28 on the 28th

28 on the 28th

A photo posted by Elizabeth Barone (@elizabethbarone) on

I woke up at 6:30 this morning for no reason. I tried like hell to fall back asleep, but it just wouldn’t come. Mostly it was because I had to pee, but I also started thinking the second my eyes opened. I tried not to; I stuffed in earbuds and put on my favorite audiobook. Maybe I’ve listened to these books too many times, though, because instead of paying attention to the story, I drifted in this weird half-world of total wakefulness and slight panic.

Just slight.

This morning I feel… pensive. I think that’s the best word to describe it. Otherwise I was going to go with the completely lazy and meaningless “some type of way,” but it’s actually kind of accurate. Yesterday I turned 28 and, even though I realize that’s not that old, it still feels like a turning point.

Like, Holy shit I am a real adult now and I’ve been doing things but still have more things to do and maybe do I want a baby or two because if I wait much longer I’ll be a fossil by the time they’re my age. That kind of peak. All weekend all I’ve been able to think about is how I’ve basically done nothing with my life.

I’m not at all downplaying all nine books I’ve published, nor do I feel like any of my other accomplishments amount to nothing. And I don’t exactly hear the ol’ biological clock ticking. It’s more like the way you feel on the morning of the first day of school after summer has ended: excited, slightly nauseous, and very serious. Playtime is over, but what did I do all summer? And what will I do now? Did that summer even mean anything?

I have no idea what I’m getting at here. This morning I woke up at 6:30 for no reason and it felt like such an adult thing to do. Being childless, I don’t normally feel very adult. I pay my bills and I write books, which is responsibility enough for me. Yesterday I read all about stocks, not because I felt like I should but because I really wanted to. Most terrifyingly, I enjoyed it.

*whispers* What is happening?

The season is changing and so have I. I feel like these past couple years have been a cocoon. I recognize myself but my markings are a little different. Hell, even my bunny birthmark is fading. Last week I had a major epiphany, and I could almost feel the air swishing by from that door closing. This was something that had dragged me down for 12 and 11 years, respectively, and yet within an hour of sitting and thinking, I let it go. That saying about arrows is so true.

An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. When life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means it’s going to launch you into something great. So just focus, and keep aiming.

-Unknown

None of this feels bad. Going back to that first day of school metaphor, it just feels like I’m walking down the hallway, blindfolded, in a place I’ve never been. It’s different and I have only a tiny idea of what it’s going to be like.

Definitely another nine books (and then nine more, and so on). Possibly tiny humans, as long as I’m reasonably sure I won’t ruin them. And… who knows?

Please tell me someone out there knows what I’m talking about.

Quitting Is For Quitters

via Unsplash
via Unsplash

I’ve been having that “maybe I should quit writing” talk with myself again. It’s an internal monologue. I’m lying awake in bed at 3am thinking You know what? I gave it my best shot. It’s been five years. FIVE. And I’m not seeing any major results. So maybe it’s time to go back to school for something I can physically handle and give up this ghost.

I’m supposed to be creating a takeover schedule for tonight or at least putting together a Crockpot full of sauce, but all I can think about is how tired I am. How overwhelmed I feel. We’re behind on all of our bills. I’ve racked up over $2,000 in credit card debt to afford covers and advertising and swag. And while part of this journey has been a blessing in disguise, giving me something to focus on while tackling my health issues, I have to wonder if maybe I’m just kidding myself.

The last two months have been amazing. I was cut loose from my publisher, who in fact did not help advance my career. All throughout May and June, I surged forward. I put together a new business plan for recouping from my publisher tanking. I set a release date for a new book and wrote up an eight-page marketing plan for it. And now, a little more than a month away, I find myself frustrated by my finances. I can’t afford the last piece, the cover design I need. The book is otherwise done, but I’ll probably have to postpone its release. I don’t know when to even reschedule.

And that kind of makes me feel like a failure.

There’s nothing glamorous about this job—not in a financial sense of the word, anyway. It’s grueling, hard work. I’m not in it for the paycheck, though; I do it because I love it. I also do it because I have a debilitating illness that prevents me from working a normal job for more than two months.

I’ve been writing and submitting articles like crazy to various magazines. Usually I get crickets, which means “Sorry, we’re not publishing it,” and just re-submit elsewhere. This morning I got a brutal rejection letter that basically said “Your article sucks.”

Honestly, that fucking stings.

I’ve received rough 1- and 3-star reviews on my fiction, but that skin has long since thickened. Usually I ignore them or even laugh them off. This rejection caught me completely off guard. It’s sort of the last nail in the coffin.

Maybe I should just walk away.

But the truth is, I’m always on the run. Like the Lenny Kravitz song. When things get hard and I lose self-confidence, I’m out. Nine times out of ten, I don’t follow through on things because I get nervous and tell myself, “You know, never mind. This is not a good idea and you aren’t capable of carrying it out anyway.”

I’m brutally hard on myself.

A lot of that has to do with being bullied throughout elementary and middle school. Some of it has to do with being a sensitive kid who certain family members weren’t exactly gentle with.

And yet in the last five years, I kept coming back. Maybe it’s stupidity or insanity. But there’s a rumbling fire inside of me that argues with the internal “I should quit” monologue. I love writing. Actually, I fucking love writing. It’s the only language I really speak. Through writing, I am really, truly me.

Which is why it’s so devastatingly heartbreaking when I start to think I should quit. Quitting writing is like permanently muting myself.

I can’t bring myself to walk away from the page.

So I dry my tears and blow my nose and, while I calm down, consider another option. A middle way. I don’t have to quit—but I also don’t have to beat my head against a deadline that I set for myself. I’m the boss, after all.

Though I absolutely cannot wait to share What Happens On Tour with the world, I don’t want to just toss it out there with a DIY cover just for the sake of being on time. So I’ll wait. Which is incredibly hard to do, considering how impatient I am. Just ask my husband.

I don’t know when I’ll be able to release this book, but I do know that when I do, it’ll be right, not rushed. Besides, the summer is a terrible time to release a new book anyway.