Underneath my yellow skin

Prioritizing priorities

Before we start, the four advice columnists I regularly read were featured in a column in Buzzfeed about life as an internet columnist. I was legit excited to see all of them in one place, but I was sad that none of them were people of color (as far as I know). It was a good read, and I thought I’d share it with y’all.

Now. On to the post. I have several things I want to do in the new year. So many things. All the things. It’s the story of my life. I’m not satisfied with anything. Wait. That’s not completely true. I am satisfied with writing 2,000 words a day. I could do more, but it’s a good base. Other than that, though, I am dissatisfied in all areas of my life. I know I need a therapist, but I don’t have wherewithal to find a good one. My last one came recommended, but I don’t have anyone I can ask this time around. Also, I really appreciated my last therapist, but there were a few glaring issues. One was concerning race issues. She wasn’t cognizant of the nuances, or rather, she had a hard time with stepping outside the American way of thinking. It’s the same issue I have with advice columnists, come to think of it. Any time race comes up, I just cringe. Even if the columnists themselves do a decent job with their answer, the comment sections are a mess (at least the three I read. I don’t read the Dear Prudence comments because they are a hot mess and not moderated as far as I know). It’s simply different for someone from the dominant population, no matter how many friends, lovers, family they have who are minorities.

The problem with finding a therapist of color, however, is that I live in Minnesota. That’s the first problem. Secondly, finding an Asian therapist who is also amenable to queer issues makes it even harder. Let’s face it. I’m a freak in so many ways, finding a therapist who is empathetic to all the issues is a fool’s errand. I know some of this is self-defeatist talk, but it’s also the reality of being a weirdo. In addition, I have to have a therapist who is intelligent enough to call me on my bullshit. Because I know psych lingo and because I have brains, I can run rings around many therapists. I’ve done it in the past even when I knew it wasn’t to my benefit. My defenses are so ingrained, my impulse is to protect my neurosis, much to my detriment.

First up.

Publishing my book

Or rather, a book. Any book. Which book? I don’t know. Or rather, I have a few ideas, but I’m just not sure which one I want to push. I have a trilogy I started sixteen years ago, and I’ve finished the second book in the trilogy. The first book is on my fiction website right now, but I may pull it down if I focus on publishing it. I really like it because the protagonist is unlike any other I have written. She’s brash, confident, and gives no fuck about other people except in a very basic moral way of treating everyone with common decency. She cares about very few individual people, and even with them, it’s limited.

In the second book, she’s aged sixteen years, and while she’s older, she’s not always wiser. She has the same friends she did from the first book, and she relies on them when she gets in trouble. It was fascinating to me to write her sixteen years later, and I look forward to another sixteen years later when I write the third book.

The other option is the current trilogy I’m writing. Yes, I like trilogies, so sue me. I write mostly mysteries, and I think that the series drag on for too long. I’ve decided that seven is the maximum any series should go, but does anyone listen to me? No. My current trilogy is an urban fantasy mystery, and the protagonist is pretty similar to the protagonist of the other trilogy I mentioned. Pragmatic, not very emotional (though she has more of an excuse as she is not human), and not much of a people-person.

I think the reason these two protagonists speak to me is because they are so unlike me. Confident, sure, not giving a fuck about what other beings think. It’s liberating because I’m someone who constantly gauges what other people are thinking, saying, and doing. I love writing a character who not only doesn’t care about that shit, but she doesn’t even realize it’s a thing.

Once I decide which one I want to focus on, I have to decide how I want to publish it. That’s insider baseball and probably only interesting to me, so I’m not going to delve too deeply into it now. I will say, however, that if I self-publish, the struggle about Amazon will be real. The pros and cons to self-publishing with Amazon are legion, and it’s something I have to figure out for myself.

Marketing is another aspect of self-publishing that freaks the fuck out of me. I am not good at promoting myself in part because I was raised to believe that any brag, no matter how humble, is a mortal sin. I’m not supposed to ever talk about myself, and it’s something that I still have a hard time breaking it. In this day and age, you have to market yourself because no one else is going to do it. Even in traditional publishing, unless you’re a six-figure author, you have to do a lot of the promotion yourself. I know you have to push yourself on social media, and that is so not my way. I cringe when I see others promoting themselves, but I know it’s what you have to do. Well, let me amend that. There are ways to do it and there are ways not to do it. Spamming Very Important People on Twitter with your product is not the way to go, for example.

Making good content, aka videos

I’m mourning the loss of the written word, but I’ve accepted it as a reality. I know video is the way of the now and the future, but I still rebel against it. I have never made a video, and I know I need to start doing it. I have so many issues with it, though. One, I hate the way I look. I don’t look in the mirror unless I absolutely have to, so the idea of having my face out there does not warm my heart.

In addition, women online take a shit-ton of crap that men do not. If I put my face out there, then I’m inviting millions of people to comment on how fat, ugly, whatever I am. Or, on the other hand, it can give people who have stalker tendencies something to fixate on. I don’t know if I have thick skin enough to deal with that shit, especially as I’m fighting depression at the same time.

Another issue is what I want to do in the videos. My brother is of the strong opinion that I need to keep everything on brand, and he suggests I do videos with writing tips. That’s all well and good, but I don’t really have many tips–at least not for the writing part of it. I write mostly by instinct, and as I told my brother, writing has never been my problem. I always have stories in my brain, even when I’m severely depressed. It’s harder for me to write when I’m depressed, but the stories are still there. I’ve had writer’s block two or three times in my life, and only once did it last for more than a month.

I’m not sure I want to do videos on writing because I think I’d burn out if I focus all my attention on one thing. I’d like to keep the video portion as something that diverts me or is an escape from my daily life. Then again, if I want to promote myself as a writer, it’s probably best to use all the tools available to me. I could do both, of course, but I’m not sure I want to do that many videos. I mean, I can’t even do one, so the idea of doing several a week is beyond me. I might change my mind  once I get going, but my fear is keeping me from even trying.

I know this is part of my neurosis, but I can’t help thinking of how much work it’ll be to learn how to do video. I know that’s folly because teenagers are doing it with their damn camera phones. It’s not rocket science, and it’s not even difficult technology. I basically taught myself how to use a computer and traverse the world wide web (with the help of my brother), but the idea of learning video turns my knees to jelly.

I just have to suck it up and do it. I’ll probably have to trick myself by saying that I don’t have to publish the video and it doesn’t matter if it’s bad in order to make myself do it. It’s tiring, but it’s the way my brain works.

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