It's that time again! Special thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for creating and hosting the Insecure Writer's Support Group, a monthly forum for writers to share insecurities without fear of reprisal. Let's get insecure!
If you've been following along, it's no secret that I've had depression for the better part of this year. This last month was better, and something about being at Comic Con helped me switch gears and get the ideas flowing again. In my case, it's the hindsight, looking behind after the funk has cleared that a healthier perspective stepped in. I'm not 100% out of it yet, but I'm enough above the fog to see just how much all of this has affected others. I'm about to get brutally honest about what I think contributed to this episode, a trigger if you will, so I hope you'll bear with me.
I've been ungrateful without realizing it. For years I've pursued the dream of having something I wrote published, just as many of my writing friends have done or continue to pursue. And for me, being fortunate enough to publish in a big house made the realization of this dream that much sweeter. My expectations climbed. My hopes soared. I learned quickly how much work there is after publication and went about following in the footsteps of authors I've admired for years. Results varied. Most avenues I sought wouldn't open their doors to a new author, one without a sales record behind him.
And then I fell into the trap of social media, watching what looked like amazing experiences that my writing peers were enjoying. Massive turnouts at signings. Trips to exotic places. Conventions around the country. Always smiling. I was jelly. Something was missing in myself. In trying to find out what, I dug a deep hole, as humans sometimes do. Having a new submission turned down didn't help either.
This isn't a calling out of my peers. Any measure of success should be celebrated in whichever way they deem best. I simply absorbed this in an unhealthy way. But I will share what I experienced recently that served as a wake up call (without names). I joined a table of authors who I look up to, and was struck by their complaints--the total opposite of how I had perceived them on social media.
It was at that moment when my rose-colored glasses came off.
Was I contributing to social media in the same way? Were my posts not reflective of my actual life, just the good parts? Was I truly unhappy and looked to social media as a means for relevancy to feel better about myself? Who was I really doing this for, anyway?
I've changed my tune since then, and I apologize for this brief hiccup in my life. I understand that if I am to succeed at a writing career, I have to work harder than ever. Light that midnight oil again. Three writing projects have replaced my time on social media, including a self publishing project. My heart hasn't beaten with this much excitement in a long time, while my feet are practically frozen with doubts of pulling back. But I will never know unless I give it a try.
No matter what happens, I'm freak'en proud of what I'm doing.
This journey isn't about me anymore. This is for all who wish to join me, who enjoy what I have to say. Because this is who I really am. So do me a favor. Take some gauntlets on your way out. Slap me with them should I ever think of crawling into that hole again. Savvy?
How do you avoid the traps of social media? When times are tough, how do you keep writing? What do you do to stay on track?
I'm David, and I think I'm turning 33 this weekend. Crazy!