Hitting the pause button.
The last two months have been, without a doubt, the most difficult of my life. It doesn’t serve a cause here to go into the what and who of it all. Suffice to say, I’ve been in a dark place, brought there both by my own self-destructive and self-sabotaging perspectives, and after some truths I held to be self-evident were revealed to be total fallacy. While I don’t have control over the latter, I most certainly do on the former, but I couldn’t see that. I was too far in to back myself out. On top of that, I had to back out of attending the RT conference in New Orleans, an event I had been looking forward to all year. RT is one of the few chances I get to see author friends and access writer education events. Sadly, with everything going on, it just couldn’t be, and that felt like the last straw. Everything seemed to go so bad, so fast, I lost perspective on a lot of things. I felt I was being sucked down the drain without a way to pull myself out of the water.
So, I hit the pause button on all things writing, and what’s happened has been miraculous. I used to obsess over my sales numbers, and fall in to a pit of despair when they would flat line. Lately, I just focus on getting the next book out. Bad reviews would be enough to set me reeling the whole day. In the last few months, in addition to several kind or flattering reviews, I’ve gotten some terrible ones. I respect the reviewers and just let it go. I used to put way too much time following the going-ons of others. This led me to neglect noticing some things that were going on in my own life. Now I’m redirecting the energy I allocated to following other’s news to making the people who really matter in my life the center of my world.
Most indies are pretty good at putting on a tough face and a stiff upper lip, invoking the whole “fake it until you make it” philosophy. Not me, but I took it to extremes. The level of pessimism I’ve subscribed to for the last year took on a life of its own. Without my realizing how bad it had gotten, it started poisoning my family, my work, and my friends, some of whom I may have regrettably lost forever. In my wallowing, I believed that my ranting and self-belittling was justified because, after all, all the bad things that happened really happened. In the end, in the act of hurting myself emotionally and of my own free will, I hurt many people around me. It was only in hitting pause and looking in detail at the picture on the screen that I came to this realization.
Finally, there is some semblance of normalcy creeping back into my life, and I’m getting some professional help to keep upward momentum. It’s not easy by any means, but it is worth it. Why did I write this post? Part of it is just practical; I wanted readers desperately waiting for Pure Souls 3 and Altunai 2 to know that those releases will be delayed while I’m sorting these things out. The other is, for whatever measure it’s worth, to make this public statement so that the friends I upset and alienated know I’ve now realized what I’ve done, and I’m sorry. Another reason, however, is to tell others going through this that I know where you are. I am where you are. Any one who journeys never journeys alone. We can do this. We can rise above this. We can endure and we can excel. We’ll do it, day by day, step by step, and minute by minute.