Wherein I expose my neuroses… (My OCD is really bad today)

So, I’m convinced that writing this blog post would be a really bad idea, because I have anxiety about the following things:
-You, my lovely reader, will think that I’m whining about my life and then come to hate me.
-It’s WRONG to talk about anything that isn’t happy on an author blog
-I might be obsessing about what’s going on with me, thus making my OCD reactions even worse.

Anyway, I’m writing the blog post even though I feel this way, because it’s good to face my fears and do stuff, and it’s sometimes the only way to prove to myself that this “wrong” thing that I’m convinced exists, well, doesn’t.

I don’t know when this started or why. I know I’ve been in a bad mood since Falter came out, and that could be because I was expecting better sales than happened. But then I went back and checked out the sales for Shudder, and I sold 50 copies of Shudder the month it came out, and it came out early in December. I’ve sold 30 copies of Falter, and the month of May isn’t even over yet. And basically, what I think I’m saying is that I don’t think it’s actually selling badly. I mean, that’s how Jason and Azazel books sell. I think.

But I can’t process reality properly right now. Everything is distorted. I look at my body in the mirror, and all I see are its faults. I feel like I’m about ten pounds fatter than I was last week. But I don’t think that’s actually true. (I got rid of my scale, because I decided I didn’t need to know how much I weighed.) My pants all fit the same. This leads me to believe that I’m actually the same size, but that I’m seeing myself wrong. I guess that’s just one more thing for me to worry about.

Aaah! What if I’m a fat cow?

(Well, so what if I am? Lots of people are fat and they seem to live perfectly happy lives, surrounded by people that love them. Right?)


So, I’m thinking maybe this all started going wrong when I started the Dean Wesley Smith session writing experiment, because now I have no structure in my life, and I’ve been really battling a lot of my ritual behavior, hoping that facing my fears about that would set me free. But, man, I am so freaking terrified.

Okay, so the idea of writing in sessions is that you do it all day long, and that you take breaks whenever you want, and you don’t take any days off. Theoretically, I want to write whenever I want, however much I want.

Maybe that’s asking too much of myself.

Because I like have a hard time existing when I don’t have some way to reassure myself that I’m okay. Like, in terms of how many words I’ve done for the day.

I can tell myself, “You’re okay. You wrote 5000 words today.” Or whatever.

(Except that it DOESN’T work, Valerie. It doesn’t provide any certainty. You have to be okay with the possibility that you aren’t okay. It’s the only way you’re going to recognize that this okay-ness you seek is actually something you made up in your head, and it doesn’t exist. Not just because you made it up, but because an objective measurement for okay-ness in a person is an impossibility. You will never figure out how to be okay, and you will never be able to do all the things that are necessary to be okay. Because that’s IMPOSSIBLE. It can’t happen. You’re going to make yourself crazy.)

I already am crazy.

So, on, um… Friday, I think it was. Yeah. I was muscling along fine. I’d done my session writing for about two weeks at that point, and I thought I liked it. I was doing 7K or 8K a day, and sometimes I was tired but whatever. It was fun. Of course, I was also in a bad mood, and I wasn’t sure why, but I told myself to stop trying to figure it out because I might never know why it happened, and it would go away eventually.

Anyway, something was wrong with the outline for Come Together, Helicon #3, which I am working on currently. (Even though, God knows why, considering it’s a book that even less people want than Falter.) (Actually, Valerie, you have no way of knowing what people want or how well it well sell until you publish it. The future is unwritten.) Right. So, I fixed the outline on Friday, and I took a walk, and by that time it was noon.

And I just…

Didn’t write.

I worked on some ideas for Silas (Assassins #3), which I told myself was a better book to work on because more people wanted to read it. (And I am excited about it. I got all kinds of crazy cool backstory figured out for Silas. It’s going to be awesome.)

But then I started looking for cover images for that book.

And nothing was right. And I did it for hours. It was like I couldn’t stop.

Okay, I really hate looking through endless amounts of search results because I have a hard time stopping before I get to the end. So, I’ll be compelled to keep looking. And looking. And looking. And I’ll get exhausted. And I still will not have found a good damned picture for the front of the book.

I feel, when I’m doing this, like I’m searching for the one perfect image, and I have to keep searching until I find it.

But that’s silly. There is no perfect image. There is no perfect.

Anyway, I didn’t write Saturday either.

And then I started worrying about the cover for this book I wrote called Wuther, which is a contemporary retelling of Wuthering Heights. I have stupid expectations for this book, because it’s a contemporary–probably the only contemporary I’ll ever write (well, never say never)–and I know those sell well. And I want this book to sell really well. So, I have to make the perfect cover.

I’ve made this cover with four different images now, and I’ve spent money on stock images that I then discard because I think it’s not good enough.

And I love playing in photoshop. I do. But I don’t like not being able to stop, you know?

And last night, I made another several covers for Wuther. I started around 9:00. By midnight, I was tired, and everything I had come up with was crap. So I watched Game of Thrones.

And then I tried to go to sleep.

Wasn’t happening.

“You’ll feel better if you fix the cover,” I told myself.

Why do I listen when I’m like this? I don’t know. I’m weak, and I’m desperate. I get so afraid, and my brain lies to me and tells me that if I do these things, it will fix the anxiety, but it actually makes it worse. The only way to make it go away is to face my fear.

So, maybe no one buys Wuther. Maybe no one ever buys a book I wrote ever again. So freaking what? I can deal with that. Stop tormenting me. I don’t care if I fail!

Anyway, I was up until four in the morning, obsessively redoing the cover. Is it better? I have no freaking clue. What’s better anyway? As much as I would like to be able to know with certainty that I’ll attract people with that cover, I really can’t know. I’ll have to wait and find out.

I woke up around 8:30 this morning, and I can’t go back to sleep. But I’m tired, and I’m cranky, and I don’t feel like being creative.

But I haven’t written. (Actually, I did do 4K yesterday). And I’m terrified of not writing, because I already feel like shit about not being okay because I haven’t been writing, and I’ve been in a bad mood, and I can’t make good book covers, and if I don’t write today, then I’ll be…


It doesn’t matter, because there aren’t actually rules. I know this.

So this is my brain on OCD. I’m really afraid of publishing this. I want to do a song and dance about how you shouldn’t judge me for being so freaked about stupid things and how I know that there are people who have actual problems, like starving or bratty children or annoying bosses or deadlines. I know that my life is cake easy, and that I’m blessed and lucky and all of that. I really am grateful for all of that, I swear. And I’m not blaming anyone for the way I feel.

I happen to be mentally ill.

And I’m facing my fear of what you will all think of me by posting this. It’s one fear faced today, anyway. It’s a start.