Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Worry Wart (An IWSG Post)

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of blogger extraordinaire and Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh and takes place on the first Wednesday of every month.  It's an opportunity for the insecure writer in all of us to get out and stretch our legs and get a little love and support from our fellow writers.  For a complete list of participants, click on the logo to the left.

Back in high school, I ran track.  Of course, me running track looked a lot like me hanging out on the bleachers eating Cookie Crisp while watching other people run track.  But there was one day, early in my track career, where every member of the team participated in every event that would take place at a meet.  Our coaches did this in order to decide who should focus on which events.  I managed to hold my own until we got to the last event: the 100m hurdles.

I'm sure you're all familiar with this event but, just in case, here's what you're supposed to do:


Here's what I did:



Only I wasn't nearly as graceful.

Needless to say, I did not run any races that involved hurdles because I just couldn't quite clear them which was kind of an important detail when competing in such a race.  In order to win the race, one needed to be able to do that.  In order to finish the race, one needed to be able to do that.

And I couldn't even finish the race.

This is what publishing is proving to be for me.  A straightaway littered with hurdles that I just can't quite clear.  But unlike high school track, I can't just shrug it off and scarf down some sugary cereal while I watch everyone else cross the finish line.  Instead, it's making me sad.  It's making me worry.

Not that worrying is something new for me.  One thing The Man always says to me (besides "would you stop buying books?!?!?") is "you've got to stop worrying."  And it's not bad advice.  It's probably even wise, smart and all that but here's the thing... I don't know how.

I don't know how I don't worry about this.  I mean, publishing a book— publishing Effigy— is one of my life goals.  It's the life goal.  It's Number One on the list (followed closely by 'fly in the invisible jet') so how do I not worry about my inability to make this goal happen?

I set two dates this year as The Date.  And then I watched them sail by.  Well, the first one sailed by.  That one never had a chance; it really was a pipe dream but I was too uneducated (What? Me, uneducated? Surely you jest!) to realize it at the time.  The second one I really thought would happen but again, I didn't pull it off.  Obviously, right?  Because if I had, somehow, managed to not screw this up, I'd probably be writing a much different post.

Probably.

And none of this should be construed as me giving up because I am not giving up.  I will admit to having those thoughts— to thinking that it's just not meant to be—but I am not giving up.  Yes, I am sad.  Yes, I am discouraged.  Life would probably be a lot easier if I wanted to be a professional precision folder but I don't.  I want to be a writer and so, come hell or high water, I will find a way to get over those hurdles.  I will find a way to get across that finish line.  I will build a bridge or a jet pack or a molecular transportation device (just as soon as I earn my degree in advanced starship technology...).  I will figure out how to sprout wings or learn to levitate or something.  I will figure it out and I will get over those hurdles and I will cross the finish line because failure is not an option.  It may be my current reality but it will not be my future.

But until then, I'm going to worry.



56 comments:

  1. It's good that you're still determined to succeed even with the worries. My fiancee started reading a book "how to stop worrying and start living" that she says has done her the world of good.

    Jamie

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    1. I never do well with those types of books but maybe I should give it a try.

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  2. Amen, my friend! I am stoked that you are so determined, it inspires me as I struggle with my depression. I worry too much as well and am happy there's someone out there who worries like I do. Hugs and fist bumps! We are going to get our publishing careers together. :)

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    1. From your lips to the publishing gods' ears!

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  3. Telling a worrier not to worry is just ... well, it's pointless lol. I mean, it is true, and there is rarely a reason to worry so much but it's hard to change ways that are so normal to us.

    I know you can can clear those hurdles! ;)

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    1. That's what I keep telling my significant other. The first part, I mean. Not the part about clearing the hurdles.

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  4. I tried hurdles once - I had the bruises for weeks!

    I think part of the problem with self-publishing is, even with a date, your head still thinks you can make it better. I had a publisher - I was lucky, my publisher said 'this is the date' and 'let go now'. Without someone else prising your work out of your hands, I can totally see how deadlines can fall away. You'll do it, have faith in yourself!

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    1. You should've seen the bruises I had after the day I attempted to hurdle the tennis net. Hmmm... I keep trying to hurdle things and keep falling on my face.

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  5. The thing about this race is that you can continue to move the finish line. So don't despair!
    And I couldn't have done hurdles either.

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    1. The finish line is going to move???? Well, I hope it moves closer.

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  6. As a fellow worry wart, I can say it's been my experience that the more you tell yourself not to worry, the more you'll worry. Instead, try to manage it somehow. Maybe give yourself five minutes or fifteen to worry, then just stop for the day (or the hour.). Or write all your worries down in the morning and clear your mind for the day.

    Easier said than done, believe me, I know. But here's the thing - worrying about the writing and the publishing etc is taking time and creativity and effort AWAY from the writing, from your goal. It's almost like a distraction, a subconscious procrastination, an excuse. It helps me get going when I think about it like that. (That and eating some chocolate.)

    Good luck and hang in there!

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    1. I'm all on board for some chocolate eating.

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  7. I ran back up hurdles in track. I got pretty good at them with a lot of practice. But the important thing is to finish regardless if you're first or last or somewhere between.

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  8. Oh, just keep swimming, my friend! It's HARD. I think if you don't think you're ready, work on another project for a while then come back to it. I still want to publish my first book, but as I've written MORE books, I realize how 'not ready' that one is. I mean it's entertaining, but it doesn't fit anywhere, so the chance of success would have been SO SLIM. My 7th book was my first published.

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    1. Then I guess the really sad part is that I do think I'm ready. For the most part of most days.

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  9. Even precision folders have their issues. But, your right, its ok to be sad, be discouraged and be defeated, but don't give up. That's the most important thing, don't give up.

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    1. Yes, precision folders do have their issues. Mostly keeping people from touching the things they have recently folded. I fight that never ending battle too. =)

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  10. Hey you, over there, STOP worrying and START building. YOU CAN DO IT!

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  11. I hear you on this one. I keep watching everyone else cross the finish line too, while I keep going back to the starting line to begin a new story. Some day, though, I'm going to have an entire heard of gazelle-like stories jump over the hurdles and cross the line. I just hope everyone hasn't left the bleachers by then.

    Keep working. It will get done. You will publish it...when it's ready.

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    1. I'm pretty sure the bleachers will be empty by the time I get over the line. But that's all right. More room for me and my sugary cereal. =)

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  12. Oh my gosh! *hugs this post* Life would TOTALLY be easier to be a professional precision folder (lol!) I get this. I soooooo get this. And thanks so much for all these words. I'm glad you know that you won't give up. You just can't. I have no doubt in you!

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  13. Screw jumping over the hurdles. Whip out one of those huge weapons you have and smash it to pieces.
    Or, in my case, a lightsaber.

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    1. I should try that. And then my next post can be about how I'm learning to use a pencil between my teeth to type because I mysteriously managed to cut off both arms (ala the black knight) in a freak sword accident. Because you know that's what I'd end up doing.

      But that would be a funny post... =)

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  14. I used to be a big worrier until my husband made a comment that resonated with me. Basically he said, "Things will either be alright or they won't, worrying won't change the outcome one bit. All it will do is take some years off your life." At that moment I realized he was right. All the worrying in the world won't give me the outcome I desire.

    I've since learned to transfer the energy used to worry into something positive like writing. By the time I"m done with a page or two whatever was on my mind has slipped away. Somehow things turn out okay in the end.

    Best advice, keep a positive attitude and keep forging ahead. Based on your post I think you've got the right idea. Best of luck.

    Also, I really like your blog and am now a follower.

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    1. Thanks, Andrea. That is excellent advice. And every day I inspire to follow it.

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  15. Everyone stumbles. But you're writing is solid. I love the excerpts that you have posted. And I believe in you. Get the book out and published so that we can begin to read it, and you can see how many people are truly fans of your writing.

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    1. Thank you, Michael. I really appreciate that.

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  16. *hugs* You'll get there! It's better to let a deadline fly by than put out something you don't feel is your best work. I've really enjoyed what you've been teasing of your novel. Keep at it!

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  17. have you submitted to small press?
    are your dates to self pub? have you queried anyone?
    or do you just not feel ready for that?

    i'd love to help in any way! your characters & story are wonderful from what i've read! classic epic fantasy! there's always a market there!

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    1. No. Yes. Yes. Long story.

      And thank you.

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  18. Everyone worries about that. It is stressful. I have a few friends I sent dozens of emails to, asking what I feared were dumb questions and they really helped me get it done.

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    1. I hear there's no such thing as a dumb question but I bet my questions would test that theory. =)

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  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. I'm divided as to how to comment here. Honestly, part of me wants to scream at you because I know what a talented writer you are and I love your writing (and I mean that) AND you need to get Effigy published. However, I do understand how you feel. So what about this:

      Three time's a charm, right? Screw the hurdles, sign up for the 100 meters dash instead, set a date and this time, cross the damn finish line.

      You. Can. Do. This.

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    2. The 100 meter dash was my race in high school. Of course, I never won any of my races but at least I finished those. =)

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  20. Hurdles. I was so worried that I'd trip and fall. I wasn't much of a runner anyway.

    Perhaps you need to stop setting deadlines. What does your to do list for publishing this puppy look like? It might be a better idea to just go through that list item by item, and then one day you'll find that you've finished everything and can publish. Just a thought...

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    1. I haven't set a third date yet. I'm now trying the item by item approach and see what happens then.

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    2. But I worry that if I don't set a deadline, I won't get things done at all.

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  21. I understand it all. I'm a worrier-warrior too. You have what it takes - determination to get there, plus the skills. Even though you'll keep worrying, keep not giving up.

    PS I could only do hurdles if they changed the rules: You can crawl through/under them; no need to leap over them. And you won't be timed.

    xoRobyn

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    1. Crawling under them I could totally do. And not being timed would be even better...

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  22. First, I totally snorted when I read your precision folder comment. Now . . .

    Isn't worrying the equivalent of breathing? I'm wired that way. I don't understand how people DON'T worry. Are they completely oblivious and have the awareness of an amoeba? So what you're saying about worry sounds completely natural to me. Business as usual in my world.

    You're right not to give up. If it's technical glitches about learning how to self publish, I can't help you. If it's critique/writing/brainstorming I'm more than willing to help out. Just email me. I can't wait for you to answer my Sea Monkey S.A.T. questions in your own author interview over at TiC. So let me know if there's something I can help with.

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  23. I failed that hurdle test on that try-everything day in track, too. (I ended up throwing discus and shot-put for half a season before quitting.) Since I'm so tall and have long legs, there was no reason for me to not be able to clear the hurdles except psychologically. I couldn't handle the idea of running up to something at full speed and leaping it -- there was always the fear in my mind that I would catch my foot and fall. And because I was afraid of falling, I would falter, and I would fall.

    To this day, I still think that if I had *really* wanted to do it, I could have. I could have faced that fear and cleared the hurdle. But my fear of falling was greater than my desire to finish the race.

    But I think your desire to finish the race is enough to clear your hurdles, eventually. And I think you already know that even if it hurts to fall, you can still get back up and try again until the time you make it.

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  24. You are so funny. This gave me some good chuckles. Here are my thoughts on worrying: Don't. Simple as that. Worrying does absolutely nothing but get you worked up. Everything will come in its time. Publishing is so super duper hard. Writing a great story is so super duper hard. All we can do is keep pressing forward and trying our best. A blogger friend once reminded me to stop and look at how far I've come and I always remembered that when this pub dream seemed unreachable.

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  25. Too funny! You make me laugh. Hurdles for sport is just crazy. I was in track and was asked to run hurdles and I said "you're nuts!" Hurdles in life is, well, a part of life. And so is worrying. But try not to worry as much. You're trying and that's all you can do.

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  26. Hurdles!!! I have a story from High School about hurdles, but I won't go there. I will save that for another time, maybe for one of those question posts sometime.

    Hurdles are in the background of everything we participate in, in life! Yes they can seem insurmountable but with perseverance and lots and lots of practice we can overcome them.

    Pity I didn't apply this bit of knowledge in High School, when I had to race over them for sports day! Oh well!

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  27. This is just brilliant! I am happy that you are willing to trip over a few more hurdles, as I can assure you I still fall over many , even though I have an agent. At least you know what it is that you want and you keep going for it. Never giving up is definitely the way to your dream. Keep on running, you are doing wonderfully.

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  28. Yes, I fell over the hurdles too - and it hurt. But if you want something very much, in my experience it generally happens sooner or later. Your dream will come true if you're determined. And it might be quicker than you think.

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  29. I've never fallen over physical hurdles, but I have run into a couple writing ones (and I'm sure will encounter more on this crazy journey). The key is to get up, shake it off and keep going.

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  30. You will overcome this hurdle, for sure! As long as you keep your passion for writing alive, you will get published :D
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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  31. I'm so glad you're not giving up. Just when you think you've got your stride, life throws another hurdle in your way. Write through 'em!

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  32. I'm adding Fly an Invisible Jet to my list too now.

    I understand your worry. I think it is an author thing and we all face it no matter how many times we tell ourselves we shouldn't. Writing is scary and hard and we are insane for wanting to do it and we should get our heads checked but we don't.
    I am glad you aren't giving up because I want to read your book and I believe you can make it.

    The jet pack might help a lot.

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    ReplyDelete