Friday, December 2, 2011

Practice Makes Perfect (Overcoming Anxiety)

If you're new to the blog, I'm going to direct you to these following posts to gain some background:

*Overcoming Anxiety    *Reading Out Loud      

As you'll see, I have a lot of anxiety. I'm constantly afraid of stepping wrong, saying something stupid, and then when I have an energy drink I all but freak out. (I should maybe consider stopping that, but it just tastes so good!)

New situations terrify me. I hate when I leave a job, because it means I'll have to get a new one, get re-trained, be ignorant for about a week until I get into the flow. I hate it...I like knowing what I'm doing, I like being good at everything I do. Any time I'm out of my element, I'm shaky, it's hard to breathe...and I want Baxter (who I may or may not be trying to train as an anxiety dog).

So just recently, I moved from the Outer Banks of North Carolina, to the mountains of Maine. The move itself was making me anxious: will I have enough money? will we have a place to stay? will Baxter be okay? etc. It was relentless, but I kept pushing through it and kept going. And things worked out:

We got a house:

Yesterday, I had orientation in a room that looks like this:

If you've ever been to a conference, you'll recognize the set up.

So...I walk in eating some oreos. I drink too much coffee and start having a bit of an anxiety attack. The woman running orientation asks for four volunteers, and I find myself walking up. The entire time I was shaking, my heart was pounding so loud, I could barely hear her when she told me to read things out loud, but the bottom line is that it was practice. Maybe someday I'll host a panel, maybe even be in a panel. Maybe someday, I'll get to read my novel to a crowd the way I read stories at an open mic night.

When I finally got to sit down, I tried regaining my breath, but it took some time. But I'm proud of myself. Why? Because I did it. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone for about twenty minutes, in front of a bunch of people I didn't know. It's something I try to work on, pretty frequently.

As writer's we're going to be nervous, all the time. Querying agents, landing editors, getting our books published. And then the book tour, talking to fans, attending conferences...I'm preparing for this, all the time. Are you?

And as of tomorrow, I'm diving into being a snowboarding instructor. It's completely new to me. I don't know anyone, I'm not even sure my knee is ready for it, but this morning, I was able to kneel down for the first time since surgery. It was awesome. Painful, but awesome. It gave me the ray of hope I'd been looking for.

So, I'm going to keep pushing through, keep pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone, all the time. And every once in awhile, I'll stop..

This is the view just down the street from us :)

and be reminded that even with anxiety, this is a really good life :)


Please know that if you comment and I don't respond, it's not because I don't love you. It's because I don't have wifi, but I do have a bad memory.

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