Monday, October 1, 2012

Performance Anxiety & a Blogoversary

I should start this by saying today is our 5th anniversary. *throws skull shaped confetti* I think. *throws more confetti anyway* Hard to remember since we miss it every damn year. This past summer, we considered boarding her up and calling this voyage over, but the momentum shifted, winds filled our sails, and we decided to stay the course. I, for one, am very happy we did. Now on with the blog.

In case you missed the announcement (read: screaming) a couple weeks ago, I've recently accepted a contract from Montlake Romance. *pauses to pinch herself*

I was excited and scared and freaked when the call came, but the gravity of the situation didn't sink in right away. No, the sinking part happened this weekend when I got my contract. Which looks really official and has my name on it and the titles of my books (except book 3 which is labeled "Untitled book 3" but that's still cool.)

Crazy surreal.

As I have a real deadline for the first time ever, I've been writing my little fingers to the bone trying to get as much of this WIP done as possible before the revision letter comes for book 1. Only now I have this legally binding document and the reality hit home that I have to turn this book into something an editor will like. I mean, she likes the first one but that's done and now I have to do that again and holy crap.

This is panic on a whole new level.

I feel like a seventeen year old movie usher who just got the chance to do the horizontal lambada with Angelina Jolie. If this is how it feels to walk out in front of the judges on the X-Factor then I don't know how those brave souls do it. At least I get to write in the privacy of my own home. And have the chance to add some spit and shine before sending it out to be judge. (I won't actually spit on it, just in case my editor sees this.)

(Heh. I have an editor. *pinches self again*)

The pressure to perform is overwhelming. The second guessing. The constant fear that I'll crash and burn. I've said it before but it needs to be said again. This writing thing is not for sissies.

For now, I'm sticking with the tried and true. THINK POSITIVE! An editor believes in my work enough to put time and money behind it. Judges thought my work deserved to final in a major contest. My agent believes I can do this. There's a legal document that says I will do this.

So….do it I shall.

Any other advice welcome. Some magic fairy dust that will either put perfect words on the page or at least make me forget about what's at stake would be most appreciated. Voodoo? (Maybe not.) Meditation? (Who am I kidding?) Ghostwriter? (Not for a control freak like me. *g*) What'a ya got?


Maureen said...

Hey, honestly, there is no doubt that you'll do fine. You'll do better than fine. You're the gal with the plan and the spreadsheet to prove it can be done!

If the others have faith in you, then you can have faith in you! If you worry about having faith in you, then have faith in the rest.

Circular thinking at it's best!

Whoohoo! We're five! I've got the bar fully stocked, been stuffing twinkies all weekend and am the band is due to arrive near sunset!

In all honesty, I'll advise as things arrive. I'll help with the promo're gonna do great!

MsHellion said...

Actually meditation isn't a bad idea, and I'm sure you do a version of it when you sit down to the keyboard. You take some deep breaths, clear your mind of all the crap during the day, and concentrate on the Now and the Voice(s) within to hear what they say. Only they're dictating the book and you start writing it down. Still, it's a lot like meditation.

Regular meditation, you sit crosslegged, close your eyes, breathe a lot, and say little meditative things to yourself. Positive energy vibes to put into the universe. :) It works. A calm mind is a mind that can make progress.

Also there is also chocolate (if you don't care about your eyesight) and the movie Pride & Prejudice to watch when you need to vibe out but stay in the romantic mode. ;)

quantum said...

I love it when people ask me for advice ...... *puffs up over the cornflakes*

J K Rowling gave a radio interview last Friday reminiscing about the difficult early days when she wrote in cafes and her belief in Harry and his magic carried her through.

Terri you must keep aiming for that platform in the sky where JKR and romance Goddesses dwell. Its through the rainbow and over the clouds. If you loose your bearings then Maureen has a map and Helli has a compass!

I'll be watching the romance firmament with my spyglass, anticipating a gorgeous new star appearing in the West.

You can do it Terri .... No worries! *smile*

Marnee Bailey said...

I agree with Mo. You're going to be great. All those people put their money behind you and you've got all of us with our faith in you.

I wish there was some way just to forget all that stuff and just focus on the writing. On character and on plot and try to pretend all that other stuff isn't happening outside the walls of your home.

I don't know how to do that though.

TerriOsburn said...

Wow, Chance. We have a real band and not just an iPod playing in the corner? Whoohooo! That's big time!

I do believe I can do this or I'd never have signed with an agent, but I'm finding turning belief into action a little tougher to accomplish. Not that I've stopped writing. I think fear alone is keeping that going. But I'm not sure if what I'm writing is good enough.

Though I suppose we never know if it's good enough. And that's where the belief comes in. This is circular thinking!

TerriOsburn said...

I could have used that meditation last night, Hellie. Woke from a bad dream and the brain took off. Couldn't get comfortable. Couldn't shut down the crazy thoughts. Tossed and turned for what must have been an hour or two. Then when I got back to sleep, I had another weird dream. The cast of characters included Jeff Bridges, Ryan Seacrest, and P Diddy.

And I didn't even eat anything weird before bed!

Marnee Bailey said...

OH, and happy anniversary ladies! I remember how thrilled I was when Hells asked me to join the blog. I'm still so proud to call myself part of this pirate crew. :)

TerriOsburn said...

Thanks for the support, Q. *blows kisses across the pond* You've been there from the beginning, pushing me on. I'll never forget that. And you will have a signed copy as soon as I get them. :)

TerriOsburn said...

This would be the time for that selective memory, Marn. Thankfully, the characters started talking again last night. Climbed into bed with a pen and paper to plot and the next three or four scenes showed up. And I figured out what I'd been trying to write for two days wasn't working because it was the wrong POV.

All of this means I will be charging ahead tonight.

Marnee Bailey said...

That's awesome Ter! Sometimes we just need a change of venue, I think.

I knew it'd be ok. :)

Donna Cummings said...

Congrats on five years! If only these ship walls could talk. . .well, maybe not. There has to be *something* left to put in the piratical memoirs one day. LOL

And congrats again, Terri, on the publishing deal. It's a scary moment when our dreams come true. Because now they're no longer dreams -- they are things we have to accomplish. You've got a wonderful support crew, though, and they will keep you moving forward. There's nothing like getting a compliment from your editor. :) Keep going back to those when you feel doubtful.

TerriOsburn said...

Oh, Donna, let's be very happy these walls can't talk. They're already sticky and that says enough.

Thanks! It is a dream but then reality comes with a smack and real work begins. :) And I do have the best darn crew behind me. With them for support, how could I fail?!

P. Kirby said...

Well, I think you are going to do just fine. Better than fine.

But...a big part of success in any creative field is having the courage to fail. It's something I've always struggled with and continue to battle to this day. Everything has to be perfect; everything I do must be loved, else...failure and defeat.

Except, if you don't put yourself out there, take the risk, you will never ever succeed.

In the long run, it's not about "what's at stake," but rather loving your characters and enjoying the storytelling process. If it becomes a chore, if you let all the little self doubts and "what ifs" creep in, it'll show in your writing.

Once again, congrats and I can't wait to see you book in the bookstore! :)

irisheyes said...

My personal belief is that those that fear failure, making a mistake, being found out a fraud, or *insert any other insecurity here* are more conscientious, try harder and do better!

You are humble and grateful for this opportunity and when you add all that talent you have it will just naturally morph into success! Believe it! If nothing else - look at your track record the past couple of years. You've accomplished a lot girl. You go!!!

*Spoken with authority from the exclamation point queen?* LOL

irisheyes said...

Oh, I forgot to tell you to add me to throng that can't wait to see your published book on the bookshelves!

TerriOsburn said...

I'm not sure I'm prepared to fail but I am prepared for a lack of world domination. That seems like a pretty good balancing point. I'm one of those people who would rather take the leap and say I tried than not take the leap and regret what might have been.

irisheyes said...

And.... Happy Birthday, pirates! I really, really can't believe it's been 5 years. Time sure is flying.

TerriOsburn said...

Thank you, Irish! For both you're unfailing support and uplifting enthusiasm. Being conscious of what's at stake does make me want to work that much harder. I do believe I can tell this story, so long as the characters keep talking. They got a little quiet last week and that worried me, but they're coming through once again so that's a good thing.

*bows to the exclamation mark queen* Bestow your marks here anytime!

TerriOsburn said...

I can't either, Irish. But I know it's 5 since last year I said it was 5 and I was wrong. It was only 4. LOL! No one would call us an overnight success but we're getting there!

Marnee Bailey said...

I remember the amount of time because my oldest turns 6 in Nov. And he was almost 1 when we started.

That's how I know I've been writing for a little over 5 yrs. I started writing when he was 6 months old. A strike back against Baby Einstein videos.

Di R said...

Congratulations, Pirates on Five Years! Huzzah!!

Count me among the multitudes awaiting your book on the bookshelves.

I have no advice, but I do commend you on trying to tie up the second book before you begin revisions.


Maureen said...

As Marn would say, Just keep writing! It's the key! And keep that circular thinking on the positive side!

TerriOsburn said...

No way I can tie up the second book, Di, but I need to get as much done as possible. It's going to take serious dedication to hit my (self-imposed) rough draft deadline and throwing revisions for book 1 in at the same time might just kill me.

However, I signed up for this and I'll just have to figure it out.

TerriOsburn said...

Mo - Did you notice I ignored that "P" word you threw out earlier? Yeah. That word freaks me out. Will cross that bridge when it comes but not before!

Maureen said...

I'm imagining Shrek and Donkey on the bridge over the lake of lava... I'll get you across! I'll try to do it nicer than Shrek... When the time comes!

Di R said...


I was using the power of positive thinking-of course you'll achieve your deadline!


Janga said...

Happy Fifth Anniversary, Pirates! Since the traditional fifth anniversary gift is wood (no comments, please), here's your virtual gift, one for each of you.

Ter, I have no doubts that you will finish your books on time, that they will all find an audience who loves them, and that before we know it, we'll be getting details about your next series. You're on your way, girl, and you've already proved your talent and your tenacity--a winning combination. I'm a believer!

TerriOsburn said...

That is the perfect gift! LOL! Thank you, Janga. For the sign and the "wood" joke and the support and the flattery. I hope you're right!

The next series? *bites nails* WTHeck am I going to write for the next series?? LOL!

Maureen said...

Nice, Janga! I'll hang it on my front deck for the world to see!

Sabrina Shields (Scapegoat) said...

You've got this girl!

And never underestimate yourself - you can and will do this. Since you don't drink, I'll say also never underestimate a good amount of chocolate!

TerriOsburn said...

Technically, I'd be better off drinking alcohol than eating chocolate. WHO gets an eye condition that is irritated by chocolate? That shouldn't even be legal. It's cruel.

Maureen said...

You need a new comfort food...something just bad enough for you that you feel like you're cheating, but it won't hurt the eyeballs...

TerriOsburn said...

To this end I have been eating the hell out of powdered donuts.

JulieJustJulie said...

Congratulations, Pirates! Its your anniversary, traditionally the 5th ( wedding ) is something Wooden ... like a new ship? Or the latest style in pegleg legs? Or ... money? money is made out of paper, and paper comes from wood. So, here's to lots of wood as in wishing that all your dreams would/wood come true!