Tag Archives: depression

Ten Minutes of Terror

No I didn’t go on a zombie run or do a locked room breakout.   I went to meet a bunch of authors and hear them read sections from their novels.  All were from Bloodhound Books, and one of them was me.

Meeting authors doesn’t sound that terrifying does it?  Well, in fact, it’s not.  Even we crime fiction authors are actually a very nice bunch.  In fact, it was a great night.  All but 10 minutes of it were great.  But there were those ten minutes.  Ten minutes, when I had to stand up in front of 60 plus people and read out my own work – TERRIFYING!!!

Here’s the thing, I am afraid of people.  It’s not quite the same as I’m afraid of spiders – I don’t squeal and shout “kill it!” when I see another human, sometimes want to, but generally, I don’t.  Yet the fact remains – I am afraid.

I’m afraid I’m going to mess up.  Make a fool of myself.  I fear being laughed at, heckled, verbally attacked, physically attacked. I write crime so I spend a great deal of my time thinking about just how horrendous people are to each other.  That’s what I fear.

I should add that this is related to my ever-present depression.  Because of the depression, I have spent most of my life trying not to leave a mark.  Hide in the shadows, don’t make a sound.  For those who actually know me, and are thinking – what?  She’s not like that – Actually I am.  I learned years ago that that behaviour gets me nothing and actually hurts me, so I try to overcome it. Probably over compensate a fair amount. People assume I’m standoffish, well, they don’t assume it, they’re right – I am standoffish – until I get to know someone, then I can relax and be me.

But this is a confidence trick, inside I am still a scared little girl.

I also want to make clear that this is not just a vague nervousness, its real heart attack terror time. I worry about going into the office every day because of the number of people there so imagine how I feel when faced with a bunch of strangers. Anyone could be in that bunch – including the real-life serial killer let alone the ones in my imagination. Which means I was literally quaking in my Doc Martins, my heart was hammering like I had run a mile (like I  could run a whole mile!)

So I guess you’re wondering why I’m writing this post – well it’s not that I want to mention that

LOCKED UP on will be released on 7th SEPTEMBER,

or anything.  Well okay, it is, but it’s more than that.  The author’s job doesn’t stop at writing a book, we also have to promote ourselves and our work, and shrinking Violets do not do that well. Which means I have got to face this fear and overcome it.

Next question – how?

Well, exposure therapy.   Basically, I’m looking for open mike events to attend. I am going to go face my fear where it is ‘safe’ to do so.  It won’t be easy or fun, but I have to do it and the more I do it, the more I can trick the audience that I have confidence, and then who knows, maybe one day I might even convince myself.


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An Incontinent Dog

I really should be writing.  It’s a simple as that.  I even want to be writing, but when I open up my current WIP or either of the other two I have reason to be writing, all I see is a blank sheet and no words.  Well I see the words I’ve already written, but nothing new springs to mind.

So I was about to close down, and give up for the day, when I saw Document1 was still open.  This document.  Not having any trouble writing this document.  But that may be because of the nature of this document.

This is my blog.  I can write whatever I want to write here.  I don’t have to make sure that it makes sense as it follows on the heels of the last blog.  It doesn’t have to relate to anything in the next blog either.  It’s its own little world of words – a standalone.  This way I am free and can just type a stream of consciousness scribbling thing, and let sentences kind of get away from me like this one did. I do go back and edit – most of the time – but sometimes I let the creative weirdness stay in.

The truth is that the last six months have been well, pretty naff actually.  I have struggled with stress and depression.  Don’t get me wrong, I have a good life, there is a great deal that I have to be grateful about in my life.  But getting depression isn’t one of them.  Depression can dump all over you like an incontinent dog with diarrhoea, and sometimes there is just nothing you can do to stop it.  Which is where I am now.

I’m trying to get past it, really I am, but this mental block on the writing is just starting to wind me up.  I’m not sure if being able to write this is helping or making matters worse since it’s such a stark contrast to where I was a few minutes ago.  I want to write the next scene of my WIP.  Even kind of know what it is, but I sit down to try and can’t, been like that a few days now.  I suspect that somewhere in the back of my mind I know there’s a problem with what I’m going to write.  That probably means that I’m going to have to wait until that “somewhere” figures out what is going on and jumps up to tell conscious me what the problem is.

This mid-book funk is unusual for me and I don’t like it.  I want it and the depression to go away.  Hand in hand into the sunset.  Yep, that would do.  A romantic break together.

I suspect what I really need is a restful break from the day job, but I can’t see that happening anytime soon either.  Well, except that I’m going to Crimefest is 46 days, that’s always something I look forward to.  Anyway, sorry it’s a bit of a blue afternoon, hope to have something more cheery to write next blog.

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Gagging Thomasina

Anyone who knows me or reads my blog, will probably know that I suffer with depression.  So this blog is about my self-doubt, this blog is about Thomasina.

Although Thomasina only got a name about a year ago, she’s been sitting in my head all my life.  She’s the nagging voice that tells what I can’t do.  Not what I’m not allowed to do, mind, what I’m not capable of doing.  Which, according to her, is pretty much everything.

Thomasina has coloured my entire life, or should that be shaded?  It’s definitely darker with her in.  Add to that 27 years of agent and publisher rejections and it’s amazing that I put pen to paper, or keystroke to memory instead of blade to wrist.

Even though I know that Thomasina is there, that she wants, or at least expects, to see me fail, I have learned over the years some coping mechanisms to deal with her.  I am not doing the affirmations in the mirror as that’s just excruciating, but I try to block her out.  Doesn’t really work of course, I mean how do you close your ears to someone who sits in your own brain?  So she’s there telling me that I’m going to fail, get rejected, that I’m not good enough, each and every time I send any form of submission in.

Trying to quiet that kind of voice is like trying to herd cats and pigeons together – it’s not going to happen.  That said, I don’t always get rejections anymore, I am actually getting accepted, accepted and published.  Maybe only for short stories at this point, but something is better than nothing, take that Thomasina – she immediately chirps up that it’s still next to nothing and I want to slap her.

But something happened in Winchester (something I’ve mentioned in previous blogs), I submitted one story to four agents and all four wanted to see more.  So I listened to their comments, took note of their individual requirements and edited all into one version of the updated manuscript which I then sent to all four of them at the same time.

Within a day I got a positive response from one agent asking me to go to London to meet him.  I did think about letting the other three know there and then, but I didn’t want to be precipitous just in case it didn’t work out.

Of course it actually did work out.  Yes, I am now officially represented by a proper literary agent.  Happy bunniness abounds – there are even pictures to prove it (poor posture and everything!).

Happy Bunny

So ya-boo-sucks Thomasina, I am good enough, I can write and I will get a full novel published, may not be tomorrow, but it is going to happen.  This time Thomasina gives no reply, well a dirty look or two, but she can’t say anything – she’s well and truly gagged.

For now at least.

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Blocked for Blogging

Hey who stole the last six weeks?  I meant to blog again in Feb and March, but things kind of got away from me.  I even started a blog, but never had time to finish it.

February was rather busy, being my husband’s birth month we had a great long weekend away in North Wales, just us, as an actual couple – bliss.  Then there was all the editing, I was booked through from the 15th of Feb and I haven’t had a day off from it since.  Well that’s not entirely true, had one day free of it because I needed a rest, and I needed to get a short written.   So here’s a rundown of what I’ve been up to.

I’ve re-read a manuscript I wrote last year and have sent it to my editor – was not hopeful for what will come back, thought it was okay when I wrote it, but lost confidence in it.  Figured I may end up having to scrap it and starting all over again, and that’s exactly where I am now.  I kind of knew that there were some problems with it, but wasn’t sure which were the flaws and which weren’t.  Turns out there were a lot of flaws – including the leading man being to ‘beige’.  So complete re-write it is.

I’ve also been working to polish the steampunk story that’s been accepted for publication.  Fingers cross that it’s better, but the problem with making changes is you’re (or at least I’m) never sure if they are improvements or not.

I’ve been busy writing reviews For Warped Factor, mostly comic reviews, but had one  article I’m particularly proud of is Six Degrees of Separation to Lwaxana Troi.  It was a fun piece that actually got enough hits to get on the sites top ten for a week or so. To be honest the comic reviews have kind of taken over a bit, there are some great new titles out and so I have been reading them.  The biggest problem I’ve found is that I’ve started reading them with the excuse that I’m going to write about them and doing that instead of doing the things I should be getting on with, like writing another book.

Procrastination has been a problem, but I think it’s actually a symptom, a symptom that I may have to recognise the fact that I’m never going to get published – okay as above, I am getting published, but it’s all likely to also be a symptom of my depression, but I do have a reason for this one.  In January I was very upbeat about some prospects, not least of which was a publisher requesting a full manuscript, which I sent back to them that very day.  The email said they would get back to me in six weeks.  It’s now been eleven weeks and I haven’t heard a thing.  Okay people get behind and until I get the thanks-but-no-thanks there’s hope.  But to be frank, if it they’d read it and thought it was worth picking up, they’d have done so by now.  So yes, there’s hope, just not much of it.

I went with the family to Cardiff ComicCon.  That was a good day out, spent far too much money on comics – but what else was I supposed to do?  Got some good ones this time round.  Lou Scannon and Moon, and Bearlands (Zombie Teddy Bears).  Just have to get round to reading them instead of manuscripts at some point.

I even got round to booking tickets for London Film and Comic Con in July, in hopes of meeting another author who publishes through Xchyler Publishing, also by that time, the anthology I’ve got a story in should be out and I’ll have a product to push.

You might have picked up on the note of being depressed above, and that’s  been a bit of an issue this last few weeks.  I had zero concentration and was crying over absolutely nothing, really annoying, especially when I have so much to do.  Seem to be coming out of it these last few days, not completely as I write this, but getting there.  Did have a bit of good news today.  I entered a short story competition last month in with the Swansea Writers Circle, and I got third place, so yeh me!  Especially in a genre I don’t usually write, children’s fiction, rather happy with that.

The one thing I haven’t managed to keep up with is the MOOC on Forensic Psychology: Witness Investigation which I really want to do.  Must get my butt in gear and catch up.

Anyway, I’ve got three edits to get done so I’d best get back to it.  Thanks for listening.

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