I don’t share a lot. I’m a horrible Blogger. I know this, and it’s a short coming. I’m a fairly private person, but I’m hoping that by sharing my thoughts and feelings on this it will free me up to do what I love and who knows, maybe help someone else in the process. So here it goes.
About 14 months ago I made the scary decision to follow a longtime dream and left my steady 9-5 job to write full-time. Excited, thrilled, terrified…didn’t begin to cover my emotions at the moment. I dove into my new job. I couldn’t wait to get to my desk in the morning. How great is it to be able to work in your pajamas?! Southern Eden released in September. It bombed. I love that book and teasingly call it my pretty little stepchild. I tried to shrug off its dismal showing. Romance is a huge and competitive market. The third book in the Trinity Falls Series, Club Scars, released in December to decent sales, but the seed of doubt grew. Had I made a mistake in quitting my steady income? The jury is still out on that.
Tax time…didn’t help. The healthy nest egg I’d squirreled away in the bank vanished. I’d known it was coming, but being it was my first time paying taxes on my own, I hadn’t been quite prepared for how much Uncle Sam’s cut would be. It was an eye opener and left me eyeing the bank account with a ball of dread in the pit of my stomach. I started looking at my writing as a job, and not in a good way. My writing buddy and best friend stepped away from the computer, taking a sabbatical to deal with real life. I felt alone without that constant Yahoo Messenger bond. Suddenly getting to my desk in the morning wasn’t as joyous. I started finding reasons not to. When I did sit down all too often the cursor mocked me. I doubted myself, over thinking every word. Sales tanked. The pressure to write something brilliant built up until writing wasn’t a job, it was a nightmare.
With the doubts depression wormed in. With that came guilt. What did I have to be depressed about? I’m doing what I love. How many people would love to trade places with me? I tried to hide my feelings, brushing them off as ridiculous and wallowing. I’m a hermit by nature. I don’t like leaving the house. Depression and weight gain only made me want to hide in my comfy pajamas more. It got to the point where I was making excuses, feigning illness, to get my husband to go to the grocery store so I didn’t even have to leave the house for that. My hubby is sweet, supportive, hard working, and always willing to help anyone, sometimes to a fault. He let me get away with it.
I recently spilled my guts to him, pouring out my terror and tears. Having some experience with depression, he understood. He also understands that I get stressed during the publishing process and McCade’s Wish had just been sent to edit. We talked a lot. He was supportive as always. He said, we knew that there were going to be ups and downs. The bills are getting paid and that as long as that was the case he thought I should keep following my dream. BUT that I needed to get out of the house a little, breathe in some fresh air, maybe even talk to someone besides my muse.
SO…to that end we’ve started trying to do little things. (He knows I need a lot of encouragement to leave the house) We went to an outdoor concert, spending the day listening to 5 or 6 different bands for only $20 a ticket. We make Saturday morning trips to the Farmers Market. Any of you ever have date night at a home improvement store? LOL Menards is my husband’s playground. While I play with words, the hubby loves his power tools. We went to an awesome Trace Adkins concert in OH and stopped on the way back to visit my writing buddy and terror twin, the amazing Adriana Noir. We stayed the night with her family in their new home and just being around her and seeing how my nieces and nephew had grown lightened my heart. Last week I went and met up with another friend and walked the track with her during her son’s soccer practice. It wasn’t much, but it felt good. I’m going to TRY to do that at least a couple times a week as long as the weather stays good. lol I HATE cold.
So yesterday with McCade’s Wish finally released I sat down at my desk determined to get back to work on my current WIP and be productive. That didn’t happen. My mind whirled, chasing down paths that had nothing to do with the sexy southern rocker I was trying to write about. With my brain flitting from one unrelated topic to the next, my fingers followed. I surfed the net in a seemingly random, time sucking manner until a question in a magazine interview jumped out at me. I’m not sure how I even ended up there. It was an old article in Juxtapoz Magazine, which I’m not familiar with. Kirsten Vangsness (Penelope Garcia from Criminal Minds) was interviewing her co-star, Matthew Gray Gubler (Criminal Minds Spencer Reid). For those that don’t know, Matthew is an actor, director, model, writer and artist. He is the poster child for the eccentric creative type.
Anyway…the question was … What do you think causes artistic blocks? Does that happen to you? How do you solve them?
Matthew’s answer was a smack upside the head.
“I think blocks are caused by pressure of success or fear of failure. And luckily I don’t really believe in pressure, fear, or failure. Only smiles, monsters, and magic.”
He doesn’t believe, and therefore it’s not a problem. OMG I want to be Matthew Gray Gubler. Okay … maybe not .. but I LOVE his take on blocks. I’ve wrote the quote down and stuck it up on my desk. It’s time to let the fear go and get back to that place where i’m writing for the joy of it. Get back to the mindset that I’m writing because the voices in my head won’t leave me alone, not because the mortgage is coming due. When I do this not only do I have fun, but I’m productive! The words flow and I feel free. I want that feeling back where I can’t wait to get to my desk in the morning. I want to scarf my dinner down and race back to my den to continue writing or let my leg jiggle in impatience while I watch a TV show with the hubby, knowing that the minute he heads to bed, I have at least 3 hours of total quiet. Just writing these words put a smile on my face. This post is more than I’ve wrote in a month. If anyone has read up to this point …thank you for letting me vent. I needed it. Now I’m off to lose myself in the twisted mind of southern rocker, Beau Steele. 😉
Peace & Creativity!
Matthew Gray Gubler in his pajamas and one of his monsters brought to life.