Thursday, January 21, 2010

I Won't Worry My Life Away

Okay, so I was listening to Pandora at lunch the other day, and this Jason Mraz song came on. (And just for the record, most of the songs I like are by him and I didn't even know who he was until "I'm Yours." How lame am I? Wait. Don't answer that.)

Anyway, this song--I Won't Worry My Life Away--came on. And for some reason, it struck me as profound.

See, I'm a born worrier. I worry that the sun won't shine brightly enough for the picture on Saturday. That we'll be late to lunch. That my son won't make it into this class or that football team. There's this to worry about and then that and oh, yeah, that other thing.

I can worry like no one else.

So of course, I sit and worry about my book. What if no one likes it? What if my agent pitches it and all the editors laugh in her face? What if no one buys it? What will I do then? Will anything I write be good enough to be published? What if someone does like it? What if it gets published and everyone else hates it? See, my worries are not limited to failures. I worry about success too.

The list goes on and on. So I must've been in one of my worrying states when this song came on. And it calmed me down. So, deep breaths, worriers. "Because...

the remedy is the experience. It is a dangerous liaison
I say the comedy is that its serious. Which is a strange enough new play on words
I say the tragedy is how you're gonna spend the rest of your nights with the light on
So shine the light on all of your friends when it all amounts to nothing in the end.

I won't worry my life away."


What about you guys? Do you spend unnecessary time worrying? What do you worry about? How do you make yourself stop the worrying? Do you find yourself worrying more about your real life or your publishing life?

66 comments:

Tess said...

Me? Oh, no...I don't worry about the pounding snow outside or how I'm going to drive up to the city in it tonight, and I don't worry about my teenager or even about weather or not anyone will buy my book or if I'll ever have another good idea or .....

nope. not me. ;)

and, I hadn't paid that close attention to the lyrics for that song. I like them very much.

Tess said...

Did I misspell weather...?? wheather???? drat!

Michelle McLean said...

Yep, I worry about everything and anything. What I worry about the most depends on what day you ask me. Like today, I'm finishing up revisions. So they are the top worry for the moment. And every time the heater kicks on, I worry about the heating bill. And every time a picture of my son scrolls across my digital photo frame I worry about him in his new school and worry that he won't catch up with the other kids (the PA schools are a bit ahead of UT with material) and I worry that the other kids won't like him and that he'll be miserable (though he comes home from school every day saying he loves it).

At the moment, I am also a bit worried that my hubby is out ice-fishing on a fairly warm day. Falling through the ice would be bad :D

Buuuut, I think I'll go back to worrying about my revisions since I need to work on them. Maybe the worrying will help get my butt in gear ;-D Love the lyrics. I'll have to post them somewhere :)

V. S said...

I worry way too much. Sometimes about things that don't even need worrying. Your post helped, thanks for sharing.

Melanie Avila said...

I'm a born worrier -- seems I get that from my gramma -- but I try not to stress about the things that are out of my control. Waiting for three years for a bureaucrat to decide my fate helped with that. Now I try to focus on the things I CAN control. It helps, a little.

JenniferWalkup said...

Yep. I'm right there with you. Real life, publishing, all of it. I just try and push it out of my mind as much as I can. If worrying won't change it, I try not to worry. But, that doesn't always work. Great blog, by the way!:)

Jennie Englund said...

This was SO good!

YES, I worry! About everything. All day. All night.

But I'll try not to today.

Thanks to this!

Karen said...

Bow to me, all of you! I am QUEEN of the worriers.

I have Philippians 4:6-7 memorized and quote it at myself whenever I feel that little gnome in my stomach start his somersaults.

Kelly said...

Oh, yes, I worry. Mostly about my kids. I'm that overprotective parent that won't let anyone babysit but grandmas. (But they are getting older so one day I will!)
I will have more to worry about when I start querying agents in a few weeks!!!
Great song, by the way!

Bish Denham said...

We, as a society, tend to use that word in the silliest ways, like when we tell someone who is say...late, "Don't worry about it."

It's WAY overused and causes unnecessary stress.

My husband and I decided early on in our marriage to eliminate the word from our vocabulary. Instead, we use the word "concerned." As in,
"I'm concerned it might rain today." Or, "Don't be concerned, I put money in the checking account."

Try it. You'll like it. But it does take conscious effort to correct yourself when the "W" word slips out of your mouth.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I probably worry as much as the next person, but I try to remember that it only robs me of today and tomorrow - and that 95% of all worries never happen!

Nice to see someone else is a Pandora addict!

Janna Qualman said...

Thanks for the smart and encouraging post today, Elena. You and Jason Mraz are so right.

Hilabeans said...

Absolutely. I'm a worrier in the worst way. (oooo - alliteration)

I worry about my "publishing life" or lack thereof. ;)

hhs

Carol Kilgore said...

I am not a worrier. But my husband is. He worries if there's nothing to worry about, so he worries enough for both of us.

Don't worry ... be happy!

Christina Lee said...

Ok I'm just impressed that you understand those lyrics :0. He comes on my Pandora "station" too.

Catherine Denton said...

My husband teases me that worrying is my favorite hobby. I obsess over things I can't control. What calms me is doing something nice for someone else and/or creating (writing, painting, baking).
Winged Writer

DL Hammons said...

Until my publishing life becomes my real life...I won't have time to worry about it.

Patti said...

I do worry, but try to remind myself not to stress over the things I can't change. Great song lyrics.

Nisa said...

Oh I think I could rival you in the worry department... Maybe a simple yes would have been the better reply. hehe!

Am I lame because I've never heard of Jason Mirez? I guess I better figure out who he is and listen to some of his music!

Falen said...

i really really hate feeling anxious or having moments of anxiety, so i trained myself to just let it all go. Take it in, accept it, then just let it go because nothing lasts forever.
Years later i would find that this is very similar to the zen study of Anicca, which is impermanence. It's really helped me.

Lisa Amowitz said...

A quiet sort of worry is the soundtrack of my life. It's free-wheeling anxiety I can do without. But, mostly, I can ignore it. I'm old enough to have learned that most of my worries come to nothing. My kids have survived their early childhood and have made it into their teens, despite all my screw-ups. I don't worry about getting published anymore, even though it's my biggest dream. I'll pursue it, but even if I never make it, I'm going to survive.

And did I mention I love you, E? You always give me a chuckle and that is a tremendous talent. Obviously a few hundred others agree!

Elana Johnson said...

Wow, I'm beyond humbled. I'm so so glad I'm not the only one who has these irrational worries about lame stuff! *virtual group hug*

Thanks everyone!

And Lisa, thanks, girl! I think you're one of the most amazing people I've had the pleasure to "meet."

Kat Harris said...

Do I worry? Not anymore. The Xanax has taken care of that.

:-)

Actually, yes, I am a worrier. I've started doing yoga with my oldest daughter to help ease the stress. It really helps. You should try it.

Stephanie L. McGee said...

*steps to podium*

My name is Stephanie, and I'm a worrier.

*silence ensues*

*bite nails*

I think I scared everyone away.


In other words, yes, I'm a worrier. Great post. And don't worry, you'll get published and you'll rise to fame and fortune in record time. Then we'll all say, "We knew her when..."

Niki Turner said...

There must be a worrywart virus going around this week! I just blogged about it yesterday, and how I'm dealing with my propensity to worry about things I cannot control. This was another good reminder for me!

The Rejection Queen said...

I worry how old I will be when I actually find an agent. I hope I'm not 80.

Paul Greci said...

Elana, Great post!!
You echo my thoughts.
My remedy for worry: First I acknowledge it. Then I try to remember what I do and don't have control over. (Kind of like what Patti said). Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Either way I guess I'm right where I need to be even if it's in an uncomfortable place. I'm rambling now so I'll sign of. Thanks again!!

Alison said...

Okay, so I live in San Diego. It's been raining all week. Today is supposed to be the worst. Talk of funnel clouds and all. So ... I kept my three kids home from school today. Worrier? Yep. This morning as the wind howled I kept thinking, if something happens how will I get all of them? (They go to 3 different schools - Elementary, Middle, and High School).
So am I a worrier? Definitely!!!
How do I stop? Pray. That's the only thing that does the trick.

lbdiamond said...

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life [Matthew 6:27]

Yes, I am a worrier. It's like my default. When I catch myself doing it, I ask, "What's this about?" "Is it really as bad as I think?" "What if things don't go as planned? Does that mean the whole thing is bust?"

The upshot: Things usually work out...and if they don't, well, it'll come into focus later. It's true.

Kerri C at CK Farm said...

Love Jason Mraz!!
I am a huge worry wart! I try to take day one day at a time... because what else can we do lol?

Krispy said...

I worry about succeeding and failing, but mostly about failing. Stuff in Real Life is what's grinding on me most of late - finding a job I love, figuring out if I want to go to grad school, not wasting my youth, etc. But after wallowing for a bit, I try to pull myself together with a pep talk or a whine-fest with my friends.

Friends are a great remedy for worrying, as is Jason Mraz, whom I adore! His music always chills me out (and look, mention of him drew me out of lurking). And the song's name is actually "The Remedy." ;)

Jen said...

I like you constantly worry, about life in general, how the day will turn out, if my boss will like what I did on the report, if anyone will be moved by the things I write...

I have heard this song before, and love the beat, but I never LISTENED to the words and it truly is something to remember!

Brandon said...

I have a mother and a best friend who are both perpetual finalists in the "World's Worst Worrier" contest. Sometimes, I wonder if seeing how much unnecessary stress they bring upon themselves has swung to the opposite extreme. Here's my take on worrying:

You should worry about the things that you can change or prepare for. That's "productive" worrying; it's "good" stress. When you start fretting over items over which you have no control, that's when you step into the realm of "why the heck are you even thinking about that".

Neither my mom nor my buddy have been able to take that advice to heart. I think overstressing is hardwired in some people.

Kristi said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE Jason Mraz and especially this song!

It may be a requirement of a writer to be a worrier because I'm the same way. I have been better about letting things go in my personal life but I would be lying if I didn't say that some nights I lie awake for hours literally trying to shut my brain down. After my first crit group experience last night I was in bed for two hours before I finally fell asleep. I think over-analyzing and worrying go hand in hand.

So...you're in good company. Maybe. Hopefully I'm good company.

Kimberly Franklin said...

Oh, it's definitely a requirement for being a writer. I worry all the time, too.

It's like one of the many unspoken rules of the writers club.

#1 - must be worry about everything.

#2 - must be a little crazy

#3 - must love chocolate

The list goes on and on and on!

Lisa and Laura said...

It's funny, I know the words to that song, sing them all the time when it comes on, but have never really thought about them until now. I love it! And yes, I'm a worry wart too. Although it's not until I wonder about my constant stomach ache (er, is that called an ulcer?) that I realize I'm actually worried about something. Sounds unhealthy to me!

Sherry Dale Rogers said...

Me, worry, oh no, I don't worry...Oh maybe I shouldnt have said that...yes, yes I worry.

Hum, did I let the cat out...what if I left the oven on...or...Oh yea I forgot I was writing a comment.

What can I say, what if no one likes it, what if they all laugh at me........

"Worry is for the birds."

I hope that was good enough.

PJ Hoover said...

Oh, they blend together so much, I'm not really sure. Writing life I guess.
but I try not to :)

WindyA said...

Hahaha ... Kidlet and I were just singing Jason Mraz I'm Yours on Karaoke last night. Lol!

Melissa said...

Why yes I worry. If fact, it's my middle name:)

I worry about the usual stuff(kids, money, health) and writing things (what if I can't finish my first draft, what if it sucks so much that I have to throw it away, what if I'm kidding myself about this whole writing thing). I'm surprised that I don't have an ulcer. Really. But at least I'm in good company.

ali said...

I have no idea. I tend to go into zombie state when the worries get too much to bear. Like the staring-off-into-space, drool-falling-out-of-my-mouth kind of stare.

Huh? What? Did you ask me something?

Elle Strauss said...

Worry is the thief of joy, and doesn't change a thing except to keep you from enjoying what you do have. I try to focus instead on what I have to be thankful for.

L.T. Elliot said...

I'm a compulsive worrier. Worry and guilt are like heartbeats under my skin. You know what line struck me most? You worry about the successes too. I had the amazing pleasure of a taste of success six months back and it paralyzed me. I worried myself into a quandary from which I'm only now emerging.

So to answer your question, yes I worry. Too much. And I think your post profound indeed.

kimberlyloomis said...

I love Elle's words- although I have a very hard time keeping them as my mantra. I am also a born worrier and unfortunately (or fortunately) it manifests itself in the form of productivity. That only results in me not worrying in that moment and instead becoming uber Type A so, alas, I don't have good words here. Luckily my husband can calm me down and force me out the door, away from my computer/cleaning/in denial of worrying needs when it seems I've gone too far.

Coffee with a friend does seem to help sometimes. :) [Btw- I'm an equal opportunity worrier. Writing, querying, blogging, bills, etc all get my attention.]

Bethany Mattingly said...

I love songs that make me think about my life. Jason Mraz's seem to always make me do some thinking :)

Janet Johnson said...

My husband worries enough for the both of us, so I don't have to. :)

But off subject . . . saw the Jason Mraz concert in Kansas City last May. So fun! Better in person if you can believe it.

Liza said...

Perhaps it comes with age...not that I don't ever worry...I do a lot. But I also know that there is only so much I can control and worrying about it only makes me miserable for a longer period of time. So, I control what I can, take a deep breath and cross my fingers about what I can't and try to agonize only when it's a really big thing.

Christine Danek said...

Elana,
Thanks for visiting my blog. I will be back on your blog checking out all the helpful information and your interesting posts. I can definately identify with you on the worrying for no reason bit. I tend to worry about both my publishing and real life in equal parts. How to resolve this is a mystery. Oh so is life.
Have a great day! And don't worry :)

Southpaw said...

I try not to worry, but sometimes it just can be help. I worry more for others-family and friends.

Carolyn V. said...

Oh my gosh! I just had a worry session with my critique group this morning! *sigh*

Corey Schwartz said...

OMG, Elana, I just had this conversation with my agent. I pitched an idea to her and she LOVED it. And I got all worried that she would build up her expectations and be very disappointed when she saw the actual manuscript. And she kept saying, "Don't worry.' and I kept replying, "I worry. That's just what I do!"

You and I are on parallel planes lately!

lisanowak said...

Elana, I challenge you to a worry-off. May the best worrier win. I can find things to worry about that no one else even thinks of. Like that the agent reading my manuscript is going to die. (And that actually happened, which just goes to prove I was right to worry about it.)

Sarah said...

The crazy thing is in regular life I never worry. Which is bad. I'm late, the dishes are never done, I forget to shop for dinner...The list goes on. But with my book, that's all I do is worry. Like you said. But thanks for the post, maybe it will help me worry just a little less.

Amber Tidd Murphy said...

I am a huge worrier when it comes to my body -- as in, my foot is numb, I know there's a blood clot and I am going to die at any moment now!!

Er, anxiety and paranoia? Those are the same as worry, right?

sol said...

you can turn off the sun, but I'm still gonna shine!

this is one of my favorite quotes and it comes from the exact song you blogged about, Jason Mraz, the Remedy!

I used to be the biggest worry-wart! Until I finally absorbed/learned/and really lived using the serenity prayer: I accept the things I cannot change and find the courage to change the things I can. This helped me big time, it gave me little room to worry! I'm either letting go or improving/changing something.

Jaime Theler said...

That is one of my favorite songs! It has a good message. There's only so much you can control, so why worry about it all.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Yes, I worry a lot too. First about all the rejections I'll get when I soon start submitting. Then & equally terrifying, can I handle all the marketing on top of writing while keeping my full-time job I have to keep and taking care of my family. Glad to here I'm not alone but I'm going to try and take your advice.

John Sankovich said...

Elana, great subject especially poignant for me at the moment with things outside of writing. Cars... don't even get me started. I decided to post on my blog about this same subject. Check it out if you would like, might not be as succinct as your stated it, but...

http://johnsankovich.blogspot.com/2010/01/writers-doubt.html

Jessica said...

I probably don't worry enough. Some things I do though. Like my kindergartener. Yes, I'm already worrying that he'll flunk kindergarten because he doesn't like to read.
*sigh*
Thanks for the reminder. Makes me think about Jesus when he said, worrying doesn't change anything (paraphrased).
I hope editors LOVE your book!

btw, you have over 400 followers? WOW!

Jemi Fraser said...

Okay - I hate to admit I've never heard of Jason Mraz - but I must. However, I will immediately correct the oversight. Off I go...

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

I often worry that I worry too much.

And love Jason Mraz. Great little nuggest of wisdom in his music.

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

Perfect timing. My betas and I were just emailing each other about our WIP worries. Maybe I need to stop worrying and just enjoy writing. :)

DT said...

hey, thanks for the follow

Mary Lindsey said...

I try to only worry about things I can personally affect. Whether editors or readers like my book is out of my control. I do my best and let it go. Hard to do, but it keeps me sane.

Linda Kage said...

Gasp! I HAVE been worrying my life away. How tragic. And what great song lyrics. Thank you so much for sharing. I think your post actually helped some. Cool.

Marybeth Poppins said...

I Adore that song! Such good words to live by :)

See Elana's recent blog posts

Recent Posts Widget