Bill and I have gotten into the habit of watching House Hunters International on HGTV, every evening at seven. It’s the cheapest way to see the world and somehow very addictive for two old farts like us.
Instead, most nights, I’ve been taking that hour to try to make a dent in the piles of books I have sitting by my bedside and in the living room. I figure a writer needs to read in order to write. But if I wait, like I usually do until I get into bed, I’ll be reading the same damned paragraph every night for the next three months. Don’t laugh. It really happens.
So how’s it going? I’m sorry you asked. I’m completely frustrated, overwhelmed, and every day ask myself, “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”
I LOVE my actual writing time, when there are two hours in a row to go at it without interruption. The morning is best, but in order to keep my aging body from pooping out, there are several sessions of Pilates and yoga to go to several times a week. They meet only in the morning.
And then two weeks ago I signed up for a six-week class with Dan Blank, on building my writers platform. Oh my goodness. If I wasn’t already overwhelmed before, I certainly am now.
What was I thinking? Though writing this book is not about making millions of dollars or being on the New York Times bestseller list, I certainly do want at least more than twenty or so people to read my book. And since I will in all likelihood self-publish this very well written gem, I’d best find out how one goes about doing what I think I’m doing. I’ve finished Dan’s first lesson with its homework and am now settling into the second lesson. I put a few drops of Dr. Bach’s Rescue Remedy, on my tongue when the anxiety of, “I have to do what?” kicks in.
Seriously, it’s scary. I’m a seventy-year-old introvert, who loves to spend her time creating, not selling. Technology gets the best of me, and frankly, I don’t give a fig about social media and all that other stuff I don’t understand.
But rather than begin to sound like my mother, who a lot of my book is about, I’d best not say too much more.
“What if there was no such thing as failure? What if everything was akin to a great big fancy science experiment where the results simply gave you new information and didn’t define who you are? What if the results of your “experiments” changed with the seasons, shifted with your moods, and weren’t necessarily static and permanent? What if at any time you can choose to change your mind about the direction your “experiments” are going?”
Reading that yesterday helped me to adjust my attitude a bit. I know I can do just about anything for a little while and since the class is only six weeks long, I’ll experiment and see if this platform building stuff takes hold. By then my anxiety about creating a brand and building relationships with people I don’t even know, will hopefully find a new home.
I must say I am enjoying working with a group of writers who experience the same fears that I do and Dan is fabulous. He has a lot of patience with us and everything he says makes a whole lot of sense. So I’m sticking with it. I’ll keep on writing as well and work at trying not to be so OCD about getting a draft done by 11:59 PM on September first.
What about you? What’s causing you to be overwhelmed and filled with anxiety? How do you deal with it?