Stories that Matter

If I Didn't Know Any Better…

I’m struggling.

Chalk it up to age, (I do), but lately I have days when I just want to go back to bed and stay under the covers. All day. This is one of those days. And this is your warning. Read on at your own risk.

My book will have been out a year this Thursday. In some ways, that’s just so incredible. Thinking back on all the preceding years where I was hitting one brick wall after another, getting so very, very close, and then, slam, another door shut, another brick wall to scale. The road traveled to get here has not been easy. Given all those struggles, I suppose it’s fair to say I had vast misconceptions about what life would look like as a published author.

I figured once I had a book out there, things would pretty much be smooth sailing from that point on. Of course, every author wants their book to do well. I did. I still do. Has it? I don’t know. Perhaps not on the scale I’d hoped. And definitely not on the monetary scale. Being published is actually not all that much fun. It can be, and it should be, but I think I sucked the life out of the party early on. Truthfully, I’ve spent the vast majority of this year wishing for more. Wishing for more readers. Wishing for better sales. Wishing for…you name it, I’ve probably wished for it.

And I forgot the joy. Forgot the wonder of receiving that first contract, seeing that first book cover, holding my very first book in my hands.

So I want to remember all the good stuff. Attending the ACFW conference and seeing my book in the bookstore was definitely an experience I won’t soon forget. Winning the INSPY was totally outrageous and I still think they need to do a recount…I’ve made some wonderful connections with readers who’ve become friends. I’m so blessed to be on this journey. To have an agent and a publisher and friends and family who really believe in what I do. Yet I still fret and worry and continue to check the Amazon rankings and wonder where it all went wrong.

As if I didn’t know any better.

Do you ever just want to slap yourself silly?

If I believe what I say I do, then I know the God of the universe has a plan for me, and yeah, that plan includes my writing. That plan includes whether or not I ever have another book published, or whether I have a hundred books published. He knows what I need, when I need it. Why I need it. Why I don’t. And yet, here I sit, stomach tied in knots, frittering away the hours while I wait for the next door to open.

Some of you are thinking I’m pretty nuts right about now. You’d be right. But you’re lucky. You know what it is to fully trust God. To have joy all the time. To rejoice in all things, no matter what. I’m still learning. I’m still putting one foot in front of the other and hoping I’m not about to step in Β some quicksand. I’m still learning to take the good with the bad and ignore the ugly. I’m learning to have a little faith in myself. And I’m trying to trust, truly trust, that God is in this.

I have good days and bad days. Today, as I write this, is not a good day. Today I just want to pack it all in and wonder why I ever thought I could do it in the first place.

As if I didn’t know any better.

While I don’t enjoy these days, I accept them for who I am. I try to learn from them, grow through them. Tomorrow may not seem so dark. One thing I do know, despite my changing moods, God won’t change. And He’s got this. All I need to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.

How do you cope on days when you just want to jump out a window?Β 

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14 Comments

  1. Beth K. Vogt on March 12, 2012 at 1:44 am

    Honesty helps.
    Kinda like your blog post, Cathy.
    Admitting sometimes I forget what I know.
    What else helps when I want to jump out a window (or off this cliff of insanity we call the writing life?)
    I call a friend,usually another writer who understands, and I ask them to a) listen b) give me some perspective c) pray for me.
    Not necessarily in that order.
    Sometimes all at once.
    ;o)
    You know what I mean.

    • Cathy West on March 12, 2012 at 7:51 am

      Too bad we don’t live in the same country. I think I’d be sitting on your couch a lot. πŸ™‚

      • Beth K. Vogt on March 12, 2012 at 11:04 am

        Or vice versa.
        Most definitely.
        πŸ™‚

  2. bonnie leon on March 12, 2012 at 4:08 am

    Cathy, thank you for being so transparent. We need more of that in this business. I’ve had lots of days like you describe . . . wondering what in the world I was thinking when I stepped into this world of writing. It’s not easy. But then I remember that God gave me a gift. He led me and opened every door. And He has the whole picture, while I can see only a small piece of it. He has a greater plan than I do. I trust Him. And so I forge ahead, praying and seeking His will and doing my best to fulfill that will.

    He has your life in His hands. He holds YOU in His hands.

    Grace and peace to you.

    • Cathy West on March 12, 2012 at 7:52 am

      Thanks Bonnie!! It is something I have to remind myself over and over, because I tend to get overwhelmed and stressed very easily. Writing posts like this is kind of cathartic and helps me see the big picture. And hopefully my musings will encourage others as well. Thanks for stopping by. πŸ™‚

  3. Elaine Stock on March 12, 2012 at 9:47 am

    Cathy, I’ve had a rough weekend too. Not so much out of self doubt but with another doubting me–still sucks the energy out of me. So, what do I do? Hang onto God’s hand & slog through the hurt… wake up to a new day and there it is, His wonders, His Saving Grace, His chance to begin anew.

    • Cathy West on March 12, 2012 at 1:27 pm

      Elaine, I’m sorry to hear that! But yes, we are given a fresh start every day, and it’s up to us to make the most of it! Hang in there! πŸ™‚

  4. Christina B on March 12, 2012 at 10:48 am

    I definitely have days I don’t want to get out of bed in the morning. Sometimes I feel like I’m living in the movie Groundhog’s Day, where the same circumstances/events keep repeating themselves over and over. I feel like I get up and live the same day, struggle with the same stresses/worries- finances, parenthood, etc; and it can be discouraging.

    I guess the thing that seems to help me most when I’m in one of those funks, is to remind myself that happiness is a choice not dependent on my circumstances. While I can’t control what goes on around me, I can control my response to it. That doesn’t magically make the joy reappear, but it does help over time. Determination of mind over matter, I suppose. πŸ™‚

    • Cathy West on March 12, 2012 at 1:28 pm

      You’re so right, Christina. Sometimes it IS a choice, but sometimes even though we want to feel brighter, we don’t. On those days I remind myself that things won’t always be like this, and I’ll feel better eventually! πŸ™‚

  5. Anne Payne on March 12, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    Cathy,

    As a reader and fan, I just want to say that I appreciate your transparency and willingness to put yourself out there. Before I started reviewing I guess I looked at authors through rose colored glasses. I figured all of you had “made it” in your field. I mean, after all, you’re published, right? What other mountain could there be to climb? But we all live life, day by day, moment by moment, and have valleys to wade through to get to the next mountaintop. I think reaching out helps, having at least one person you can be totally honest with and know that they will still love you and pray for you even when you aren’t “on”.

    Again, thanks for your honesty. I am praying for you!

    • Cathy West on March 12, 2012 at 1:30 pm

      Thank you Anne! Ha, no, we certainly don’t all have it made! I’m sure even the most famous of authors have days where they doubt themselves. At least I hope they do. πŸ™‚ Still, I love what I do and know that I’m so blessed to be able to stay home and write! Thanks for your comments! πŸ™‚

  6. Teri Metts on March 12, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    Cathy, thanks for being transparent enough to voice what a lot of writers often feel, but are afraid to voice publicly. But we need to know we’re not alone in our struggles, and honest posts like this certainly help! For me, and you said it too, the key is remembering who it is who has gifted and called us to write, and then trusting Him. But some days that’s easier said than done.

    • Cathy West on March 12, 2012 at 9:57 pm

      Thanks, Teri! Glad to hear I’m not alone in these thoughts – that always helps!

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