How Bad Am I Sucking at Keeping Up with My Goals? (a #writemotivation weekly check-in)

Posted: May 15, 2012 in Critique Group, Depression, Self-Worth, Writing Goals
Tags: , , ,

I reached a state of immobility during this past week. I found myself frozen, unable to even begin anything, let alone make any positive progress . I sometimes have these moments of self-doubt that are overwhelming and cause a complete halt in activity. i withdrawal from everything, tuning out the phone, internet, etc., and envelope myself in a world of ice cream and self-loathing. I tend to think it’s linked to some sense of fear – fear of succeeding, perhaps.  Just when things seem to be going really well –  receiving awards, wining contests, hearing great feedback on my manuscript – then this little voice creeps in and asks, “Are you sure you’re up for this? Can you handle what comes next?”

That’s when my brain screams out, “No! My story is crap and I am a monumental fraud. Soon everyone will see it!” right before I curl up in a fetal position with my blanky and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk. It takes a great deal of effort to push past this wall of negativity, put away the frozen chocolate delights, reconnect with my confident self, and start working again.

I am recovering faster than I used to – I was mentally comatose for  just a few days this time – but still I hate that it happens at all. Gotta focus on baby steps of progress, one day at a time; that’s the only way I make it back from the edge of the depressive abyss. One thing that’s helped me move forward is getting excited about my critique group meeting this week. Maybe a dose of  “me time” with my fellow writers is the solution to my paralytic funk. And taking a shower might help, too.

So just for the hell of it, let’s review my #writemotivation goals:

1. Revise the query for my completed YA manuscript until it’s tight enough to bounce a quarter off the sucker.  A little more progress made – revised a couple more chapters. Would like to make a lot more progress this next week.

2. Research prospective agents to whom I want to submit my completed YA manuscript. Okay, I actually made some progress on this, too. I’ve added a few more potential targets to my attack list.

3. Once items one and two have been successfully achieved, submit to at least three agents at a time. Nope. No progress here. I didn’t send out anymore submissions. I did, however, check my mailbox several times a day like a crack addict waiting for my fix of rejections. So far, nada. At least I haven’t had any immediate rejections – holding on to the positive here.

4. Get cracking on the next YA manuscript I have planned so I don’t check my inbox every thirty minutes awaiting responses to my submissions. While I have done some mental writing and introspective reflecting on this project, little actual word count has surfaced.

Some minute progress made! Who knew? My suckage level isn’t as high as I thought; I feel better already. Here’s counting on a much more productive week coming up. How is everyone else doing?

Comments
  1. thebnc says:

    Boy, do I hear you on that. I’m fortunate enough to have really excellent roommates who have done a great job of breaking me out of any depressive funk I hit. But yeah, when it happens, it’s hard to make any kind of forward momentum.

    Good on you for breaking out of it on your own! Any progress is good progress, and it looks like you’ve made at least some this past week. There are still two more weeks left in May, and I’m sure you’ll kick some serious butt. :-)

  2. Djlawson says:

    Maybe this wasn’t so good a time to bring up my purpose in life comment? If it is any consolation Bill Cosby went through a similar thing when he was first starting out.

  3. I think we all go through this at some point. Writing is the thing I have to stuff between the interstices of my real life. Its easy to get off track. The key is just to keep coming back. A glass of wine doesn’t hurt either. Good luck and just keep coming back to the screen or the page (or however you write).

  4. Maybe that’s the beauty of goal-setting–realizing you’ve done more than you thought! I’m hoping my critique group next week will get me back on track, too. I’ve been focusing on travel and real-world projects instead of my novel, and while I’ve gotten a lot done, and enjoyed visiting people, my novel is sitting around waiting for my focus to return. It’s not a funk, but I do feel disconnected and a little frustrated as a result.

  5. stephanieberget says:

    Wow, for being comatose, you really got a lot done. I haven’t written a thing in three days. I’ve been trying to edit 10 pages a day. Ha! But I have got a lot of exercising done, so there’s that. I understand the crawl in a hole feeling and it sounds like you are getting a handle on that. Keep on keeping on.

    • thanks. it’s hard to see from the inside sometimes. i should just keep focusing on the positive things that i accomplished. everyone has an off day or two now and then.

  6. jocelynrish says:

    I seriously could have written this post. In fact, I have written a version of this post. I didn’t work on my current WIP for 2 years because of my fear of success/failure issues. So kudos to you for pulling yourself out of your funk so quickly.

    And any progress is great progress!!! We’re here cheering for you!!

    • i think depression is very common in writers, unfortunately, at least many of the writers that i’ve talked to. i am lucky this was a very minor blip. good support is the key for sure!

  7. Anna F. says:

    Ahhh- B&J’s during periods of uncertainty. Yes! I don’t know what it is about early May, but I oftentimes find myself stuck during this time of year as well. Sometimes I worry that I write more when I’m sad, and when the weather perks up and there’s more to do, I feel that I’m more into living rather than writing about life. I know, I can’t believe that I just said that writing isn’t living, because it is for me. But again, I worry about my motives. And rather than being smacked with moments of uncertainty, my blocks usually stem from being smacked with self-destruction.

    God, I’ll take my dark, depressing, hole-like Capricorn ass off of your blog.

    Good luck with your goals, girlfriend!

  8. What a great post–I can SOOOOO relate. WP

  9. Sometimes I find myself in a fog and can’t even think, but I guess it’s more of a problem of having so much to think about that my mind freaks out. Some progress is excellent, even if we don’t measure up to our ideal.

  10. [...] How Bad Am I Sucking at Keeping Up with My Goals? (a #writemotivation weekly check-in) [...]

  11. Once again, you have voiced what is in my head! (this is getting a bit frightening! ;) ) When I cannot write, I revert to pics and “sometimes” this will motivate. And other times, not….ha…guess it really is a new day every day ~

  12. Oh, Valerie, you nailed it for sure!

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