Thursday, 2 August 2012

The worst week ever? It's certainly been a contender...

This has not been the best week.  In fact, the past few weeks haven't been all that good, if I'm being completely honest.  But this week in particular I think I hit rock bottom, and it had nothing to do with the fact that watching Womens' Olympic Beach Volleyball has made me realise just how much I really do need to drop a few pounds.  Seriously, though. this has been a week when my confidence hit an all time low, when that thing call self-doubt came out to play with a vengeance; when I actually thought about giving it all up.  Seriously.  Because, this week, I just didn't think I was good enough.

Just feeling sorry for myself again?  Well, there's probably an element of that, yes.  But I'm not one of those lucky people who has that close group of friends I can call on to moan at or talk to.  Who wants to sit and listen to a whinging author going on about the things whinging authors go on about anyway?  People have got their own probems, they certainly don't need mine.  So, that means that I then usually end up bottling things up, letting them escalate into something far more important than they actually deserve to be.  And that really doesn't help, believe me.

I guess things have been building for a while now.  After four years of practically non-stop writing, four years of thinking about nothing else but making sure I follow my dream to the best of my ability; four years of writing books, contacting agents and publishers, receiving knock back after knock back before jumping on the old indie author band wagon - all of that without any real break away from it, well, I was bound to hit a wall at some point, wasn't I?  And I hit it this week.  Big time.  I've never felt quite so low as I've felt this week, and with nobody there to turn to it's made me realise just how lonely an occupation writing can be.  What I wouldn't have given for somebody to knock on my door, force me to leave my desk and come out for a coffee but instead, nobody was around to do that so I just continued on, pushing myself to the point where the pressure I'd put on myself just became too much.  I wanted to be as good a writer as all those other writers out there that I know.  I wanted to be as good as them, but I just didn't feel it.  My new book was going nowhere fast, I've now developed a real phobia of checking my reviews - I haven't checked them for weeks, and I won't be doing so again until I actually have to go to my books' Amazon pages, for whatever reason - just incase someone's left a bad one that will hammer my confidence even further into the ground.  I just don't need that.

It's been a lonely week.  I know Twitter and Facebook are out there, and part of their purpose is supposed to be to make those of us stuck on our own all day feel less lonely, but I just didn't have the motivation to visit either of them for more than a few seconds.  My heart has been in absolutely nothing this week.  Everything's been an effort, and nothing has been a joy.

But, after hitting what had to be rock bottom yesterday, after that, the only way is up really, isn't it?  So, I've pulled myself together, made decisions that are best for me, and now that new book of mine that just a day ago was halfway to being binned altogether has a title, a cover, and a story that I am so happy to be writing!

I don't know why, suddenly, I've had a week as bad as this where I've just wanted to shut myself off from everybody and be by myself because, in all honesty, I don't want to be by myself.  But there are times when I feel so alone on this wrtiing journey of mine.  And not having that someone there to buck you up and give you that kick up the backside you sometimes need to move forward and get out of that rut you've stuck yourself in, that can be hard.  I don't want to be moaning on to people - I want to be getting on with stuff, moving forward, writing the books I love to write so it's time to stop comparing myself to other writers, time to stop setting myself unrealistic goals and concentrate on the writer I can be.  I'm shy, I'm introverted, and that's probably why I've found it hard over the years to form any real close friendships but what does help me feel less alone is when I'm getting stuck into writing a book that makes me feel good.  And that's what I've started to do right now.  It's took some time to really get started on this new project because I've put so many hurdles in my own way, put so much pressure on myself and I didn't need to do any of that.

So, it's been a bad week.  But I'm hoping to end the week on a far more positive note, with a renewed sense of purpose.  I'm hoping that, from now on, I can get lost in this new project of mine, make it the best I can and finally enjoy writing again by taking the pressure off myself, and just letting those words flow.

Do I overthink things?  Oh, you bet I do!  And it's an awful habit, so I'm trying to kick it.  Like I said before, when you've had a week like I've had, little things become far bigger than they should ever be, but I'm learning how to cope with the things that have made this week one to forget.  I'm learning to put everything into perspective, and to play to the strengths I've got instead of letting the weaknesses take over.

On a positive note though, an eventful walk with Archie this afternoon really made me smile.  We were stopped by a man in a panic asking if we'd seen a little brown and white dog who'd run off after the kids had left the gate open.  We hadn't, but I said we'd keep an eye out for him.  Fifteen minutes later we spotted the dog out on the field at the back of our house, ran round to the house who'd lost the dog, and five minutes later Charlie - as the little runaway was called - was reunited with his family after his short bid for freedom!
Archie and I had done our good deed for the day, and that really did bring a smile to my face.  I'd never have been able to settle not knowing whether Charlie had made it home or not...

Oh, and here's a promise - next week, I'll be doing a couple of much more light-hearted posts, getting back to a bit of humour because you must be sick of me whinging on... I know I am!! ;-)

Right, I'm off to check out how Team GB are doing in the Olympics... rumour has it we've just won something else...


  1. Oh Michelle! What a blog post! I want to give you a great big hug. I can't speak for any other writers but believe me I have weeks when I want to throw in the towel! I love my children but I have them all day and all night for another four weeks with no family help and I'm trying to finish my latest novel and keep abreast of blogging and social media etc. etc. Sometimes you just want to scream! HELP ME! Writing is a lonely occupation and the trouble with that is then you forget what it's like to have people around. When Mr Big gets home from work I want him there but I don't want him there because I've had a day without company and I'm writing and I don't want to talk LOL! It's that whole GO AWAY/COME HERE scenario!
    Anyway, what I wanted to say was DO NOT GIVE UP! I love your books - read two and have the others lined up! Sometimes all you need to do is hit rock bottom for you to bounce back up!

    Mandy xx

  2. Sorry you've been feeling so low but glad you on the way to feeling better. Have faith in yourself as a writer cos you are great! Maybe the thing to do is have set days that you plan things to force yourself away from your desk. Take up a hobby or something? I dunno. Always know that your writer and reviewer friends are hear for you any time. xxxxx

  3. Michelle, believe me, I have had a week like this too - in fact you can read my thoughts which I wrote yesterday on our group blog
    I was starting to wonder if all the planets had gone retrograde or something (even though I don't believe in astrology!)
    Since you live in NE England and I live in the NW (near Manchester) maybe we ought to meet up somewhere in the middle - and have a good old moan together!
    Oh and Team GB HAVE just won two more golds :-)

  4. Just tried to ring you but got no reply. I think we must be tuned in again as I've been having similar thoughts - the 'what's the point?' ones! I'm also totally stuck in a chapter and haven't been able to move it on since we last spoke! Not good.
    But we carry on because we love it - most of it - and when it's going well it's fantastic.
    You have so much to be proud of, always remember that. And you can always moan to me.
    The writing and confidence fairy will be back :) xxx