With the kids back to school and my schedule finally my own, the sleeping demon of fear has re-entered my school. I had hoped to get at least one writing project completed during the summer, but I ended up putting everything aside and concentrating on my kids and doing things around the house, i.e. do one thing well instead of two things badly.
Now that I have the time again, now that I have no obstacles before me, I find myself once again plagued with fear, doubt, and that sense that I can’t do it. You’d think after nine books (ten if you include Snappy and Dashing) that I’d know better, but there’s something about looking in that twisted mirror that only shows you what you haven’t done.
Sitting around me are several unfinished stories, from Tilruna: Fall of House Andes to Action Guy in Permit Me to Wizard Killer: Season 3, to speak nothing of my non-fiction book about hand selling books. And those are only the stories that are “within striking distance” of being completed. Oh, did I mention the new Yellow Hoods universe pile of stories that are sitting there in various states? Gah…
I’ve fallen into depressions before and have reached the point of wisdom and experience where I know the early warning signs. I noticed I started pulling back from my social circle, I’m jittery/anxious about getting everything out of the way so that I can write (high productivity procrastination), the keyboard and blank screen has become daunting, and my paper notes feel like they become meaningless.
This weekend I did a book signing and I should be over the moon with how it went. The sales were meh for me (it’s all relative) but there were two things that happened that should have me full of excited energy. The fact that I’m not was one of the tip offs that my mental health might not be where I want it.
The first of the two things was someone who was walking by came up, picked up my Man of Cloud 9 science fiction novel, checked it out, got excited about it and then talked with me. Then last night, he messaged me via Facebook to tell me how much he absolutely loved the book and couldn’t put it down. I felt nothing emotionally. Intellectually, I knew this was great. I shared it with my wife and watched her smile.
The other thing? It was someone involved in the production of the hit show Wynona Earp (which is filmed here in Calgary) coming over, buying some of my books, telling me that they were looking for local content to develop, and taking my card to give to the head of their development department. That got a little reaction out of me.
One of the ways I which I start realigning my inner view with the real world when I feel like this, is by voicing it (like this blog post). It tells the demon instead me that I know he’s there, and that I’m going to use all the tools to get him out, but that I’m going to take all of his anchors away from me. I’m going to write the best stories I can, and I’m not going to panic about the deadlines and timelines.
Sorry Demon, you’re times up. Nice to see you, sorry you can’t stay. Actually, not sorry.
By the way, I can feel those twinges of excitement coming back. I better get writing.