Anxiety & Self-publishing

“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.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America is a great place to find more info and support if you need it.

Until next time, take care.

How quarantine helped me fall in love with writing again

The year was 2020. Wait, am I allowed to even say that? Is it like a Bloody Mary or Beetlejuice situation? Because I do not want that year back. It can stay down in the fires of hell where it belongs.

I have always loved writing. I’ve loved creating stories and I’ve done it since I was young. Long before I knew what I was really doing. They were just there in my head. Eventually I started writing them down but I struggled to find the right way to write my stories. I went from book to screenplay and then back again. Each time learning more about how to write but feeling more furstrated and less creative. Honestly, it felt like a passion that was going nowhere.

Then I had my second kid and when you have a newborn, you achieve nothing. I focused on him. And then when he was just five months old, lockdown happened. Quarantine. I already had anxiety. The world was getting more chaotic by the week and I was stressed trying to handle raising a baby and a six year old who was suddenly relying on me to be his teacher, occupational therapist, physical therpaist, speech therapist, and mom. All while my husband was working from home in our open den two rooms away.

I was burnt. I was longing for stress relief, but writing didn’t feel like it used to. And because it was the year that shall not be named, the hits just kept on coming. I lost two grandparents (neither to covid) without the proper way or space to mourn them. Life just kept tumbling on and as election season came through, I was on Facebook and news sites constantly. My stress levels were high, I was still homeschooling a child who desperately needed to be in a classroom, and my infant was rapidly turning into a toddler.

I sought comfort in my favorite TV shows but ultimately nothing really provided what I was looking for. That soul-swelling story that sucks you in and makes you feel like you’re home. I’d watched all my favorites so many times, they’d lost some of that feeling. I wanted that again. I wanted that inspiration.

So, after Facebook and news overload, I saw a Black Friday deal for Kindle Unlimited and decided to do it. That would be a much better way to spend my free time, especially all the nights up late with my little one who never wanted to sleep.

I read the first few books in the Sweet Magnolias series since I’d become obessed with the TV show and wanted to know what happens (even though the car accident thing is not in the books so I’m still on the edge of my seat about that). And then I kept seeing this other book recommended: That Boy by Jillian Dodd.

Finally I gave in to my Kindle’s recommendations and started reading it.

And suddenly, I was in love.

And inspired.

I was reading a book that gave me that soul-swelling feeling. But I was also reading a book that felt like me. It felt like the way I write. With characters who feel like they’re your best friends. They feel real. I connected with that. And suddenly I was writing again… I actually stopped reading it a few chapters in because I was so inspired to write.

Then I picked it up again and kept reading, lost in the story, which is not always easy for me. And just when I thought I knew where the story might go, the twist happened. And if you’ve read the book, you know the massive shock that happens. It totally changed my perception of the book and I loved it more.

I kept reading, plowing through the book and then onto the second in the series, That Wedding, which has become one of my favorite books ever.

Then I thought… I want to write a friends to lovers story. So I did. And it flew out of me. The first iteration, anyway.

Now it’s blocked out to a multi book series with the first two written, the next two half-written, and the rest all blocked out.

Finally I not only started feeling like myself again, but I started seeing a path toward writing as a career. And then I learned about self-publishing. And because I’m controlling with what I create and a glutton for punishment, I decided hey, that could be a thing for me to do.

In the last five months I’ve written four books, started three more, and have many more blocked out. And though it won’t be easy, I’m ready to jump on this path, more ready than I’ve ever been. So, that’s what I’m gonna do.

I’m not sure when I’ll self-publish the first book or which one it will be, but the first thing I launch will be a story told in “episodes” on Amazon’s new Kindle Vella service.

More to come on that when I know it! Look for announcement on the title and a teaser for what to expect soon.

Until then, check back here for my random thoughts and recommendations, behind the scenes and teasers of what else I’m working on, and maybe some free fictional content.

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And if you’re curious about me, you can read more here

As for what to expect from my writing… true love, epic romance, friends who are always there for each other, complicated families, and lots of cozy, warm feelings that will hopefully make you feel right at home.

Hope you’ll join me on the ride.