That’s a good description for how I’ve been feeling lately.
Disheartened by the whole publishing process, I’ve decided now might be a good time to step back, take a break and regroup.
Writing has always been a love of mine, and in many ways, the only thing which has kept me sane. When I’m struggling with the black dog, or feeling completely and utterly stressed, it is a way of escaping the reality and doing something which takes me into my own space, a space less filled with anxiety and day to day issues, and the many, many worries and strains which fill my thoughts on a daily basis.
It took me years and years to work up the courage to publish, and even then, I took what I consider to be the chicken’s way out and self-published. I knew that I would not cope with the gut wrenching, soul crushing rounds of seeking a publisher who might consider my work – I’m the poster child for people with self-doubt and to receive a rejection letter would only prove to the voice in my head that I am useless at writing.
Consequently, I attempted self-publishing, but to be honest, I’m just as filled with self-doubt as I was before, if anything, even more so. And self-promotion is not my strong point. Nor is worrying about selling books, because if I don’t, I’m still a failure. And if I do sell books, I might be pressured into writing more and more and conforming to what readers want to read, and then there would be huge amounts of expectations on what I do next…
And I fold, like a pack of playing cards which have been built into a ramshackle house.
The simple fact is – I’m not cut out for so many things in life. I’ve always suspected I march to the beat of a drum that only I can hear – I can’t conform, I can’t do what so many others do. I can’t be a success, because I fear success. I don’t want to be a failure, because that wouldn’t be a happy place to be either.
So here I sit, in my corner of the world, fearing so many things, and filled with so much self-doubt, it seems as if I’m mentally holding back doubts the size of the Hoover Dam. And wondering how to be comfortable in my own skin.
The fact of the matter right now, is that I can’t publish any longer, because I don’t want to go through the grind. I find myself now considering every word of everything I attempt to write and thinking that nothing I do is good enough. What if no-one wants to read it? What if I get bad reviews? What if I’m not ‘conforming’ to what the audience wants. The endless questions have crippled my ability to write, to the point where I just don’t want to write any longer.
And that, for a person like me, who fits so badly into the real world, is almost unbearable.
I want to write. I want to travel to those far off and magical places. I want to express my thoughts and dreams and desires through the written word. And I want to do it in a way that makes me happy, in a way which allows my creativity to soar and releases me from the bonds which tie me to my insecurities.
So for now, I’m heading back to basics. I’m going to write for the heck of writing. I’m going to write the stories which flow from my heart. And I’m going to write them for myself.
And when I regain belief in myself, I might come back to publishing. Who knows? I don’t want to say I’ll never do it again, because my mind is in a constant state of flux, and how I feel today, is different to how I might feel next week, or next month, or next year.
But I am going back to basics. I will write from my heart, and clear my soul of the gut-wrenching fear of doing it wrong. I’ll remind myself to write for me and no-one else. And hopefully, I will regain that love for the written word, the sheer joy of creating something that no-one else has done, the fun of making characters and letting them grow and seeing where their adventures will take them.