I am discovering all new lows of self-esteem. I came here at about zero and now I'm dwelling in sub-zero levels. Underground caverns of self-confidence. I used to make jokes about how I should be the poster child of SAD--Social Anxiety Disorder.
Those jokes aren't funny anymore.
The prospect of meeting up with 16 strangers to bare my soul has reduced me to an emotional mess this week. I've lost count of the anxiety attacks...and I haven't even been critiqued yet. This isn't pretty.
We have lecture every day form 9:30 to 11:00 AM, then start to critique the two manuscripts we recieved the day before. To critique, we all form a circle, and then the carnage starts with the first person on the author's left and ends with the instructor. Even THIS has me anxious, as I hate being the center of attention. I think the social aspects of the situation are harder for me than the critique part.
This lasts till approximately 1 pm, then class is done for the day. But we have two new stories then that need written critiques. I go home (my student housing townhouse), grab lunch and start the stories. I usually don't finish my crits for the next day till 5 or 6 pm. Next comes dinner break. Then I have a journal entry/exercise to do. These take an hour or two. Now it's around 8 pm, and I'm finally free to start writing, if I can. This is after about 10-11 hours of working and lecture except with only breaks to eat. I'm dead tired. I haven't even checked my damn email I've been so busy.
Now is when I like to have my anxiety attacks, fretting over the fact that I'm blocked, that people are going to hate my stories and that people just hate me because they can see, or will see, what a freak I am, even in this company.
I'm doing my first meeting with Jeanne tomorrow to go over my pre-Odyssey assignments and get some feedback. This includes the first chapter of my novel and a synopsis. I know I have to do a major overhaul--I've already commited at least one of the cardinal sins of writing on this one, and since it was origianlly in first person POV, it's almost all "telling" not "showing." Fuck.
The other thing that makes me so anxious is the quality of the writers and critiques is much higher than I expected. That's a good thing, but increases my anxiety tenfold. I feel like I don't belong here, and I feel like they will think the same, especially when they find out I was the recipient of the second place scholarship to attend. They're going to be thinking I didn't deserve it.
I'm trying to be courageous and stick to my voice, even though I don't think many of them will like it, but then again, who knows? By next week, I will.
This week I have a private meeting with Melissa Scott to discuss my application story, then next week I will have a private meeting with Bruce Holland Rogers. Nobody seemed to want that, so it was the only option left when it came to signing up for a critique day or meeting.
Why did I do this to myself? I really am a masochist!