It’s been a while since I’ve blogged and it’s because after my book came out I fell into that whole self-flagellating catch-22 that seems to be a part of our culture and I’m just now digging myself out of it.
Let me back up. Have the voices in your head ever gotten so loud that you can’t determine if your conscience and intuition are speaking or if it’s just regurgitated psychobabble from society and social media eating away at your self-worth?
In August I was super nervous for Faithful Lies to be published because it was an amalgamation of my dreams over the decades coming true- what I’d longed for since I was a little girl was REAL. I was (am) finally an author. But with that comes the responsibility and decisions of WHAT NOW? I allowed my fears and uncertainty to color my book launch and instead of enjoying and celebrating as I should have, I was sweating and confused and heaping stress upon myself. Well, I still am, but I’m working on it.
You see, in order for me to write, my husband has been supporting us financially (he’s an IT guy). So for the past three years he has shouldered all monetary responsibility and I feel SO guilty about that. Other than our mortgage, we have no debt and we’re certainly not in dire straits by any means, but… I think about what if our roles were reversed; would I be okay being the hardworking breadwinner while Mark pottered around opening a dog walking business and then decided to pen a novel and then went into some weird, half-catatonic state wondering what the hell he was doing with his life? Probably not. I mean, if I were him I’d be all, “Get your shizz together, dude!” Of course Mark has never said that to me (and he’s never called me dude either). He’s been nothing but supportive. Which makes me feel even MORE guilty.
The thing with writing books is… there’s a whole indie world out there in both the erotica and clean romance genres where authors are kicking out anywhere from three to six books every twelve months and some girls are making well over $100k a year doing it. The whole community has each other’s backs and they’re very frank about both their marketing techniques and their financial stats. It’s awesome. Unfortunately, I don’t fall into either the erotica category or the sweet and clean. But even if I did, writing so many books a year is beyond my comprehension. I put my heart and soul and tears and all my love into Faithful Lies. It was beautiful and exhausting and emotional. As my book was launching, I was wondering if I could do it three to six times a year going forward and the answer in my head always came back “no”. Which was super frustrating because if I want to make a living from writing then I need to write (duh). I’ve been beating myself up since August, trying to force-write a sequel to Faithful Lies and then when that wasn’t working, I tried to write a mystery/romance. I got to chapter four when I realized the plot was great, but my writing sucked. I was all caught up in trying to push out material and it… wasn’t pretty.
I began to heap criticism and judgement upon myself. Here I am, my dream of becoming an author realized, and I can’t move forward. It’s made me wonder what exactly I want from life… and what is wrong with me? Okay, so I wanted to be a writer for the past 37 years and RIGHT NOW I have the opportunity to live my dream… and I can’t.
Here’s an example of me talking to me every damn day:
You’re selfish. That’s what it is. You got what you want and now you want something else?
I want to be an author, but… I can’t write.
Well, that’s just dandy! Do you know how many people would love to be in your shoes? To have the opportunity to create?
I know. I feel so terrible. So guilty about it.
So go back to corporate life and earn a proper living. Poor Mark has been shouldering all of the responsibility.
I know. I feel so guilty about that too…
And you should. You’ve totally taken advantage of his kindness and good-nature.
I’m a terrible person. I should get an accounting gig, but then I won’t have time to really write.
So what? You’re writing crap anyway.
But what about my creative side?
Ha! What have you created lately? You haven’t even blogged, for heaven’s sake.
You’re right. I told you I’m a terrible person.
Yeah, you really are.
Last week I finally came to terms with just how mentally self-destructive I’ve been. I won’t tell you everything here because it’s not… the kind of message I want to send, but when I was honest and real and confided a particular thought I’d been having to my friend Aggie, she burst into tears and couldn’t stop. It was then that I knew I really needed to sort myself out.
I think there are probably components to each of us that constantly push against the other, making us two different people (at least I hope so or this is going to sound really strange to all of you). There’s the side of us that wants to succeed and puts on a brave face every day and then there’s the complex, slightly insane side that experiences dark thoughts and hidden bouts of depression. I think it’s just part of being human and we sway back and forth, trying to control the demons and reaching out for happiness whenever we can grab it. Fighting loneliness or anxiety or pain drains us and leaves us creatively depleted. The trouble is… everyone’s means of harnessing peace is different so there isn’t a blanket answer to ease everyone’s journey.
I’m telling you all of this, dear reader, because I don’t want to disappear into the proverbial ether… this is my way of reaching out to tell you I’m trying to write, trying to own the direction of where to go from here. Some of you have wondered what my next step is and… I don’t know yet.
What I do know is that there’s this innate desire in me to both write my heart and to somehow bring a sense of community to those around me. Writing means everything; it was my First Love and will always be my passion. I just need to figure out where to go from here.
And I’m so glad you’re along for the ride.