From Ack! to Ahh...

Hi gang!

Settle in. This is a long one. We can talk, right?

If you've been perusing the website, you may have noticed I made a few new additions. I changed up the front banners, and added new pages highlighting the series past and future...

All done while I was "supposed to be" writing.

I feel super creative today, just not in the regimented/word count way that I typically use to track my week.

Sunday arrived and I was suddenly like...

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Yeah. 

I needed a day off.

My "days off" aren't always kick back, watch TV, pop open a bottle of champagne (though I did spring for a mimosa today). I actually love what I do...so I often want to do the things that could be considered "work."

I just don't want to square it off in little blocks of time.

Or at least today I didn't.

Here's another little tidbit you may or may not know about me.

Anxiety.

I haz it.

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Well, guess what? I don't want to have it any longer!

It sucks. Being at the whim of your crazy-pants panic-brain just plain SUCKS.

I realize some of the cause/effect of my anxiety is within my control (maybe skip that third cup of coffee today, eh?), and some of it isn't. 

Recently, I learned that being aware of it is almost enough to calm me down. Did you know that anxiety/depression can cause actual physical ailments? Makes it tricky to know if my gallbladder is acting up or if I'm just having a little reactionary stress-induced body pain.

It helps to breathe in and remind myself, "This is anxiety. Nothing more."

Before 2016 came, I knew the first half of this year would be challenging for many reasons. Most notably, back-to-back-to-back deadlines on four different books and then I decided to toss in another one while I was at it...

Which means my panic level should be somewhere around here about now:

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Recently I made a decision... 

I decided not to panic.

Not to let my level of anxiety ruin the career I love and enjoy.

I'm not sure what clicked, and yes, I suffered a minor setback one day last week, but I kept trying that mantra thing I mentioned above. I said to myself, "Self. This is the anxiety talking." Then I rerouted my thoughts and actions.

A few other things that have helped:

I downloaded this meditation album full of short, meditative bursts. I downloaded an app for exercise. And most importantly...

I gave myself a freaking break.

I'm only human. No human can simultaneously write three or four or five books, edit them, and go to Las Vegas for a romance convention

AmIRite?!

In short, I gave myself permission to be imperfect. To fall short. To not achieve every achievable goal. Didn't hit that 3,000-a-day word count? That's okay. Fall short of your social media goals or exercise goals or food goals? Also okay. 

I can't be expected to make everyone happy all the time. 

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Not everyone will love my books. Someone will be upset the contest is US only. I might miss a notification or two now that I canceled my subscription to Sprout Social.

But when my FOMO reached epic proportions, I had to hold up a hand and yell STOP!

I had to ask: 

What's the most important thing I could be doing?

Some days, it's those 3k words. Others, it's sitting on the patio with my husband, cracking open a beer, and enjoying a rare but perfect 70-degree, bug-free spring day with my husband. 

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All okay!

Like Dorothy learned in the Wizard of Oz, I had what I needed all along, right in my own backyard. Simply deciding to give up the mad race to be everywhere, all the time, and do all the things was enough.

Guess what else?

I'm getting more done.

More important things. 

More rewarding things.

As you may remember, I've picked up a recent interest in minimalism, and I have an affinity for this planner. I've been using those recently acquired tools to whittle down my to-do list. I'm also reading a book called THE ONE THING, which is helping me focus on ...guess what?

One thing.

Go figure.

Also!!!

In exciting news, I've hired a virtual assistant named Lisa who will be helping with giveaways, promo for upcoming books, and posts on social media.

What a RELIEF, right? Another step in the right direction--having help has been priceless. I'll take a second to throw out a THANK YOU! to Nikki Snider for heading up our Lemmondrops Superfan page. She's my Admin over there and helps me pick up the slack on occasion. And to the rest of you, thank you for your participation on the page. 

Readers are why I do what I do, so a true, heartfelt thank you is called for.

So here I am, in the month of April with three books simultaneously due on May 1st, a 5-day trip to Vegas in the middle of all that, AND a book release at the end of the month.

It's the one you've all been waiting for, by the way.

And I'm okay.

Not totally zen, because face it, I'm still me. My motto is panic early and often. 

BUT.

I'm learning how to breathe and embrace this wacky schedule.

After all, this is going to be my career for (I hope) a long, long, long, long time.

I'm determined to enjoy it. 

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Thanks for reading.

xoxo,

Jessica