Sunday, April 5, 2015

If We Were Having Coffee...

Spoiler: I don't drink coffee, but I saw a post on the Perpetual Page Turner in the vein of this post and it made me want to write one of my own.

Instead of coffee, I'm drinking an orange mango Sparkling Ice because Sarah got me hooked on them. So, without further ado, pull up a chair.

If we were having coffee... I'd tell you I feel overwhelmed. There are so many things I have to do--for school, family, friends, writing--that I wind up just falling into a well and only surfacing when there's a deadline or due date looming over me. It's not the wisest way to go about life, but I can't help it. Do you ever just feel so overwhelmed with everything you have to do, so you just end up not doing any of it? Yeah, that's happened with increasing (and scary) frequency. I'd ask you if you have any advice for how to break this vicious cycle.

If we were having coffee... I'd tell you that I feel uninspired. I've blogged before about the dry spell that occurred after PitchWars and my novel A SEA OF HOLLOW HEARTS. Well, now that I've turned my manuscript THE WAYWARD DARK into my agent, I'm turning my sights on a new WIP, and I'm afraid that I won't be able to finish it. It took until WAYWARD to get me writing again. I'm scared to death the dry spell is going to hit a second time. I'd ask if this has ever happened to you and how you got over it. 

If we were having coffee... I'd tell you that I miss my friends. Moving to Idaho separated me from all of those I'd gone to high school with, and a ton of my friendships have suffered because of that. A few friends and I are trying to stay in touch, but it's hard because of the distance. My critique partners are those whom I'd consider my closest friends ever. They've always been there and supported me through thick and thin, but I feel like we're drifting apart. Maybe they don't feel the same, but I do, and I think it's my fault. I'm not as active on social media anymore (mostly because it gives me the sads, as Sarah says, for reasons I won't go into) and I feel like I hardly talk to them. We're all busy with life and jobs and our own writing, so I understand why we haven't been as chatty as we used to. And although this could be completely just in my head, I feel like--because I'm only 20 and still figuring my life out--that it's making a trench between us. Crazy, right? But these are the things I cruelly tell myself to make sense of the divide I feel growing between us.  If I was having coffee with my critique partners, I'd ask them if they feel the same way. 

If we were having coffee... I'd ask you how your life is, both now and when you were my age. How long did it take you to figure out where to go, what to do, who to be? I know I'm further ahead than many, since I have an agent at only 20, but I also feel so far behind. A lot of my friends are older than me, have jobs and families, and they seem to know what to do and who to be and where to go. I could be mistaken, but when I compare them to myself, I feel like a bumbling mess of a person. I'd ask if you have any idea how to stop this.

If we were having coffee... I'd tell you that I finished the Mistborn trilogy and am feeling extremely disenchanted with the ending. What kind of ending was that? I won't go into details because of spoilers, but it was not an ending I was expecting. I invested so much time to this trilogy and for it to end the way it did leaves me feeling robbed. I'd ask if you've read the trilogy and what you thought of the ending.

If we were having coffee... I'd apologize profusely at letting my inbox/critiquing lax in recent weeks. I'm horribly behind on things and it is entirely my fault. Normally I'm better at organization (I have such a love for concrete plans) but lately everything seems to have scattered. I'd ask if the "keep calm and carry on" mantra actually works for you, because sometimes it doesn't work for me.

If we were having coffee... I'd tell you about my insomnia. Because with all the things I have to do, I've been suffering more and more from the insomnia that's plagued me since I was 16. But lately, it's gotten worse. I'm lucky if I fall asleep by 2 AM most nights.

If we were having coffee... I'd want to know all about your life, your dreams, your worries. I'm not very good at sharing my feelings (I have a few ideas on why that is), and I feel like sometimes my relationships with people suffer because of that. But I do want to know about you and how you're doing. I want to know the people I care about are happy. I'd tell you that every time I get an email or text from my friends (which just happened as I was writing this section) I smile because it makes me happy to know that they think of me and want to talk to me. And I hope they know that I always want to know how they're--how you're--doing.

If we were having coffee... I'd ask what songs you've had on repeat lately. What TV shows you've binge-watched recently. What movies you're looking forward to seeing.

And there you have it. There's probably more but I'm feeling kind of drained. How about you? What would you want to tell me if we were having coffee?

4 comments:

  1. *hugs* I'm sorry you're overwhelmed, K! And no wonder. You've got a ton going on!

    Re: the insomnia: have you tried yoga or meditation? Maybe you need to find a way to clear your head? Hypnosis for my anxiety helped me clear my head (and made it easier for me to fall asleep). <333

    You know I've been listening to BVB on repeat! :) Also, I'm addicted to Sleeping with Sirens. "Kick Me" is my favorite!

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  2. 1) Yes. I am constantly overwhelmed. Chaos is the one thing I can depend on in my life. Things don't happen one-by-one; they come in clusters. These usually leaves me scattered for a little while. I'm like you--I retreat to my office, I try to get work done, and hope that I'll emerge with less on my back.

    When I was in college, it was...really hard. I had to drop out my first semester and move back home. That sucked. It took another year for me to get back to full time since I was working and trying to work with a major disability. Because of this, my junior and senior years were nonstop, no breaks. I went year-round. It was like drowning. By the time I graduated, I was so exhausted with school that the idea of applying to grad school was too much. I can only imagine how much harder this must be to balance with writing on your plate. That's demanding, and you have a lot of strength for being able to balance it, period. My advice would be to give yourself some forgiveness and breathing room. Break up your to-do list. Move stuff around so you're not taking on too much each day. I do it too. Sometimes it takes sticking to simple things like that to break out.

    2) I feel you on fearing dry spells. I know it will get worse once I'm agented. That pressure to be productive and have tons of ideas when the well feels dry is TERRIFYING. If nothing's coming, wait. Work on something that isn't writing. Something might come to you.

    3) I can understand this. I've had a lot of distance with my RL friends too. Some of it is business, some of it is feeling physically terrible, most of it is being overwhelmed. So I feel you on all fronts above. I'm sorry for being so quiet on this end. The more I'm struggling, the quieter I tend to get. Eking out the last chapters of this book has been...difficult, and life refuses to slow down. But I always welcome emails from you, and I miss you quite a bit. Always feel free to poke me--more often than not, I need it!

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  3. 4) When I was 20, I felt very far behind. Everyone my age was in their junior year and successful, and I was still struggling to get on the right med combo and stay out of hospitals. It felt like I had a ball and chain around my ankle, and I was dragging while everyone else was running. I felt that too--everyone else seemed to have their shit together, and I was struggling with balancing family issues, my own issues, and a crappy part-time job. The only solution was to shake off comparing myself to everyone else and focusing on my own path, what I had to do for ME. Other people's paths weren't MY path, and they'd never be right for me. Their roadblocks weren't my roadblocks. If I wanted to progress, I had to figure out the obstacles in my path and how to overcome them. It took a lot of time. And honestly, I have to say that I've never really had a firm grasp on what to do, who to be, where to go, because those things are always evolving and changing. If anything, I've learned to lean into currents and run with them. That's how my life seems to work, anything. It's like catching trains. Running to catch the next one, and the next one, and the next one after that. I learn a little bit about myself and who I am each time I get somewhere new, so it's always in progress. Not comparing myself to other people and focusing on my own path helped. I don't think I fully learned to do that until late in my twenties, but I had quite a few things hobbling me. I think you'll find your own speed and your own path faster than I did, but it's something that comes on its own. It can't be forced.

    (Skipping 5 because I haven't read it)

    6) Me too. Me too. I've been slugged with one problem after another all spring, and dealing with those crises has shoved a lot of things onto my back burner. I hate when that happens, but I know I'll get back to them eventually. I get impatient, but I try to stay focused. My mantra is "I'll get there if I keep pushing, one little bit at a time." It's what works for me.

    7) I have been plagued with insomnia since childhood so I feel you. It's always worse in times of stress. Try to reduce light. That's one of the biggest things for me--turning the lights low, dimming my computer, and not checking my phone before bed. Soothing white noise helps too--rain sounds, a fan, anything repetitive and calming. Progressive relaxation helps, too. But the biggest one for me is light. Nothing stimulating. All the light bulbs in my bedroom are 25 watt bulbs if that tells you anything!

    8) I'm struggling but I'll get there. I'll catch up with a finished draft eventually. In the meantime, I'm working and finally bringing in some coin, trying to get my meds straightened out and back on the mend. I have to be patient and remind myself I'll get there eventually.

    9) Cloudeater's "Hollow," Other Live's "For 12," and Royksopp's "Monument" are all on heavy rotation right now.

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  4. And that's how I am in a nutshell! I hope this past month was easier on you. <3 <3

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