Step One: Panic. Step Two: Do Shit.

Hi, guys!

It’s been an interesting week…

Any of you who follow me on social media (if you don’t, you totally should, btw. Links below) know that a tree decided to play patty cake with our garage. So my husband and I have been lining up times to meet with insurance people and tree removal services and contractors.

Right now, we’re in the middle of that mess, so our yard has a cut up tree spread throughout it, and the garage has a busted up roof.

But more progress will be made in the next couple days.

I also did a beta read for a friend this past week. Since I also read a bit of another book, that means I actually got to do a ton of reading. That doesn’t happen nearly enough. Honestly, that’s pretty much all I did last Monday. Lol. And a good portion of last Tuesday.

Have I mentioned that I read slowly?

So, reading an entire book, and a decent portion of another in a few days…That’s pretty good for me.

Now, as far as my own books are concerned, I did a bit of editing on The Gem of Meruna, and a little more formatting stuff for Soul Bearer (turns out that’s not completely done), designed and ordered some custom bookmarks (which will accompany any ARC copies of Soul Bearer, as well as giveaway copies), and did some research into the business side of publishing.

I’m excited about the bookmarks and about the progress with Soul Bearer and The Gem of Meruna.

But the business side of publishing…stresses me the fuck out.

The creative aspects of books (writing, world building, character development, cover design) are all magnificent and super easy for me to wrap my head around. Editing is just interactive reading, so that’s not bad. Formatting is tedious, but I’ve figured it out, now.

But business…

Marketing and business registration and taxes…

Man…That stuff stresses me out way more than it probably should. Anything money related always does.

Figuring out business type aspects of this process made me feel like I was in over my head. Imposter syndrome crept back in, and I spent literally an entire day doubting whether I would ever get these books out, or whether I would do it well or do it right. I started doubting whether I could do this.

There was even a brief moment where I thought I should have continued pursuing traditional publishing, writing book after book after book, and waiting years and years for anyone to give the manuscripts a second glance.

Just so someone else would have to deal with the business side of it.

I spent an entire day, building tires, working my overtime shift, getting down on myself and my ability to do this. I have this terrible tendency to get stuck in my head, and spiral…

Something I’m sure a lot of you understand. Anxiety is a pretty common affliction.

It doesn’t help that I started looking into all this while wondering how much our insurance would cover on the garage, or if we would have to fight with them over it. (We’ve never had to make a claim, and didn’t know what to expect. Thankfully, they’ve been pretty easy to work with.)

But, all day long, all I could think was how much of a failure I was bound to be, and how terrible I was going to prove myself to be at all of this, and just how far out of my element I am.

It didn’t matter that I’ve written seven complete novels and a novella, with a couple more under way. It didn’t matter that I’ve learned more and more and more about the publishing world every day for the past five years, or that I’ve been steadily honing my skills as a writer. It didn’t matter that I’ve already overcome a shit ton of obstacles in my personal life.

In that moment, I couldn’t see how far I’ve come, only how far I’ve yet to go.

And I was miserable.

And over what?

Making my taxes harder for my accountant? Having to learn more about SEO and marketing strategies? Having to work an extra overtime shift or two to cover a deductible for the garage, and possibly having to postpone the purchase of ISBNs by a week? (Which I don’t even have to do now, because it all worked out with the insurance.)

But I’m lucky.

My reaction when things get difficult has always been two steps. 1) Moment of panic, which was a full day in this case. 2) Keep doing shit.

Yeah, that first bit sucks ass, but it’s important to actually feel your feelings. The body expresses stress, one way or another (headaches, stomach aches, eczema, etc.). Ignoring it doesn’t make it go away. Sometimes, you just have to feel it, shitty as that may be. But the second part, that bit about actually doing shit, (which, in my case, is usually brought about by morbid curiosity causing me to start researching things) tends to alleviate some of the panic.

Panic and emotion move far beyond the realms of logic, actively shunning all forms of reason. Things get blown out of proportion or overlooked depending on what’s most convenient for the anxiety. It isn’t a conscious thing, it’s just how anxiety works.

But the second you start looking into the facts, and start looking for ways to accomplish what you’re aiming for, and taking steps forward, the panic starts to ease. As soon as you make that first step, you see that it wasn’t as terrible as it seemed. And even if it was terrible, at least it’s done and out of the way, and you’re closer to your goal.

Taking that first step is so hard sometimes, and a bit paradoxical in that completing it gives you a thing to bolster your resolve with (which would’ve come in handy to take that first step). Sometimes, you just have to be stubborn, though.

Whether you feel like it or not, whether you have the energy or not, whether you think you’ll make it or not…

You can’t stay in a state of panic forever. The human body can’t handle that. Something has to give.

So, if you’re in a similar place, if you’re doubting yourself, take a second, and look at everything you’ve overcome so far. Don’t ignore what you still have to do, that won’t help you, but look at what you’ve already done.

Imposter syndrome doesn’t care what you’ve accomplished, and neither does anxiety. They come back, whether you’re successful or not.

But that doesn’t mean YOU should stop caring about how far you’ve already come. You’re out here, doing things. Whether you’re writing your first book or your tenth, whether you’re raising a kid or running a farm or starting a business…Whatever you’re doing, pay attention to how far you’ve come, so you can keep moving forward.

Your goals are important and worth the effort.

And now, I’ll let you all get back to making shit happen.

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.

P.S.- Subscribe? Maybe? Okay, I’ll go, now. Lol.

Imposter…

Hello, all!

Welcome!

So, I’m pretty sure we all know that marketing is important when it comes to…you know…selling books. Publicity is key.

But guess what I suck at?

Marketing.

Because it involves people. Real people.

And I’m terrible with real people. I always have been. Yes, I mean always. Even back in preschool.

So, I started preschool a year early, to socialize, so, all in all, I did 2 years. (Sounds like jail time when I say it that way. Lol.) But, anyway, I didn’t talk to the teachers until halfway through the second year.

Then, it came time to do the placement testing for kindergarten. I wouldn’t talk to them, either. They thought I needed special education because I wouldn’t acknowledge them. My mom asked me all their questions, I did fine, and they put me in standard kindergarten…

Where I didn’t talk to the teacher for the first 3/4 of the year.

I was a quiet ball of anxiety.

And I stayed that way…

I have never been good with people. Not real ones.

I’m good with the ones I make up. Lol. That doesn’t help with marketing, though. Which brings us back around to something that happened today.

I was talking with a friend at work today, someone I’m reasonably comfortable talking to. We ended up on the topic of books, which surprised me. I didn’t know he was a book person, and never really would have assumed so.

I asked what genres he likes, feeling my way into the topic.

Because, if he said he only likes non-fiction or young adult detective stuff…he clearly wouldn’t like my books. But he hops genres when he reads, just like I do when I write. So, I did the thing that all authors have to do if they want to get anywhere with their books.

I mentioned them. I brought them to the attention of another human.

Now, that doesn’t seem like a big deal. But…

Given my inability to properly interact with people, it was a big thing for me. I’m one of those people who always undershares or overshares. There is no happy medium. I almost always feel out of place in groups (the only exception being if I’m super comfortable with everyone present AND I’m feeling social).

I’m always looking for expressions on their faces to say that whatever I’ve just said or done was the wrong thing to say or do. I’m always worried that the awkward end of a conversation (you know, when a conversation flattens out, and everyone says little meaningless things like, “yeah, no kidding,” or “Right?” until everyone just falls silent…) will happen after I speak. Because if I’m the last one to speak in that situation, I feel like maybe my inflection was wrong, or maybe I missed something earlier on that made my version of that meaningless comment somehow wrong.

And it doesn’t matter that those weird little breaks happen naturally in conversations with even the closest of friends. It just automatically becomes a stress point. I end up analyzing how I said whatever little nonsense line, and whether I waited too long to say it, and whether it actually made sense in the context, and…so many stupid things to worry about.

Basically, I have no confidence in my ability to interact with people, even in the most mundane situations.

Now, when it comes to promoting my work, you have to add the performance aspect of it. Because, when it comes down to it, writing is a skill that you have to hone. Books are, in their own way, a little stage that showcases our skill level as writers.

And, despite the positive feedback from beta readers and reviewers alike, I still doubt my ability to write. Imposter syndrome is a very real thing, and I feel it often, telling myself constantly that I’m not a real writer, or that I’m not actually good enough, or that I’ll never make it out of the factory to write full time (that last one is backed up by statistics, which makes it harder to push away).

That’s an unbelievably common thing in any creative profession, but that doesn’t make it easier to deal with.

Then, when it comes time to say, “Hey, you like to read. Look at my books,” (hopefully a little smoother than that) the imposter thing and the social anxiety kick into high gear. Suddenly, the idea of drawing attention to my work becomes this insurmountable obstacle of talking to someone about something I made, telling them that it’s good enough for them to pay attention to, to pay for, when…on the inside, I’m terrified that it’s actually garbage.

So, today, when my friend and I were discussing books, and I found out that he likes some of the genres I write in, I didn’t tell him the names of the books that are out. I didn’t tell him where to find them.

I have business cards in my wallet, which was about 70 feet from me at the time. They have my website on them, which has both of my published books listed on it (oh, in case you didn’t know, my books are on the published works page of this site…I probably should have mentioned that…)

I didn’t go get a card for him, though.

Instead, I let the conversation drop, and went back to building tires when my materials were brought to me.

Then, for 45 minutes, I berated myself over it, because I’m never going to get anywhere with my books if I don’t tell people they exist. (Hint. Hint. Any of you facing similar issues…You have to tell people.)

I dug a business card out, and had it sitting on a shelf near my machine, ready to give him. But I didn’t freaking do it. At one point, I even gave it up, and put the damn thing back in my wallet.

But why the fuck did I get them, if I’m never going to give them to people?

Finally, at the very end of the fucking shift, after enough mental yelling to stuff the anxiety down, I dug it back out. I walked over to him, with the express intention of giving him this little card with my website on it. Forced myself to hand it to him, and squeaked out some lame bit about, “If you want to check them, out, my website is on the back. If not, I’ll never know the difference.”

Because I’m fucking terrible at this. And that’s someone I can talk to on a normal basis. If he were a stranger…it wouldn’t have happened. Once the initial opportunity passed, it would have been done.

But today, I pushed past it, and did something (in person) to tell someone about my books. Lame as the execution was, I did it.

Even if he never looks at my books, even if he throws that card on a desk or table at home, and forgets all about it, I’m calling this a win.

And I’m going to have to have more of them, and get some practice in. I have plans to actually do ( *gasp*) events in the future. I should have been doing them all along, but…well, everything before this paragraph pretty much tells you why I haven’t.

I also need to get more books out before then, though. As you know if you’ve been following my blog, or if you’ve checked my works in progress page, there are a lot of irons in the fire.

I’m just about done with the initial edit of Salt and Silver, then some adjustments on The Gem of Meruna to get it ready for rerelease. I’ve got some ideas for a cover for one of the upcoming fantasy novels.

All in all, things are moving forward at a decent pace. I stress over the speed, of course, because I worry that I’m underperforming. (Go fucking figure.)

But, it’s getting there. I just have to keep pushing onward.

As do all of you. If there’s something you want…make it happen. It won’t fall into your lap. Life doesn’t really do handouts, at least, not in my experience.

So push forward.

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.