Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Feeling Naked

I have a lot of anxiety. There's the garden variety kind, like being anxious when I go on an interview or walk into a roomful of strangers (that happens to everyone else, right?), and then there's the totally irrational stuff. Like freaking out at the mere presence of bees or being terrified to make phone calls. Or the fact that I routinely go to the darkest of places whenever something is not exactly as expected. Example: hubby is ten minutes late coming home from work. He's surely in a ditch somewhere, bleeding internally, unable to call for help. The boss wants to speak to me? It's obvious she thinks I'm the worst employee in the history of ever and I should just leave my keys in the slot and walk away quietly.

You get the idea.

So now that I am finally beginning to "go public" with my writing, anxiety is hitting an all time high. It feels a bit like one of those dreams when you're standing naked in front of a crowd and they're all laughing and pointing at you. (That happens to everyone else, right?) Sometimes the writing world is this safe cozy place where you can snuggle up with your critique partner and dream about a future when your books will graze the shelves of every store in town. People say they like your work. The encouragement is amazing. You feel fabulous, like the words that leave your fingertips are magical and will change the world.
But then the clouds roll in. You learn to don your thickest suit of armor before trudging out into the world where every person you meet has written this amazingly fabulous book that is much, much better than yours. Where everyone has a different idea about what works or doesn't work in your story. Where you feel like a goldfish swimming in a pond with millions of other goldfish hoping some cute five year old kid will bring you home and put you in a glass bowl with plastic seaweed because your colors are exactly what he's been looking for in a goldfish.

It is really hard to keep pushing forward. And I'm pretty sure if it wasn't for my rationally thinking husband and cheer-leading friends I would have given up a long time ago.

Sometimes anxiety gets the best of me. I uncover a pile of dead bees in the wall of my parents' house that sends me into a full blow panic attack. Night after night I have that dream where I need to use the bathroom but there are no doors on any of the stalls.

Sometimes, I let it fuel my passion. Channel it into crafting a scene or bringing a character's quirks to life.

Recognize it's part of who I am as a human being and that's okay.

Take a deep breath and enjoy the journey.

Sip my tea, dig into revisions, and pretend like I'm still wearing clothes.

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