Posted in The Journey

Anxiety Cloud

This is going to be one of those brain dump posts… I’m using writing as a way to clear my brain today.  Because it’s not clear.  And it needs to be so that I can continue with my writing.

There is a cloud following me around.  And it’s ugly.  It’s gray and green and swirling and its breeze is cold but wet but without rain.  It reminds me of being on my way someplace important and getting stuck in a completely unexpected downpour.  Because I am not a proper adult, I don’t carry an umbrella (or perhaps, because I don’t carry an umbrella I’m not a proper adult) and so this is disastrous.  My hair gets scary when it’s wet.

Clearly I have been sucked into this metaphor and have been led down the primrose path of distraction.  Circling back.

I’m feeling very anxious the past few days.  I assume this is normal in my journey and that it’s simply something many go through when experiencing a similar transition.  My anxiety is on several levels:

  1. We have no clue what is going on with the house.  Very little communication from our agent, from the buyers, from anyone else involved.  I am a control freak so this is not something I can handle easily.  I have to know the what and the when and the how.  Right now I don’t know anything.  And May 15th is 5 weeks away.
  2. We don’t have a home come May 15th.  Yes, we have plenty of people who will willingly give us a couch, a bed, free reign, etc.  We have that here in Michigan and back in Vermont, but at 38, the idea of sleeping in someone else’s space still feels like homelessness to me.  And despite the awesomeness of said people who would loan us space, how long will they want to deal with the two dogs and cat that come in tow?  And, more anxiety: where the hell will our stuff go?  We live in a large home.  All of the rooms are furnished including the basement.  If I don’t have a home, neither does that stuff.
  3. I’ve hit a mid-novel slump.  I shouldn’t let this bother me but I signed up for April’s Camp NaNoWriMo with the goal of outlining my novel, Fractured (working title).  I’m at a point in the outlining process that is not working for me.  It’s normal and typical to struggle with the middle but wow.  I am REALLY struggling with the middle.  I’m struggling with it so much that yesterday I said, “I’m giving myself the day off.”  A writer should never skip a day of writing.  I know this.  But I also know that writing yesterday may have pushed me over the edge.  Hello edge, goodbye Nancy!  I have completed two of my other daily writing goals so far today (after staying in bed until 9:30, who am I?!) and next is getting through the next phase of the outline in an attempt to get back on track with my novel-planning.

While none of these things are going to kill me, the amount of anxiety is a little scary – I hate change.  I hate moving.  I hate that we don’t have a house.  I hate that my novel is being evasive.  I hate that I didn’t write yesterday.

If you’re a writer, an aspiring writer, or just a human with a dream you’ve probably hit this part of the “chasing your dreams” scenario.  It’s the part that makes it easy to say: TURN.  BACK.  NOW.  ABORT!  ABORT!  I think it’s placed in front of us to test us and see if we’re going to soldier on, or run back to our comfort zone.  But what good comes of staying in the comfort zone?

Despite the anxiety, I don’t have the urge to run back to my comfort zone.  My comfort zone, itself, has grown increasingly uncomfortable.  My house may not be mine on May 15th.  And I quit my job.  But despite not really having a choice, I’ve also got a good enough head on my shoulders to know that there are three things I need to do.  And I need to do them now.  And while your anxieties and fears may be different from mine, you can apply the same logic to your own life:

  1. We need to communicate with our Realtor.  While it’s easy to just be pissed off and grumble we need to contact our Realtor.  We also need to clearly communicate our expectations for contact going forward.  Perhaps she doesn’t understand that she has left us in a lurch, completely out of the loop and without information.  Perhaps she has too much on her plate and doesn’t even realize that she’s done this.  Either way, both sides need to reestablish communication and set some expectations for moving forward.
  2. We are leaving for Bennington in less than a week.  After work on Wednesday we’ll start the drive (note to self: contact the dog sitter) back East where we’ll stay with our good friends, Katie & Mike.  We’ll arrive before lunch on Thursday and have time to ourselves to reconnect with Vermont and all the things we’ve missed.  Then on Friday we’re doing a tour of potential homes, Saturday we’ll do round two on the ones we’d consider bidding on.  We’ll take notes and rank and Saturday or Sunday we’ll start making offers.  Kris realized that in the worst case scenario we could always rent a small place in Ann Arbor if we couldn’t close by the time we have to be out of here.  That causes less anxiety than our current situation, but is still a little nerve wracking.  I hate the idea of our stuff having no place to be.
  3. Write.  It’s time to just attack the novel and not freak out about a perceived lack of ideas/understanding of the middle.  Just sit down and do it, Nancy.  Just write the middle.  And, while you’re at it, buy a copy of “Writing From The Middle” since everyone says it’s life-changing and really helps.  I just opened Amazon and ordered it – it’s only $2.99 for the Kindle edition.

And there you have it.  Situation – Anxiety – Action Plan.  That’s the best I can do at the moment as far as navigating the obstacles that have thrown themselves up around me.  Will make it even sweeter when we’re in our new place and I’m ready to query.  For now: I’m going to go write.

What’s in your path at the moment?  What can you do to quell it?

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