Category Archives: Anxiety
For me Happiness is being the writer who is writing, not the writer who is waiting on:
inspiration, motivation, mood…
And a good cup of coffee.
It’s also being busy. And this summer I am going to be so busy. Not only am I participating in the Summer Novel Writing challenge called #HotandSticky, started by YT channel Stripped Cover Lit, but I’ve also started working on the 12 week self guided course from Julia Cameron’s third book in the Artist Way series called “Finding Water.” What, you skipped book 2 Walking in the World? Yes, I did. Eventually I’ll get to that one, but since I’m also doing an exercise a week from her book The Right to Write, (and yes I was doing them daily but it got to be a bit too much when I had my meltdown a couple of weeks ago and was a bit paralyzed creatively thanks to depression and anxiety) I thought Finding Water was better suited to me at this time.
And, this is preparation month for July’s Camp NaNoWriMo. WOW! Busy, Busy, Busy!, which makes me happy, happy, happy. And a bit stressed out, but the good kind of stress. Working with, around, and despite or in spite of Anxiety, Depression, and ADHD, I find that when I stay busy I function better. I am not saying that I should overwhelm myself with things but having a routine, a plan, sticking to certain rituals, help, but if I don’t have things to do, other than housework, writing, art, journaling, etc then I find myself procrastinating more. “Oh, I’ve got time for that later… I don’t have much to do, let me just watch some Netflix or Hulu…” and then hours later, after having watched half of the third season of Grimm and I haven’t gotten anything else done. (In my defense, I watched the first two seasons, missed the third and half of the fourth… SO I was a bit lost with the whole Grimm’s baby, Juliette/Eve, and Adalind thing. And Truble? I had no idea of who she was, but she looked a lot like Nick and she was a Grimm, so some lost relative? I had to know.)
I’ve given a great deal of thought to my routine. My morning and how I want to start each morning, my goals for the day, for the week, month, year…And the thing that keeps surfacing during these “brain dump” sessions is “get more organized,” “get on a routine and stick to it.”
So I’m trying to do just that. 😀
“I’m not good enough…” “This sucks!” “I’ll never get published…Published, hell, you can’t write a decent first line–why are you even thinking about getting published?” Or my favorite…”Why am I even bothering…trying…???”
Most, if not every, creative person has suffered, at some point or other, maybe you’re suffereing from it now, from self-doubt, which is really just plain ole’ fear. But if you turn fear into motivation, if you turn it into something that works for you instead of letting it eat at you and turn into self-doubt, procrastination, then you can finish that book, or that piece of art, or that song or poem you’ve been working on. If you don’t do anything, if you wallow in the fear, letting that self-doubt eat at you, then the fear ends up turning into procrastination and you send up self-sabotaging, which just leads to more fear, more self-doubt, more procrastination..And it’s a vicious cycle, and that’s often what people refer to as “writer’s block.”
What are your fears? Really? The one’s that prevent you from following your dream…from accomplishing the things you really want to do…from finishing that book, or art project, or poem, or screenplay? When I was completing the Artist’s Way 12 week self-guided course by Julia Cameron, and then working on the exercises in her book The Right to Write, I made lists–lists of my fears. Then I went on to work on those fears, I had to figure out if the fears were real, if they were justified, exaggerated, and what was the underlying cause or reason behind the one’s that were real. I delved into the depths of my fears. And that wasn’t easy.
Once you’ve done that, though, one of the first things most people suggest, from what I’ve found, is to negate those fears with at least a few positive affirmations, traits, facts…You can write out positive affirmations on sticky notes and put them in various places so you’ll see them, or make a lists of them in a journal.
For example, if you fear rejection you can look at how many others were rejected before they were finally published. Stephen King and J.K. Rowling are great examples of this.
Another thing you can do is schedule your writing. Make your writing a priority, build a routine, give yourself a deadline (a realistic amount of time, or number of words or pages to complete each day). For example, writing 300 words a day in a year makes a novel…300 words each day for one year equals 109,500 words, or 109,800 words if it’s a leap year.
Expect problems, mishaps, things that may happen, because in real life shit does happen. Adjust accordingly, but don’t let the deadline slide. REMEMBER why you love your story. Why you love writing. And REMEMBER that self-doubt, procrastination, and FEAR feed on each other–Don’t be a victim of that fear.
One word at a time. One sentence at a time. One page at a time… and before you know it’s One Day and you’ve finished the first draft of your novel.
I just passed the halfway mark of the self-guided course from Julia Cameron’s book “The Artist’s Way.” When I first opened the book I thought it was sort of hinky. In that I-can’t-believe-it’s-a,and I’m-reading,-yet-another-self-help-book way. But after reading the introduction…and definitely by the time I was midway through the first week/chapter, I knew it wasn’t just a self-help book. It’s a guide to openmindedness. It’s door towards finding out how to delve into your deeper ideas of what you really think about creativity, especially your creativity. It’s also an ongoing exercise into being honest and open with yourself about yourself.
I could go on about what it is, but the simple truth is: It has helped me realize that:
- I feel guilty when I write, create art, take time away from my other obligations like the house, my husband, my family (children, grandson, parents, in-laws, etc.), my friends because I am writing…
- I feel selfish for taking that time for myself to write, create art, etc.
- I feel guilty when I don’t write.
- I feel more anxious, depressed, and stressed out when I don’t create art, art journal, etc.
- I have perfectionism syndrome, which is the root cause of my fear, procrastination, anxiety, stress, and depression, especially in regard to writing, art, etc–Creativity.
There’s more, but I’ll go into the more at a later date.
From now on, I’ll be posting my check-in’s on the blog, as well as on YT. I think it’s important that when I’ve finished the course I do a proper review of the book.
IF we were having coffee right now I’d tell you…
As of right now, I’m still sick, but I’m trying to keep on keepin’ on, as they say.
The beginning of January was rough. I had a meltdown, realized how bad my anxiety and depression had gotten because of the chaos that comes with the holidays (preparing for the holidays and the holidays themselves, along with creative pursuits, and trying to finish a book, maintaining a household, etc….), and decided to do something about it so I re-started the Artist’s Way 12 week self-guided course on the 22nd of January. I also started art journaling/sketch your life/document your life journaling again the beginning of January. AND, I started reading more–my goal is to read at least one book a week.
And if that wasn’t enough, I made up my mind to organize, clean, and purge (get rid of things that I’m never going to use, things that are broken or stained or don’t fit, etc.). So far I’ve accomplished quite a bit, but there’s still a lot to be done.
I’ve read 12 books so far this year so I’m ahead of schedule since my goal is to read 52 books for the year. Not bad. I’m currently reading the Shannara Chronicles: the Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks, All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris, Nail your Novel by Roz Morris, and The Talisman by Stephen King. (Yes, I am one of THOSE people who reads more than one book at a time.)
I’m on week 2 of the Artist’s Way 12 week guided course. And I’m doing well with my morning pages and the weekly artist dates.
I’ve been walking every other day or so, at least one mile. This past week I haven’t felt up to walking a mile or more so I’ve just been getting outside to get fresh air and walking around my yard, which helps even if it’s not as far as I would like to go, it’s at least getting some exercise and fresh air. And since I’ve been sick, my appetite has decreased, which means my protion size has decreased a great deal. I’ve actually lost a few pounds since being sick. (Yay me!)
My Writing!–hmmm, some days it goes well, other days not so much, but I’m still working on it. I feel as if I ought to be writing more, but being sick has really taken a toll on me. I feel exhuasted, achy all over, I can’t breathe, I look like Rudolph, and it’s all I can do some days to manage to write a few hundred words, but at least I’m actively working on my writing.
I’m trying to stay positive. Positivity was my word for this year. So I’m working on staying positive even when things aren’t feeling very positive. I am using affirmations to help… I fine an affirmation for each day and write it down in my journal–think about it all day to remind myself to stay positive. It’s easier some days than others.
Since I started re-reading the Artist’s Way last week, several other things have come up that have shown me that starting the 12 week process is the right decision.
Living creatively is and isn’t a choice, at least to me that’s how it feels. I am a creative person. Being creative, whether it’s DIY home projects, writing, creating art, journaling, art journaling, scrapbooking, poetry, reading, or photography is just who, what, and how I am. It’s a big part of how I’m wired.
As an INFP, I’m optimistic, open-minded, empathic, creative, introverted, passionate, enthusiastic (especially about creative things), resilient, dedicated, and intuitive, but I’m also too idealistic, impractical, too altruistic, I often don’t see the forest for the trees, I take things too personal, and I’m reserved, cautious, and self-conscious, which makes me hard to get to know. I was born to be a writer, a creative person, some type of artist. I was born to help others. At least, that’s how it feels to me. Yet I know, now, that I tend to over extend myself. I tend to get overwhelmed and stressed out–and I do that to myself, usually.
All of these things are part of why I made the decision to start the Artist’s Way 12 week “program” again. After my video went up about what I’m doing and why I got several comments. The response the video touched me and I thought, “Burgess, it’s time to do a giveaway. And you’re going to give the Artist’s Way to someone. So this Friday I’m going to draw one of the names from the people who responded to my video about the giveaway and send that person their very own copy of the Artist’s Way.
I’m going through a few things right now, one of which is being SICK! I feel like Death came calling and instead of taking me She just touched me with her Sickle and said, “Nope, just wanted you to see how it feels to be Death for a while.” Two, finding balance in your life is hard. No matter how much I try to take my writing seriously, so that others will as well, someone or something always tends to say or do something, or something happens, that makes me question it. It’s not a “real job,” or “writing/art isn’t going to pay the bills/isn’t paying the bills,” or “since you’re not working, could you…”. Then the negativity I already feel, the self-doubt and lack of self confidence rears its ugly head even higher and just laughs at me, and I feel like giving up.
Depression is an ugly beat. When combined with anxiety it’s even uglier. A depressed person helping a depressed person is like the blind leading the blind. An anxious person with depression helping someone else who also has anxiety and depression–I’m not sure of what to say about that… I do know that I have to take a step back from the negativity, and be my own authentic self, and stop letting the anxiety, self-doubt, insecurities, and other things rule my life. It’s time to me to choose to live my life creatively, to live my own life, to stop people pleasing, to stop doubting myself and hold my head up high, and to take the bull by the horns and say, “I got this shit!”
I’m a writer. I have a real job, even if I don’t get paid for it yet. I am working on my novel. I am also living my life creatively. I spent over twenty years working in a field I hated but paid the bills and helped me provide for my children. Now that I don’t have to do that, I’m finally doing what I was meant to do. I’m probably going back to college, hopefully this summer.
It’s going to be hard, especially adjusting to all the changes, and for the people in my life to adjust to all the changes, but I have to do what is best for me.
Back in November, I started reading “the Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. I committed to participating in the 12 week program she suggests. Then in December, I became distracted by the chaos of the upcoming holidays and stopped–but that was probably when I needed it most since I was blocked creatively, and I was feeling so out of it creatively, and inwardly–it was just such a bad time. I wasn’t creating art, words, or anything else on a regular basis because I was such a mess (anxiety, depression, ADHD, along with being overwhelmed and stressed out over the holidays).
Some of you might think that creativity is a luxury. It is not. Creativity is a necessity, at least to me it is.
Human beings are all in some way. Life itself is a creative activity. Every choice we make, everything we do, every movement, (it’s starting to sound like that song… “Every move we make…every breath we take…) is sensory process of the information we take in and understand is creative.
Often times when I get blocked creatively I know that it is because of things aren’t meshing in some way. The words just won’t flow out on the page. The brush and paint just won’t flow out onto the page the right way. For my husband, who is a musician, the notes just don’t sound right or his fingers just won’t strum the strings on his guitar right. No matter what medium of art/creativity is your thing, that kind of block is enormously frustrating. And there have been times when it has driven me to quit. Or when it increases my anxiety and depression, …it has even caused some people to have anxiety and/or depression, or driven some to drink, to be angry, to be confused. And the farther I get into that anxious, confused, blocked, depressed, closed off and/or blocked state the deeper I dig myself into the writer’s block, or the artist’s block–it’s a vicious cycle, a hole that we just keep digging ourselves deeper and deeper into. I can’t tell you how many holes I’ve dug for myself, how many projects I’ve started and stopped–quit because of that very thing… Being creatively blocked.
After my meltdown on January 2, I realized I had to do something. I needed to commit myself to being accountable for my own productivity, creativity, and success. But HOW??? I needed to find a way to stop the blockages, the confusion and anxiety over my creativity. I wanted get un-stuck and find a way to stay un-stuck, or at least a way that worked when I did get stuck.
According to some of the research I’ve done this book helps people with discipline, structure, organization, creativity, clarity, momentum, and so much. I am hoping that it will do all of that and more for me–hopefully, for you as well.
If you you don’t have the book then check it out… The Artist’s Way and give it a shot. If you’re blocked, then it can’t hurt to try. A few of us are going to be going through it together. If I get enough people I might open a FB page for us to use, but I already have a playlist on my YT channel with my introduction video. I’d like to live my life creatively, have more clarity and purpose, be more productive and successful. 😀
I hope you’ll join me.
For about two weeks, the week of Christmas and the week of New Year, I was in a funk. I was filled with anxiety, overwhelmed and stressed out, depressed, and I could not write. I didn’t have the time, or when I did have the time I was too stressed out and overwhelmed to write. I sat down at the computer and as much as I wanted to write, I just could not get the words out–and they were there in the dark recesses of my overworked mind, but they were buried underneath the chaos of my life (the holidays, obligations, anxiety, depression, etc., etc.). So I felt like a F.A.I.L.U.R.E.
Writer’s write. That’s what we do. If you can’t write then what?
Immediately after the holidays I had a meltdown–you know the kind where you’re overwhelmed, filled with anxiety, stressed out beyond belief but you don’t realize how bad it is until you finally sit down to do something like write and then you realize–WTF! I can’t write. The blank page is staring back at you, screaming silently for you to write, just one fucking word, something, anything, but NOTHING comes out. Your mind is racing, the thoughts are somewhere deep inside there, you know it, but all of those thoughts are so jumbled that you can’t untangle them to even come up with a few coherent sentences.
That was me on January 2nd.
I decided to film a video for my YT channel instead. Maybe talking about writing, doing something creative like filming a video, would help the, dare I say it again, “Writer’s Block.” But a little into the video I began ranting. I hadn’t realized I’d had all of that angst underneath the surface just waiting to boil over and out into the world…
Things changed after that… Drastically.
The moment I sat down with pen and paper to go over all those things, and actually listed my goals again I knew I needed to re-evaluate how I planned on making them happen–writer’s block or not, I needed to write and I wanted/needed to do it every day. I also needed to get rid of my first 4 chapters and re-write the first few chapters because I hadn’t started the first chapter where the action is, it was all pretty much backstory.
I started reading again. I started art journaling again. I started, what I call my “personal” journaling, and my “writer journaling,” again.
I started writing in my novel again. I wrote the new chapter one, went through my outline and started making changes to it so that it would reflect the new chapter one. I felt so good about the novel, so excited and passionate about it that I fell in love with it all over again….
I realized while reading, art journaling, and personal journaling, that I need those creative outlets, as much as I need to write… Maybe more so when I am writing. Writing a novel is an intense project. It requires a great deal of focus, determination, resilience, patience, passion, and imagination. If you don’t take care of yourself, especially if you’re like me and you have anxiety, depression, ADHD, then those “things” tend to get worse.
Those two weeks of the holiday, the week of Christmas and the week of New Year, I drained myself dry. I was overwhelmed, stressed out, not writing other than a little personal journaling and a little “writer journaling,” and I barely art journaled. I was too busy. I was too anxious. I was pulled in various directions. And then added to that was the socializing, the lack of any real “me time,” and “no writing,” and I should have known that at some point I’d just crash.
And crash I did, but crashing also allowed me to look at things from a different point of view. It allowed me to see my mistakes. What I was doing wrong hit me full in the face when I had the meltdown and maybe that’s what I needed.
All I know is that after the meltdown, not immediately after–it took a few days for me to really get into a new routine, to change things up and figure out a few things, but now…a little over ten days later, I can look back on that and know, without a shadow of a doubt, that if it hadn’t happened then it would have happened eventually, and better it happened sooner rather than later.
If you’re suffering from Writer’s Block, then it’s probably more emotional than physical. At least, for me that’s how it is. The moment I take a step back, really take a step back, and look at what I’m doing, how I feel, what I’m thinking… I can usually pinpoint something that’s underneath the surface–something that has reared it’s ugly head and is preventing me from writing. Maybe it’s self-doubt, insecurity, fear, exhaustion, a lack of focus, distractions, pain (physical and/or emotional), anxiety, depression…The list goes on. I know what works for me now, and I made a video about it…
I hope you’ll check it out:
I’m participating in NaNoWriMo, if you’ve read my blog posts or seen my videos or FB or Twitter posts then you know, and if this is the first post you’ve read then now you do 😀 (and thank you–all of you for taking the time to read my post),and part of the reason I love NaNoWriMo is because of the writing community. Whether it’s on the NaNoWriMo website and in their forum, or on IG, Twitter, FB, WP, G+, YT, Tumbler or whatever other social media that is out there. The Writing Community has been so supportive, motivating, inspiring, welcoming, and understanding. Because of the Writing Community I’ve slowly but surely realized that I’m not alone out here (well I am, I live in a small city, big town, and we don’t have a ML for NaNo, my county isn’t even listed on the “list.” But anywho).
I’m an introverted extrovert. I was born on the cusp of Cancer (my
sun sign) and Leo (my rising sign) , so I’m a bit of both, along with a bit of Aquarius, which is my moon sign. If you’re not into astrology, that’s okay–broken down into layman’s terms… I’m an extrovert when I’m comfortable with people, my true self, and physically my outward characteristics are more Leo, but on the inside, or when I’m not comfortable with people, I’m an introvert, a bit of a loner, and the person who sits back in the corner and watches, but if I’m at home (in my comfort zone) I’m out front, bold, sassy, and a talker.
It’s easier to be bold, sassy, and talkative when you’re comfortable with people. I spend so much of my writing life alone that having a place where I can socialize, learn, and share is refreshing, as well as both motivating and comforting–as in comfortable. It feels like a writerly niche.
Maybe it’s just that when I’m writing, I feel the most at home, as at home as I feel when I’m creating art, when I’m with my husband who is truly my best friend, or with my daughter is also my best friend, or when I’m busy working on DIY projects for our home. Though I prefer to be the one taking pictures–the whole behind the camera thing, since last year’s NaNoWriMo I’ve been vlogging, which means me in front of the camera. I couldn’t have done that if the writing community wasn’t so encouraging and supportive. Let’s face it, when you’re talking about someone who is an introverted extrovert with ADHD, Anxiety, and Depression the last thing you really want to do is make videos. I fidget, I stutter, I talk really fast or really slow, I lose focus and ramble, change subjects rapidly and then back to the original subject, sometimes without pausing.
Some people think that NaNoWriMo is all about quantity over quality, which is not a good thing if what you really want is to write a novel that will be publishable, but the first draft is not usually publishable even if you’re writing it on your own without NaNoWriMo. I tend to use description, notes to myself when I get stuck about what I want to do with the scene, character, setting, plot, etc, which increases my word count. I also tend to be long-winded anyway, which is helpful for NaNoWriMo but not helpful when it comes to editing. I’m writing because I have a story to tell, one that I would want to read, and I’m an avid reader of various genres.
One day I hope to have my book published, so I’m not killing myself worrying about my wordcount, but I am trying to make sure that what I do have is at least a decent first draft, BUT mostly I’m writing for me, because I love telling a story, because that story has been bugging me on and off for years wanting to be told.
I’m including a video I did in response to someone who 1. Doesn’t participate in NaNoWriMo 2. Believes that NaNoWriMo encourages bad writing habits, but I also did the response video because I believe that NaNoWriMo has helped a ton of writer’s start writing again, write their novels, whether they ever get published or not, and I’m a huge fan of their Young Writer’s Program. I hope you’ll watch. 😀