I saw one of those things on Facebook yesterday. You know, the inspiring quote put over a lovely picture that can never be attributed to just one originator. But this one caught my attention because 2016 was particularly rough to me in the second half. The biggest and worst thing to happen to me in 2016 was that my health got worse to the point where I lost my job in November.
Two months to the day since I announced a hiatus, it seems.
I’ve had a lot of time to think. A lot of time to figure out what I want for my creative life. I’ve decided I’m really stinking tired of letting everything else get in the way, especially myself. I feel like I’m rebuilding myself slowly, one small piece at a time, from the bottom up. I had to be broken down completely, I think, for things to be put back the way they need to go.
It’s going to take a long time. I’m holding no illusions about that. But it’s going to be worth it.
Expect to see the changes and updates I was planning on making before the hiatus soon. I’ve got three LTUE summary posts hiding in my drafts folder waiting to be completed, and I have other ideas coming. I’m also doing The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, so I expect that I’ll be sharing some of the experiences from that with you as well.
Anyway. Rambled on long enough. I’m back, and I’m glad to be back. I’ve missed you all. ❤
The beginning of December always brings what some people call a Nanowrimo hangover. It’s the feeling of “now what” that comes with having completed 50k words in 30 days. At this point, the insanity is over.
So I’ve finished NaNoWriMo. I’m pleased with the way that it turned out, and although I did get my 50K words, I’m still working on the story. It’s turning out so very nicely. I can’t wait for some of the twists that have been trying to show themselves. I’ve just been through a difficult breakup. I feel like I can talk about it now that it’s over and resolved “successfully”. But that was what was so very emotionally draining for the entire second half of November. And in some ways, it was also very motivating for my writing because pushing so hard for word count kept things from being worse than they were. I survived Thanksgiving with a minimum of family drama (my family does not share my political or religious views that I don’t discuss here so there is always drama).
So now it’s time to answer the “now what?”
Now I finish the rest of the story. It’ll probably end up being an 80k-word novel, when all is said and done.
Now I work on a query letter because I really need to get published soon.
Now I learn how to be lonely, and I imagine that all that time and effort I was putting into a struggling relationship might find new expression in writing and reading.
Now I start looking for new ideas, new projects that I can work on when I’m done with this one.
Now, I move forward.
I took a few days off after winning Nanowrimo to enjoy Thanksgiving and having my cousin and her family in town. I’m still feeling pretty pleased with myself for managing to accomplish all 50k words.
One of the admins on the unofficial Nanowrimo facebook group posted a prompt today that got me thinking. “I want to be the kind of writer…” and we were supposed to fill in the blank. I was surprised by how easily my answer came to me.
- I want to be the kind of writer that can write full-time and pay my bills doing what I love.
- I want to be the kind of writer that treats her fans well because I’ve been treated very well by some of the finest authors in my genre and it’s done wonders for my confidence.
- I want to be the kind of writer that helps other writers.
- I want to be the kind of writer that brings hope to people like me, and enjoyment to all my readers.
- I want to be the kind of writer who makes a difference.
Answering the prompt really didn’t require much thought on my part because over the last two years or so I’ve done a lot of thinking about this very subject. I know what sort of writer I am and want to be, because it’s who I am. Every other job I’ve ever taken, every other hobby I’ve pursued, it all comes back to doing and being THIS in the end. I am and always have been a writer.
Now I just want to be the kind of writer that gets paid.
The query letters are in the works.
Soon. Very soon.
So I’m sure you’ve all noticed that I’ve been very much absent these past few weeks. Or at least I hope you have. I would hate to be forgotten.
I feel like sharing the reasons for my absence, even though I know I’m not obligated:
- My job demands much of my time and energy (10 hour shifts plus 2-3 hours commute time), and leaves little for the writing work I actually enjoy–especially with the fibromyalgia also demanding more than its fair share of my time in rest and recuperation. For some reason, this has to be through mindless tasks where I don’t have to think, like video games or sleep. Writing seriously (for profit!) doesn’t qualify as restful even though I wish it did; it qualifies as a second job.
- My job feels like a soul-sucking dead end chained to a desk (not even a full cubicle!) by a phone cord, and my creativity has been drained and underfed by the demands of being an introvert who is attempting to deliver pleasant customer service for hours upon hours every day. When I do have the time (the easiest thing to get on my ‘need this in order to write’ list; energy and anything resembling creativity are a lot harder to come by), I find myself staring at the blank page for a long and useless stretch. Or worse, I end up scribbling profanities and expressing the desire to die in a way that would make the goths from my late 1990s high school proud. I THINK I can still count this as writing practice… but it’s not going to generate any income or publicity for me.
- In spite of thinking that I had everything under control, but perhaps not surprising given the emotionally draining nature of my job, it would seem that my anxiety/panic attacks are back. And with a side helping of severe depression, of course. I’m not doing well right now. I’ve been waking up every day in flight-or-fight mode, but there’s nothing to fight and nowhere I can run. This high-adrenaline limbo is taking a serious toll on both my mental and physical health, and I’m not sure how much longer I can last before something breaks somewhere. It’s not helping the fibromyalgia, that’s for sure. Nothing triggers a chronic condition like stress.
I’m working hard to overcome the last one, because it is the worst of the three. Nothing is as awful as being stuck in flight-or-fight mode and not being able to go either way. It affects EVERYTHING about a person’s life.
That being said, I still think I’m going to take advantage of what’s left of my weekend today. I have a bit of yard work to do, and then, if I’m not too terribly shaky still, I may attempt a trip to the bookstore cafe to sit and write something besides death and profanities….
Wish me health and luck and good thoughts/prayers if you can. I really need them all right now in doses I can’t make happen alone.
❤ ❤ ❤
(And PS- if you haven’t yet bought my book, that could help me out a little too! Share it with your friends/family/etc. as well! Okay, shameless plug over now. 😛 I love you all. )
Today was a long day. Spent some time at the local library picking out books to read that are popular for the audiences I’m writing for these days. I have a lot of reading ahead of me this week, but I can’t coast on talent alone anymore. I’ve got to put in the work if I want the rewards. I’m actually feeling pretty excited about making myself get off the computer to read and write. They’re things I enjoyed that I let fall by the wayside as this machine took over my life. It’s so nice to be reclaiming the things I love.
I did get some writing done this morning. I wish it had been more, but I’m not going to complain about the fact that I got something down. That I’ve been getting at least plotting work done for the last couple of weeks. It feels good to feel good… I missed out on so much when I was so sick. But on the downside, I’m feeling a little discouraged because of job stuff. I’m not yet so successful as a writer that I can afford not to have a day job. I’m optimistic that something is going to come up soon, as long as I keep working at it.
I’m going to dream a bit here. When I manage to become successful and even famous, there are a few causes I’d love to contribute to. NaNoWriMo’s literacy programs, for one. Domestic violence prevention programs. And maybe most personal for me, mental illness and fibromyalgia awareness. I feel like an entirely different person now that I know what’s going on with me and how to at least mitigate it. If I can help even just one person feel better, then I’d love to contribute to that. Money, time, talent… It’s important to give back. So I’m making the promise to myself that when I manage to make it, I’m going to give back.
Hey, it’s not midnight yet, right? I’m still managing to stick to my resolution to write here every day.
I managed to get some work done on the Soldaris Saga today. Mom’s been after me to finish it since I left her hanging as a reader somewhere near the beginning of book two. Sorry Mom! Some of my biggest challenges with this project still remain the creation myth and the religious foundations of this society I’ve created, and why a world that worships both a god and a goddess would turn to misogyny the way that it has. Something’s not adding up; not all of it makes sense just yet. I see a lot of reading on tomorrow’s agenda, mostly Joseph Campbell but some “for fun” reading too in order to keep myself up to date on my genres. If I’m going to get to the point where this is my job, I have to start treating it like one.
On a more personal note, today was different from other days. I got up, I checked my Facebook and my e-mail, collected from my businesses and factories in SimCity Social… and then I ran Windows updates and turned off the computer. It stayed off, all day. I’m sure the significance of this is lost on most of you, but for those of you that know how I’ve struggled with internet addiction, this is a major achievement for me. In today’s world it’s virtually impossible to cut out the internet entirely… so being able to find the right balance between taking the time to write a blog post or a chapter, and ending up on the computer for endless unproductive hours is a daily challenge. Today was a good day. I might have bad days in the future, but that’s okay. I’ll get up the next morning and have another good day.
Determination, day two, has gone relatively well. Tomorrow, though, I want to talk more about writing. Less about me. Hopefully I’ll be able to get enough writing done tomorrow that I don’t feel like I have nothing to say.