The Anxiety Podcast

I like podcasting. I’ve been doing it for a few years now and I’ve decided that it’s something I really like to do. I like guesting on other people’s podcasts and I like running my own. I like the excuse of talking about things I like and the excuse of talking with my friends about stuff we all like. It just happens to be recorded, edited, and put out there for other people to listen to.

Knowing that other people listen is cool and all, but I don’t obsess over my numbers. I don’t concern myself with growing my audience or anything like that. I do a little promoting for Book ’em, Danno and appreciate whatever listens I get. For all I know, those numbers aren’t even people. They’re bots. I hope they enjoy my ramblings. Beep boop.

So, even though I enjoy podcasting and do it primarily for myself, there is one drawback to it, and no, it’s not editing (though I would love it if I could be less persnickety in my editing).

It’s the anxiety fallout after I’ve recorded.

I don’t have much anxiety when recording my own podcast, but I admit that it amps up when I’m guesting on someone else’s podcast. Sometimes the anxiety is bad, but for the most part, it’s not. And the more appearances I make on someone’s podcast (for example Eventually Supertrain), the better the anxiety is because I know what to expect.

However, be it my podcast or someone else’s, as soon as we’re done recording, my anxiety goes through the roof. I second guess everything I said. I ruminate over things I said and things I didn’t say. I think about what a fool I made of myself no matter what I said. And the thing is that I know whatever I said, it was fine. But my brain, at least for several hours afterward, disagrees with that.

When it comes to Book ’em, Danno, I have to wait to edit the episode. I can’t listen to it for at least a week. I’ve got to let that anxiety die down before I can manage it.

When it comes to other people’s podcasts, well, that’s a little trickier. Sometimes I have no problem listening to them when they come out. More than enough time has passed for my anxiety to calm down and usually, I can’t even remember what I said. It’s a delightful surprise when I listen. However, there are some episodes I can’t bear to listen to (and don’t) because I know that my anxiety was up during the recording and knowing that is enough to make my anxiety spike again. I just can’t do it.

Is this all irrational? Of course. That’s how anxiety works. If it were at all rational, then this wouldn’t happen anymore with Book ’em, Danno, and probably wouldn’t happen with Eventually Supertrain.

But it does.

Every. Single. Time.

It’s annoying. And it does contribute to me sometimes procrastinating my own recording schedule because I don’t want to have to deal with myself in the aftermath.

But thankfully, I love podcasting just enough that it makes it all worth it.

At least for me.

The listeners’ mileage may vary.

Displaying Why I Shouldn’t Be in Charge of Displays

Back in the long long ago of my mid-twenties, back when I worked the jewelry counter of the local Wal-Mart, one of my responsibilities was the gift wall. We’d get shipments of stuff for Mother’s Day and Christmas that I’d have to set the wall with that would almost never sell and then I’d be stuck with it until the end of time because we had no storage space over there. Anyway. We’d get smaller amounts of merchandise for Father’s Day. It was my responsibility to fill out that merchandise for a four foot section of Father’s Day stuff. Which meant that I’d go around the store and get stuff from other departments.

One year, for shits and giggles, I put condoms on the gift wall for Father’s Day.

Not one member of management said a word. I don’t think they even noticed.

My coworkers loved it, though.

And so established my reputation as someone who should not be allowed to create displays without a strict mod to go by.

Had this reputation preceded me to the library, perhaps I wouldn’t have been put in charge of the main floor and periodicals displays when two of my coworkers left.

In a nutshell, my job is to create one big display, one medium display, two small displays, one front display, and three DVD/Blu-Ray displays. I make the selections, create the signage, all that fun stuff. They get changed out at least once a month, so I have to come up with themes/subjects. Sometimes the themes are easy to come by: Women’s History Month, Black History Month, Halloween, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, etc. Sometimes I have to get more creative: National Nothing Day, Christmas Creeps, Pumpkin Patch (all of the covers were orange), National Hobby Month, Count von Count’s birthday, stuff like that.

And sometimes I get really clever.

For example, one February I did a love/hate flip side display with romances on one side and romantic murder mysteries on the other. I also put out a display of true crime books, just for good measure. Feel the love.

Speaking of true crime, both my Mother’s Day and Father’s Day displays included true crime books. My supervisor gave me shit for it, but they were the first ones off the display both times. I know my audience.

Which is why I push limits with some things. I live in a red county. How long before the locals complain about my Pride Month displays? Or complain about how it’s not fair that I’m doing big displays on Black History, Women’s History, Native American Heritage, and Asian Pacific Heritage, but not on White History or White Heritage.

(We did have someone complain about “Black History” books on display after February once. It was literally a new book on the new book shelf. Turns out that books by and about Black people don’t come out in just February. Who knew? Not this jackass.)

Some of my displays do better than others and sometimes I’m surprised by how well some displays do. For example, I was surprised my Christmas Creeps (Christmas horror) display didn’t do that well, but the Winter Solstice display did much better than I thought. I try to take note of that to see what people are looking for.

The library goal of my displays is to put books and DVDs/Blu-Rays in front of people that they might not otherwise look for on their own. Get patrons to expand their horizons.

My personal goal with the displays is to find opportunities to be as aggravating as possible, even if it’s just to needle my coworkers. Or to see what I can get away with. Like the time that I kept Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly out on display three months in a row, just to see if I could.

I could.

I don’t think anybody noticed. Which is very encouraging for me when I think about the things I could do.

There is a pun display in my future. Oh yeah. I can feel it.

I should never have been put in charge of displays.

I’d Take It Easy (If I Understood What That Meant)

July was a super busy month for me.

I finished revising The End of the (Werewolf) Curse early on and ended up spending most of the month re-designing Kiki Writes About as well as creating aka Kiki Writes. I also did a lot of work on two podcasts. I’ve been busting tail to get ahead of the game on the next season of Book ’em, Danno. Seizing the opportunity of getting Season 2 finished early, I got a jump on Season 3 with the game plan of getting the first two episodes recorded before the end of July, as well as some other prep work finished. I also got the show distributed to two more platforms, Stitcher and Spotify.

I’m also in charge of the podcast at the library I work at and last month I had the goal of finishing a couple of short episodes before launching into the huge project of do individual episodes with everyone I work with to give them an opportunity to talk about their jobs. This is the brainchild of my director, who heard it on a different library podcast. She thought it would be a great way to inform the community (and anyone who listens) about all of the things we do to keep the library running and make the library experience enjoyable. So, I was tasked with coming up with questions and outlines to help my coworkers write their scripts and then scheduled times to record them. But getting there wasn’t easy. Even though my boss was excited about doing this, it seemed like no one was comfortable with it. It was a challenge to get everybody to get their scripts done before I could even get them scheduled. Because I work the night shift, it meant coming in during their shifts to record. Luckily, I don’t have an excessive number of coworkers and I managed to get them all recorded in two sessions. As of the writing of this post, I have everyone recorded and I’m in the process of editing.

Speaking of work, I also found time to participate in our tiny art show, painting a beach scene on a little 3in x 3in canvas.

In more personal matters, I once again changed up my exercise regime in the hopes of improving my workouts while also avoiding some of the issues I’ve had with maintaining real good consistency. Meanwhile, I had a horrible issue with fatigue and my sleeping issues took a turn for the odd (it wasn’t full on insomnia, but I wasn’t sleeping for shit for an extended period either). The roofing and siding that lasted all month long didn’t help, but my house looks pretty now.

So as productive as I was, it was only a matter of time before that battery ran out.

I woke up on the last Friday of July staring at the wall I was poised to run into. After a week of sleeping better, I’d slept like garbage. Exercising seemed too hard that morning. My To Do List seemed overwhelming: I needed to promote the Season 2 finale of Book ’em, Danno and also record Episode 28 for Season 3; I needed to clean and make the grocery list and do my language lessons. In that moment, I decided that I was going to take it easy that day. I wasn’t going to worry about exercising. I’d do the have-to things and leave the rest. I would avoid hitting the wall for once.

Instead, I ended up doing everything on my To Do List, got in a workout later that evening, and even did an additional recording since I already had everything set up.

I am not saying this to show how I’m capable of getting things done despite being exhausted and near-burnout. This is not an inspirational “You too can push yourself too hard and achieve…something!” post.

This is to illustrate how badly wired my brain is. That I sabotage my own good decisions to take breaks by not only doing the work, but doing more work. Call it stubbornness. Call it my Capricorn workaholic tendency. Call it years of conditioning that cause me to fear being seen as “lazy” and equate my productivity with my worth. Call it ill-advised. You’d be right on all accounts.

At least now I can recognize this as a problem and can maybe one day in the future take steps to correct it. I’m already planning on this taking a while. I’ve been this way most of my life. This kind of hard-wiring is hard to redo, especially when you’re a terrible electrician like me.

Good thing I have such a great work ethic.

Writer’s Transition

I noted last October that I was dealing with writer’s apathy. I was hoping that NaNo would snap me out of it. As much as I liked working on my NaNo project and how in the groove I got while I was working on it, I don’t think that it did. I do think, though, that it opened my eyes up to a new possibility.

Maybe it’s not writer’s apathy. Or not maybe it’s not anymore.

Maybe it’s writer’s transition.

When I transitioned from fanfiction to non-fanfiction, I went through a period of writer’s block in which I didn’t write much of anything. It’s entirely possible that my current bout of meh isn’t so much apathy, but a sign of another transition. What kind, I’m not sure. Maybe it’s going from fiction to non-fiction, since I am looking at making some progress on a couple of non-fiction ideas and I am working on a podcast. Maybe it’s a transition of my fiction away from horror to another genre. Maybe it’s a transition away from writing (for now) to something else, like podcasting (which does involve some writing).

Maybe it’s a transition away from writing entirely.

Hell, maybe it’s not a transition at all. Maybe I just need to clear out a bunch of my projects just so I have space to work on something new.

Right now (write now?) I don’t know. I can’t say for sure. I have no intention of stopping what I’m doing until I feel certain about what’s going on. But I’m keeping myself open to a shift. I sort of feel like I’m waiting for a specific something, that “you’ll know it when you see it” thing, and as soon as I do, everything will come into perspective again. I’ll know where I am and what the hell I’m doing.

But, like I said, until then, I’m still working, still writing, still checking off my To Do List.

No need to be bored while I wait for that sign, right?

April Writing Projects

I honestly thought about doing a Twitter poll to decide what to work on this month because I’m feeling a bit adrift at the moment. Not sure what project to focus on, not sure what I want to do, not sure of much of anything.

Last month, I finished a round of revisions on The Coop Run (which may need another round; I’m sending it off to a beta reader to see if I’m getting anywhere with it). Great. I looked at my project list the other day to see what I should be working on this month.

I could start revising Murderville Season 4, but I’d rather wait until May. I like working on Murderville during summer because when I’m not struggling with health/stress issues, I get into a nice rhythm that keeps me busy and happy. I could start revising End of the (Werewolf) Curse because that is one of my projects this year, but I should really fix the beginning of (Vampires) Made in America now that I’ve had my epiphany about it, and start shopping it to agents again. I could revise a couple of scripts, but those projects are sort of pointless because I wouldn’t be able to do anything with them once I got them done.

Who knew this would be such a loaded question?

Well, I did, to be honest.

I wrote last month about how my productivity had been garbage and how I had no interest in much of anything. Shortly after that public whining, I found a burst of mojo that led me to recording a few Book ’em, Danno segments and doing some art and making some significant progress on my revising. The mojo was short-lived, but useful. The next week I felt like I’d been steamrolled and was back to struggling.

Sitting at the end of that week, with the latest round of The Coop Run revisions finished, I asked myself what I should do in April. And when I got that garbled-ass answer above which prioritized the projects that would make me money, I stopped, closed my eyes, and asked myself again.

What do you really want to work on in April?

I want to research and outline one of the ideas I have for a TV book that I’ll probably never write and I want to work on one of the poetry chapbooks I’ve been thinking about doing since it’s National Poetry Month.

Fine. Great. Let’s do that.

I need a break. A break from the pressure to produce. A break from attaching a dollar-value to everything I work on. Yes, I like to get paid for my work, but right now I need to work on something that might turn out to be nothing, something that might not mean anything to anyone but me.

I’ve got a few ideas for how to make the ends meet for May.

But someone has already met their end in Murderville. In fact, we’re at the half-way point of Rounds of Luck as episode 4 goes live on April 9th. Lucky for you, it’s easy to catch up. Become a patron for as little as $1 an episode. $2 patrons receive a bonus every other month, like this month on the 23rd. Don’t wait! Get in on the killer fun!

Just Let Me Have This Tantrum and Then I’ll Do It

A favorite story about me (stop me if you’ve heard it) is about the time when I was three years old and they found me crying in the closet at my grandparents’ house with a huge book open on my lap. The problem? I was mad at myself because I couldn’t read it.

And that pretty much sums up a big part of my personality.

I operate under the delusion that I should be able to do anything whether I know how to do it or not. Running tangent to this delusion is my bad habit of doing everything the hard way. Throw in my inability to ask for help and my overwhelming stubborn streak, and I am a recipe for minor explosions. And being the creative type, they occur more frequently than I’d like.

My most recent tantrum was about Book ’em, Danno, the podcast that is yet to be. I attempted some recordings for it one night and was so dissatisfied with what I had done that I went on Twitter to declare myself a failure as a podcaster and effectively cancelled the project.

And then two days later, I decided to try again.

That’s the usual outcome of my tantrums. I get frustrated, I get fed up, I chuck it in the fuck it bucket, and then end up digging it back out again.

Believe me. It’s just as annoying to me as it is to you.

But for whatever reason, it’s the way I work. It’s not very efficient. Laws knows that it’s not good for my blood pressure or my sanity. I don’t care to count how many projects I’ve rage-quit and then come back to and successfully finished. I do my best to keep these tantrums to myself because I know how likely it is that I’ll change my mind.

However, sometimes…

Yeah. If you see me having a bit of a meltdown about something I’m working on, just give me a little sympathy, pat me on the back, and rest assured that I’ll get it done in the end.

Flirting With the Idea of Freelancing

Several of my Twitter friends are writers. Some of them are freelancers. It’s interesting to watch their trials and frustrations, victories and successes. Because freelancing mystifies me.

Okay. Maybe that’s an overwrought way to put it. The truth is, though, that the idea of freelancing both intrigues and scares me. Sometimes I think I could do it until I remember that you need clips and pitches and whatnot. Then I’m absolutely certain that I could never.

It’s a push-pull thing. I look into it. I think about it. And I always talk myself out of it. I convince myself that I have no idea what I’m doing and would do it all wrong and would never get a piece accepted anywhere.

I’ve always been my own worst enemy.

Watching my Twitter friends talk about it, though, makes it a little more accessible. The idea of it anyway. They help to demystify the whole thing for me. I see what they do and what they go through. Their struggles do nothing to dissuade my interest. I’m used to struggle. It’s just my own hang-ups that I can’t get past.

There’s also the small matter of what I’d write about. I’m not qualified to write about anything. Hell, if blogging had requirements, I’d never meet them. And then, of course, there’s what I would write about if I were remotely qualified. I can’t imagine hot takes on old TV shows would find much of a market. No different from my fictional writing life, really. I write what folks don’t want to read.

Still, despite all of this, I think about it. I look into it. I ruminate over it a while before talking myself out of it, only to reconsider the idea later. It’s a tired cycle. One day, I might actually give it a legitimate shot.

Until then, I flirt.

I’m terrible at flirting.

It’s All Up Here (But I Just Can’t Reach It)

My brains are scrambled eggs.

I’ve been saying this for months now. It’s like my grey matter has gone all tilt-a-whirl. I cannot grasp a thought.

Oh, they’re in there. I know. I can have them. But I can’t hold them. I can’t grasp them and focus on them and turn them into something practical and real. And this is frustrating because if memory serves, I used to be able to do this on a daily basis without too much trouble.

I thought this concentration/focus issue was part of the fatigue and exhaustion that went with the anemia. I thought once the anemia was under control, my brain would revert to its natural state, the chaotic hellscape that I’m used to. Then I thought maybe it was the stress of the day job, but that’s gone now, too. And the elusive ether of my mind remains.

Okay, it’s still overly-poetic, but maybe not as bad as it was. It’s still very frustrating, though. It’s like I can’t see anything up there. I feel like I need to empty my head out on a table so I can sort through all of the junk in that storage bin and organize it. I know that it would be in my best interest to take a minute (or 60) and do just that. Write down all of the ideas in my head, all of the projects, all of the blog posts, all of the free-floating To Do List items that never seem to make it farther from a notion so I really can see it all.

But I keep putting it off in favor of…something else. Anything else. My procrastination game lately has been the best of my life, for sure.

What I really need is a break. A week of isolation so I can straighten myself out. Get my mind right, find my center, stop distracting myself, diffuse this brain static I seem to be suffering from.

What I really have is no opportunity for that. Instead, I’m going to have to fix this mess on the fly.

Live dangerously.

August Writing Projects

Wow, look at that. August already. This year is just rolling by.

And I’m still working on stuff that I swore I’d have done in June.

Yeah.

So, this day job is turning into one of the hardest retail jobs I’ve ever had and what was supposed to be an easy part-time gig to help pay the bills is actually a huge time and energy vortex that I’m getting swallowed up in. My plan was to write at least a page on all of my current projects on the days that I work and then really rack up the words on my days off. The struggle with that, though, is that sometimes I don’t have the time (or energy) to get in my one page on everything, and then on my days off, I can still only manage the absolute minimum because I’m recovering from working.

If there’s going to be anything new, then August will see a shift in priorities. As much as I hate to stop working on a project in the middle, The Coop Run rewrite has to go on the back burner for now. Season 3 of Murderville needs to be my focus until I get it done, and I need to get it done as quickly as possible. Ideally, I’ll have it finished in the first couple of weeks of the month so I can let it rest a bit and then revise it in September. Because here’s the thing. Season 3 needs to be done all the way down to the eBook before NaNo. I’m already way behind my usual schedule. Now I have to play catch up and hope I don’t fuck up.

I also need to make some time to revise and polish next season’s preview story. But that’s a problem for next month me.

Right now, it’s all about finishing Murderville Season 3.

I’ll work out the rest later.

Speaking of Murderville, the very last episode of season 2, The End Of, goes live on August 14th. Don’t worry! It’s easy to catch up. Just become a patron and you’ll get access to every intriguing moment. $1 an episode let’s you read; $2 an episode lets you read AND gets you swell bonuses every other month, like whatever is happening on the 28th. Don’t miss out!

I Have to Admit That My Struggle Is Real

I’ve been trying to do at least one blog post a week this year and I almost went without doing one this week. I’ve been working on a Rerun Junkie post that’s just not coming together. I have the idea. I know what I want to say. But the words will not make it from my brain to the laptop.

This is the latest symptom of something that I’ve been trying to ignore for the last several weeks.

I’m struggling. And maybe I’m a little burnt out.

I don’t like to admit that. I don’t feel like I’ve earned the right to admit that. I don’t feel like I’ve worked hard enough to earn that struggle or that burnt out feeling.

What it boils down to is that between a minor health issue, a new day job, juggling three writing projects, and the every day requirements of living, I’m wiped out. I don’t have the energy or the focus to do everything I need to do and do it all at the level that I want to do it at.

I’m already in the process of accepting that I’m not going to meet my deadlines for the month. What I thought I’d get done, I won’t. I just can’t. And that’s disappointing as hell.

I operate under the delusion that I should be able to do anything. If I say I’m going to do something, then I will find a way to do it. If I set myself a deadline, then I meet it. As a result of this, I have a tendency to believe that there’s no excuse for me to not achieve what I’ve set out to do. Which is fine in theory. In reality, it ends up with me being gruesomely hard on myself when I don’t hit my mark, even if I’m operating in circumstances that would have required some kind of miracle to make it happen.

Right now, I’m in a period of adjustment.

Part of that adjustment is my new schedule and what I can realistically accomplish within it while recovering from a health setback.

The other adjustment, the much more difficult adjustment, is my expectations.