Further Thoughts (I know, I know) on Choosing Joy

unsplash54In recent years, many of the activities I enjoy have been “corrupted” by my anxiety, negativity, perfectionism, and proneness to comparison.

Instead of loving writing, I’ve let myself be miserable about it: Will I finish this on time? Do I have any good ideas? Am I a total fraud? Do I have a career in this field?

Instead of loving reading, I’ve let myself get stirred up to unhappiness: I can’t compare to this author. My books aren’t like this. I’ll never have the readership this author has. Why does plot hate me?

Instead of loving recruiting, I’ve been stressed and discontent: I should be working on my novel. I’ve been doing this for too long. I’m washed up. Kids don’t think I’m fun anymore.

Part of it, I can’t help. I have an anxiety disorder and I do not play well with uncertainty.

But I’m so blessed: I’ve found the right medication, the right therapist, have found freedom through ERP, and have a league of people in my court.

All those resources are allowing me to finally start to chose joy and delight. To say, “Look, I’m going to read, I’m going to write, I’m going to work. I have to do all those things. So, as far as I can, I want to delight in them.”

I know I’ve been writing about this a lot of my blog. Bear with me. Or don’t. You can skip these posts if you want. I’m just learning so much and writing about it is helping me to sort through it and maybe even understand it a little better.

Take this weekend, for example. I’m reading a tremendously good book all while trying to graft a month’s worth of ideas, scenes, and revisions into my most recent draft. In one weekend. On Friday night, I was stressed and had all this negative self-talk: You’ll never write a book like the one you’re reading. It’s so much better than the one you’re writing. And there’s no way you can hammer through as much as you want in just one weekend.

Instead, I told myself: You don’t write fantasy. Quit comparing your unfinished contemporary to this published fantasy. Enjoy this book. And enjoy your weekend of hard work on your manuscript. You LOVE writing, remember? Do what you can before Sunday night and leave the rest for later.

And know what? I did.

I enjoyed the book I was reading and I had a BLAST writing. Felt like “the good old days,” back before I was writing under contract. I did as much as I reasonably could without killing myself, and then I sent my manuscript to my editor, knowing that I’d continue to brainstorm and work on things behind the scenes while she reads it.

Here’s to a great weekend. Here’s to choosing joy.

 

 

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11 thoughts on “Further Thoughts (I know, I know) on Choosing Joy

  1. Hi Ms. Jackie! So i totally just stumbled upon your blog while googling things about OCD. I am so happy that I found it! I have literally been ruminating all day about losing my job and letting it spiral and of course been talking to my main man JC and although I was headed to do laundry, something tugged at me and made me get online. Glad that I did. Is there a post on here about how you came to want to write?? I am just curious (nosey; we call it her in the South) about how you started. I always write and I used to blog and I honestly feel like my experiences could and would one day help others and am curious as how to start.

    And when your book is complete, I BET it will be amazing! I mean after all, your main editor (JC) has got your back; or binding. 🙂
    Ok, I am off to read more! Thank you again for your kind words, your truths, and of course the smile I read in your work!

    – Kuppy

  2. Hi Ms. Jackie! So i totally just stumbled upon your blog while googling things about OCD. I am so happy that I found it! I have literally been ruminating all day about losing my job and letting it spiral and of course been talking to my main man JC and although I was headed to do laundry, something tugged at me and made me get online. Glad that I did. Is there a post on here about how you came to want to write?? I am just curious (nosey; we call it her in the South) about how you started. I always write and I used to blog and I honestly feel like my experiences could and would one day help others and am curious as how to start.

    And when your book is complete, I BET it will be amazing! I mean after all, your main editor (JC) has got your back; or binding. 🙂
    Ok, I am off to read more! Thank you again for your kind words, your truths, and of course the smile I read in your work!

    – Kuppy

  3. I love this post so much. Joy comes from doing one day’s work, spending down all your talents, not looking at the other guy, and then going to bed, right?

    Not that I have this mastered any of this AT ALL, either. But I at least know what this all looks like on paper. 😉

    And I really enjoyed Truest, by the way! Especially the swans…I owe you an overdue Amazon review!

      • I really really am not. In fact, I had a really hard day on Tuesday where I was like why did I move to NY and why am I trying to do this, and literally I was crying to my mom on the phone but then I was like but I think it’s like Jackie Lea wrote on her blog that you think getting one thing is going to make you happy, but then it doesn’t always work out that way and there is always a new set of problems. It’s so much more realistic than what a lot of people write on their blogs. As I said before, sad that you are struggling but so grateful for the honesty.

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