- I am only one person. I can only do what I can do in the 24 hours each day I've been given. I can't feel guilty when I can't "get it all done" in a day. That's unrealistic.
- I don't take enough me-time. I get so caught up in fulfilling the "promises" I've made to others that I fall into a vicious cycle of work, work, work.
- As a self-published author, I'm not strapped to steadfast deadlines. I try to operate under self-imposed deadlines, but I'm still new at this, and have miscalculated how long a story will take to churn out, or have had to adjust publishing schedules when another story surged into my mind with such force that I had to stop all activity elsewhere to focus on the new story. Since this has happened with my last two books, I will now no longer announce estimated or actual publish dates until a book is almost finished with edits. The stress and pressure of trying to adhere to a date that was previously announced kills my creative mojo, making the writing and editing process more painful than if I could relax through the process. This also means I will not answer questions about when a book will be published, either. Once I know, I will announce it. Otherwise, this just puts undue stress and pressure on me. Perhaps when I have built enough success that I can have a team around me of an assistant, a publicist, and an agent, this will change, but right now, it's just me. I need to focus on writing as my #1 priority. Whatever aids me in the writing process is what I'll do.
- I am a recluse. I am not a social butterfly. I am most comfortable and energized when I am alone. I am least comfortable and most drained when I am in a social setting, including social media. I have to limit the amount of time I am exposed on social media if I am going to keep my creative writing mojo intact. There is a time and place for being social, and I need to learn that when I'm writing and/or editing, that's not it.
- I need an assistant, but I'm not ready to commit to one, and I need the right kind. Not one who I'll feel like a number with. Not one who treats me like I work for them instead of the other way around. One who will help guide me and find new avenues of exposure without making me spend hours and hours of time I don't have. One who will lift the burden instead of adding to it. And one who gets that I'm a recluse and socially awkward without making me feel like an idiot for being that way.
...and finally, one that's more personal:
- The people I used to work with who made my health issues a punchline and the subject of office gossip showed more about the kind of people they are than I am. They are assholes, small-minded, and the lowest form of life to make someone's health into a joke or a game (yes, my coworkers created a sick game of keep away out of my health issues, including asthma, regarding my negative reaction to fragrance. And yes, I figured it out after a few weeks.). I have no control over this, and yet I was treated like an outcast, made fun of, and my ailment was used to destroy my credibility with my coworkers and my replacement when I left. I blamed myself, but not anymore. These are the cards I've been dealt. I don't like it, but I have no choice in the matter. I can either be a victim or be proactive about guarding my health. If you sit down next to me in a movie theater doused in cologne, I'll get up and move. Yes, you stink. At least to me. If you don't like the way I react to your use of fragrance, don't wear it. Easy enough. It. Makes. Me. Physically. Ill. Would you rather I just get sick and not say or do anything to stop it? If I'm ever required to work in an office again where my coworkers refuse to stop wearing scents because they feel they "have a right to" regardless of whether it makes me sick or not, I'll quit. My health is more important than a "job," and I don't want to work with people who care so little about those around them. Anyone who thinks it's funny and wants to make my health into a sick punchline can kiss my ass from this point forward, because people who exhibit such small-minded behavior no longer matter to me. Period.
And those are just a few of the things I've learned in my quest to eliminate stress and anxiety from my new life as an author.