My shadow side is making an unwelcome comeback.
I try to console myself that this is part of the creative life – dealing with inner demons – but you really have to keep on top of these little blighters or they can overwhelm you. What am I talking about? Well, the first and by far biggest issue for me is:
(1) JEALOUSY. Oh dear. I have spoken about my green-eyed monster before, but it is a terribly ugly monster who must be kept at bay for fear of throwing super-hot lattes at unsuspecting fellow scribes.
Every time I go on social media, I discover yet another author I know or know slightly has won an award, sealed an amazing publishing contract, got a new book out, etc, etc. (Note to self: stop going on-line!) On the bright side, this shows how well connected I now am in the writing world – yes? On the not so bright side, it’s like – hello world, why wasn’t that me?
Ahem. I told you it wasn’t pretty. I constantly tell my children:
Whatever you do in this life there will always be someone better than you, and there will always be someone you are better than. The moral – you can only be your best self.
Taking my own advice however, is not always easy.
(2) SELF-DOUBT. Yes, following hot on the heels of jealousy comes self-doubt. Hmm, why wasn’t that me – winning the publishing deal, etc, etc. Could it be that my first two books were published by mistake? Was that my flash in the pan? Am I now designated to the eternal purgatory of the literary slush-pile where I will be found old and decrepit existing on peanut M & Ms and marvelling at my own brilliance (which was never discovered).
Self-doubt sure is ugly and the worst thing about it – no one cares! Everyone else is too busy having their own existential crisis, marital woes, health scare – whatever – living their own lives to care about you and your insecurities. So my advice on this score is suck it up. Oh, and remind yourself of previous successes. Previous times where you felt despair and then, boom something good fell into your lap.
(3) DEPRESSION (or is that PMT?) Seriously, depression is bad news – crippling, crappy stuff. And that’s why I’m so wary of the first two monsters listed here because if you’re not careful they can lead you to this horrible dim dark pit of despair and it’s a long way back. (Being an author of a book on depression I should probably mention it here 🙂 )
How to ward against depression? Make something. I’m serious – make some muffins or a heat bag or a paper plane – just make something small and cool so you can say, you know what, I made that. Then, contact a friend, meet for coffee or just have a phone call and a mutual whinge. Sing! Singing is great therapy. Dance! My beautiful friend Robyn made me a 6 o’clock dance mix. It’s filled with 80s dance music and is designed to chase away the grumps and get me jiving in the kitchen while cooking dinner – it works!
So that’s probably enough metaphorical airing of dirty underwear in public for one day. Make me feel better and tell me about yours…please?