As a writer who works from home, is published respectably around the world, has a lovely husband, a cute dog, some really nice clothes and a lot of travel, people often tell me what a wonderful life I am leading. And when I look at it on paper, they're right. So why then, I wondered, as 2011 drew to a close, am I not the happiest person alive? I have every reason to be but instead I am plagued with worry: that I'm not a good enough writer, that I have an increasingly wobbly muffin top, that two glasses of wine is a crime, that my office is a mess, that I've offended every Tom, Dick and Harry with whom I have ever crossed paths, that I'm over-looked, under-valued, under-rated, overwhelmed...you name it and I'm worried about being over or under it.
Well, it has to stop.
There's no point in everyone else appreciating my life if I can't quite manage it myself.
So, my mission for 2012 is to stop worrying so much and in a bid to achieve this in a practical way, I've come up with a plan. I came up with this plan, by the way, while lying awake in the middle of the night worrying about how much I worry.
My plan is called The Double Happy Project and here's how it works.
From now on, for every negative thought I have, I'm going to try to quickly come up with two positive thoughts. In doing so, I'm hoping to redress the worry balance and end up not under or over anything but rather dancing happily in the middle.
How to apply this philosophy?
I was worrying the other day, for example, about my nearly-finished book, The Uncommon Courtesy of Sugar Honey Wallace, not being good enough. (Writers do this a lot, by the way.)
But instead of gnawing on this worry until it had eaten a hole in my confidence the size of the moon, I quickly reminded myself that (1) I have written seven other novels which are all perfectly fine so there is no reason why the eighth wouldn't be too and (2) I do have a lovely husband and a new Kate Spade dress.
Amazingly, quickly moving on to the fun stuff in your head does seem to halt the progress of the bad stuff.
It's an ongoing process, of course. I've had to remind myself of (1) and (2) many times since then but the Kate Spade dress won't always be new. However, I have ordered another one online in the sale which should arrive any day now.