Tag Archives: anxiety

Hiding

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.  ~Charles W. Eliot

Whenever I feel sad or depressed or too anxious to function I have a tendency to hide. And looking at my blog and how I haven’t posted for most of January I think it is safe to say that I have been hiding.

When I was in high school, my way to hide included a dark blue sweater with a Mickey Mouse embroidered on the front. I felt a lot like Mia Thermopolis from the Princess Diaries – minus the whole royalty spiel.

For the most part, I have tried to use other more positive coping mechanisms in my life. However, I didn’t realize it until now, but I have fallen back on the hiding technique. It is just easier to pretend nothing is wrong when I pretend I am not there.

There are several reasons I think I went into this mode during January – a lot of overwhelming things have happened.

Firstly, I read a writing blog called Miss Snark’s First Victim run by the lovely Authoress. She ran a Critique Partner Dating Service. I actually put myself out there, which is a challenge for me. I met some lovely people. However, it seems that none of them have clicked. Perhaps there is still some sting from rejection. And sting from an honest critique. (I probably started the novel in the wrong place and my first line wasn’t a hook. Sigh. I suck at writing hooks.)

It isn’t that I don’t want honesty, but the critique killed my creative voice. And the critical voice has been in the forefront since then. I’ve been feeling apathetic and averse to writing since then. I suppose it just means that this person was not my destined critique partner. And that is ok. I wasn’t super nice to them either. Their technical skills were solid, but for me, their character fell flat.

It is interesting, because this ties into something else that I discovered this January. I stumbled into the blogs of Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith. And they have some offbeat advice. In fact, they made me start thinking about writing as a business. And in thinking about it as a business, I started to question my original plan.

Initially, I wanted to get a query together and find an agent. Now that I have read their blogs and thoughts I am definitely considering indie publishing. I am considering a small publishing house or self-publishing e-books. A year ago, this would have been an unimaginable decision for me. Now I am really weighing the cost and benefit of each model of publishing. And the thing that seems clear to me is that indie publishing is perhaps a good launch pad, even if traditional publishing is the goal.

I’m still trying to process all of the information from their blogs. I would strongly suggest that if you are unpublished and don’t know what direction you want to go in to read these blogs because they are definitely thought-provoking.

Furthermore, I have also spent January being a bit anxious about some personal situations. Hopefully this week will bring some highly anticipated news and be a positive start.

©K. Klein 2013

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Struggling against the Silence

Writing is a struggle against silence. Carlos Fuentes

My anxiety has been riding me hard for the past week. Some days; especially today that has made it hard to concentrate and get things done. I hate the feeling of being arrested and unable to accomplish anything. When it feels like every task – even finishing the laundry – is too much. I did get the laundry done today, but it feels like I didn’t accomplish much else.

This is so damn frustrating to me. I know I am capable of accomplishing many things. And yet, days like today happen where doing anything feels like an uphill battle against me. Even typing these words is a chore.

I want to write or journal, but it feels like I am in a tank of water and every motion I do takes the extra effort of working against not only the air, but the water too. I don’t want to be silent. I want to be able to speak up. Or write. Or communicate. I want to write – even when it is hard or scary. Perhaps, especially when writing is hard or scary.

I hate this feeling that fear is ruling my life. I want to live my life despite the fear I feel. I want to be able to do what I want to do. I want to accomplish things in a day; more than just getting the laundry done and feeling exhausted because it took that much exertion to just start it. So here I am, writing this blog post, trying to work over that feeling of not being able to accomplish anything today.

There is also that voice of doubt in the back of my head. This post is stupid. Why don’t you stop whining? If you post this to the internet people are going to think you are a whiner. You don’t want that, do you? Argh, listen up, doubt – please just shut the fuck up. All right? I am striving against the silence. I am writing despite the uphill battle. I don’t need your help.

©K. Klein 2012

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Mental & physical flexibility

Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape. ~Author Unknown

Last night was my first time doing yoga in a month because of being sick. And man did I feel the gap between my last yoga session and this one. I was super tight and stiff while warming up. Thankfully the instructor took us through a good warm up and I loosened up, but it reminded me why it is important to practice. Obviously, being sick is a good reason to take it easy, but hopefully I will be healthy the rest of this winter and then I shall need to stick with my practice.

Yoga, like my writing, is something that I love to do, but it doesn’t always come easily to me. It takes a long time to form a life changing habit – getting to form those grooves in the neural pathways of the brain. I still haven’t recovered my writing everyday or even near everyday habit that I broke at the end of grad school. Obviously school was important to me, but I am still upset that I haven’t gotten back on the horse, so to speak. I am writing, but not every day.

I would be astounded if I could get to doing yoga every day. Right now my goal is to practice 1-2 times weekly and once I establish that routine maybe put in another session. I don’t want to jump the gun now because I am trying to re-establish the every week yoga that I’d work on in the late summer and early autumn.

It is interesting to me to see how difficult it is to form new and good habits and so damn easy for me to fall back on already established habits. It is annoying because sometimes I know these established patterns of behavior are unproductive. (I’m looking at your anxiety freak outs). But as with all things, if I want to change myself, I have to try. And so here I am going at it one week at a time with yoga and one day at a time with writing.

©K. Klein 2012

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Filed under anxiety, health, writing, yoga

Being thankful

God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today.  Have you used one to say “thank you?”  ~William A. Ward

I will admit that I am sometimes bad at gratitude; such as I am bad at being optimistic. These are things that I have to work hard to remind myself and my brain about. I am prone to anxiety and catastrophizing if I don’t work hard to remember the good things in life. And if I don’t remind myself that everything is going to be ok.

But I am thankful because I am lucky to have many wonderful people in my life. So in the spirit of Thanksgiving (despite some of the horrible history behind it) here are some things I am thankful for in no particular order:

  • My family
  • My brother
  • My significant other (boyfriend, whatever word you wanna use).
  • My friends
  • Books
  • Learning
  • Words & writing

What are you thankful for today? How do you show your gratitude? Happy Thanksgiving.

©K. Klein 2012

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Just bleed

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.

Ernest Hemingway

Unfortunately, as much time as I have spent thinking about new idea and anticipating writing it, the writing is being difficult. My mind is resisting and trying to run away in fear. I want to hold back. I’ve hit upon a personal nerve. Oddly enough, NaNoWriMo often brings to light things that I don’t want to face.

Ironically, even though this novel is set in a magic pseudo-futuristic America, the main character’s mother is insane. Part of the major conflict is the main character needing to pay for mental healthcare for her mother. This is something I discovered in the planning on Halloween, but it makes sense for the larger plot overall.

This hits a personal nerve. My own mother is schizophrenic. Sometimes it just hurts to think that. A tiny piece of me is terrified of becoming ill like her; more often I am just terrified of becoming her. So having a character who is intimately dealing with the relationship with her own mother strikes me deeply.

I haven’t talked with my mother in a decade and going on longer. There are many reasons beyond my own mother’s illness of why we have not had contact in that long. Ultimately, I made the decision for my health.

So here I am, at the beginning of NaNoWriMo writing a novel about a daughter who is willing to do anything to care for her mentally ill mother; setting regardless. I might as well take the kitchen knife and slice my wrist open – I think that would hurt less. I honestly don’t mean to be melodramatic. I know it probably sounds pretty over the top to those who aren’t inside of my head.

But the issues that I have surrounding my mother and the array of confusing feelings – love, hatred, anger – decided to come up. Why hello issues, it is nice to see you again too. Not.

Wish me luck. Maybe I can dig into the fear as Dorothy Allison advises. I hope to bring honesty to whatever I write. I just have to sit down and face myself to do it. Sometimes seeing yourself clearly is the hardest thing there is to do.

©K. Klein 2012

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Filed under anxiety, health, nanowrimo, writing

Come have a cup of tea with me

Strange how a teapot can represent at the same time the comforts of solitude and the pleasures of company.  ~Author Unknown

I have all sorts of odds and ends on my mind at the moment. So join me for a virtual tea time if you please. If you don’t drink tea – feel free to have a cup of coffee, hot chocolate, or whatever warm beverage you fancy. Not to brag, but I do make a mean cup of hot chocolate.

The dominant thought on my mind is that I finished my rewrite last night. Part of me can’t believe it. I don’t quite want to let go. I do still need to read about half of the book to my brother for final polishing. But for the most part, aside from the tinkering, this draft is done. This is the first novel that I have rewritten completely. I have finished several first drafts, but this is the first one that I felt compelled to bring to the next stage of the writing process.

I found it interesting to learn about my rewrite and revision process. I found it different from my first draft process. During the first draft I tend to write by the seat of my pants – letting the characters and story take me where they will. I also try to shut the editor off so that I can just sit down and write.

I reverse-engineered my novel throughout the planning stage of the rewrite. I reread the first draft and figured out what plot points made sense; added in scenes and chapters where I found plot holes. Then I sat down to rewrite and revise the novel. Much of the beginning included writing chapters from scratch because I lost the thread of a character arc in the first half of the first draft.

It is interesting to see how it turned out. My first draft was 65000 words, which is a bit anemic for a novel. I am a rare underwriter. I get the bones out and then fill in the rest later. My second draft is 20k longer at 86000 words. In the second draft, I filled in physical descriptions and fleshed out character arcs and characterizations. Slowly, but surely I am sharing the baby novel with my beta readers.

I am proud of myself for reaching this new milestone in my writing journey and process. I hope that the next time I do a revision that I won’t have to write more than half of it by hand before typing it up. Who knows? We shall see.

The other thing on my mind at the moment is NaNoWriMo. The New Idea is knocking at my brain and it wants me to write it. I have two and a half days where I cannot write in the new novel. Gah. Anticipation is a good thing. I sort of lack the patience though. I want to write now and not wait.

On the bright side, this does give me a chance to catch up on some reading. My dad recently bought a tablet, and I borrowed a copy of Pride & Prejudice from the library to read it on his tablet. I own a paper copy, but it is buried in my boxes in storage. So I am rereading it for the third or fourth time. I love Jane Austen. Reading is a great way to refill my creative well. And it is soothing; my anxiety has been a bit high today.

What is your favorite part of the writing process? Do you prefer tea, coffee, or hot chocolate? Any new books you’re curling up with that you’d recommend? I always love to check out new and interesting books. Not that my to be read pile isn’t a couple miles high. But I always love to hear about new authors and great books.

©K. Klein 2012

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Bits n pieces of faith

faith (noun)

1. confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another’s ability.

2. belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.

3. belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.

4. belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty.

5. a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.

Definition from dictionary.com

I desperately want to be an optimist at heart, but due to life events and general disposition I am not. Being prone to anxiety and catastrophizing doesn’t help. Seriously, I’m not dramatic or anything. Despite this general tendency to see the whole world collapsing around me I try to take a deep breath and let go. Because really, the world is not falling apart around me and nine times out of ten even if things don’t go the way I want them to it will turn out ok.

My mantra in life is: everything will be ok.

If I say it often enough I sometimes believe it too. For good measure, everything will be ok.

This takes a certain amount of faith, which is something I struggle with immensely. Faith takes an amount of confidence that I often lack. It also takes believing in something or someone. I find this incredibly hard.

I grew up in a Catholic household. And as a kid, I believed in God. As an adult, I am agnostic. I don’t definitely believe in God. However, I don’t believe there is definitive proof against God, either. It is an odd philosophical stance to straddle. Sometimes I wish I could grasp on to the faith that came so easily to me in childhood.

At times I can grasp shards of that faith I once held, but I find it like pieces of a shattered mirror. I can’t really hold the whole together anymore because the edges are too jagged. I find this frustrating because if I could hold the whole then I could see the picture with more clarity.

I might be able to see myself with more clarity. Part of the faith that I lost is the faith in me. I have never been a paragon of self-confidence. However, there fact is that the rough times in my life battered what faith in myself I do have.

Every day I wake up and have to face down those self-doubts. Will I finish my novel? Once finished, will people enjoy reading my novel? Those are the most common questions I find myself asking when I feel the self-doubt creeping up my spine.

These are the times when I try to have faith in myself. When faith is difficult to come by I try to cope through taking a deep breath, writing about the feelings, and doing yoga. How do you cope when you are questioning your faith? Do you pray or meditate? Do you write about it? Or do you have a completely different coping mechanism?

©K. Klein 2012

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