Drowning in Nothingness

I don’t think I’ve ever been this terrified in my short author career.

I have a deadline coming up. Now, theoretically, I have given myself until the end of February to finish. It’s just the fourth, and I’m 62% through my draft. But I have been stuck for longer than I have been in a long time, and it’s scary to think I might let myself down.

Things were going great. I was on a fucking roll during my month of quarantine for my husband’s COVID and my subsequent infection. I thought for sure I was set. I was so far ahead, there was no way I’d get behind again. Tricksy manic brain. Tricksy little bitch indeed.

It’s gotten to the point of panic and avoidance. I panic because I fear I won’t finish by the date I need to upload the preorder file. I avoid because I don’t know what the next words are. I’d rather scroll Facebook endlessly in misery than open that file and stare at the words that are already there, mocking me because they refuse to reveal their secrets. What’s going to happen next? I sure as fuck don’t know.

Let me amend: I know what’s going to happen in the next chapter. But only because I took someone’s advice to write out of order. Now I have the start of a chapter staring back at me, wondering how the characters got there because I haven’t written that part yet.

So I go back to the “current” chapter. And stare at that last, haunting paragraph. The one where the words stopped.

It doesn’t help me that my sales of my previous books have all tapered off. No new reviews, no new sales, just the occasional person who reads one of my books on Kindle Unlimited and then goes off to other things, never to read the rest of the trilogy–or anything else I’ve written.

What’s the fucking point? Am I writing only for myself at this point? Is there anyone who gives a flying fuck if I finish? Is there anyone who would even notice if I didn’t release book two or three of Hell on Earth?

I don’t even know anymore. I have a handful of people who I know like my writing, but otherwise? I’m flying blind. I can’t seem to wrangle reviews out of ARC readers, I can’t get friends and family to review–outside of the few known “fans” in my friend circle–and it’s all getting to be a bit much. I don’t know how other authors do it. How the fuck do they get so many people to read, review, recommend, repeat?? I don’t understand it!

My Impostor Syndrome game is strong right now. I feel like a fake, a pretender, a phony-ass nobody.

Who is “AJ Mullican, USA Today Best-selling Author,” anyway? Why should anyone care?

I can’t answer that. I mean, she’s a certified ophthalmic assistant. She’s a wife. She’s a daughter, sister. She’s a cat mom. She’s a so-so artist. And as a writer? Who the fuck is she?

I don’t know anymore. I’ve lost my fucking mojo, and it’s driving me mad.

This is what Coronapocalypse has done to me. It raised me up to unrealistic heights, and now that I’ve returned to the reality of my day job life, I’ve fallen farther than ever before. I can’t write anymore. I can’t think. I just go through the motions, hoping I’ll eventually break past this stupid block but fearing that I never will.

My life has been reduced to an Austin Powers meme.

The really sad part? The truly inhumane part of all this?

I can’t even cry about it. My mind is so fucking broken that I can’t cry out of frustration, out of fear, out of sadness, not for anything. Am I even fucking human anymore? Is this some fucked-up side effect of COVID? Or am I just so fucking beyond saving that I can’t even wallow in self pity properly?

I don’t know anymore.

I just don’t know.

And it terrifies me.