Yup. No idea what to write about on this topic because I kept asking myself the question, what’s stopping me from actually following through on letting my self destructive urges win and take me out.
No idea, nothing consistent anyway. I can tell you that the one year I really was this close to leaping off the ledge, it was thoughts of a girl and a promise that stalled that potential disaster.
I had my world crashed down upon by the ending of my 12 year marriage. We’d split (mostly) amicably, then left the apartment when financial prodding encouraged us.
Read, we were behind on rent. It wasn’t the first time, and the last time we’d had to set up a gofundme campaign. I swore if it happened again, we were done.
When I stayed with a friend of mine, I had gone so far as to tell the authors in my editing stable that I was getting awfully comfortable with the darkness. I was drinking heavily, for me. And I wasn’t caring. Up at all hours, asleep at the other half, at the cigar club letting myself take the fun out of a hobby. I remember once calling my mentor at 4 AM,, California time. She’s an east coast girl, and thankfully, keeps odd hours like I do now. But it wasn’t a pretty phone call. My bartenders noticed. Those I did tell noticed.
When I say those I did tell, I mean no one. I didn’t talk. I told a few authors I just didn’t know what the future held, but I never used language to hit at my impending demise because I didn’t actually want to die.
I was lonely.
What fixed it? How long did it take?
Problem with that is that I’m not sure a fix is possible. Fast forward three years later, another broken heart, a lot of travel and I get my own apartment. Tired of looking at my life the way I always had, I needed a change and decided to really jump into personal growth. I’d stumbled across T Harv Ecker’s Secrets of the Millionaire Mind. That was painful – not because the book is bad, it isn’t. But it turns out that getting rich, even in our industry, isn’t about how hard we work. I mean that’s part of it, but real true wealth including the financial riches I’m after, come from a number of factors.
First, what goes into your head
Second, what comes out of your mouth.
What’s ignored is the behavior patterns ingrained from childhood. Our self defeating demons that are just like everyone else’s until we through in being a writer or an artist on top of that. Normal shit. For me, I had a lot of limiting beliefs that were creating self sabotaging behaviors, including overindulging because, fuck it. Why not?
A training based on that book came into town and I thought, “great. This will help heal all the damage.”
It was really amazing, and I cleared a lot of dead weight from my shoulders. I thought I was golden. I confronted my demons, the ones that let me write romance from a place of true vehement anger. My writing changed. My outlook changed.
I discovered Mind Valley Academy and began going through their masterclasses. I thought this was it. This was the break from the cycle of insanity.
I was wrong. But my mental state was shifting. It wasn’t so dark anymore because I’d started doing the one thing that was the hardest for an alpha male to do.
I started talking. Really, actually talking. Not trying to pick up and sleep with women (did that too, can’t take the wolf out of the man…) but actively talking about what’s in my head and telling anyone who was getting close to me. Then crying, letting the tears flow and then I stopped feeling embarrassed about that shit.
In doing all of this over the last three years, I think I wrote three brand new novels (finishing the Opeth Pack Saga) a few short stories and a new romance series featuring puma shifters and magic. I had edited two earlier Opeth Pack books, edited a number of other stuff for two publishers, and probably put out 500,000 words over the three year period of traveling the country. I was busy as hell while I traveled and dealt with this.
I started reclaiming my time. I started using time I would normally be busy doing some useless thing, to just let it be empty. Or filling it with more productive things that include learning and being okay with the fact that, at the end of the day, I did not have to kill myself for work, for a book or an ideal of what a writer is supposed to look like. This decreased my stress.
But studying top preforming people like Tim Ferriss and the people he deconstructs only reinforces one thing, and I suppose that’s probably the key for this post.
Those of us in any creative field are prone whatever behavioral patterns and beliefs we are given until we learn to conquer them. But if we don’t recognize that this is not something we are alone in, and we don’t do something about it, it’ll never change.
We are a lot alike. Maybe this post will help, or maybe this one by Tim Ferriss himself can shed some light on things for you.