pointed out that I was leaving rather sad writing-related comments on journals. She wisely advised I stop beating myself up about my lack of progress and instead, give myself room to write whatever comes to mind. To relax and breathe. Or just be stuck. Her concern brought tears to my eyes.
A few minutes after reading her comment, I left for my weekly somatic experiencing appointment. When I got there, I told my therapist I was weepy this morning because I was so frustrated and stuck on a project. In talking about it further, I realized a huge part of my anxiety is the worry that I’d “talked” myself out of this book. The thing is, I learned the hard way (as in having to abandon a really great project) that I cannot talk about a book until I have at least a first draft written because each time I say something about the book, it’s like letting air out of a balloon. Pretty soon the book/balloon is flat and lifeless and I have no desire to play with it anymore. I do have a first draft of this book but it’s different than the others I’ve written. More plot oriented than character-driven. Since I’m not as comfortable with plot as characterization, I started talking with Zippy about plot issues. Well, he suggested stuff and we talked and talked about my book, and at the time I thought it was really cool to have that connection and collaboration. Now I’m not so sure.
In discussing all this loss-of-energy-on-this-project stuff with my therapist, I realized I needed to stop talking about this project. Then she recommended visualizing a circle around me and my project, one that keeps that creative energy close but also prevents anyone/anything from interfering in my process. So I closed my eyes and did that (somatic experiencing is all about looking within and tracking physical/emotional sensations. I know it sounds wacky but it’s been a lifesaver for me). She asked if there was anyone I wanted to stand guard on my circle, to help me keep out the interference. I chose William Faulkner. As I visualized my circle with ol’ William standing guard, I felt relief. Not one hundred percent relief, but some.
Then we talked more about the panic and doubts I’ve had about this project and I told her I felt like I was in a free fall. She asked if there was anyone I’d trust to grab onto me, to stop my fall. I immediately visualized a human chain of writer friends, all of you, reaching out to grab my hand. As I pictured all of us linked by our hands, I thought about how you all understand what I’m going through, how we all cheer each other on, and celebrate the good moments and mourn the bad. I thought about how this publishing trek is so tough and competitive but how everyone here is willing to help out the other writers.
I got teary again. The good kind of teary. In that moment, I felt safe and confident of my writing ability. The panic and doubts were gone. I wasn’t alone in my crazy shame spiral. You’ve all been there. You know what it’s like and you all do your best to drag fellow writers out of that icky place.
Since this morning’s appointment, I’ve had a couple more moments of loathing and doubt. But each time I visualized my connection with all my writer friends, and felt calm again. Later I sat at my desk, closed my eyes and basked in the quiet
wrote about in today’s post. And you know what? I wrote 700 words.
I appreciate each of you so very much. Thanks for all you give.