Thursday, February 14, 2013

Enough With The Worrying by Tamera Will Wissinger (February Theme)



Last month for our January marketing theme I wrote about overcoming my fear of Twitter. (The link is at the bottom if you'd like to see it.) And for this month’s theme of Groundhog Day-style do overs, I was planning to write about more social media anxieties, but if I am to be totally honest, my fears and doubts run deeper than a website, a blog, a Facebook page, or a Twitter account. They run all the way to the heart of my writing and what it means to be a successful children's author. As in, "Who do you think you're fooling?” and, "What if your work never reaches the hands and hearts of children?" Ugly, unproductive thoughts that make my fear of Twitter seem quaint.

If I had a chance for a do-over, it would be to go back and tell myself this: Enough with all of this worrying. Stop. It’s getting in your way and robbing you of joy.

For me, it’s the best, most freeing advice, if only I would take it. Even though I like to think of myself as an optimist, I also know my unhelpful tendencies, and worrying is one of them. And at times it does get in my way in the form of lack of forward movement and productivity. Over the years I’ve come up with a few tricks that help keep me moving forward, or in the immortal words of Ellen DeGeneres as Dory from Finding Nemo: "Just keep swimming."


Here is how I “just keep swimming” as a way to stop myself from worrying:
  1. Being Productive and writing regularly.
  2. Being Connected by joining the real world of other writers, family and friends.
  3. Finding Resources to help me succeed, including writing teachers and critique partners.
  4. Thinking Positively by redirecting my unproductive thoughts. (More simply: Fake it ‘til you make it.)
  5. Appealing To A Higher Power that assures me: faith trumps fear.
I’m sure there are other things that I could have done, or can still do, but this list is a good start and gives me the ability to control those things that are within my power to control. The bottom line is this: No amount of worrying will change any outcome. What I do, say, or think, though, has real consequences and results. And while I can wonder (and worry) about how things may have been different if I had been more productive and less worried in the past, well, that wouldn’t be productive. I can only look forward and try to do better.

I still struggle with writer’s worries, even though my first book releases in a few weeks. As my career evolves, though, my worries are also evolving. But – being aware is a wonderful thing. I’m taking this opportunity to tell future me: Enough with all of this worrying. There is so much goodness and joy in store and you have work to do; don’t let it be clouded by your worries.

In close, here is one final trick that keeps me moving in a more positive direction if worry takes hold – I listen to music. There is an anthem for every age on this theme, from the 1940’s ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE, music by Harold Arlen and lyrics by Johnny Mercer, to the 1980’s DON’T WORRY BE HAPPY written and performed by Bobby McFerrin. My current favorite anti-worry anthem is HOME written by Drew Pearson and Greg Holden, performed by Phillip Phillips. These lyrics (forgiving the word usage, sentence structure, and off rhyme) snap me right out of worry mode:

Settle down it’ll all be clear.
Don’t pay no mind to the demons they fill you with fear.
The trouble – it might drag you down.
If you get lost you can always be found.
Just know you're not alone...

You can watch and listen to it here:


There, don't you feel better already? I know I do! Here’s wishing you a worry-free Happy Valentine's Writing Day!!

As promised, for the link to my Twitterphobe article, click here.

*******************

Tamera's first book, GONE FISHING: A Novel In Verse, arrives from Houghton Mifflin Books For Children on March 5, 2013. Online, you can find Tamera here: WebsiteGoodreadsTwitter, or Facebook.

8 comments:

  1. Wise advice, Tamera! It's easy to slip into that 'I'm not good enough' mode, but self doubt only zaps your joy and passion (trust me, I know)! I'm with you. Keep swimming ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Trudi. I'm sorry that you also know how unproductive self doubt can be, and glad you're of the "keep swimming" mindset! It does work.

      Delete
  2. So many fantastic ideas here. My faves: worrying robs you of your joy, and faith trumps fear...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Holly. Oh, I'm glad those thoughts are useful to you; I often remind myself to remember those two.

      Delete
  3. Tamera, I love this entry! And I especially love your methods for dealing with the worry. Thank you for sharing them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Stephanie, my pleasure. I'm glad this entry is useful to you.

      Delete