“Your book probably sucks.” “No one is gonna read it anyway.” “Why did I even start writing?” “I don’t know how to do this.” “It’s never gonna amount to anything.”
I wish I could tell you those were shitty things someone else said to me and I promptly ripped them a new one and cut them out of my life. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. I haven’t figured out how to rip anxiety from my life, though I’d certainly like to. Those phrases are just a few among the many that roll through my brain on a given day because of my anxiety.
Wait. We all face doubt, right? Absolutely, we do. But this is where anxiety differs. Those thoughts begin to control me until a spiral forms. And then my chest tightens. Tears threaten. And I feel useless. The negative self-talk begins again, and I’m caught in a vicious cycle.
I’m lucky that I can mostly manage my anxiety. Usually the blend of venting to a trusted friend, listening to some really good music, and appealing to my logical side will eventually pull me out of it. Typically, that happens within a matter of hours, but as I’ve learned with self-publishing, it takes a little longer. Days.
I’m writing this now from the depths of an anxiety spiral. I’m one tiny trigger away from imploding into tears. I don’t say this for pity (I HATE that), but because I know I’m not the only one out there who feels this way.
Writing has always been the ultimate dream for me. Besides being a mom, there was nothing I wanted more. I have extreme determination with no intention of giving up. But I want to. With everything inside of me, I want to, because self-publishing, trying to be the entire business entity of creating, marketing, selling my books is the ultimate trigger. Every day. For someone with anxiety, that’s hard. No, more like excruciating.
What I see: No KU page reads today.
What logic tells me: Lots of people have already read this book, eventually more will trickle in & you had a lot yesterday.
What my anxiety tells me: This is a crappy book. Obviously people don’t like it. You’re a four-star author at the very best. Don’t bother promoting, people don’t want to read it anyway.
What happens: My author friends share other author friends posts (as they do mine) and say lovely things.
What logic tells me: Look at everyone supporting each other, this is awesome!
What my anxiety tells me: What that friend wrote is way better than your book. They don’t actually like your stuff they’re just trying to be nice. They know you can help them too, so they just pretend to like you.
What happens: I find a really cool blogger who might like my stuff.
What logic tells me: Message them, if they can’t help or aren’t interested, they’ll tell you.
What anxiety tells me: Your books aren’t niche enough. They won’t want to read them. They’ll ignore your message. If they don’t like your book they’ll tell everyone they hate it. Your books aren’t as good as what they’re reading, don’t even bother messaging them.
These are just a few examples of life with anxiety. Self-publishing and being an author has become my biggest trigger because it’s the thing I want the most. It’s the one thing I always felt like I was good at. (Anxiety right now: You’re shitty at this too. You have no place.) It’s incredibly hard to fight against it and some days I absolutely want to give up.
That’s why I’m writing this. Self-publishing is hard. Having anxiety can be debilitating. But I know I’m not the only one to struggle through either of these things or the combination of the two. If you’re struggling, too, I highly recommend finding a good outlet. Somewhere you can let go and let it out or talk it out. Find your safe space. Take a break if you need one. Focus on your mental health. Do what you need to do for yourself. But whatever it is that anxiety is telling you you’re not good enough for, you don’t deserve, I can tell you, you absolutely do.
You are enough. You deserve good things. And you can have the things you dream of.
Writing this blog is my way of giving anxiety a giant middle finger. It can’t take this from me, even if it tries.
I wish you all the best with whatever you’re working on, whatever you hope to achieve. And if you’re struggling with anxiety, I wish you strength in fighting it and encourage you seek further help if you need it.
Until next time, take care.
Oh yeah, you’ve definitely highlighted some common thoughts most writers have. Particularly with the self-doubt. I guess that’s what we’ve signed up for. It’s either the fear of nobody reading our work, or someone reading it and having something bad to say.
But hey, if it was easy, we wouldn’t be doing it, am I right? Wishing you all the best on your journey!
I think crippling self-doubt is part of the writer starter package. Luckily, so is resilience, otherwise we wouldn’t have made it this far. Something about nothing worth doing is easy, right? Wishing you the same!