Archive for September 29, 2020

Anxious to Admit…

Truth One: To say writers often feel anxiety is to say water is wet. Anxiety comes in all shapes and sizes for writers. Small things, like figuring out a title for your WIP proving to be elusive, to major issues, like imposter syndrome, can crop up on any writer at any time. Imposter syndrome is, loosely defined, the idea that you as a writer aren’t good enough. I won’t go into names, but a major, awarded author I’ve met always suffers from anxiety and specifically imposter syndrome. What can we do about it? Stay grounded, do your best to work through it, and find good coping skills to deal with your anxiety. The last bit is your best bet.

Truth Two: Anxiety affects a large segment of the populace. This anxiety can range from being uncomfortable around people you don’t know to getting full-blown panic attacks that feel like heart attacks. Without involving medication talk, it’s fair to say that deep breathing exercises often helps, as can meditation. Grounding techniques are excellent coping skills, too, that help distract us from anxiety. Mental grounding can be as simple as listing favorite shows or can have you think about different sensory inputs. Physical grounding, like running warm or cold water over your hands, helps other people. Soothing grounding, engaging yourself in self-talk, may sound corny to some people, but it is essential for some folks to encourage themselves in this fashion. As grounding works to combat anxiety in mental health, so it works for writers experiencing anxiety, too.

Ten Things (about the past week):

1–I’ve gotten into a fantastic Australian show on Netflix called Rake. I think it started in 2010? Anyway, some great Australian actors make appearances in…odd roles.

2–I’ve been reading Station Eleven, which just about everyone has recommended. It’s good, although it is also highly purple. Having a hard time chunk reading with it for that reason.

3–Chugging along at a decent pace in my WIP. Got through a major scene, and the next chapter’s major emotional scene that followed.

4–Believe it or not, I researched Emily Post for a flash fiction story last week.

5–Big (non-writing) news may be in the pipeline. Sorry for the vaguebooking!

6–Sometimes not getting to do what you thought you were going to do on a given day or evening can turn out even better.

7–For something less vague, having a clean apartment is a relief and good for the soul.

8–Having an audiobook going as well as a hard copy of a book gives great “reading” options for when you can’t normally read–I just started The Rage of Dragons on audio, and so far, so fun.

9–My NFL team put in a “Same old Cardinals” type of performance in an atrocious loss yesterday.

10–But my English Premier League soccer team Newcastle United snatched a very undeserved point from a very undeserved tie with Tottenham Hotspur, so yay!


Truth One: Self-care is an integral part of mental health treatment. Being seen by a mental health professional can be hugely beneficial, but you’ll only be seeing them for a small fraction of your lives, an infinitesimal amount of time. Unless you learn to take care of yourself and exhibit good mental hygiene, no amount of therapy will put you on an even keel. Positive self-talk, healthy coping skills, a support network, and setting good boundaries are all things you need to do for YOU in order to achieve and maintain good mental health.

Truth Two: Positive self-talk, healthy coping skills, a support network, and setting good boundaries are all things you need to do for YOU in order to write effectively. It’s easy to see the momentous tasks you face as a writer and think that blunt force hard work is the only way to achieve your writing goals. Don’t get me wrong–it ALSO takes tons and tons of hard work. You also need to keep yourself and your mind healthy in order to achieve those goals. How will you maintain any kind of writing output if you don’t believe in yourself? By support network, I don’t just mean a critique group; it can be other writers, your family, anybody that supports you. As for boundaries? Well, we all know how social media and the internet can distract a writer 🙂

TEN THINGS (about the past week):

1–I’m reading Gideon the Ninth and hoping the denouement stays firmly in Gideon’s POV.

2–Yellowstone is the show du jour. Too expensive to watch old seasons on demand, but…BUT…now that I have to get Peacock Premium to watch soccer, I can catch up for free!

3–Back to my WIP and fully caught up in re-working the first 1/3 to 1/2 of the manuscript. Onwards and upwards!

4–For my WIP, I am researching the ancient Persian grappling technique studied by none other than the Iron Sheikh, believe it or not. It will be crucially important for a few astral fight scenes.

5–While it can be difficult dealing with health problems, hearing about friends dealing with them can suck just as much.

6–Playing a 4-hour game to a tie can be loads of fun.

7–It’s almost here. Fall. I feel chilly sometimes now. Guys, I FEEL CHILLY SOMETIMES NOW!!! How awesome is that?

8–I’d better not hear any Christmas songs before Halloween. Bad enough we have to endure the heresy of Christmas songs before Thanksgiving.

9–The thought of actually getting to clean up at a hoarder’s house that you’ve been harping on to get cleaned up? Daunting!

10–New beginnings are exciting, but having to put new beginnings on hold through no fault of your own is frustrating.

And, without explanation:

Group Therapy

Group Therapy

Truth One: Writing groups are amazing, IMO. I freely admit my writing was…raw, to be kind, before I attended my first writing group. I did so without any real knowledge of the group, and was nervous it wouldn’t be a good fit, until the first person walked in and had a bunch of fantasy books. Now I not only attend, but I run the group! Except, there IS no group right now, because ‘Rona. I’d be lost without my many writing friends, and their awesome input, critique, and overall support. Not having this group hurts, true, although I still attend an online writing group to this day. Woo technology!

Truth Two: Group therapy is a powerful recovery tool for people suffering addiction issues–folks, please don’t call them addicts. While a person may know in their head that there are others going through the same or similar things as they are, it may not make an impact without hearing from others, or learning from the group’s collective wisdom. Listening to “war stories,” swapping coping mechanisms, and just getting things out in the open can help a lot. That’s above and beyond what the group therapist has to offer, too. Group therapy can be useful for everything from addiction issues to trauma, but it isn’t for everyone. The same goes for self-help groups like NA and AA, although they can be a powerful recovery tool as well.

TEN THINGS (about the past week):

1–I just wrapped watching Netflix’s Trotsky, which was fantastic.

2–Finished up writing a Roman-era fantasy story, which is off to critters.

3–Still kind of reading Lovecraft Country, but to be honest, the DIS-honest characterization of it as a novel has put me off. It ISN’T a novel; it’s a collection of novellas/novelettes/short stories. The publisher just slapped the novel label on it, without even offering a table of contents. Pish!

4–I’m researching more for the day job recently than for writing.

5–Waiting SUCKS!

6–Re-connecting with old friends ROCKS!

7–Hearing bad things about former friends who suck, whom you had to cull from your life, can cause some guilt. I try not to wish bad things on anyone, but…yeah, if you suck, then karma.

8–Hope is mighty.

9–Even the most conservative of family members can shock you in a good way

10–Getting off to a start of your car not starting on Monday morning doesn’t have to destroy your day and/or week, although it does stink. I’m just thankful it just needed a jump–so far.

Because I’m feeling good despite some stressors in my life, let’s go with something goofy fun from Garfunkel and Oates: