As an obsessive compulsive person, I often find myself in a cycle of crippling stress, obsession, mania, and depression. The obsessing especially gets out of hand because unlike the others, I don’t realize I’m obsessing about something until someone else points it out. And suddenly the light bulb goes on in my head, and I think, “Is that what’s going on? Is that why I can’t sleep?”
Monday, my brother asked me why I had gotten so obsessed with my finances. My first reaction is always denial, but then I thought about it. I knew I had gotten obsessed with it, I just never thought to stop and ask myself why. Change is difficult. Even good change. I had gotten so used to being so incredibly broke that I couldn’t see my life any other way.
It was like someone had taken a bag off of my head, and I suddenly realized the sun was shining on the other side. But still, it’s just weird. I still almost don’t believe it. And then yesterday, I wondered something else, because I still couldn’t sleep. I was supposed to start editing Monday night and I didn’t do it. Last night I told myself I needed to do it, and I started crying.
Granted, I tend to cry pretty easily, but what the crap was I crying about?
It’s true, I’m tired of writing then editing, writing then editing, over and over again like a disc that has a scratch on it. I feel like I HAVE to. I have to edit so many weeks after I finish a draft. I have to query after that. And I’m just tired. I am so freaking tired.
It’s not like I just want to dive into another story and get lost in a new world. I just want to put an end to this endless cycle of writing/editing/querying. Why do I have to edit NOW? Why do I HAVE to be ready to query by March? Like who freaking cares?!
I don’t want to do it. I’m ready to edit. I love editing. I just don’t want to query. I’m tired. Querying takes the fun out of everything. Sometimes, honestly, I want to just give up on my life’s dreams and get a real career, you know.
It’s such a clear picture in my mind. I’ll never be fulfilled, but I’ll be appreciated and happy. Maybe fulfillment is just a pipe dream. One of those things that doesn’t really exist, like romance. (Yes, I’m one of those people.) I like the idea of it, I even write about it once in a while, but I don’t believe it. The psychologist in me sees it as a very interesting, sometimes high sometimes low functioning version of insanity.
And maybe that’s what dreams are — a very pretty illusion.
And ultimately, I know that’s why I can’t sleep. And I know that’s why I’ve been so obsessed with my finances. It’s not just the change from being super broke to finally being able to save money. I hold on to the finance thing because I know I have some control over that. I hold on because I don’t want to deal with the fact that I think I’m wasting my time.
Not with writing in general. But with the amount of time I spend writing. Outside of things I absolutely have to do, writing trumps everything but a small amount of social time so I don’t lose my mind.
And it’s like, it’s not even worth it. I’m wasting my time.
That’s why I started crying.
I have sacrificed so much, and for what? I could have been looking for another job. Searching for another calling. And instead I’ve spent hours and hours and YEARS of my life writing and editing and querying and researching and waiting and losing sleep.
And when you’re crazy, like, you really need your sleep. Because insomnia just makes all of my other problems worse.
I can’t do everything. I can’t work and write AND find a new purpose in life.
I’m not trying to boo-hoo all over the place. I’m not feeling particularly bad or down or crazy or anything. I’m not angry over how long I’ve been querying. I’m not angry when I have to shelf projects. I haven’t gotten any rejections recently. I’ve just often wondered how long I can query before I’m considered certifiably insane, and I’m wondering if I’m approaching that line. I’m wondering if I’m standing on it.
My sister tries to tell me that I can get published any time, I can get published when I’m 50. How is that supposed to make me feel better? Because then my brain goes into, “What am I supposed to do for the next 20 years of my life then?!” mode. Work retail? I can’t do that. Seriously, I think I’m dying inside. I have to find something else to do, and I don’t have time when I’m writing all the time.
I know 30 isn’t old. But I feel like I have to change something now or I’m going wake up and I’ll be 40 and I’ll be in this exact same spot. Another decade gone and I’ll have nothing to show for it.
I guess it could be said that I’m having a career-crisis. I don’t vehemently hate my job, but I don’t like it. It’s a job. It’s fine. But I’m not happy. I thought I would be there for 5 years at the absolute max. I’ve been there for nine.
I can’t sleep because I keep trying to stay up and find a solution to a problem I didn’t even have a name for. I need to know when I lay down at night that the next day is bringing me closer to something. That’s it not just another day on a track I can’t get off of.
I work for family and there is a lot of flexibility and stability that comes with that. For something temporary, it’s perfect, but for something permanent…
Rambling like this doesn’t fix anything, but I don’t know. I guess I just needed to get words out of my head. Come face to face with reality for a change. Because I can count of one hand the number of nights I’ve slept well since last March. I clearly can’t do what I’ve been doing anymore, but I have absolutely no idea what to do with my life.
I was so sure I would be a writer. I honestly don’t know who I am without it. Truth be told, I outright start panicking. Nothing else feels right. But I can’t just sit here and hope that the agents who still have my story will love it and sign me and sell it and then it will in turn sell well enough to give me enough hope and enough energy to keep at it, or at the very least, that the next project I query will be the one to sell. Because there’s always a next project.