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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

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Sleep Is
For The Weak

Chicago Review Press

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At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it. → 

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The Little Hater

Whenever I take an extended break from blogging, I try to avoid apologizing for it on my return. Because that's boring. This video by Jay Smooth, however, is not boring, and perfectly describes what's kept me from here. Thanks to Karen, my guru/role model, for sending it to me.

Yup. That's it. I think the lesson here is "don't take a break," but that's easier said than done.

I'd love to hear from you guys: does this happen to you? What do you do about it? In addition to the perfectionism/guilt spiral, I also begin to believe, without fail, that everyone is mad at me. Everyone! I realize this is insane, but the insane part of me still believes it.

More soon, including an ANNOUNCEMENT (all caps!) coming next week.

Reader Comments (26)

I've seen this before from Jay Smooth. I really dig it. Look forward to reading more stuff from you.

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMom Off Meth

We need to hug right now. Yeah, there are lots of day I don't feel cut out to do this. But I can't seem to stop either.

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterthe grumbles

I have gone through periods like this many times in my life from small things to getting overwhelmed at college and dropping out because I couldn't face two professors who I was sure would hate me for falling behind. ( I've never said that aloud before). I stopped writing for four years most recently and am coming back from that right now. It's hard to come back but it's harder not to and it makes it easier to know that other people go through it too. I like to read the War of Art by Steven Pressfield when I feel it coming on. Glad to see you didn't let it get you for too long!

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJulie Machado

You know what gets rid of the little hater? Lots and lots of espresso, but who am I to talk, the little hater got to me about two years ago and Ive never recovered. Don't worry Alice, when you're gone Im not mad, I just miss you.

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKari

Wow. Thank you.

I can relate on so many levels. I have a hater in my mom brain, my writing brain, my wife brain, my contributor as a human being brain, and also in my career brain.

What I loved most was when he said he's not fishing for compliments. Sometimes I want to put it out there that I feel like the worst mom ever because I know that it's gratifying to know that others feel sucky in that capacity, but the flood of "you're a great mom!" is not what I need. What I need is to feel, for myself, like a great mom. Or great writer. Or great wife. Or great contributing human being. Or great career woman. I need to give myself that.

At the very least, I need to give myself adequacy in those areas when I need it.

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFer

Fer, I know what you mean. It's freeing to be able to say, hey, I'm pretty sure I'm the worst mom/writer/human alive, and just let it live out there. And then it's not in you anymore.

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteralice

Yes! That hit the nail on the head. The little hater shows up in all kinds of ways, doesn't it?

I agree that actually repeating the little hater's monologue, *out loud* for other people to hear, is always helpful. It's like some of its power dissipates in the real world. I should write a post about that.

Glad you're back.

ps - my little boy is Henry, too <3

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDeb

I've got the hater. I'm a perfectionist procrastinator. (Never think I'm procrastinating for long enough, so I try to set records. Wait, that's not it.) Anyway, I relate all too well. I'll slime a little post up, but then not read and comment on other people's blogs because I know doing them justice will take hours. And then I don't comment for a few more days. So then I Spiral down, down, down. And am at the bottom of a mountain of blogs I have to read, and posts I mean to write. What I really mean is... looking forward to your all caps announcement.

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterK A B L O O E Y

Alice, just be YOU. That's all anyone should ever expect from you.
I don't struggle much with Little Haters, but it seems to me that it may be a good idea to change the perspective on them...that they aren't there to stifle us or make us feel inadequate, but rather, to keep us humble and from getting too big for our britches, so to speak.
Can't WAIT for the announcement!!!!!!!

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

This has yet to happen to me because I foorrrrrrrce myself to cough something up once a week, but I'm afraid if I ever miss a week, I'll just never blog again. I'm two sacks full o' fun, I tell ya.

Also, you should start all your delayed posts with, "You're welcome!" because I always say, "thank you! thank you!" when you pop up in my feed. Might seem a little weird, but I swear it works out on my end. So there's that.

September 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie

Recently I have been reading about how important it is in creative pursuits to open yourself up to criticism; which is hard if you are already a pretty tough critic on yourself. In college my creative writing prof told me "take the criticism that makes you want to write MORE; leave the rest behind." I've found this help both for internal and external voices. And sometimes the criticism that makes me want to write more is pretty harsh...but something about it lights a fire in me.

Have you ever drawn your little hater? That helped me too.

September 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRachel V

Holy epitome Batman! Video was right on. I struggle with it most with keeping good connections with friends - life gets in the way of responding to emails, making dinner dates, etc. And then I feel crappy for not being there for my friends (but in some part of my mind I know I have been there for all of them through all of their struggles and good times) or I feel like a burden if there has been a long gap and all I want to do is dump and hear I am right and my boss is an idiot.

I like reading your blog and I don't care if you take long breaks. I'm envious you can do it at all, keep it going even if there are long stretches between posts. I certainly don't hate you. I think you are funny but know we aren't always in the mood to be funny, or witty. So, cut yourself some slack and know we'll read your blog whenever you post (note: most likely we readers also take breaks from the blog and are equally guilty of trying to catch up at a later time!).

September 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterYodaMom

I was really mad at you, but I forgave you.


September 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarinka

Well unlike marinka, im still mad.

September 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

On second thought, I only read like 3 blogs and I only get around to them like once a month so it's nice to not have to read a thousand posts from you to catch up. You're always right where I left you. And I like it.

September 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

All of his reasons (and yours) are precisely why I've been writing twice a week (three if I'm really feeling cheeky!). I feel bad but I push past it because "usually" there's a reason. I acknowledge that reason and keep it movin'. Sometimes, there is no reason whatsoever other than I am tired, I am lazy, I do not feel like sitting in that chair to write about something that is important/funny/necessary to me just for the few people I know real read it/like it/get it. It's not worth the effort. And four days later I'll be right back in the chair because I love to write and my mind is too full. Meh. I could never get mad at you, Alice. I like being surprised by seeing you in my reader.

@ Fer -- It's exactly as you said about the compliments thing. When I write something I know will bring on a whole bunch of "me too" I turn off the comments. I just needed to get it out.

September 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterArnebya

My little hater keeps me from commenting on blogs. I read a ton but the uneven relationship between bloggers and commenters always makes me feel weird enough about the dynamic that I usually consider saying something, then move on to something safer, even though I know I would really want comments if I were the one writing.

p.s. Guys, why would anyone be mad? What does any one particular writer owe you? Mad? I really don't get it - it doesn't compute in this context.

September 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCheryl

Mad! I know! It's totally insane. It's one of those deep internal reactions, one that can only be routed out by years of intense psychotherapy. And I'm way too cheap for that.

(I think the commenters were joking about being mad at me. AT LEAST I HOPE THEY WERE, GUYS.0

September 17, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteralice

Well. This was EXACTLY what I needed to read/hear/see today. Thank you for sharing the video and your honest worries about the "consequences" of a break. I feel exactly the same way, but I never identified the spiral effect it has on my creativity or confidence till you (and Video Guy) put it in black and white.

When bloggers I love don't post for a while, and then a new post comes up weeks later, I'm so's like getting a letter in the mailbox. There isn't a trace of anger or feeling I haven't been given what I'm owed. We must remember that ourselves.

The other thing is this BUSINESS OF BLOGGING thing which you addressed in your "blogging as a career" post. It's one thing to feel like people are mad at you, and another to feel like you're doing C-level work at your job. Both feel crappy, and neither is true. Yet both can have the effect of making you want to run away from your blog, and the Internet, or to want to apologize and/or justify. Hm.

You've inspired me to begin posts after a break with what I'm *really* feeling, which is "I'm so glad to be here again. Here's what I'm up to. How are you?"

September 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAsha Dornfest

My little hater tells me that everybody already forgot about me and nobody would want to read what I had to say anyway.

Charming, no?

September 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGoon Squad Sarah

Each and every day I feel guilt about something. I'm not raising the kids up to standards. I didn't complete a work assignment to the best of my ability. My house is never clean. And so on. The one thing I do not feel guilty about is my blogging efforts. It's MY outlet. It's MY stress reliever. It's MY story to share. I don't want there to be huge gaps in my posting, but if there are a few misses, so be it. I'm doing my personal best and giving it my all - on MY terms. I say don't feel too guilty if you can help it. No one is standing in the background waving their finger and saying "Shame on you." At least not those who get it, those who understand and those who truly care. :)

September 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCrystal

Oh wow, did he articulate that spiral well! Sometimes I can get past the perfectionist -you have to make something really good to compensate for all your lameness, but you won't because you are really lame- part by telling myself that even if my work isn't stellar, I am a happier, nicer, and more positive person to be around when I am doing creative work. So, even if my product doesn't enhance the world much, my presence is a more positive one for having produced it. Sometimes, but not always, that helps... and it is true.

September 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMaude

I guess I better work on I my delivery. Ok how's this- I'm mad! Wocka wocka wocka!!!

September 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJessica


Thank you, thank you, thank you.

September 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLouise

MAN! This is me in a nutshell. I'm totally the perfectionist/procrastinator and don't always know how to turn the little hater off in my head. Worst of all, I'll get mad at situations or people and blame them for what's plaguing me. You know, I want to cook the perfect meal for family or friends, but need to clean my house, need to actually plan HOW to cook the meal, need to shop for groceries, need to keep the kiddo occupied and not crawling up my legs as I cook, etc. etc. etc. and when I'm running about 10 minutes before everyone shows up, I'm sweating bullets, yelling at everyone and not having any fun.

I think maybe I need to tell my little hater to chill and have more fun. It's always fun, if I just let go of that search for perfection...

September 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarie

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