It would be nice to think that when things are going well that Captain A would have no cause to come visiting. The Fraud Police would stay in their precinct and every thing would be hunky dory.
But, Anxiety is an A-hole and doesn’t care about failure the way that it does about success. Success provides it with so much fuel for doubt.
My fellow writers and creative friends know this to be true. We are afraid to do what is most authentic at time because we are afraid of how people will react. How they will see us? Will we face harassment ? For our art, personal appearance or both? Will be reject wholesale for sharing?
Captain A also doesn’t play the same game every time. Sometimes it speaks in whispers. Sometimes it brings us panic attacks. More than one friend of mine, it has brought on the horrors of agoraphobia. For the past couple of months, I have been afraid to see how my book sales have been going convinced that looking would just confirm that my book was a failure. I have advertised here or there, but no plan of attack. I just kept hoping that someone would see it and buy it. Once or twice a month some did.
And slowly but surely, reviews came in. All good. Friends told me how much they liked. One sweet lady who was brought to my book signing by friends has passed the book on to all of her friends who equally loved it. Her words of encouragement have brighten more than one sad day for me.
But, still I thought I was a failure. Or the next book will be and I will be found out. When my new bossed bragged about all of his Amazon offerings, I thought of Blood Child as a sad little book. Nothing to brag about.
Then Bowie died and I made the decision to work more on my writing, my art. Life is too short to wait for the right time. So on a whim, I offered my book, Blood Child for free on Amazon. I didn’t expect much as a result of this as I done this before with mediocre results. Mr. Anxiety predicted that I would get the same results.
Then I checked the unit numbers and over a hundred and fifty people had downloaded my book. Overnight, Blood Child made the top ten on Amazon’s list of Short Reads for Mystery Thrillers. And it stayed there for three days. Over 503 people downloaded it.
For three days, I was a Best Selling Author on Amazon. On day two, Mr. A and his companions, the Fraud Police stopped in. They stayed most of Sunday and only really departed today around noon. I did very little promoting on Saturday. My mind was set on cleaning up my grandmother’s thread case. Sunday, things happened, but I don’t remember working much. There was an attempt at work. Some posts here and there. Monday was spent in the doctor’s off and a last minute push to get my book into more people’s hands. More hands means more reviews and eventually more sales in theory.
I could have done more. A dear friend of mine gave me so advice to help Blood Child stay on top and I didn’t do it. I hear it and didn’t act on it. I was too much in my head. Everything seemed like it was too much. There was a weight on my mind. I felt like I was swimming through my own day. I spend hours not working just watching TV and feeling like I messing up. And I was. Sunday night, I tried to sleep in my new bed and ended up fleeing to the sofa.
My dogs came with me, which was awkward since they out weigh me. Laying there in the chilly winter air being half smothered by dogs I felt ok. Not great, but ok. The kind of ok that you get after you have been crying. I hadn’t been crying. Just beating myself up mentally for all my mistakes.
Like waiting to long to pay my traffic ticket and incurring another fine. For not doing more to promote my book and work on other projects. Not speaking up enough at work and not holding my tongue when it counts.
I could have done so much that weekend and I didn’t. And Captain A and his friends would have me believe that it wasn’t a success that it wasn’t a big deal and in the grand scheme of things it might not be, but you know what I did something. I said “Hey, Universe, here is my book. Check it out.” And it did.
It doesn’t matter what Mr. A and the fraud police think. Seeing my book climb in the ratings even for a couple of days made me feel good. Thinking about it now, I am smiling. I am ready to brag, no, because I still have a long way to go in my writing career.
A long, long way, but I did something this weekend it was a success.
This latest brush with Captain A and his Fraud Police was a light one. I didn’t descent into a full panic attack or depression.
When I wrote “Anxiety and the Writer”, I was a little afraid to put myself out there. Things were going good so why ruin it by talking about good days. Especially when you know that bad ones are coming.
I think the answer is in what author and poet, Cecilia Rodriguez Millanes, has said over and over to her students and readers, “If you are afraid to something, that is what you need to write about.”
When you do that you are finding your voice that authentic voice that all writers and author dream out. The voice that will pull readers into your stories, into the worlds that you have created for them and you create space for others to express themselves.
Thanks for listening.
Much love and best of luck,