Trying not to stress out about book / career stuff

revisingLike everyone, I get stressed about stuff. I worry. I try not to, but it’s difficult. I’m trying my best to just accept the stress. Like, yes, maybe my book will flop. Maybe I won’t be able to sell my MG novel. Who knows? These things happen. Because the alternative is to go around and around and around in circles, trying to convince myself that the possible is actually impossible, and that’s simply not productive.

The annoying thing, though, is that it sometimes works. If worrying never made anxiety go away, then no one would do it. But sometimes–every once in awhile–I do manage to worry hard enough and examine enough alternatives that, in the end, I feel like I’ve planned for every eventuality and that the worst cannot happen. It’s an illusion, of course, but it’s a comforting one.

And giving up on worrying means giving up on that possibility of relief. It means, on some level, accepting that the anxiety that’s seated in the skin of my arms and on the base of my spine isn’t really going to go away. Or at least I’m not going to be able to MAKE it go away. Instead, it’ll just be with me–not predominant, it’s true, but sitting there in the background, hour after hour, until, for some mysterious reason of its own, it finally dissipates.

So far, that’s the only real solution I’ve found. Not to fight the anxiety, but to avoid giving in to it. Not to suppress anxious thoughts, but to avoid arguing with them. I know this is really banal advice, because the first thing anyone says whenever you’re anxious is that you should just be mindful and accept the thoughts. But I never understood, until very recently, that acceptance wasn’t a shortcut. Acceptance isn’t like the 3rd act of a movie, where a hero faces his deepest fears for like a second, and then is able to use that power to vanquish the bad guy. No, acceptance means realizing that the bad guy is never going to be vanquished and that your fears will never truly be overcome–instead they’ll just stay with you, day after day after day.

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