I'm getting a little personal today. Some of you may be able to relate, some may not. I don't know. But it's something I want to talk about. And this is my blog so deal with it.
Let's discuss the squelching of feelings. I don't know if this is obvious in the way I post, but I have A LOT OF FEELINGS. Of course I do. I'm a Virgo, an optimist, a passivist, an artist, a sensitive soul, and all that blah blah blah. Which translates to: lots of feelings. I can occasionally get very silly on the Internet, but I don't often expose those SERIOUS EMOTIONS in their raw, unwashed glory. Most of my posts tend to err on the side of critical analysis or humor. I think about things before I post. I think about them so much.
I didn't used to be this way. I used to be that person who would react immediately and emotionally to things. Sometimes it was well received. Sometimes it bit me. Over time, I learned to keep my feelings more buttoned-up and not display my heart so openly on my sleeve. At least, not in public.
But there are things that happen in the life of writers. Things that we keep close to the chest and end up feeling massively guilty about. And I wanted to come out and tell myself, and anyone reading this, that having feelings is okay. It is okay to let emotion come in and wash over everything and nestle inside. It's what you do with that emotion that matters.
This is mostly coming from someplace I'm sure at least a few other people can relate to. Back in The Before, I used to get the weirdest sensation when someone in my blogging/Twitter/forum/whatever writing circle would achieve a publishing milestone. When someone announced they signed with an agent, or got a book deal, or sold rights in 20 countries, or had their novel optioned to be a film, or whatever whatever whatever... every time that would happen, I would feel panicked.
Don't get me wrong. I was honestly and truly overjoyed for them, and would tell them so. I'm not the sort of person who will put on a big smile and go "OH YAY CONGRATULATIONS" unless I absolutely mean it from the heart. But that joy and excitement never quite cancelled out the creepy little goblin who would come in the back door of my mind and whisper his creepy little words.
"What's the matter with you? Why isn't it YOU making this post?"
"You may as well quit now. You'll never get there. That person has skill and luck you'll never have."
"You'd better hurry. All the spots are going to be taken soon. That's one less agent, one less editor's list spot. Soon it'll be too late for you."
"Pffffft, look at you, loser. That person is 21. TWENTY-ONE. And they have a three-book deal. Give up now, you 28-year-old failure."
"You want that. You want that so badly. You can't have it. They have it, you don't. You suck."
I'm not the only person with a talking goblin living in their brain, right? ... right?
These doubts and emotions hid between my ribs, curling like teensy snakes around my insides. I'd slip into funks. I'm so glad I had my fiance, because he's one of the big reasons I kept pushing. I mean, at the time I'd get really peeved at him for going, "DO YOU WANT TO BE THAT JERK WHO ALWAYS TALKED ABOUT WRITING A BOOK AND NEVER DID IT?" But it got me moving again.
Here's the worst part about all this: I know better. I know that I don't suck. I know that I'm not a failure because someone younger than me got an agent before I did. I know it is completely ridiculous to think that there are a finite number of spots to fill and once they're full, nope, no more book deals, NOT EVER. I know this! But the feelings and emotions associated with this roller coaster don't go away.
So here's what I'm going to do: I'm going to pull a Jack-and-Kate-from-the-first-episode-of-Lost on myself. I'm going to say, "All right, self. Look. It's okay to have those doubts. It's okay to let them in. You go ahead and let them loose for a minute, and then you reel them right back in and say THAT'S IT. This isn't about never having negative feelings. It's about pushing past them. Over, and over, and over."
All that said, I'm pretty happy with where I am right at this moment. I'm a little terrified and a lot nervous and pretty tired and still vaguely neurotic, but I'm happy. And I like happy. So happy stays.
How do you deal with your writer goblins?