Imposter Syndrome

insecurity-1306280_960_720So I have this thing called low self-esteem. I’ve had it for as long as I can remember, all my life really, and I know I’ve missed out on a lot of opportunities because of it.

My shy, introverted self doesn’t exactly help with matters, neither do my random bouts with anxiety and depression, but I also know extroverts aren’t immune to its negative grip.

Mine usually manifests itself in the form of a tiny voice in my head telling me I’m not good enough, that nothing I do is ever good enough.

And unfortunately, being a writer can sometimes compound that voice until it drowns out reason. Maybe that’s just one of the downsides of being a creative person since it requires a critical voice, because sometimes that voice turns against you. Instead of being critical of sentence structure or word choice, it grows into a full blown attack on everything you do.

At least that’s what happens to me.

When I started writing a few years ago, it took me over six months before I let my guard down enough to consider myself a writer, and some days I still don’t. It doesn’t make much sense because as soon as I started tapping into that creative vein and putting the words to “paper,” I was a writer. But after years and years of self-doubt, I never thought something I created would be liked. Despite warm comments from readers, I couldn’t let myself believe any of it.

A similar thing happened after Taming the Wyld was accepted for publication. I was left with a surreal feeling after the initial thrill wore off. I had a hard time believing I was good enough for publication, because some days I’m just not strong enough to ward off imposter syndrome. Some days, I feel like a complete fraud.

I love how TTW turned out, but there was still this part of me that couldn’t accept that it was real, not even after I started edits, or chose the cover, or saw the final galley. My brain just couldn’t fully register it was happening.

But it was. And I have an Amazon link to prove it. It doesn’t get any more real than that.

Some strangers at DSP who know a lot more about the business of writing than I were willing to take a chance with my stories. They have invested money into me and my books, and that’s something that took me a while to realize. That little nugget of truth gave me a different perspective about myself, and it came with a boost of confidence.

On top of that, the release of my first full length novel is only two weeks away. I struggled to finish the last 25k words of Past the Breakers. I questioned if it was good enough, but getting the contract offer validated everything that I’m trying to do here, and it helped to turn down the volume of that nagging voice inside my head. I know I’m not the best writer, I might not even be a great one, but I’m better than mediocre. And some days that’s enough.

Maybe I’ve gotten lucky, three consecutive times, or maybe I’m not as bad as my brain likes to tell me I am. (My friends agree with the latter, but my brain also likes to remind me they’re biased.) Either way, I feel good about things right now for the first time in a long time.

Even so, that voice is like an albatross around my neck, talons digging in as it whispers, “How long can it last?”

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Failure February

My blog and overall social media presence fell by the wayside during my four month depression hibernation, but I feel ready to get back on the horse. I have the blog tour of My Paradise Is You coming up, and I’m finally getting into the swing of things with my next novel, so why not lay out some goals for myself to accomplish this month while I’m getting into the groove.

postitHonestly, I’ve never been a goal setter. I tend to do most things by the seat of my pants, and while that works 9 times out of 10, sometimes it’s nice to try something different.

I’m a little hesitant though, because part of the reason I never set goals is because I’m way too hard on myself when I don’t reach them all. Failure is something I probably take too seriously, but we’ll see how this goes. I am trying to be kinder to myself this year.

Goals:

  • Write at least 12 chapters and/or 30k words on my current novel
  • Write the blog posts for my blog tour
  • Write at least two more posts here, one being a sweet Valentine’s Day treat!
  • Spend a little more time on Facebook and Twitter, and less on the time suck that is Tumblr
  • Start a newsletter

All of these are very doable. Obviously the first two are my priorities, and if I can complete those, I’ll be happy.

I will not beat myself up if I don’t meet these goals.

I probably should’ve posted this at the beginning of the month. I’m already 4 days behind here, but I plan to finish chapter 2 of 12 today, so I’m happy with that start.

And off I go. Wish me luck!

Ascending

sad-monkey

I feel ya

As I ascend from the 3 month–more like 6 month–depressive episode I’ve spent a good chunk of this year in, I’m starting to feel my creativity begin to stir.

I’m in the middle of edits for my first novel, Past the Breakers, due out next summer, and I have new story ideas in my head that are starting to percolate and beg to be written. But more importantly, I’m starting to feel normal again. Continue reading

October, I miss you….

After several lousy months, October brought with it bluer skies and a nice sense of optimism for me. Unfortunately, that didn’t survive the transition into November. I wasn’t able to write the last story I had for Halloween, and it all seemed to have tumbled down hill after that.

NaNo Update:

I started out strong after changing my story on November 1st. The last minute idea about two dudes on a cruise ship gave me a nice boost of inspiration. I had also intended it to be more of a cozy mystery with a twist of romance, which is something different. I thought changing genres might help get me out of my current funk. But no such luck.

Somewhere between word 1 and 10k, I lost my confidence for the plot and the overall story. This happens quite a bit to me, especially in the last few months. It’s something I’ve struggled with since I started writing to varying degrees, and I had hoped time would make those feelings of failure and inadequacy lessen, but it hasn’t. The good news is I had somewhat anticipated it, the bad news is the election happened.

I’m not going to say much about it here, but as a member of the LGBT+ community and as someone with mixed ancestry, I’m afraid of what the next four years will bring. I know I don’t have it nearly as bad as other do. I’m a fair skinned, white passing, Native American, somewhat closeted pansexual, genderqueer/genderfuid person. But I’m much more worried about the safety of others, and especially those who don’t fit into the white, Christian, straight, cisgendered privileged group.

I’m so tired already, but He Who Shall Not Be Named hasn’t even taken office yet. All we can do is hang on for the ride and do our best to stick together and stick up for each other and our rights, whether that is through grassroots activism, donating to helpful charities, or challenging bigots and racists on their hatred.

Needless to say, the last week has completely knocked me out of NaNo mode. I’ve written 300 words the last week, and it was on a totally different story. I’m not sure if I will revisit the cruise ship idea. Maybe I’ll try to jump into something else instead in hopes of salvaging the rest of the month. I don’t know yet.

And if all that wasn’t bad enough, yesterday, my cat died. He was getting old, 14 1/2, and I knew he didn’t have much time left, but that’s just one more thing to deal with in this god forsaken year from hell.

 

love-winsBut I have to end this on a positive note.

Dreamspinner Press’s Love Wins anthology is now available for preorder! I’m very excited about it, and am so happy I was able to do something to help the LGBT+ community in these uncertain times. Abstract Heart is such a cute little story that I’m very proud of, so if you need a burst of something positive to look forward to, along with the 16 other wonderful short stories included in the anthology, preorder your copy here today!

Don’t you just love the cover!

 

Garden Update

img_0535It’s the end of May and the weather is starting to heat up, which means my crops are growing like…well, crops. So I thought I’d do another update because they’ve all changed since my last post.

I’ve already had a few strawberries, which were very good, but the strawberry plants are all starting to produce another round. I have two big plants and about four smaller plants in a strawberry pot (pictured) that are blooming again. I’m super excited for more!

The next thing I was able to taste were my first homegrown carrots:img_0529

The plants on these things were pretty big and I went ahead and pulled them up. I got a baby, a mama, and a papa carrot, but I think they needed another week or two since they were kind of on the small side. But let me tell you, I may never eat another grocery store carrot again. These things were sooo delicious and really easy to grow once I watered them adequately. I was a bit stingy with the water at first, but I’ve made adjustments and everything is thriving.

I’m also really excited for my pea plants:

img_0531

The blooms on these are beautiful, and you can see the beginnings of the pods in the center. I love the adorable little tendrils and the way they snake out and to wrap around the tomato cage I stuck in there with them.

This photo was taken about a week ago, so the pods are at least and inch long now on some of them. I can’t wait to try them right off the plant!

img_0533Next we have one of my four tomato plants. One of the bigger tomatoes started to turn red the last few days, but unfortunately I’ve discovered it has something called Blossom End Rot. It’s caused by calcium deficiency, and I think I just didn’t water these guys enough in the beginning.

I found about four out of at least twenty tomatoes have it, so hopefully the improved water situation has remedied this and the rest will be fine. Just in case, I sprayed the leaves with milk so they can absorb some more calcium, and next year I’ll be sure to add some ground up egg shells to the soil. I’ve hear that can help.

Lastly, we have the baby cucumber:img_0539

I love cucumbers and am looking forward to plucking this guy off the vine. He’s short and fat right now, but he should get longer in the coming weeks.

The cantaloupe and watermelon have both flowered, so I’m hoping for some fruit on them soon. And I have a blackberry and a blueberry bush, but they looked kind of sickly when I bought them, so I’m not letting them flower this year.

In the meantime, I’ve planted more carrots that have already sprouted and some leaf lettuce. Only one of them has come up though. I just hope I can keep them all alive through the brutal Texas summer. *fingers crossed*

 

 

 

Character Study

owl-158417_960_720I just squeaked in at the deadline, but I got my second novella, My Paradise Is You, turned into Dreamspinner Press. Now it’s time to play the Waiting Game. I’m pretty sure this is the hard part, but I struggled with this fic in the beginning.

As of late, I seem to have a love/hate relationship with my stories. I hate them until about the halfway point, then I fall head over heels. I think it has to do with setting up the characters. It takes a while for me to get to know them, and until I’m comfortable, the story seems boring to me. My beta readers like them, but I can’t seem to get into them. I don’t think they are very good. Maybe I’m too close.

But then something magical happens. The characters become clear in my head and I see them as actual people. It’s the most incredible thing. And what do you know? I go back and reread the beginning and I love it! So strange.

With Taming the Wyld I loved Jake from the beginning, so I really didn’t have this problem. It took me about half the book to get to know JD though, but having that buffer in Jake made me love the fic from beginning to end. I really grew to love JD, and the two of them are such a perfect match.

I also love what became of My Paradise Is You, so much so that if it gets rejected, then I will seriously consider turning it into a novel. But I don’t want to get ahead of myself. I will be grateful if it’s accepted.

My first novel, that I hope to finish by the end of the month, followed a similar pattern. I originally blamed that on NaNoWriMo. Their whole “editing is a sin” mentality doesn’t jive with my writing style, and I’m not sure if I’ll be participating again, but I think I can now attribute that frustration to my character building.

I am a panster through and through. I don’t plan anything apart from random scenes I think up and jot down in bullet points, but I think I might try to do more character building exercises before I began my next project. Or maybe me and my fics will continue to star in our very own enemies to lovers trope.

It may take us a while, but when we fall, we fall hard!