Lately, I’ve been having trouble focusing on anything. Basically since I finished draft 4 of TSS. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. It’s some combination of severe anxiety (of the random, heart-pounding, stomach-lurching variety) and an inability to pay attention. This means I’ve started and given up on reading several books in the last week or so, and the ones I haven’t abandoned, I’m reading slooooowly. I don’t like reading slowly. If it takes me more than a week to read a book, I feel like a failure.
Yesterday, I did manage to start my draft-4 read-through of TSS in preparation of sending it to critique partners. I’m kinda sorta able to focus on that and have made decent progress in the last two days. Here’s the weird thing about my TSS-related anxiety: I actually like this draft of the book. I think it’s good. Do you know how hard it is for writers to say that about their own work? I’m sure I’ll reach the I-hate-this-it’s-the-worst-thing-ever-written stage again soon, but for now, I’m feeling a little tickle of pride. It’s rather pleasant.
But then, why the anxiety? Why does the prospect of querying in a few short months simultaneously excite me and make me want to upchuck? Why does finally being close to done with TSS, which I’ve been working on for 13 months, not fill me with relief? I suppose it’s because there’s a possibility of it getting universally rejected, and that is almost too much to bear. I’ve put too much into it. Rewritten it too many times. Changed too much. Become too attached. If nobody likes it, this one will be hard to bury.
So, what do I do in my distracted, unfocused stupor, you might ask? If not reading, then what? Well, I Peanutize myself and everyone I know.
And I look at Twitter, which does nothing to quell my anxiety.
And I look at Facebook, where I now follow too many politicians, so it does nothing to quell my anxiety.
And I look at blogs, where I learn about writing contests that I can’t enter because my book isn’t polished yet (which does nothing to quell my anxiety. Are you sensing a pattern?).
And I watch TV, but then I think about how many awesome shows just won at the Emmys and how I’ll never have time to watch them ALL.
And and and…it just becomes too much. I want to go live in the woods away from technology for a few days (except for indoor plumbing. I’ll take plumbing). I don’t quite know what will cure this bout of restlessness. Not entertainment (movies/TV/books are overwhelming), not writing (the closer I get to querying, the more my stomach lurches), not exercise (yuck). The only time I felt truly calm in the past week was when I was volunteering. Maybe I need to do more of that.
Any suggestions for how to calm down when you’re freaking out about writing?