It’s been some time since my last post as, like many, I am struggling with the Covid-19 lifestyle. Everything from losing my job, not being “essential”, husband losing his job, and both waiting for unemployment. It’s hard to be creative when other pressing matters overtake you such as house payment, food, or paying car notes and utilities. Everyone is in the same boat and how will I manage this, alone and upon my shoulders. Deep breath! I will because I always do – but at what mental cost?
Each and every morning I wake up excited for the day; I have coffee, catch up on the news and before I know it, my excitement has turned into a downward spiral of self-doubt. Do you ever have those feelings? Especially with our new normal encompassing Covid-19, I have found that now that I have the time to write, demons seem to overtake my positivity and fill my mind with hateful speak; “I suck, why bother, not that good, too hard, too much work, who will ever buy my work if I self-publish, etc.”. So much so that it stifles my creative need with numbing binge-watching on Netflix, rewatching shows so I don’t think about writing or creativity.
My motivation is like the first hill of a rollercoaster. So excited to begin the day and midmorning, the click, click, click of the first ascent is exhilarating. It’s going to be fun, exciting, and a hell of a ride. I throw my hands up above my head as the car jerks near the top of the first hill. In that millisecond, I move from adrenaline rush pulsing through my veins to what the hell am I doing? For a moment, the coaster car hiccups and jerks back then forward and the thrill becomes fear with an accelerated race downward, headlong into self-doubt which spirals out of control.
Why are there some minds out there that have the self-confidence that never doubts and others who drown into a paralyzing pond of “you aren’t worthy of success” or more aptly, “you suck”? I suppose that’s the question for the psychiatrist who is much smarter than this author. However, I and others like me, don’t want friends and family to read this and call to reassure me. I want the call out of the blue that asks, hey, I’ve been thinking about your story, will you send me more?
For those of us who struggle with the confidence to keep going, we need to surround ourselves with a network of people who believe in what we are doing. I know that this is kind of cliche now, but finding your tribe is imperative to success, at least it is for me. Finding that person or people who can offer constructive criticism while the underlying support is consistent, truthful, and inquiring. I am fortunate to have a critique partner who knows how to help me find the balance between blowing wind up my ass or to help me adjust the sails in the storm, then weather the calmer seas. Without this support, I’d be in a paralyzing emotional whirlpool, never totally dragging you down, but never releasing you either.
Surrounding yourself with support helps, but as I’ve known for years, you need to find a way to pull your own confidence somehow, from somewhere deep within because in actuality, it must begin with you. I recently attended the tail-end of a virtual writer’s conference that Whitney Davis posted on Twitter (@wdavisliterary) for her segment. She is one of the most supportive people I have met virtually so when she announced her session, I knew I must attend.
I jumped on a few hours before her presentation and was fortunate to hear thriller author Jonas Saul (Twitter @JonasSaul) as he discussed several issues. I believe the discussion on writer’s block turned into the subject of confidence and self-doubt. He said that he doesn’t struggle with writer’s block and a long time ago, he buried all self-doubt (forgive me if I misquote). It was something to the effect of “I had a funeral for all the self-doubt and lack of confidence and buried it.” What an interesting concept. It has tugged at the layers of my subconscious since the writer’s conference (onlinewritersconference) and today, I had a burial with a Supernatural flourish to squash my self-doubt.
I am working real estate fulltime now that my position was eliminated. I am grateful for the unemployment to aid in this new forced venture. We do have to eat and I have been unsuccessful in finding another position. Everything happens for a reason. I will take full advantage of these wonderful creative minutes and dive into my character’s world.
As always, thanks for stopping by and I’ll see ya in the bookstores (with social distancing).