anxiety

Why I Will No Longer Have Release Dates

Alright. Time to be honest with you and myself. I'm about to get pretty personal here...you ready?

When I started writing seven years ago I had no idea where it was going to take me. One day I just said, "I wanna write a book." And so I did. And it sucked. Like so bad. Haha. So, I put it aside and wrote another one, and then another, and another one. None of which have been published. After two years of writing books that will never see the light of day, I woke up one morning and Kaleidoscope was born. I wrote that book in 3 months and knew it was the story that I wanted to publish. And the following year I did. Then Ember came flowing, followed by Me After You. And then... nothing. But I knew my readers deserved Luminary. So I spent a year writing, pushing myself. Never giving myself a day to think about anything else. Even on the days when my brain said, "Nope. I don't want to write Luminary. I've given you 3 books. I want a rest," the thought of it not being done weighed on me. Heavily. But finally, after giving it time(SO MUCH TIME), I finished it. And it was the best dang feeling. I knew I'd written something great. Something you deserved. And I'm so proud of that book.

When I finished Luminary my brain was like, "Okay! Onto the next! No time to rest!" So, I began to pursue Me Without You. Then the unexpected happened. Writing Me Without You was like pulling teeth. The story wasn't flowing, like REALLY wasn't flowing. I'd spend day after day with my computer in my lap just trying to make words since I'd already given a release date and didn't want to disappoint anyone. So, I pushed myself. Even when The Day That Saved Us came barking, ready to be written, I pushed it aside and told it to wait it's turn. When I finally finished MWY and moved onto TDTSU I think my brain and body decided to call it quits.

I've been struggling with anxiety for the last few years. And most likely longer than that, but I didn't know 1. that what I was felling wasn't normal and 2. that what I had been feeling for years was anxiety. And I went through a bout of denial thinking I could do it on my own. And while writing used to be my escape, a world where I could go and not think about infertility or lack of fulfillment with life or missing my family or dissatisfaction with goals I wasn't reaching... over the last year writing has just become another thing for me to have anxiety about.

I've been constantly on the go. For 3 years. People have asked how do you do it? Have a full time job, take care of your husband, write books and even have any time for yourself? The simple answer? I didn't. I would wake up every morning go to work for 9 hours and then anxiously sit at work until I could go home and write again. Just to go to bed after writing until 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning or later, and start all over again. I neglected everything else. My home, my husband, my health. I thought if I just kept writing and made a name for myself that everything else would fall into place. Note to self: It's not that simple.

If you aren't familiar with anxiety, basically it feels like (to me anyway) you can't breathe. That if whatever task or event or whatever doesn't go the way you want it to or need it to, your heart will explode and everything will be a disaster. I could hardly function, but I pushed on. And in case you didn't know, anxiety and depression kind of go hand in hand. So, when I couldn't make my brain do what I needed/wanted it to do, I'd get really frustrated or depressed, angry even. And the cycle would repeat. Anxiety because I couldn't make words. And depression because I used to be able to and I couldn't figure out why it wasn't that simple anymore. I didn't realize until a couple months how bad I'd actually gotten. It was hard to even keep a sincere smile on my face. Unless you knew me 3+ years ago, you might not have known the difference. But my family and close friends could tell something just wasn't right. I wasn't me anymore. I knew it, but I didn't know how to fix it.

About two months ago I finally went to the doctor and got help. I've always been weary of medication. I didn't want it to change who I am. I'm a very responsible/type A personality person and I've seen the affects certain kinds of medication can have on a person. I didn't want to turn into a zombie or not care enough about my responsibilities the way I do now. The idea of medication terrified me and also made me feel a little ashamed. Like, I can't do this on my own? I need medication now? I'm one of those people? I'm here to tell you, Never feel ashamed if you need medication. Mental illness isn't something to be ashamed of. There are more people that suffer from it than you realize, who will sympathize with you and support you. It doesn't make you any less of a person.

After getting the help I needed, I can't tell you the world of difference I feel. I'm happy again. I don't hate the world. I can breathe. I forgot what that feels like. (I think I'm quoting Alix Fink right now.) But it's true. For the last year and half I've had such a one track mind, I haven't stopped to breathe. Because stopping would mean failure and disappointment. It would mean not keeping up with the idea of who I thought I needed to be. But I'm finally me again. And it's the most wonderful feeling. I'm grateful every day.

You might be wondering why I'm telling you all of this. What's the downside, Mindy? You got help. You're doing better. What's the problem? What does this have to do with the title of your post?

As my mind and body get used to the medication I'm on, it's taken hold of my creativity. My anxiety used to be my number 1 driving force. I NEED TO GET THIS BOOK DONE OR EVERYONE WILL HATE ME AND I'LL BECOME IRRELEVANT. It's not true and I know that now. I'm still writing. I get some words in every few days, but I haven't been able to write the way I used to. I'm not stuck. The inspiration just isn't quite there. Hopefully, this is only temporary.

So, here comes the bad news. Because I already had half of TDTSU finished in March I thought for sure a summer release would be a piece of cake. But sadly, it's not. A lot of the story needed to be rewritten. A lot of the story evolved. A lot of what I wanted to write is gone. I'm no farther in the story now than I was in March. Even a few weeks ago I thought, "I can still do this. I'll just have a late summer release." But I'm looking at the calendar and we're in June, people. So, unfortunately, there is no longer a release date. Maybe I'll have it out this summer. Maybe it will be next summer. I can't give you that answer right now. As much as I wish I could. It's a summer time book, so I want it to be released in the summer. I just can't tell you when. Who knows? I might even write a different book and release it later this year.

All I know right now is that I have to make my health a priority. I will keep writing. You'll still get books. I just don't know when. Maybe there will be a day when I'll hit publish and say, "SURPRISE! HERE'S A NEW BOOK!" I just can no longer work on a deadline. My stories don't get the attention they deserve and neither does my health. And TDTSU is definitely a story that I want to do justice.

So, know that I love you guys. I think about you every day. I'm grateful for you and your never-ending support. I will keep writing because of you. I just need to do it at my own pace.