Clearing out the Cobwebs

Well, it feels good to be getting back into the swing of things. I’ve let my mental health issues get the better of me for a while now and I’m digging my way back out of that.

So, I don’t know how many of you know but my wonderful publisher Less Than Three Press officially closed their doors last month leaving me once again out in the indie wilderness. I’ll be honest, it hit me really, really hard. I found myself wondering if I could have done more, promoted my books more, paid more for advertising, just over all worked harder to have done something to keep them from closing.

I was blaming myself for their closing. Something I had literally no control over. But a voice in my head kept saying it was my fault. Then today Jami Gold shared this thread (I highly recommend reading the full thread):

Here’s what I’m thinking about today: What squatters are living in my brain, not paying rent, wrecking the place? Bc yesterday I bought a flowery pink shirt at Marshalls and immediately thought… BUT I NEED TO LOOK TOUGH. WEAR BLACK. NOT BE GIRLY. And that thought? Squatter. 1/— Delilah S. Dawson (@DelilahSDawson) August 10, 2019

I found myself reading about someone who sounded exactly like myself even if my reasons for my ‘armor’ are different. My mother was the polar opposite, (begging me to be more girly, to do my hair, to wear dresses, to put on make-up), but the results were the same. Just like Dawson, I have ‘squatters’ in my head.

What so many call their ‘demons’ or ‘baggage’ – squatters. Squatters with snide hateful voices that would do anything to make us doubt ourselves.

Where I live, if you squat on a property for 7 years, you legally own it. Unfortunately a lot of us have unintentionally let our squatters come to ‘own’ real estate in our minds. We can’t evict them, so we must learn to live with them and minimize their impact on our lives.

It doesn’t matter whose voice the squatters have, our parents, a teacher, some other authority figure, a false friend, the result is the same and we have to work hard to overcome the ingrained negativity.

I am 41 and just now realizing where some of my squatters are from.

But not every voice is a squatter.

Learning how to listen critically to our own inner dialog is a lot like learning to lucid dream. Plenty of people will give you advice on how to do it but ultimately, its down to persistence and practice.

So when I started hearing that voice in my head telling me I’d failed LT3 it took me a few days to realize it for what it was. It wasn’t me. I hadn’t failed anyone. I’d written and edited and worked my butt off. They didn’t fail either. They chose to close before it would have been a mess. They gracefully bowed out of an industry that has become more of a cesspool than a creative breeding ground. I respect them greatly for it.

But this leaves me back at square one. A whole new square one from when I first started writing.

Part of me loathes the idea of approaching publishers, but I also don’t know if I have the energy to take up self-publishing again either. No many agents will look at LGBT outside of contemporary romance (if you know of anyone looking for queer spec fic please point me in their direction!).

But … I don’t want to stop writing. I’m not going to stop writing.

No matter what the squatters have to say about it.

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