HOW I LOST MY IDENTITY & LET STRESS ALMOST KILL ME

I’ve been thinking about writing this blog post for a while but I just couldn’t do it. I wasn’t at the stage where I had figured out how to stop my downward spiral and take responsibility for ‘fixing’ myself.

Now, I have.

Finally.

And if my story can help any of those in the same situation. Either as an author or in any other facet of your life, then I’m glad.

Word of warning, this is another personal post that goes on for a while…so either grab a drink and enjoy or move along.

Oh, and there will be typos.

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First up, let’s talk about loss of identity.

I don’t know about you, but with a little bit of success comes a hell of a lot of doubt. While your friends and family are going ‘Wow, you’re doing so well’ on the inside all you’re thinking about is ‘Yes, but it can vanish in an instant and I’m terrified.’

To the outside world, you look like a confident achiever. To your snarky inner voice you’re an utter fraud.

I’m sure not everyone feels that way but I did for much of last year before finally accepting that I could relax a little and be happy that I’d done my best and not to stress about the future.

Then…I lost that confidence and started to slip.

I don’t know what happened.

No, that’s a lie.

I do know what happened.

I started comparing myself to other successful achievers and stretching myself too thin. I believed that I’d gotten to where I was as a pure fluke, that I needed to diversify and broaden and write in genres that were hot. I didn’t trust in myself or my brand and because I didn’t trust, I lost my identity.

For almost a year, I put my #supersecretseries on hold as my publisher was very interested in it (still are but that’s another story). I pitched it as a contemporary romance. I swore to myself that it would be sexy and awesome but with none of the dark that I find adds such a thrill to stories. I thought I was doing the right thing.

For months and months, I kept saying to authors and assistants that I was going to branch out and leave the dark romance brand. I believed whole heartedly what I said.

Only…my imagination left me high and dry.

Whenever I tried to plot my #supersecretseries it was dust and emptiness where normally my mind is bursting with flavour and colour. But I didn’t let it phase me. I just figured I needed a bit more time for the characters to marinate.

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So, I decided to take time off to write a book just for me. Unseen Messages was the book I always wanted to write and stand by it 100%. I lived the days on the island; I was there as G and Stel built their new world. I guess I had to write that book as I LOVE the thought of going off grid and living on an island in the middle of the tropics.  Every day I adored going into their world, but it did teach me something I didn’t want to hear.

It sold.

It sold okay.

But it didn’t do what Tess and Q did. It didn’t do what Jethro and Nila did.

Why?

I have a feeling why.

Because it wasn’t my brand. I wrote it for me, but it didn’t have that spark that dark romance manages to conjure.  I LOVE dark romance. There is something intrinsic about it as a genre that defies others in a way I can’t explain.

The same thing happened with Ruin & Rule and Sin & Suffer. Those books I loved writing, however, my market wasn’t expecting a Motorcycle book from me and it showed.  It sold. But it didn’t sell like my others.

Subconsciously, I knew what I needed to do, but because I’m stubborn, I ignored my instincts and pushed on with contemporary. I should really have noticed that I was setting myself up to fail as I couldn’t even write Forbidden Flaws without wanting to make it dark. I managed to get 90,000 words into that book before I had to admit I couldn’t do it and scrapped it.

Because I kept banning myself from the one thing calling to me, I lost who I was. I became adrift and unsnapped myself from an anchor granting me courage to be me no matter what the market told me I had to be.

I got scared.

I got nervous.

Then started comparing.

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Now, some comparing is good.

It gives you a kick up your butt to push harder and inspires you.

However, constant comparing is not good.

And unfortunately, this writing business makes us compare constantly. Not in a bad, but in a business way. We constantly monitor the market, seasons, genres, pop-out successes, and fluxes in readership expectations.

If we spend money on Facebook ads, we constantly have to watch the book rank on the platforms promoted to see if the ROI (return on investment) is worth it. If we plan to reinvigorate a back list with sales and advertising, we have to look at other author’s releases, busy time of year, and try and figure out what would be best. There is no such thing as a simple release. All of it comes with stress and unknowns. Not matter how successful the book was or is.

There are two sites, no three sites, that strip my confidence, happiness, and courage and I don’t even notice it’s happening until it’s too late. Those sites are: Facebook, Amazon, and my sales dashboard.

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Facebook can be a wonderful place of friendship and encouragement but it can also be a drama school ground for trolls and hurtful comments. Amazon is a wonderful place to buy, stalk, and investigate but if you’re already down about your future and lost as to who you are, looking at other books doing well and driving yourself nuts with trying to predict the market whittles away your self-worth click by click.

Let’s just do a little case study…I’ll reveal some very personal stuff to get my point across.

Last weekend, I went on an overnight trip with my husband to meet a wonderful friend who’s been in my life for over 13 years. Hubby and I had an argument before leaving which was so unlike us. And it was over work.

The night before, I’d asked him to help upload the Indebted Boxed Set onto iBooks on the Mac. I have no idea how a Mac works as I’m a PC lover. So that’s his task. However, I was multi-managing and doing a bazillion things at once and he asked me questions to make sure he’d done it right. I said flippantly ‘give me a second’ but it obviously came off a lot ruder than I meant and he no longer wanted to help.

I get it. I do.

When I’m in my head, I’m in my head. This is why I’m so hard to work with or for. I don’t know how to delegate and do everything myself before asking for help even when I’m drowning.

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Okay, so moving on.

Hubby went for some time out and I sat there finishing everything. What I didn’t tell him was…for WEEKS I’ve been suffering heart palpitations from stress. At the time, I didn’t know it was stress. Most of my life, if I had a test at school or a scary day at work, my heart would flutter and double-beat all the way to the event making me breathless and slightly woozy. When I faced the source of my fear, my heart normally calmed down and behaved and it became a good barometer of my anxiety levels.

Over the last few years, I’ve been woken up by heart palpations just before release wondering if I’d uploaded the right file, set the right price, and edited the damn thing. Without fail, I would feel at least a few heart flurries before I calmed myself down.

But I’ve never had them constantly.

They’re not as thundering as the single incidents but over the past few weeks, I’ll get a few flutters every few hours or so. It doesn’t matter what I was doing: writing, online, watching TV, hanging with friends. Out of the blue, my heart will spaz out and I’ll take a few gulps of air to calm down.

This is what I hadn’t told hubby before the argument and when he needed time out, I went to bed and we NEVER go to bed without resolving an upset. So, obviously the next morning, when we should’ve been happy about going away for the weekend, we finished what we should’ve last night, finally getting back to happy levels only for my Indebted boxed set sale that I’d uploaded onto Amazon not  being published because of a letter from Amazon saying my books were available for free online elsewhere, therefore, I couldn’t sell them for money.

These emails are STRESFFUL, especially if you have close to $1000 in promo booked in and it’s all hinging on getting the sales link asap.

Know what causes that email from amazon?

Pirated books that are stolen and uploaded illegally. They not only steal revenue but also create havoc for authors on the other end.

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Anyway, I’ll wrap this up quickly.

Instead of having a relaxing drive, all I could think about was my release and promo that would go to waste. It was the weekend and amazon was shut, so I couldn’t get resolution. The night out, instead of laughing and living fully in the moment, I was constantly refreshing my dashboard to see if NOW it had published. The next day driving home with our friend, instead of catching up on the year we’ve been apart, I was internally freaking out that my book still wasn’t live.

Guess how many heart palpations I had on that weekend away?

Let’s just say I’m lucky to be alive.

So….that…it was a catalyst to show me how invested, obsessed, and addicted to this business I had become. It wasn’t making me happy. It was stripping me of every mortal thing. And it started me thinking about change.

And this is the point that I can now talk to you about how I made that change as I did and I’m 100% happier and if it helps anyone else, then I wanted to share.

A few days ago, I spoke to a very dear friend, Skye Callahan, and finally opened up about having these heart palpitations. She told me it might be PVC and it’s stress / anxiety related. I had to find a way to rebalance before it was too late.

In the meantime, a week before going away through some fluke of nature, I was able to lease a horse. (I’ve attached the FB screenshots so you can see how it happened). I thought this would be a turning point that I would automatically feel the stress melting off but the opposite happened.

It added yet another layer to my already chaotic life.

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Not only did I have to market, plan, write, meet deadlines, deal with a stranger who’d leased my land, care for a horse, keep on top of my house / chores, and relearn everything equine after a 15 years sabbatical from the saddle, I also struggled with my lost identity and a future that I didn’t know if I could face. The uncertainty of being able to afford a new horse or the time away from work drove me to breaking point.

The horse, like any animal, could sense my stress and nervousness and those first few days, she acted out. She bit and reared and acted like a brat. Yes, she was testing me as her new owner to see what she could get away with, but because I’d lost myself, I let her walk all over me.

I wanted to throw my hands up and say it’s too hard, I can’t do this. Take her away.

But a small voice (that annoying voice that keeps you going even when you want to give up) told me to get a trainer and see if she was a bad horse or just me. I wasn’t surprised to find that the horse (although stroppy and needing discipline) was a sweetheart when her respect was earned.

Then hubby said something to me the other day. Something I’d said to him a few years ago and totally forgot.

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That.

That was the line that made my life, my stress, my lack of identity screech to a halt.

I had said that. I do remember it. And I fully meant what I said. I believed the day I made a childhood dream finally come true would be the day that I could look at my life and go…I did well. Yay me. Now, let’s relax and be kind to myself.

Only the opposite was true.

I was lost. I was the most stressed I’d ever been. I was at a crossroads. And I was so tired I had to fight tears so he didn’t know how much of a fraud I felt. Because I felt more like a fraud than ever before. I was afraid of this horse. I was afraid of my future. I was afraid I’d peaked and had nothing left. I was afraid I couldn’t do this anymore.

Meanwhile, my heart was going like crazy and I finally forced myself to step back and ask one simple question.

One question I used to ask a lot in my past and it was the perfect tool to keep me focused on what was most important. Imagine my horror that I hadn’t asked that question for over a year. No wonder I was twisted up and confused and scared to the point of overwhelming stress. I was trying to do it all because I believed it all mattered.

What was that question?

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If I don’t look at amazon to see what genre is selling best will it kill me? No.

If I don’t look at my dashboard every hour to ensure my paid marketing is working, will it kill me? No.

If I don’t go on Facebook every second to promote myself, will it kill me? No.

See… by asking that simple question, it puts things into a huge perspective. I started asking questions that really mattered:

If I don’t get off line and start living, by being mentally present and not just psychically, will it kill me? Yes. (Yes, I could lose my husband and our incredible life together.)

If I don’t spend time on my health and happiness, will it kill me? Yes. (Literally, I could die of an illness that could’ve been prevented.)

If I don’t exercise and get strong again to horse ride, will it kill me? Yes. (I could fall off and be seriously injured.)

If don’t remember how to be myself and remain true to my passion, will it kill me? Yes. (I’ll destroy my career and have nothing left.)

 

It was like taking a huge breath and finally being able to breathe.

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Yesterday, I found I had focus for the first time in so long. I was able to finish a book, respond to necessary emails, and be able to say, I’m done work for the day with no guilt or shame or worry. I went to the paddock and tacked up the horse and took her for a walk down the lane. She listened, she obeyed, and we finally bonded because I was THERE with her in both mind and body rather than thinking about my next release, next post, next everything…

I came home content.

And I haven’t been content in so long.

The moral of this very long winded story is if you’ve been feeling overwhelmed and stressed to the point you’re making yourself sick.

STOP.

Ask yourself that question. If I don’t do this, will it kill me? And if the answer is no, then don’t do it. Give yourself a break. A true break. Don’t worry about it. Don’t think about it. It will be there when you get back.

Along with finally taking time out to find what was important, I re-watched The Secret to help remind me that the fear of lacking and terror was me sabotaging my self-worth. I remembered why I have been successful and that was because I focused on me. Not the market. Not the noise of life. Not the worry if I was doing the right thing. I focused on what made me excited because that was the voice of instinct telling me I was on the right path.

If you’ve watched the program, great. I put a lot of my success down to The Secret and keeping my mind focused on positivity. I get that it isn’t for everyone, however, if you want to watch it, I’ve included the link below.

So not only did I set myself back onto the path of no stress but I also swam to the bottom and found my anchor once again and strapped myself tightly to it.

And I am FINALLY able to say this with conviction, honesty, and utmost excitement.

I am Pepper Winters and I write dark romance.

For so long, I wanted to put some distance between me and that brand. But WHY would I want to do that? I LOVE LOVE LOVE Dark Romance. I don’t want to dilute my brand or destroy my reader’s faith in me by delivering books I don’t truly feel. Comparing to others can do dangerous things to our confidence but remembering what’s true can restore it.

All great authors have a brand: Nora Roberts has her contemporary family sagas mixed in with a few paranormals.

J.R Ward has her kickass vamp series that sells like hotcakes.

J.R Rowling had Harry Potter (with a pen name for other works)

They all stayed true to their brand. And I was not. I was betraying myself. No wonder I was so damn lost.

I’m often asked why I write dark romance. Why go for taboo subjects and things that make some people uncomfortable. I honestly don’t have an answer for that. I love the depth of human emotion I can reach when my characters are at their lowest. I love the height of love and forgiveness I can tap into when the pain becomes redemption.

Darkness is in all of us and its recognised by those who understand it. For a while, I started believing that what I was writing was wrong. That people didn’t want that. That I shouldn’t be delivering such tales of wrongness when there are so many other great things to write about. I locked up my true passion in the search of another.

And by doing so, I doomed myself.

#supersecretseries (that will be introduced with the covers and blurb on the 3rd June) reminded me that I can’t lie and write something that isn’t in my heart. Finally realising that took away the restrictions and ‘should dos’ and finally allowed me to listen to what my imagination was telling me.

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For a full year, I couldn’t find a plot for #supersecretseries while I put chains on myself to keep it light and romantic. However, the moment I removed those chains and thought truly what I wanted to write, the plot exploded within 5 minutes.

FIVE minutes.

Within 5 minutes, I knew the synopsis for all five books. I knew the hero; I knew the heroine. It was as if they’d been waiting for me to come back to them.

I can proudly say #supersecretseries will be dark / grey romance and I will write it exactly as the characters tell me to. No more second guesses. No more comparing. No more worry about the future.

I know who I am. And I’m going to stay true to that.

I still have heart palpitations but hopefully over the next week or so, I’ll be able to reduce the stress in my blood. The horse will help. Knowing my true path will help. And finally having the confidence to share this most definitely will help.

If you’re still reading…that is how I lost and found my identity and succumbed to the awfulness of stress. I wanted to be blatantly honest about what I’ve been going through because I know I’m not the only one. The world today puts so much expectation and pressure on all of us that we feel we have to be superwoman / man all the time. We have to juggle friendship, family, work, and careers all at once. We have to bow and conform and obey.

Wrong.

We have to be happy.

That is our one task in life and we can only be happy if we listen to who we truly are and be gentle on ourselves.

Be happy.

❤ ❤

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38 thoughts on “HOW I LOST MY IDENTITY & LET STRESS ALMOST KILL ME

  1. Virtual hug! It’s so easy to lose yourself, especially with social media painting rosy pictures of everyone else’s life. Great advice and I hope you continue to be true to yourself. #It’sGoodToBeDark

  2. Pepper, thank you for sharing this. I think too often we all fail to stop and assess where we are and just breathe for a bit. I know of a few authors who have had very similar experiences to you, where they became so focused on the game that they forgot that ultimately, as a writer (or as any one who is creative), you need to create for yourself first; the rewards will be tenfold if you do.

    Keep writing what makes you happy, what keeps your soul zinging and brain pinging with ideas. You’ll be happier for it and we, as readers, will be so much richly rewarded for it.

    Kia kaha (stay strong).

  3. I applaud your honesty and ability to pick yourself back up and keep going.
    Maybe this I why I’m supposed to be in your life right now … To HELP you so you’re not doing it all alone.
    Bravo, Pepper. Bravo.
    Love,
    Tiffany

  4. to lose your center or grounding is a horrible feeling. lost,adrift, bobbing on a current with no idea of where you are or where your going.
    the fact that you shared this shows courage and empathy. I know some where out there you have saved a fellow reader. thank you
    fellow readers next time you see your horse, friend, husband. put your arms around them with your feet on the ground and breathe. believe in yourself it is the best gift you can give yourself

  5. To be honest, I was introduced to you by your dark books, I’ve been in love with your work since. I compare all “newer/old” dark to yours, none have ever held a flame to yours. Now I’m going to be brutally honest here, when unseen messages released, I wasn’t too ecstatic to read it, did I buy it? Sure did, you wrote it, therefore I had to own it, ha e I read it? Not really, I did, I really did try to read it, I couldn’t do it, maybe someday I will read it, but the minute I started it, it felt off.. It did not in any way feel like a pepper winters book. I feel so bad for it, but again, one day I will try to read it, but as of right now I can’t, and I’m truly sorry about that ☹️ However I’m super excited about this new series coming up, I’m so happy your sticking with what you love, because aside from one other author, you and she, yea y’all are the only dark reads I’ll buy, hands down, no blurb read.. If your or her names are on the book, I’m grabbing it. Just because that’s how much I love your work, like unseen messages I may not be able to read it right now, but because you wrote it, I had to own it😀 Always stay true to who you are, I’m happy you finally figured it out, your amazing on your own, you don’t have to follow the trends, you are your own trend, I don’t know if you realize it or not, but you set the bar high for a dark author, I think all the newbs want to be able to do what you do, they just don’t have the “it” factor that you have, it’s all you girl, and I’m so happy your no longer lost 😀 Welcome back!!!!

  6. That was a wonderful post Pepper! I’m so happy you were able to share your journey so you can potentially help others stay true to themselves. I fell in love with Dark romance through your writing and although I love everything you’ve written, I agree that your true talent lies with dark romances. You bring them to life and help us feel pleasure in thoughts that are dark and sometimes uncomfortable. You push the boundaries of our minds which help us push the boundaries in our physical lives. I’m so absolutely thrilled your super secret series is going to be dark! I was honestly sad you planned it as contemporary as I live for the thrill of dark and I long for dark imaginations. Thank you thank you for this!! In being true to yourself your honoring your fans who LOVE you just the way you are. Dark, so dark others may think your disturbed. I’m right there with you!!

  7. Thank you for sharing your story! I’m an author and I too am guilty of stalking the bestseller’s list. It’s crippling! I need to step away and write from my heart. And I love The Secret! ❤

  8. I have loved every book you have written! All of them! I will say though I am hoping for signed copies of the Indebted series… I told my husband! I did send for a book plate for my Unseen Messages and notebook. I loved the motorcycles series also. There are going to be people who hate just because they can. I say write what you want. Those of us who love you are going to read it. Keep a check on the heart issues though! We don’t want to lose you!

  9. Bravo! Stick with your true self, write what is in your heart, and let the chips fall where they may. FB, Amazon, sales and all that crap is secondary to LIVING.
    I always put it in perspective this way… when I’m on my death bed, how do I want to describe my life? Do I want to say “I spent time with my wonderful family, did a job I loved, and lived to the fullest” or do I want to say “I may have stressed myself right into this early grave, and was horrifically unhappy, but at least I hit number one.”
    I know what I’d pick.
    Good luck to you and I’m happy you found a way to make life fun again.

  10. What a great insight. I can relate in many ways to this and I’ve often been wondering the same thing. How to push yourself away from the stuff that causes this much stress and sucks up so much time. But create a balance that is not only healthy for me, but for my family. Sure, things aren’t every going to be perfect. But in this business, you take risks every day of your life. You try and sometimes fail. Every release, at least for me, is like an anxiety bomb waiting to detonate. I wish it wasn’t. But I love your insight here. It sometimes makes us feel more human and normal to know we’re not the only ones going through this. Thank you for putting your experiences out there. I wish you the best.

  11. So much this, Pepper! I lost a year of my writing trying to plot and formulate a series my agent thought had so much potential and wanted to pitch. I LOVE the concept, and maybe someday it will come to be, but last year it did not. Why? Because my heart is in another genre. Everything you said is so so true. The stress of success with one series catapulted me into thinking I had to stay on top, keep earning (writing was never about money, it was supposed to be about me) . . . ROI, Ads, Trending books, KU, Book cons, post reach . . . those things should never come before my supportive husband and my three amazing kids! My health has taken a back seat to my muse. I’m out of my writing block (hallelujah!) and kicking my butt back into gear with diet and exercise. AND I’m embracing who I am as a writer and doing it for me.
    Wishing you a happy and healthy writing future 🙂

  12. As always Pepper you shine with grace & dignity ❤️ Thank you for sharing such a personal and intimate piece of you that most definitely resonates with me!!! Too much of where am I. So glad you are feeling better and being true to yourself. You deserve it because you are so important, we all are so important! Have fun with your horse because you do deserve that victory and that challenge is a good healthy one. ❤️ u big !!!

  13. Thank you for writing this post. It’s really hard to speak up and admit this business can be scary. Even though you’re grateful for success, it brings a whole new range of worries and fears with it.

  14. Im currently reading unseen messages snd loving it but i have loved everything you have written and will continue to buy everything you write. I’m glad you have found some inner peace.

  15. Pepper Winters I applaud you so much for posting what is in most of us but it is so hard to recognize and admit to ourselves. I know several writers new and established that are facing these same problems. Your post was amazing and I am so grateful that you wrote it. As an aspiring writer I know that I look to established writers like you and hope to follow your lead. So thank you so much for posting this and being honest with not only the people around you but by being true to yourself.

  16. Hi Pepper. I am sure you will be inundated with replies to yet another amazing and so personal piece of writing that will touch many. Thank you for this powerful and empowering blog / post / message. I will read anything you write, it is always exquisite and this leaves me full of emotion and in awe of your work and what it involves in today’s social media expectations for the production of a book. May you always be true to yourself and be happy. May I be as well. Ally

  17. Be true to yourself. No matter what, you need to make yourself happy first. As for your books……I will buy them no matter what. I love the dark books, but unseen messages gave me just as big a book hangover.
    Thank you for your works. And for sharing yourself with us.

  18. Wow, just wow. I hope the horse brings you joy and happiness you’re looking for. I know mine did. I was so sad when I had to let them good. Good luck on the upcoming super secret series and look forward to reading it.

  19. Ah Pepper, thank you for opening up and being so honest. It is not easy thing to do.
    I just want to tell you to stay true to yourself. Write what your heart tells you.
    And I absolutely love, love your dark romance!!!!
    That is what it introduced me to you and I live it!!!

  20. Very honest. You have a talent that is wonderful. Stay true to yourself. Enjoy your horse and family. Enjoy your life!!!!

  21. Dear Pepper. Thank you for your honesty. I understand completely. I am nearing the end of a year off from work I loved because I always said yes to everything I was asked to do until I was overwhelmed. The stress was causing me to loose sleep, pains in my chest and intense anxiety. I was withdrawing from friends and family who were worried and at a loss. Finally my bosses decided to make changes to the job without disclosing anything until a meeting where my world turned upside down. I finally cracked and have been following a long road to recovery. I am not there yet but am on my way thanks in no small part to a very supportive doctor and my wonderful friends and family. It still feels fragile but it will get stronger just as you have. Live long and prosper as they say in my favourite films xxxxx

  22. Ty from the bottom of my heart for this post!!! It’s reminded me of what’s important – Staying true to yourself!!!

  23. That could be my story, Pepper. There is nothing worse than having heart palpitations and feeling like you’re going to pass out or die. My heart can thunder or flutter but they all mean the same thing. When I am terribly stressed, my body reminds me that I have to do something to help myself get better. My outlets are reading, walking and breathing deeply. My group of “like-hurting” gals told me that concentrating on doing your best in a coloring book works for so many. Guess what I’m going to buy today?? As far as the self-doubt is concerned, allow yourself a certain amount of it. There is nobody on this planet who doesn’t feel like “I SUCK” every once in awhile. I take it in and let it work right its way through my body until I can feel it leave. How easy can it be to allow yourself to feel the negativity and actually welcome it?? At first, it’s not easy because it feels so foreign to you. As you live through it, it becomes automatic and your brain will start before you’re even away of the anxiety. I must sound like a book! I’m giving you the “secrets” that I have learned from women who have experienced the same emotional/physical pain.
    I wish you all the best with conquering those feelings but, most of all, I hope that you continue writing the genre and style that makes you the happiest! That’s the key word…if it makes you happy (and it’s legal:-) keep doing it. You are a success at life, both person and professional!

  24. Beautifully insightful, thank you for sharing! I gave up “writing for the market” almost as soon as I tried it out. For me, writing is cathartic, relaxing, and fun. It’s when I feel the most myself. Trying to write stuff that doesn’t excite me is the opposite of all those things. I can only produce one book per year and be happy with the result. So be it. I have accepted my slow pace.

    This past year I went back to school, which meant no new book because there was no time. Churning out an inferior product just to give people something to buy, or to keep my name out there is a waste of MY time, and I don’t want to waste my precious time. My readers will wait, and then they will come, and then they will buy.

    In the meantime, they will discover other authors to love, which is perfect. This is my life. No competition needed. Readers will always be reading and always be looking for another wonderful book. Sometimes that will be my book. Sometimes it will be a book that someone else worked hard to write. And I am okay with that.

  25. Thank you for this. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for being open and honest. Your words truly moved me. While I’m still struggling with somethings, your word definitely helped me in my personal struggle. So for that, thank you.

  26. Pepper,
    This really hit home for me. I’m sitting here nodding, stunned because a complete stranger has managed to hit the nail on the head for my current black hole. Thank you for your honesty and your bravery in sharing such a personal story.

    I wish you all the best.

    Alexx Andria

    p.s. I love The Secret.

  27. I know the exact feelings you speak of. Since my newest release has become a success, I’ve been waking in the night with panic attacks and can’t get rid of all the doubt filling my head. There’s a lot of pressure to please so many people and it’s difficult as hell not to compare yourself to the success of others. Hang in there!

  28. Thank you for this, Pepper. I needed it. And horses really are magic. Big and silly, most of the time, but they are the best.

  29. It takes so much courage to put yourself out there. Thank you! It’s something to think about for sure. I’m constantly plagued by anxiety with my work and decisions too, though I’m not an author. Be true to yourself. Be good to yourself. 🙂

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