Thoughts about #authortube

Back in 2017, when I “officially” decided I wanted to take self-publishing seriously, I thought about creating a YouTube channel. I am an avid YouTube viewer/lurker whatever. I love watching videos other authors and writers put out where they talk about their process, give advice based on their experiences, and participate in fun tags or challenges.

I love talking about writing and books to anyone who will listen so you’d think this would be something I would love to do.

But YouTube also triggers my social anxiety, big time. I barely participate in the comments section and if I’m lucky enough to catch a live stream live–not three days after the fact–I don’t participate in the chat because I am extremely shy and introverted. It’s the same reason I don’t do the instagram story thing or have a facebook account.

At the end of the day, I just want to sit in my bubble and write.

But last year I participated in a writing group and we used a video chat app to talk about our projects and I loved making videos for them. It was nothing fancy, I just turned my camera on and talked into it, usually while driving to and from work. And it was super fun. So if I could do something like that where I just talked for a few minutes and then uploaded…

But what about editing and all those cool techno things people do? And music, don’t I have to have music to drown out the static hum of background noise or whatever? And I’d need an intro and a catch phrase because everyone has a catch phrase and already I hear Mr, J’s voice in my head saying, “Don’t do that, that’s fucking stupid.”

And he’s right on two fronts. The first is: I don’t want to do something that I don’t know how to do or that I don’t like because it will be a shitty product and anyone who watches it will see that I am not having fun and they won’t have fun. So if I do the YouTube thing I will not be making fancy, heavily edited videos with music or images inserted or fun backdrops because I don’t have time for that. I have like, 10 books to write.

But the second is: Do I really want to put myself out there? After thinking about it on and off for two-ish years I still don’t know. I like the idea of making YouTube videos; I want to do the author tags and actually tell you about myself and my projects, not just write it down here in my blog. But is it really something for me?

I hope to figure out the answer to that soon because there are a few very good reasons to participate in social media platforms like YouTube. The most important one is it will help promote my books.

I am a firm believer that social media is essential to an independent author. Newsletters not so much (just my opinion) but social media is a must. Traditional publishers love authors with established platforms and readers love all the behind-the-scenes stuff. I do anyway.

And, for the most part (yes, I know about the drama), AuthorTube is full of really cool, awesome people who I would love to be friends with. But I’m so. Damn. Shy. and worried I’d say the wrong thing and offend someone. I’m also terrified of making a complete ass of myself. Etc, etc, etc. And it’s not about what you think about me. Or what strangers think about me, I could care less about other peoples’ opinions. It’s how I would think about myself. If I fucked this up I would never let myself live it down. Mortification and shame forever.

Again, I think I’m putting too much thought into it.

I guess the main thing I’m worried about, more than being embarrassed by my own content, is that it will take time away from my writing.

I’ve thought about doing a podcast too but I haven’t yet because I’ve gotten bogged down by all of the technical stuff. I have made a few recordings of my poems and created an extremely bootleg audiobook that is up on Bandcamp (free, of course). But beyond that I haven’t done anything else.

And that kind of bothers me because if I want to do something, why not do it? It’s not like I want to climb Everest. Making an AuthorTube video is a very achievable goal. So why not try it? If I don’t like it I can always delete it.

But the writing time is precious and anything that cuts into that is bad. But I’d really, really like to try.

Now that you’ve read me flopping back and forth like this, I’m going to end this post.

Are you on YouTube/AuthorTube? Do you like it? Do you hate it?

Morning thoughts on working in academia

Not everyone gets to play in the sandbox.

Some have to stay in the weeds.

They get kicked out by the other kids.

Or they look at the sandbox and think: one of my colleagues peed in that. That is a gigantic litter box.

Or they get trapped on the jungle gym because the ground has turned to lava.

Either way I am in the weeds. I don’t play well with others and I don’t want to sit in someone else’s pee. Even if the sand absorbs it.

Why can’t I write?

Writing as a person who has a “day job.” I’m not an entrepreneur, I’m not a business person. I can’t afford to just write and make money off of my writing. I have zero expectations that writing will make me financially stable. But writing isn’t a hobby for me, writing keeps me alive. Writing gives me the strength to go outside my apartment and exist as a human being in a society filled with other human beings. Sometimes being human is scary.

But I’ve found, more harshly than previous bouts of writer’s block, in the last few months I haven’t been able to write. I haven’t found myself capable of putting the ideas forming in my brain onto the page. I have several works in progress and several ideas for how to make them awesome but when I turn on my iPad to write I can’t make the words happen.

So what do I do?

Continue reading Why can’t I write?

Anxiety

Me: I’ve been thinking, instead of telling me “you’re doing fine,” whenever I feel like shit could you just say “you’re okay” instead? I think that will help with my neuroses.

Mr. J.: Doesn’t that mean the same thing?

Me: Yes, but it’s different verbiage. Try it.

Mr. J.: (disturbed by the verbiage/sarcastic) I don’t want to.

My husband is super supportive when it comes to dealing with my anxiety. But most of the time everything he says, when I’m in the middle of an anxiety fit, pisses me off. Whenever he says “you’re doing alright” or “you’re doing a good job” I don’t believe him. So I asked him to start telling me I’m just okay because 1) it’s true, I am physically okay and 2) it does in fact mean the same thing. But I can hear it better.

Retail for Introverts

Sometimes existing as a human being in the same space with other human beings is hard.

If the grocery store is too busy I get scared. I get headaches and nauseous, the noise and general press of people are so overwhelming that the only way I can successfully achieve grocery shopping completeness is to bury my face in my love’s shoulder and have him steer me through the aisles and hand me things to carry.

Things to carry=distraction.

Sometimes we have to force ourselves to interact with people when we really don’t want to.

One of those sometimes is if you’re an introvert, you need a job, and the only job you can find is in retail.

So if I have that bad of a reaction to being around people in a store, why would I subject myself to working in a stressful environment?

I need money to pay my bills. Living as a successful human being=compromise.

Similar compromise=wearing a uniform (I hate uniforms) instead of the clothes you love, etc. in order to achieve the end game. End game=you get to keep your car.

Out of the wide variety and varying severity of overwhelms, I have found one of the common discomforts for introverts is just being around people. The people aren’t threatening or doing anything out of the ordinary, they are just existing. Existence isn’t a problem, being around the existing is.

Working retail has stressed me out in ways that I never thought I would be stressed. When I first started working retail (I did a brief, 2-month stint in 2009 in a lingerie shop but I don’t count that anymore) I would bring all my discomfort and stress home with me and I wasn’t always the most pleasant person to deal with. Stress influenced my diet and sleep in negative ways. I felt bad all the time.

And then I recently (10 months of stressful environment did this to me) decided that I couldn’t cope with any of the stress anymore and I said F*** IT. And I let it go. Some people might call this the “head in the sand” effect but I don’t care, I’m making a conscious choice NOT TO BE STRESSED by the retail or the people.

This doesn’t always work, sometimes the stress comes and the overwhelm comes and there’s nothing I can do about it but push through and then cry later BUT for the times when I say “go away” and the stress actually goes away, I experience the best feelings of relief and not-discomfort.

So I made a list of things that help me to not get overwhelmed while working retail.

Most of this advice comes from my interpretation of the Buddhist teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh.

These are all things that I have struggled to do and at some point, I have managed to successfully do at least once and found that, yes, even if it sounds stupid it really does help.

HOW TO MAKE RETAIL WORK FOR AN INTROVERT:
(you do not have to do these in numerical order)

1 Allow yourself to feel stress but don’t acknowledge it forever. Allow yourself and move on, into the next moment.

2 Try looking people in the eye, the nice people. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, look at their teeth or their hair, something on the same level as their face and accomplish whatever task you need to accomplish.

3 Remember there are no universal rules, not everything will work 100% of the time.

4 Have a good support structure at home, don’t stop talking to friends and family about how you are feeling even if you think your thoughts are worthless or if you feel like you are a burden to them. You aren’t.

5 Find the humor in every negative interaction.

6 Breathe to breathe, don’t breathe to calm down; focus on a basic task instead of people and/or the stress.

7 Observe your thoughts but don’t get caught up in them. It’s okay to say, “I wish I wasn’t here.” But don’t make yourself more stressed by obsessing over being in the negative space.

8 Don’t try to predict everything that will happen on your shift, keep an open mind and don’t imagine bad things that could happen.

9 When stressful situations arise, remember to slow down and take your time completing your tasks, that way you can focus on what you are supposed to do and do it correctly.

10 Listen to everything and think about your response before you speak. Some people might get frustrated that you’re taking too long to answer them but don’t let that discourage you and don’t feel that you have to speed up just to make someone else happy.

11 Always have something fun planned for your break or go somewhere quiet and enjoy existing in a quiet space.

12 Be the person you want to be, not the person you think other people need to see.

13 You aren’t responsible for making your customers or your co-workers happy, just do your job and don’t take on the responsibility of worrying about the emotional fulfillment of other people. If you do your job correctly that is enough, if someone gets upset when you’ve done everything you’re supposed to do, that person is going through something and you have no control over how they react anyway, so don’t expend the energy worrying about them.

14 If you have a uniform and can’t express yourself with what you wear, invest in a pair of nice shoes that you enjoy wearing, that also fit within the uniform guidelines and find small ways, like jewelry or an undershirt, to make yourself feel like you are yourself and not an automaton.

15 When you’re off work, try to stay off work, don’t think about what will happen on your next shift or replay negative interactions from your previous shift. Instead, focus on something small that you enjoy, ex: listen to your favorite song.