Because sometimes we need a reminder of what we’ve done and what we’re capable of doing.

I’ve been really hard on myself lately. Struggling with edits. I could list the reasons–and there are many, from the move to a loss of a loved one to the subject matter of the book–but the important thing is, I’ve been too hard on myself.

I’m *always* hard on myself.

Most days I’m proud of that, proud of my ability to push myself, but this past week I pushed myself too hard, right over the edge and into the wastelands of self-loathing, and that’s no good for anyone.

It’s just that sometimes I feel this crippling panic that I haven’t done enough, that I’m not doing enough, not living enough.

This post is a letter to myself, really, a reminder.

I made a list. To prove to myself that maybe I’m not always the best judge of what is “enough” because I don’t think I will ever believe I’ve done “enough.”

So here’s what I’ve done. What December Victoria, in her current state, has deemed “not enough.”

This winter I moved to the UK. Well, before that I went on a writer’s retreat for 5 days with 23 other authors, got snowed in, got a new book deal, went to New York, met my agent, met my pub team, and THEN moved to the UK. I lived in Liverpool, spent three months residing in a shed (true story, check out the vlogs) in the yard of a house shared with 8 other people, and wrote a 350-pg first draft of THE ARCHIVED.

I hiked the hills of northern England, hitched a ride with a friend to Glasgow, trained from there to Edinburgh, and spent the next few days wandering ancient roads.

I spent two weeks driving through northeast France with my family, drinking wine and climbing boulders and writing in corners of cafes nestled into the woods. I found places where magic still exists.

I was interrogated by border patrol returning to England, b/c they did not think I had a good reason to be there, let alone come back. I got back, spent a few days in London with cousins, and returned home.

I hosted seven giveaways in the seven weeks leading up to the launch of THE NEAR WITCH. I *survived* the launch of THE NEAR WITCH. The day after it came out, I went on tour with Myra and Beth.

Between that tour, personal travel, and the other events that followed, I traveled to Denver, Boulder, Forest City, Morganton, Asheville, Spartanburg, Sylva, Knoxville, Kingsport, San Antonio, Decatur, Boise, Auburn, San Diego, Sacramento, DC, New York, and Charleston.

I met dozens of amazing, inspiring, lovely authors, and many of them I now count as friends. I also met (and hugged) my hero, Neil Gaiman.

Somewhere in there, I’m not entirely sure where, I wrote my first adult novel.

And then I moved to New York.

And that’s where I am.

Sitting in a chair in my Brooklyn apartment, thinking it’s not enough. The hardest part is that I don’t ever want to feel that it’s “enough,” at least not in the satisfied sense. I want to stay hungry. But some days it’s really hard to walk the line between wanting more for the future and disregarding the past.

I have to find a way to be happy with what I’ve done while striving to be more.

And so, along with the many, many other goals I’m setting for 2012, I’m setting that one, too. To push myself, yes, but to remember, every step of the way, the adventure that I’m on, to savor what I’ve done as much as what I want to do.


28 thoughts on “Because sometimes we need a reminder of what we’ve done and what we’re capable of doing.

  1. Victoria, you have done so many amazing things! I know what you mean about never feeling like it’s “enough” (going through much the same right now as I look back on the year), so maybe a list like this is in order for myself. But I hope you know what your year looks like on the outside: So very phenomenal and impressive.

  2. Tracy says:

    Wow, your “not enough” makes MY “not enough” look, well…like not enough. πŸ˜‰ But I think this is a good reminder that we should try not to be too hard on ourselves… there are plenty of OTHER people in the world to do that for us.

    • veschwab says:

      Haha, each person has their own “enough” and I often think it’s not a static thing. And yeah, sometimes we just need a firm reminder. It’s too easy to forget, or become distracted.

  3. Unfortunately, no matter what you accomplish it will never be “enough” if that is what you choose to believe. Humans have the ability to give meaning to every thought and action we create. If you choose the meaning, “it’s not enough,” it won’t matter if you become President or win an Academy award or receive accolades from Neil Gaiman. If you choose to believe it’s never enough, it never will be. The good news is, you get to choose the meaning you put on everything in your life. In other words, “It’s not enough” can disappear in the time it takes to think, “it’s more than enough. In fact, it’s downright incredible!”

    My advice? Lighten up and give yourself a pat on the back for all you’ve accomplished. Be grateful for your health, talent, and work ethic. Enjoy the amazing ride that is your life.

    • veschwab says:

      For me, it’s always been a narrow line because the sense that it’s not enough is one of the things that drives me, and it CAN BE a positive thing, and a propulsive one, so long as I don’t let it get out of hand, as it did when other pressures and a bit of self-doubt joined the game. I personally would never WANT to be truly satisfied, or to think “it’s more than enough.” I just have to make sure that it doesn’t cross from drive into dissatisfaction like it did.

  4. michelle says:

    You lived in Liverpool, yes it may be in a shed, but Liverpool!!! *wonders how far that was from my house*

    You have done a lot of things to be proud of, especially getting your book published and even a big move to NY. You should be proud of what you have done. *hugs*

    • veschwab says:

      I lived in L16 πŸ™‚ And it looks so strange, writing this year down this way. It feels so distant, England, can’t believe it was this spring!

  5. I’m also very goal driven and constantly push myself to become better. When I reach one goal, I set a new one–but I also think it’s so important to celebrate successes along the way, even the small ones. It reminds me how far I’ve come since I started this whole writing thing. You’ve had a LOT to celebrate!

    On a totally unrelated note, we’re recommending your book on our blog next week. It rocked! πŸ™‚

    • veschwab says:

      Yeah, that’s certainly what I’m trying to learn to do, pause long enough to celebrate. I tend to immediately shift gears, moving on to a new project/target the moment I finish an old one, instead of taking the time to savor.

      And thank you!! That makes my night :))

  6. You’ve done more in a year than many people do in a life time. Which is awesome. Keep living, but cut yourself a little slack. : )

  7. Holy cow, that’s an awesome summary. Isn’t it amazing what happens when you sit down and start writing out your own story?

    I should do that more often. πŸ™‚

    • veschwab says:

      It seems so far away, I have to remind myself that this all happened THIS year, you know? We don’t always notice it when it’s happening around us. And yes, you should do it!

  8. Rachel says:

    V, this is making me think back to the realization I had a few nights ago about my own “not enoughs” and the fact that though I’m often stumbling and somewhat blind in my path, I’ve always managed to turn it to exactly where I want to go. Surprised as I am when I get there. I may take a page out of Nova’s book and copy this idea as well.

  9. Kristina says:

    Love this post to yourself and letting us read it. Two things come to mind: 1) You know yourself. If you expect 110% from yourself, that is your normal. And staying hungry is a big part of that normal. Find the small ways to celebrate your achievements (like writing a year-end summary labeled AWESOMESAUCE With a Side of Epic) and some coping mechanism for when your head plays tricks on you (in addition to tea and cookies and long runs).

    Secondly, when I watched “Elf” today, I thought of you when the narwhal tells Buddy goodbye. πŸ™‚

    You are amazing. Thank you for sharing some of yourself with us.

    • veschwab says:

      I try very hard to be open and honest about both the highs and lows of this incredible journey. Because it is that, a journey.

      And yes, it’s all about personal norms. I just have to learn to see the good, to hold fast to it for more than a few moments.

      And I just watched Elf. It makes life shinier.

  10. Stacey Jay says:

    Oh, V. I think you may be my soul sister. Big hugs to you and all your much more than enough. (Sometimes I think learning to be gentle with yourself can be the hardest part of the big adventure.)

  11. Novel Girl says:

    I have self-loathing days too. I push myself too far, thinking, “That’s crap. Do better,” and although I know I just want to do as best as I can, when my self-esteem is down, I do myself no favours with such thoughts.

    I can totally relate with the rollercoaster-ride of emotions. The main thing is to continue to rise back up.

  12. I don’t think I knew you were writing an adult novel! That’s so awesome =D You’re amazing, Victoria. Keep doing what you’re doing, and one day when you look back on your life, hopefully you’ll realize you’ve done “enough” and more.

    This is a very inspirational post, because it makes me want to start living life as fully as you seem to be doing =)

    • veschwab says:

      Aw, thank you, yeah I kind of kept the nature of the project hush for a long time bc I’m way superstitious, but it’s adult. And thank you so much, for being so sweet.

  13. […] Because sometimes we need a reminder of what we've done and … Because sometimes we need a reminder of what we've done and what we're capable of doing. December 11, 2011 in Life. I've been really hard on myself lately. Struggling with edits. I could list the reasons–and there are many, from the move . […]

  14. Marie Landry says:

    You are a rock star. Seriously. You’re so young and you’re living a life that so many people only dream of…or never even DARE to dream of. And you’re so talented, my gods! You’re such an inspiration. Keep being awesome, I know you will continue to do great things. ❀

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