On Anxiety

I had planned on sending the draft to My Dear Editrix yesterday, I really had. And I probably could have done. The thing has been sliced, diced, ripped, re-arranged, re-woven, stitched, embroidered, embossed, cleaned and polished til it shone. I’ve filled notebooks, worn pencils down to nothing, busted a computer, stayed up late, woke up early, ignored my children, and, upon many more occasions than I’d care to admit, burst into tears.

It’s done. I know it’s done.

And yet, I haven’t sent it. I’ve composed emails, attached the document, and ended up sending it to myself instead. I’ve never pretended to be anything but neurotic and occasionally irrational, but this is getting to be a bit much. And why? Why do I hesitate?

Fear.
Fear of failing.
Fear of disappointing.
Fear of rejection.
Fear of losing.
Fear of vulnerability.
Fear of chaos.
Fear of the abdication of control.
Fear of disappointing the people I care about.
Fear of disappointing the people who have supported me.
Fear of disappointing me.

And so I wait.
The deadline isn’t until tomorrow, I tell myself.
So I wait.
And I fuss.
And I stew.

And I’ve been told that this is just the beginning. Writers, by our very nature, are total and insufferable control freaks. We create worlds, cities, neighborhoods, governments and religions. We birth whole nations in our heads. We bend hearts and break spirits and alter the laws of physics when it pleases us. We bring tyrants to their knees and crown pig-keepers as kings and make errant storytellers the heroes of their time. We labor in secret, we plan in the privacy of our desks and we offer our soul to our pages, demanding a soul in return.

And then we submit the book. And sometimes, someone buys it. And all of our control goes away.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I think this is the way to make better books and stronger books and books that will outlive us. This is the goal.

But it hurts, you know? And right now, I’m really struggling with it.

I think I’ll spend today fussing. Then I’ll send it tomorrow. I might barf from nerves, but I’ve accepted that. In any case, I’m pretty sure I deserve cake.

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2 thoughts on “On Anxiety

  1. Cake is awful coming back up, though. Maybe some nice saltine crackers until you’re over the hump! Good luck sending it in today. Here’s hoping you feel great when you do!

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