Writing Anxiety

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I love my job…but…I hate starting to write.

Not because I hate writing, but because I am constantly trying to overcome my fear.

Most of the time I approach writing with a knot in my stomach, a distracted buzzing in my brain, and dread in my heart.

And yet, most days, I force myself to write. Most days I really enjoy it once I get into some kind of flow. Almost always, I end up feeling better for having done it.

My favorite Dorothy Parker quote is, “I hate writing, I love having written.”

It’s nice to know I’m not alone.

But you’d think, after all this time, the process would get easier. Instead it feels harder with the added pressure of trying to meet the expectations of readers.

Writing this post is a form of procrastination. It allows me to feel productive, when really I’m just avoiding writing new chapters. I guess that means I should go write now.

Or maybe I’ll take a nap…a nap might help.

Or maybe I’ll go for a walk…a walk could help.

Or maybe I’ll make some more coffee…coffee helps.

**I’m not JUST complaining today. I’m finishing up the copy edits for ONE WOMAN’S JUNK and later I’ll actually be adding words to Hitwoman 21…just no guarantees they’ll be “good” words.  😉

 

 

 

What makes a good day?

There’s a lot to like about living in Florida, but the brutal summer heat isn’t one of them.

The heat index was over 100 degrees multiple days this first official week of summer, so basically if you hear someone calling weakly, “I’m melting” there’s a good chance it’s me.

But it rained last night for hours and knocked the temperature down, which meant that this morning’s walk was comfortable and it’s still cool enough that I’m able to sit outside while I do some work.

Considering that spending time outside is a high priority for me, this makes today a good day.

It doesn’t take much to make a day a “good” day for me.

Yesterday was a good day too because I had a sense of accomplishment after spending a significant part of the day and most of the night (until bedtime) working on story edits for ONE WOMAN’S JUNK.  The edits aren’t anywhere near done, but I felt like I made significant progress and I’m no longer in the “I’ll never be able to fix this” mindset that I had been battling.

(It probably helped that I wore ridiculous pants….one can’t take oneself too seriously if you’re wearing something like this.)

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I’ve earned a day off from the edits, so today my creative focus will just be on writing. I’m excited to dive back into the 21st Hitwoman book, which I’ve been working on pretty steadily (more progress!).

I’ll also spend some time on the screenplay which is my “pure fun” writing project.

So those are three things that make a day “good” for me: time spent outdoors, progress, and creative work.

What sort of things make a good day for YOU?

 

 

Managing my insanity

I’m jealous of my writer friends who work on one project at a time.

I can’t do that. I have way too many ideas.

In order to manage my insanity, I’ve decided to only work on three writing projects per day.

Currently I’m:

  1. Working on story edits for One Woman’s Junk.
  2. Writing the first draft of Hitwoman 21.
  3. Writing a screenplay, which we can call Monsters. (This is my “fun” project and I’m trying to limit myself to only working on it for about 15 -20 minutes per day.)

There are at least three other projects I’d like to be dabbling with, but I’ve got deadlines I’m striving to meet on One Woman’s Junk and Hitwoman 21, so they’re my highest priority.

I’m also trying an experiment where I’m tracking, in this little notebook,  how much time I spend on each project  and WHEN I work on them

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After only a few days this is providing some interesting data that may cause me to revamp my workday schedule. More on that at another time.

Waiting is a dream killer

I was commiserating with a writer friend earlier about how difficult it is to wait for developmental story edits.

We were discussing how our minds play tricks on us as we wait.

For example, I’m ALWAYS convinced my editor is going to tell me that what I’ve come up with is absolutely awful and I should quit this writing game immediately.

Every. Single Time.

Because of this, right now I’m thinking the ONE WOMAN’S JUNK will not be the first in my Psychic Consignment Mysteries series. Instead, it will be the last book I ever wrote.

Which makes it harder to write the current book I’m working on — the next book in the CONFESSIONS OF A SLIGHTLY NEUROTIC HITWOMAN series.

It’s a nasty cycle.

But I’m plugging along on Hitwoman 21 and keeping my fingers crossed that One Woman’s Junk is SLIGHTLY better than I’m thinking.

Wish me sanity!

New month, new book, new series

Last month I focused on telling you about my writing retreat. This month, I’m going to tell you about the new series I’m working on.

This new series has been in the works for a couple of years.

Yes, you read that right. YEARS.

I initially conceived of it in 2016, but it didn’t “feel right” at the time. It took me quite a while to figure out exactly what I wanted it to be about. Then it took a while to develop the characters. Finally I got to the point where I plotted out the arc of the three book series. (I’ve sketched out another three books, but there’s no guarantee I’ll ever write those.)

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So now I’m working on ONE WOMAN’S JUNK which is Book 1 in the Psychic Consignment Mystery series.

Stay tuned this month and I’ll tell you about the new method of writing I’m trying out as I write this book, how it’s coming along, and I may share a snippet or two of the manuscript.

And for those that are going to ask — Yes, I WILL continue to write more books in the Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman series.   🙂

 

My writing retreat wasn’t perfect

Overall, I had a great time on my writing retreat.  I managed to relax AND get a lot  of writing done on not one, but two novels…and a screenplay.

I accomplished my major goals for the two-week period. I received some major signs and confirmations from the Universe.

I can’t wait to do it again.

BUT…it wasn’t perfect.

I’m not telling you this because I’m complaining. I’m sharing what went wrong because I hate when people only share the “positives”.  It paints an unrealistic picture that some people live perfect lives and I don’t want to do that.

I don’t love traveling by myself. I do it because I hate staying home even more, but in a “perfect” world, I’d have someone to go with; a significant other or a friend.  But that wasn’t to be. ((shrug))

For the Georgia part of my stay, the RV I was staying in wasn’t balanced correctly, so I battled motion sickness the whole time. (Luckily, because I tend to over-prepare, I’d brought Dramamine with me, but that makes me groggy.)

And I set off the carbon monoxide detector in the middle of the night because I’d turned off the roaring fan that was giving me a headache.

And there was a tornado watch.

For the most part it was windy, wet and gloomy while I was there.

As for my North Carolina stay in the tiny house….

The toilet didn’t flush on the day I arrived.

The woman who owned the place sent her adult son over to plunge it.  He complained that his girlfriend was sick. I took “sick” to mean “strung out” since he was pretty obviously needing a fix.

Yeah, that was kind of alarming.

He went to get a “better” plunger from a house fifty yards away and didn’t return for another two hours.  Even then it wasn’t fixed. I had to deal with two plumbers in the space the next day (remember it was a TINY house) but eventually it was fixed.

Also, the outdoor seating area was infested with carpenter bees.  I don’t have much fear of carpenter bees, but they’re big and loud and they scared the dog on a regular basis.

Then we had a couple days of torrential rainfall. (I heard locals say they’d never seen such heavy rain before.)  Not a big deal.

EXCEPT….there were only two places to sit in the tiny house, the wooden chair and the bed. Two days of shifting from one uncomfortable seat to another to write bothered my back.

Plus, the rain triggered an invasion of ants. Which in turn meant I had an exterminator in the space a couple of days later. No big deal, but a little annoying.

And then there was the incident with the bear.

I was out hiking with the dog, on a section of path with precarious footing, when all of the sudden this big ball of black fur came barreling toward us through the trees.

I pretty much had a heart attack.

Again, I don’t have a big fear of black bears, having encountered quite a few over the years when I lived in NJ. I know that normally making noise and waving my arms will keep them away. But since it was springtime, I was afraid it was a momma bear defending her cubs.  (Plus, my dog has never encountered a bear before and I wasn’t sure how she would behave.)

It wasn’t until it was just a few feet away that I realized it wasn’t a bear.  It was a Newfoundland dog.  Now, I love Newfies, but if you’ve never seen one, you have to understand that they’re BIG dogs. They’re about four feet tall and weigh at least 150 pounds. And when they’re running at you through thick vegetation, they totally pass for bears!

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So if you ever see me use one in the CONFESSIONS OF A SLIGHTLY NEUROTIC HITWOMAN series, you’ll know that this scare was where I got the inspiration!

Like I said, overall I had a great time. A good part of that was due to my attitude. I was determined to make the best of it.  But that doesn’t mean it was perfect.