If you couldn’t tell from the title of this post, I’m going to write about how overwhelmed I’m feeling with the writing process at this stage and how I’m coping with those feelings. It’s been my experience that writers and other creatives don’t openly talk about this facet of the process. Maybe it’s because we’re choosing to do this and therefore, we feel that talking about being overwhelmed will be met with claims that ‘we’re doing this to ourselves’ and shouldn’t ‘complain’ about it. Maybe it’s because we don’t want to admit that, even though we love writing (or whatever creative medium you’re pursuing), there are aspects of it that feel overwhelmingly daunting at times. Whatever the reason, I say fuck it. I started this blog to be honest and open about my journey and guess what? Feeling overwhelmed is part of my journey.
What am I feeling overwhelmed about? Welp. I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube videos about the writing process and when you should do certain tasks on the journey to self-publishing a book. Rewriting, self-editing, enlisting beta readers, hiring out professional editing, hiring out professional formatting, etc. And when I dive too deeply into researching those tasks, what they entail, how long they’re supposed to take, and what they cost, I’m not going to lie, I get a little panicky. Rewriting/self-editing is free, but time-consuming. Beta readers are free, but man, the idea of letting other eyes see my work makes me anxious. And do you know how expensive professional editing and formatting can be? It’s enough to make me want to spiral into an anxiety attack. And then, I look at the amount of time I have left before my 30th birthday (still over a year and a half away) and suddenly, it seems very, very close.
Time and money.
At this point in the process, when I look too far ahead, those are the two things all of my anxiety boils down to. And then, we start playing the what-if game. What if something happens to my car? Or some other catastrophe that requires that hard-earned money? What if something happens in my personal life that derails my self-imposed time frame? What if I lose interest in my story altogether? What if I have another low-spell of anxiety and depression that kills my creativity and drive? What if? What if? What if?
It’s at this point that I can do one of two things. I can let those fears and what-ifs cripple me. I can give up like I have so many times before. I can let my own anxiety get the better of me and let my dream slip away. Or, I can choose to feel my anxiety, let my brain cook up as many what-ifs as it wants, ride out the storm…and then get the fuck back to work. Because I want this. I’ve wanted this since I was a doe-eyed teenager who had no concept of how hard it would be. And I still want it as a deer-in-the-headlights late-twenty-something. Only now, I have both a story I desperately want to tell and a decent understanding of what it’s going to take to accomplish that goal.
So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to keep saving my money. I’m going to keep working on my book. I’m going to take some Skillshare classes and read some books and continue to push forward. And I’m going to take each part of this process one step at a time. There may be setbacks, frustrations, hard times, and harsh criticism. But if I don’t try, I’ll never even have the chance to succeed. And after what I’ve been through, I deserve to let myself take the chance.
So here’s what I need from you, my readers. If you have any advice, words of encouragement, feel free to share. If you know anyone who beta-reads who would be open to reading a book about two dudes falling in love, send them my way. And if you’re a writer and know of a good editor or editing service, please feel free to pass along any info. Same goes for formatting services.
And if you find me sitting alone in a corner, panicking and/or crying, a tissue and a pat on the shoulder would do wonders.