The Fear

I have wanted to be an author for a very long time and have been working on novel drafts since 2009/2010. That’s nine years ago, give or take, which seems crazy to me.

Undoubtedly, a lot has happened in that time, not least of which, I have improved my writing and related skills.

I’ve said before that the novel I’m working on at the minute (that I started at the beginning of 2017, I think) just feels right to me. I really think this is the one that could see me getting an agent and publisher. I’m also so close to finishing it; on the pinnacle of sending it off for submission. My beta readers have given me nothing but positive feedback (and I’m not even bribing them, promise!).

And here’s the thing: I am scared to go that last mile.

For all I’ve dreamed about coming to this point and talked almost incessantly about nothing else for months of my life at a time – and for all of the hugely terrifying, genuinely important things going on in the world for other people (like, you know, terrorism and Brexit) – I am currently gripped by the sudden realization that this is real. Or it could be.

I’ve built this up in my head and heart for so long, I… I’m not scared I’ll fail, I don’t think. I’m not sure what it is that’s behind the fear, I just know that it’s here and it’s making me hesitate.

Maybe I’m worried I’ll actually succeed – get an agent and publisher – and that it won’t live up to my expectations, which aren’t even that inflated, realistically. I’ve done my research. I’m under no illusions that I’ll become a rich and famous. And yet… there’s something.

For the very fact that I can’t pin down that ‘something’, it’s clear to me that this fear is not especially logical. I feel foolish about that, particularly given the fact that it’s like the first world-iest of all first world non-problems and there’s the aforementioned terrorism going on in other people’s lives. I have nothing to say for myself on that account other than, really, this is a big deal for me and I felt the need to acknowledge it before it ate me alive.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking for sympathy here. Just airing my thoughts and feelings. (And why do I feel the need to justify sharing my own feelings on my own website? Well, I don’t. Note to Self: Your guilt complex is showing.)

Anyway – acknowledgement now done, I plan to ignore the fear, and I’m setting myself a deadline to get my sh*t together, which I’ve decided will be April, during Camp NaNoWriMo.

It would probably be even sooner than that, but I have a lot to wrap up in March with the end of the current term at the Crescent Arts Centre, my birthday, and a bunch of events I’m taking part in. But I will get there. I will!

Productivity, Procrastination, Deadlines, and Goals

Before I get onto the main point of this blog post, I really recommend watching this YouTube video about procrastination. (Yes, I mean that all irony aside.)

I agree with the conclusions of the video – that there are no such people as non-procrastinators, and that procrastination falls into two main types: short term (in which there are set deadlines) and indefinite (in which there are not).

I suffer from the latter.

Now, that isn’t exactly news to me, but what has changed is my approach to the issue.  Continue reading

The Run-Up to Reading

Before I take part in an event – big or small – my nerves are on edge. I feel sick, and flighty, and weepy.

…so, that’s me, pretty much now-ish. My reading at Women Aloud NI is happening TOMORROW!

Situation clearly dire, I just had to run out for a stack of emergency chocolate (don’t eat your feelings, kids!). And I made myself so flustered that I almost said thank you to the cashier, completely forgetting that I’d just used a self-serve till :-/

Now, seeing as it took me six attempts and three Google searches to spell the word dire correctly, I’m gonna go eat said chocolate and have a little cry to myself.

How are you this evening?

10 Ways to Deal with Being Doxed!

Dealing with DoxingIf you find out you’ve been doxed (had your private information acquired and shared online), you have my genuine sympathies. I’m not suggesting you follow all of the steps below (beyond numbers six, seven, and nine), this is just how I reacted…

  1. Be Shocked
  2. Be Scared
  3. Panic a Bit
  4. Wonder if You’re Over-Reacting
  5. Go Through a Few More Cycles of Shock and Fear
  6. Take Screenshots of the Harassment (as evidence, in case the person deletes and denies it)
  7. Find out How People Got Your Details, and Just What Information is Actually Online About You (HINT: It’s probably a lot)
  8. Despair at Humanity
  9. Block and Report the Trolls
  10. Write an Angry Blog Post

There are a few ways I could start this blog post – this is not the blog post I had planned to be writing; I was actually feeling really productive and had planned to get shit done when someone ruined my night; I’ve recently been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and I don’t need any of this stress right now – but all of that boils down to this: last night, some guy I have never met, decided it was appropriate to share part of my address on Twitter because I’m taking part in an event and his partner isn’t.

Yup. For real.

I’ve considered naming and shaming, but have ultimately decided not to give any more details about the situation – at least not right now – beyond saying the person did it to more than just myself, and that he’s been reported to Twitter for it.

Tomorrow, I will be promoting the event as I had originally planned, in a separate post not connected to this negative crap. I don’t want to risk bringing a really positive movement down any further. I just really needed to vent.

This is so far from okay, but I will not be scared into silence. Not over something so stupid.

Having that anxiety disorder I mentioned, and after watching my friend go through a much worse case of doxing just before Christmas, I’d been worried something like this might happen to me, and I recently bought extra security for this site – insuring that my personal details aren’t on, as a result.

The take-away message is that people can still get your details easily enough. I recommend doing some searches to see what’s floating around online about you (start with Google, but also look at, and adjusting your privacy settings accordingly.