Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Can you ever just be whelmed? : Overwhelming Options and Committing to a Path

I am a person who deals with anxiety on a daily basis. Some days it is the ordinary, being a person, kind of stress and some days it makes me shrink into myself so all I can do is stew in my own misery. It can be emotionally paralyzing on those days and, well, I've had a lot of those days lately.

I recently made a choice to make a major life change. I left a job I'd been at for 8 years. It was a job that came with a lot of perks. It was a job that gave me financial security. It was a job where I got to work with a lot of interesting and talented people and a job where I made a lot friends, some of which will be lifers.

And all of that being true, I was deeply unhappy. My health was starting to suffer and depression was taking over. After a lot of talking about it with anyone who would listen (Sorry Besties) and spending night after sleepless night in anguish trying to decide to stay or go, the time came and I had to make a decision. I didn't want to drag things out for myself or my employer. We both deserved better. So, I went for a walk and said to myself "I'm staying" and felt a dread knot form in my stomach. Then I said to myself "I'm going" and felt much lighter and more hopeful. There was my answer. I was going.

And go I did.

I wish I could say that I'm 100% sure that I made the right choice, but I can't. Doubt creeps in sometimes, and that decision opened up a world of options, which in theory is great, but to a person who already has anxiety problems is hellishly overwhelming. I've spent weeks pouring over job postings and reading about career paths and continuing education and the truth is, there are a lot of things that I could do. I'm a fairly competent person and given the right resources, I tend to figure things out. And while obsessing over the limitless possibilities, amid the noise in my head, I started to hear the recurring themes of what I did and did not want in my life and in my work.

Again, I had to be quiet and ask myself what I really wanted.

What I really want is to write. It comes down to that answer every single time. That shouldn't be surprising since I started this blog as a way to track my writing journey, but what I also learned is that I don't want to fully leave my previous line of work. I enjoy it. I get to help people make something that only previously existed in the land of imagination and that's cool. I like collaborating. I like team work. There's way too much good to abandon it completely, but there are ways to do that work that allow for balance and opportunity to pursue my writing goals. That's what I'm after.

The moral of this little story is that making decisions, especially big decisions, is hard. Try a quick Google search and you'll find pages and pages of articles dedicated to that truth and there are plenty of good options that you can try (like this, and this, and this) but I'm guessing that it's sort of like picking a diet. The right one is the one that works for you. As it turns out, my method is 1) Shut out the noise 2) Follow my instincts 3) Take action. I cannot yet tell you how well it works as I am just another work in progress, but feel free to give it a try and let me know how it goes for you.

Finally to answer the last and most pressing question you probably have: Yes, the title of the post is 100% a reference to "10 Things I Hate About You". I love that movie!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

I Want It All on the Table

Confession time. The post title today is inspired by the teaser of the new Justin Timberlake song that comes out tomorrow (Yes, I'm grown AF. No, I cannot freaking wait!!!). Perhaps it's because I've watched that trailer at least twenty times, but I can't get the thought out of my head that, I do -  I want it all on the table.

And that's why...

I'm self publishing my first novel. I'm doing it!  As an e-book, it shall live!!!

I was so against this move when I began this process. Sure, it would have been my preference to find an agent and major publisher and ride a wave of success all the way to writing glory, but that's just not what happened. I've been sporadically querying this bad girl for a couple of years, and the responses have varied from silence, to blatant disinterest, to slightly encouraging dismissal. All of it; however, boils down to the same "no". And yes, I can admit that I wrote this book in my late twenties and in a time in my life that is so different from where I am now and what my life has become that I don't see much of myself or my voice anymore, which makes it hard to sell, but I also like the little thing too much. I can't just abandon it and let it go unread. Maybe it doesn't have my fire anymore, but it doesn't deserve to be left behind as a file on a computer that will soon (judging by the disturbing sounds it has been making lately) die and collect dust. It feels like a betrayal to the characters in my book and the girl I was when I wrote them to walk away with it unfinished. Because, let's face it, until it is published, it isn't finished.

I also feel like I can't really move on to my next novel until I've let this one go. I've been making some drastic changes in my life lately and I'm ready to dive back in to my writing, but I need to close this chapter first.

I'm having one more copy edit done because I'm the worst with my own typos and I don't want to embarrass myself, but once that's done, that's it. I'm committed. I want it all on the table!

Oh, and also - JT FOREVER!!!!