Positivity Journal, Day 50

I got to write that up there ^^^^ down today. Fifty days of the Positivity Journal isn’t exactly a milestone where months are concerned or anything, but fifty days of doing this was definitely a personal milestone. I’d imagine that’s enough time to say I’ve successfully managed to integrate this into my life. Whether or not it’s been a ‘success’ in all aspects I intended with it is yet to be seen. I really like to think it’s brought something positive into my life, but then I could get into the question of how much of a positive mindset is mental (strictly mindset) and how much of it is physical (events). I could ramble for days about that, I’m sure. (Now I’m thinking about Little Giants . . .)

Some days have been harder than others, of course. I feel like most have been salvageable, even when they’re riddled with more than a few frustrating events. My internet going out for ridiculously long stretches of time while I’m trying to do stuff on it doesn’t seem like as big of a deal now as it did on the day of, where almost every negative bullet had at least one F-bomb dropped. I’m not a very patient person, and as I know I’ve said multiple times on here, when I want/need to work on something, it drives me nuts if I can’t. So the internet going out consistently on a ‘catch up’ day makes me feel sort of crazy. Like the sort of crazy where I couldn’t even abandon what I was doing to go write (with a legitimate excuse) because I got so riled up about it.

There have only been a few unsalvageable days, where both events and mindset are concerned. Two, unless I’m missing one. If I’m missing one, I guess whatever happened wasn’t bad enough (at least in comparison) for me to focus on. There was the piracy day. That one’s obvious, and I’ll be honest, it’s still messing with my mindset. (Because it’s not something you can easily put out of your head, especially when you’re still trying to remedy the situation. And I think that, in a sense, it would be a good idea to not let it get completely out of my head.)

Then there was two days ago. I did something stupid. I’m talking potentially catastrophically stupid. I’m talking about the sort of stupid that should never happen because you know so much better and of course you would never be so careless.

I was sending the first book in the trilogy to the next beta-reader, right? I might ought to add that I was getting rushed by outside forces (along with being busy that day and rushing in general trying to get things done), and I’m sure all that played into it. Anyway, I wrote the email address down wrong. Then I typed it up the way I’d written it down. I’m sure you can gather that I sent my book – that I’m getting ready to publish – to some random, unknown person.

It took me a few hours to text and be like, ‘Hey. Did you ever get that?’ (I didn’t want to be annoying.)

‘Not yet.’ (Or something.)

‘Maybe you should check the spam folder.’

Obviously it wasn’t in the spam folder, so the next thing I did was type up the email address in a text with a question mark. Again, I’m sure it’s obvious that the email they sent back was not the same. I immediately checked the message where the email address was initially given to make sure because I could’ve sworn I’d written it down right.

Yeah, I hadn’t. This was totally my bad. When I’ve spent years being so unbelievably careful with my work, I’m still baffled as to how I could’ve done something so careless with it. I guess you get used to stuff, right?

I can’t even explain the panic that ensued. That was probably the fastest (and the most ‘violent’) instance of me going from maybe ten (because I’m never at zero) to one hundred that I can think of. (It was probably more like in the nineties. Getting that close to 100 is terrifying.) Even figuring out about the piracy didn’t happen that fast. There’s always some sort of buildup. This was seriously like snapping your fingers and going straight into panic-mode. I’m sure the bad feelings there were exacerbated by the recent piracy experience and knowing how quickly and easily your work can be messed with, or taken, or whatever.

So, I did what I could. I wrote a new email to whoever it was, explained the situation and whatnot. I tried to send the book to the correct person. Of course . . . internet goes out. About ten seconds later, my computer just . . . froze. (Maybe it was feeding off my vibes?) So I went outside, lit a cigarette, paced around for a minute, then I went and sat down on the concrete, putting my face in my hands. And I just sat there, going through all the potential (bad) scenarios my head could come up with. When I was done with my cigarette (not even sure if I actually smoked it or let it burn, to be honest), I went back inside. I sent the file to the correct person. I retyped the email to the unknown person and left it up until my husband would get home from work, so I could make sure it was alright to send. (It might be weird to some people, but I like to get his opinion on pretty much everything.) When I was done with that, I went and sat down on the couch, and I hugged Pig (my dog) until Husband got home.

Maybe that doesn’t sound like a super big deal to anyone. It was a majorly big deal to me. It was so ignorant and careless, but that sort of stuff happens in life. I guess it’s like taking your kid to a park (or something), taking your eyes off them for a few minutes, then realizing they’re standing next to a complete stranger. But you can’t be eyes-on 24/7. You can try. You can get close to that. But people blink and whatnot. Or accidentally fall asleep while they’re watching TV. You just have to hope that nothing bad happens when you hit the lulling moments. (That the aforementioned ‘stranger’ will ask, “Hey kid, where are your parents?” In this specific case of sending the book, I’d be more than happy with, “Get away from me, kid.”)

Careless mistakes just happen, even when you’re just about as careful as you can possibly be. Kids slam their hands in doors, fall out of trees, trip and bust their faces up. That’s life, right?

I feel like there was an important lesson to be learned for me in this, that it’s further proving what I already know about planning. No matter how meticulous you are, even the best of plans don’t always work out. I guess part of this that’s so hard for me to accept is that I just can’t be revving at NINE THOUSAND at all times. Something’s going to eventually break if I don’t slow my ass down sometimes. And all I can think of now is, ‘Unfortunately, that’s not really an option.’ If I’d just slowed down two days ago . . . this probably wouldn’t have happened.

Anyway, I’m still freaked out about and shaken by that. I’m sure you can guess that after all the piracy garbage (and by reading my second post about that in particular), I’m not exactly at a high where ‘faith in people’ is concerned. So . . . here’s to hoping that everything goes as smoothly as possible with this release, and that whatever address I sent that to is someone’s old, unused email account and that my book never gets seen.

I still feel like a moron. I could say that I wish I didn’t, but I do, and it’s probably best that way. I guess I can equate this to a shock collar. (Which I personally would never use for my dog, so if anyone is shouting, “INHUMANE!” . . . please don’t.) But yeah, where shock collars are relevant to this . . . I guess I won’t be stepping past whichever point in the grass again as long as I keep remembering how unpleasant this is, right?

So yeah. The PJ can’t stop me from getting close to 100. It can’t. It can’t make me feel better when I get close to that. But I do have to believe it’s helping, when two days after the fact, I’m trying to focus on the lessons learned (positive) rather than the event (negative). I have to believe it’s helping when the rational part of myself is able to break through at any point. ‘It’s not like you can’t prove the work is yours.’ That’s true. That’s completely true.

I’m just glad I had however many days of the PJ before the piracy, and before this. Those two things, especially happening that close together? I can imagine they would’ve caused a breakdown of epic proportions that could’ve potentially lasted for some ungodly length of time. I feel like I’m retraining my mind, to some degree, and I don’t think I could’ve/would’ve if I hadn’t started this. So, if there’s anyone else out there like me? Finding your equivalent of my PJ? It couldn’t be a bad idea.

I really don’t mind taking the time out of my days for this, knowing all it’s done for me already.

(Also, I just wanted to say that I’m going to be trying VERY hard today to get caught up with responding to comments on here, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to manage it. I have to do some stuff for the cover art and send a few emails along with that. I’ll be trying. Apologies for the length of time. I’m working on it.)

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Positivity Journal

I usually apologize when I haven’t been on here (or anywhere) for a while. I’m not going to do that this time. I’ll explain, and explaining will (eventually) get me to the title of this post. This is going to be a long one. Proceed if you dare . . .

I posted something about a month ago that I really didn’t want to, talking about how I (mentally) was not doing so great. Then I posted about two weeks later that I was feeling better (in comparison). The in comparison was key there. The fact of the matter is that the not-so-greatness has been going on for well over a month and a half now. I’d usually rather not say anything like that, and I believe I’ve only done so on here a small handful of times. No matter what sort of stuff [going on in my life] I talk about on here, this is ‘work-related’ to me. This blog has my ‘author name’ on it, my ‘author photo,’ etc. This isn’t a space where I toss my deepest feelings out into the abyss of the interwebz. I don’t toss my deepest feelings out anywhere, really, apart from in one-on-one conversations. That’s just me. So apart from saying, “I’m in a weird/bad/whatever headspace,” there’s usually not anything like that. That might change one day, but I’m not holding my breath for it.

The only reason I ever post things along the lines of what I did a month or so ago is when whatever headspace I’m in starts impacting my work rather than my life outside of work. It definitely has this time.

Typically, when I get in ‘a mood,’ I’m so preoccupied with work that I don’t even have the time to think about it. I have such a one-track mind and get so focused on what I’m doing that whatever else is going on in my life sort of slips somewhere behind a closed door in the back of my head. Sometimes (like when I’m writing), I’ll get so caught up in what I’m doing that the door doesn’t even have the chance to get opened again. Then, by the time I might’ve gotten around to it, whatever was causing the unpleasantness has usually lessened for some reason or another. (Issues getting resolved or me just calming down about whatever it was.)

This has probably been the worst mindset I’ve been in for . . . a very long time. I tried just about everything to drag myself out of it. I wrote. (I FINISHED ANOTHER BOOK.) I did (a few) non-writing work-related things. I got out of the shed. (A lot of that was due to a messed up sleep schedule/sleep related issues and it being too hot for me out here.) I played video games. I watched some TV. Did (a few) things outside (and got a good reminder of why I enjoy being indoors). I EVEN GOT OUT OF THE STATE.

I really tried just about everything, and no matter how okay (and even sometimes great) I would be doing at any point, I kept mentally backsliding. Now, we all know (and I have no problem with admitting) that I am a very negative person. (Not outwardly, but inside my head.) I used to consider myself realistic, and I don’t think it really hit me just how much I was kidding myself with that until pretty recently. I do believe that I look at the glass as neither half-full nor half-empty, only that there’s a glass filled to the midway point, but I’m always worst-case scenario. I’m always planning things out and trying to mentally prepare myself for whatever horrible thing that’s next on the path. That’s just me. And really, in a way, I’m totally fine with that. I wouldn’t be me if my dad couldn’t make jokes about the sky falling and me responding with something like, “If [whatever] happened . . . it could.”

I don’t have a problem with that sort of thing, but I WILL admit that I’m getting worse about it, and I don’t like that. I feel like in a lot of ways, my anxiety has even gotten worse. And I’ve been trying to push myself out of my ‘safe bubble comfort zone’ for a while now.

And it’s so freaking weird, because at some point along the way, I’d slowed down all the negativity in my head that I was really worried about – the negativity that pertained to my work. The, ‘What makes you think you could ever do this?’ sort of questions. The, ‘You know you’re not good enough for this,’ remarks. The responses to those had turned into, “Because I can,” and either, “Yes I am,” or, “I’m doing it anyway.”

So what’s been with the mood? I’m still not really sure, but I’ll be honest and admit that I’ve kind of been a wreck lately. I’m sure pretty much everybody knows there are some times that are harder than others to put a (figurative or literal) smile on your face just because you have to. It’s been hard for me lately, when trying to take care of all the stuff that needs doing. So I didn’t do much of it.

I cry a lot over weird things. Movies, TV shows, sometimes music. Sometimes commercials. When I say cry, I mean tear up. I don’t actually cry often. (You may think it’s not weird to cry at the things I mentioned, but it’s what sets it off that makes the crying so weird. If I watch LOTR:ROTK by myself, I’ll sob when they’re all riding into battle. It’s just so epic. Even after watching it more times than I even know, I still fight against sobs.) I cry REAL GOOD (getting all Southern there) when I’m writing/editing sometimes. The point of saying that or even bringing it up at all is . . . I don’t cry about my real life often. Once in a blue moon, usually when I’m extremely frustrated over something that makes complete sense to be up-in-the-air about. So when it gets to the point where nothing in particular has happened, and I’m just feeling nothing short of completely broken down . . . that obviously means I let myself get past an okay point to be.

I don’t really have a solution for it. (Though starting to re-watch Merlin drastically improved my mood.) I can’t magically make this workload go down. Even working on it doesn’t really put a dent in it. This isn’t a story in a book I’m writing, where I can depend on fake people to fix something. This is my real life. I’m just a feeble, little human. And no matter how I feel about my books, or my work in general, sometimes I need a good reminding that I’m more important than they are. (Because I can’t get them out of my head if I’m not in a place where I can.) It’s easy to forget sometimes, and it’s just as easy to beat myself up over needing to get whatever done and not doing it when I think I should.

So while it almost feels like it killed a part of my soul (I say that about a lot of things but rarely mean it like I do here) to not work as much, or as well, or as efficiently as what I ‘should’ have . . . I needed the break. That’s why I really can’t apologize for missing the posts I’d JUST set a schedule for, because I needed to take care of myself. And you know what? It’s been really freaking nice to spend some substantial time with my husband.

I’ve realized that I can’t stick to any sort of actual schedule right now. I just can’t manage it, and that’s okay. (Did more of that writing up posts on here and not posting them stuff.) Trying to do that didn’t actually help like I thought it would. It just made things worse for me. So I’m just going to post about whatever, whenever (like I’ve done pretty much forever on here). The sky isn’t going to fall down. People might have issues with how long it’s taken me to comment back, but I WILL comment back. And I’d rather say what I want to say when I can say it than say what I can say in a small space of time. (That makes sense in my head. I know I could’ve worded it better.)

Anyway, the whole point of all this is the title. I read an article today, and it was almost like something clicked in my head. I really feel like I’ve been in this cesspool of negativity for FAR too long. (I don’t like not being able to work.) I thought of an idea earlier.

I’m going to start a positivity journal. Not like a real journal, with feelings and all. More like a list.

I wrote however many words today. I actually went to the gym. I got whatever done. This happened. So and so said this to me. I laughed about some event.

And not all positives either. I’m going to put the negatives in there too. (Herald’s E-key broke. Husband fixed it.) Because when you break down your days, you might have one massive negative, but you’re going to have a crapton of small positives thrown in there. For someone who naturally focuses on negatives . . .

I just don’t want to do that anymore. I feel like writing it all down might put things in a different perspective for me. I’m hoping so.

I’m just a feeble, little human, and my feelings are relevant. Being down, or overwhelmed, or sad, or angry . . . that’s relevant. But those are the things I naturally cling to. Those are the things I typically remember when all of this other stuff slips out of my head. (My memory is so bad.) And I would really like to remember everything else.

Husband and I had a talk about [something awesome] today. It really meant a lot to me.

I accomplished this today.

So I’ll be able to look back at some point, and I’ll remember the moment of writing it down if I write it down, meaning I’ll actually remember the event. (I remember almost everything that I actually write down.) One thousand words written might not seem like much, but they add up. Add about 90,000 more and you’ve got a book. All the days broken down.

I don’t expect doing this to change me. I’m the most self-deprecating person ever. (If you want to challenge me on that, we’ll lose together.) I’ve mastered getting in my own way, and I’ve lived most of my life like that. (What a skill to master!) So I might have a day where the sky is falling down inside my head because my anxiety is intent on pulling the damn thing down, but that doesn’t change what’s going on around me.

My feelings, no matter how relevant, do not undermine my accomplishments, my dreams, or the good things that happen to me.

I’m not aiming to fill my life with only positives. I’m too realistic (there’s that word again) for that. I’m aiming to acknowledge and accept the positives that already exist. That’s all, and I think this is a good start.

I know there are a lot of people like me out there, and really . . . I just wish so badly that we could all let ourselves focus on the good. Good things happen. It’s easy to forget sometimes, overlook. I just don’t want to do that anymore. Whatever struggles anyone else is going through . . . I hope you find a way to overcome them. I really do. I’m working on my way.

No matter what I’m working on, I just have to remember that my most important WIP . . . is me.