The Fear (Revision, Critiques, and the Liberation of Doing)

Back in February, my fiance and I moved across town to a new home – and since it was a short-distance move, we broke it down into a number of waves. That had the overall effect of reducing the amount of stress on any one day, but it ended up getting spread across the month, spreading out the stress. I could have managed the schedule better, especially since it was a also a busy time for my fiance at work.

The thing that made the whole process more problematic, no matter what form it takes, is my strong aversion to moving. Something about putting my whole life in boxes, in de-nesting, is really emotionally taxing for me. I moved several times as a kid (IN->TX->NY->NJ->IN) and the stress of moving seems to get an automatic critical for double emotional submission damage.

Not working on writing due to free time going to moving plus the stress of moving meant that when I did get to sit down and look through the critiques from my beta readers for The Younger Gods, it all seemed a bit too much. I got The Fear. The ‘Oh crap this book is garbage I can’t possibly fix it,’ kind of Fear that is totally baseless and is just self-doubt wearing context-specific armor and dual-wielding fatigue and not-having-written anxiousness.

After a day or two of letting The Fear get to me, I decided to just start working. I picked a couple of small changes and fixes to make, and I did them, ignoring what at the time seemed like a huge pile of ‘impossible’ work.

Surprise surprise – once I got started working, The Fear receded. This is something I’ve faced before. If I spend too long not working on something for writing, whatever I’m supposed to be doing seems more and more intimidating. In reality, the day-by-day effort of working on novels, stories, or even promotional admin keeps The Fear at bay.

Put me down as a ‘make sure to always be working on something’ kind of writer. I still sometimes need fallow periods after big pushes, but I think I’m the sort that always needs to be tending to the irons on the fire. Luckily, I have a lot of irons.

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