I'm an intense, hyperactive woman with an imagination in overdrive who loves her Husby, her two Wonder Wieners, and her emerging career as an author and photographer.

Monday, September 11

Living on the Fence: Painful and Untenable

I can't do this. I can't continue to live this way. Every fucking day, I wage an internal battle: should I drop the book project and have a life or should I go through with it? Every fucking day, I wonder why I am spending so much time and energy on something that I don't trust will ever be worth it. Let's not even get into the what is "worth it" debate. All this insecurity saps my strength, focus, and energy so that I can't give the book the attention it requires to get it done well and on time. But I can't make the commitment, once and for all.

Take today, for example. I sit down in the morning with the complete intention of giving the book my all for the entire day. Then, I find out my boss has scheduled me to work a day when I've got book travel plans already made and paid for. Then, when I call to ask a co-worker to exchange days with me, I find out she's been fired this morning, for some undisclosed reason! I'll find out more later today exactly why. Meanwhile, my brain says "This is your chance!! Her job, a cushy 7:oo - 3:30 M-F, could be yours for the asking. You'd be home every night and weekend with Husby. You'd have plenty of evenings and weekends with the mental energy to sit and write your own stories. You'd be improving the fiscal health of the family. You'd be getting the exercise that's helping you lose weight. Of course, the book would have to go."

"NO! I reply to myself. This is not the answer. PCC's problem is not yours. You can continue the schedule as planned and do the book. They'll find someone else to take her position. Don't be tempted. You've come so far already. Your reputation will be damaged if you bail on this project. All the momentum you've gained toward a new career will be lost. You'll flounder without this goal, and get depressed, and not know where to go next or what to do. Ad naseum."

I try to resume focus and get back to working on the book. Then the mail comes. In it is a letter from the intellectual property rights lawyer who originally negotiated my first contract with the publisher. It reminds me of what I had forgotten: that I've already paid for 15 minutes of his time I've never used. I haven't heard from him in two years. Not one word. And today, arrives this letter that tells me I can go see him and get his advice on how to get out of my current book contract most safely and diplomatically. Is this not the universe telling me to jump ship?? Problem is, my internal compass of what-the-hell-am-I-supposed-to-do is so screwed up, I can't tell if these really are messages from the "good" universe telling me this is what I should do, or messages from the "bad" universe tempting me with petty outs that only the weak would grasp onto as straws, an extension of my nerves getting to me because this has been a challenge from the start and will be until the end. Meanwhile, precious time to work is being lost I can never get back.

Oh shit. I don't know what to do. I only know this can't go on.


At 7:18 PM, Anonymous nina said...

Oh, man. That's tough. Would you really feel awful if you quit the book? Or mostly relieved? How much damage do you think it would do? Could you stand working full time at PCC?

Oh, and happy anniversary!!

At 8:56 AM, Anonymous Sara B said...

How much more will the book take out of you? What are the consequences, if any, if you quit? If you make it through this one, can you turn others down and focus on other writing? I hope you make the best choice that you can feel good about and not lose your mind in the process. You're learning so much about what you and your family can handle and that's significant too. xoxo

At 11:52 AM, Blogger SuperFunHappyChick said...

If I quit the book, I would feel mostly relieved, but only in the short term. It could do quite a bit of damage to my future; the publishing world is really small, and today's interns at Avalon are tomorrow's editors at the biggies. I could stand working full-time at PCC four to six months, max. Dissatisfaction with myself would set in fast. The book will take everything I've got, and some stuff that will have to come from somewhere I'm not sure I have got. But I want to do it. I've moved into the phase of psyching myself into it and trying to give it a little more every day. Thanks for your support, gals. I feel the love.

At 12:25 AM, Blogger Freudian Slip said...

One thing that works for me is making a list of the pros and cons of your different options. I know that might sound a bit lame, but it really does help. One problem is that its hard to look at situations like this rationally, and writing and organizing your thoughts does help.
Good luck!


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