May 26-- A writer's life can be a very quiet one-perhaps that's why some choose it. For me, it can be a little too quiet, which is one reason I continue to practice therapy and consult for the entertainment business. I like to keep busy. I also like to stay energized, and that can be hard to do when it's just you and a laptop at high noon, staring each other down like two gun-slingers on a dusty Western street.
Another part of writing is waiting for responses to ideas for articles, books, blogs, etc. I know a lot of people in film and television who go through the same thing-wondering when the next job is coming-and it really can cause a lot of needless anxiety. These days, that anxiety is all too often not just about what the next job will be but about if there will ever be one again.
I do a lot of gig interviews. Most do not pan out, but it's always good exercise, and sometimes these interviews circle back around with the offer of a different project. That just happened to me. I've been asked to be the spokesperson for a company. No, it won't be as viral or fun as the Most Interesting Man in the World campaign, but it will be for a great cause and maybe save some lives (more on that later).
So I said yes, and now I have been waiting for the contract, email, conversation, and deposit, and that's really all I can do-just wait. In another time, I would have my teeth cleaned-and get that over with-as long as I'm already this uncomfortable in anticipation.
The waiting game sucks, plain and simple. Over the weekend, you can kind of avoid it, but once Monday morning hits, you go straight to your email and hope the phone will ring. If this is happening to you, know that it's perfectly normal, but it really isn't necessary, and you can channel that energy into something positive.
While you are waiting, it's good to do things in bite-sized chunks. Do a little paperwork, pick up a few things around the house, run an errand or two. Keep the events around you simple, because you are already in an anxious state. This will help you avoid low-grade panic, where you make a call or send an email that really isn't appropriate, just to ease your own anxiety.
You may have to learn how to wait. If patience is not your virtue, then you need to create some exercises and tasks to keep your mind and hands busy while you let the powers that be move at their own speed. I know nothing of what these people want of me, so there are another dozen or so questions that are rambling around in my head, but I'm not letting this fact throw me off-base.
I will use this time to make something in my current situation better. I'm too anxious to meditate, so I will take a walk and smell the roses. After all, when this gig hits, I may be way too busy for strolling. Now is the time to push the anxiety into some positive action, to just pick something and do it. The calls and email will come, and you will deal with them better if you have channeled your nervous energy into something positive.
(Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author of "The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time." Follow his daily insights on Twitter at @BartonGoldsmith, or email him at Barton@bartongoldsmith.com.)
(c)2020 Barton Goldsmith
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