A year since I moved to North Carolina. A year of changes. A year of letting go of old things and enjoying the new.
First… I didn’t write as much as I wanted to. I could blame it on my job, or writers block, or any number of things. And the job does take up a lot of my time, but it doesn’t take up all of it. I could write more. It wouldn’t be the same as when I had that year off, but if you never write then you never publish again.
But… I think I needed some time to heal. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. A lot happened over the last few years and I just needed to work through it all. Sort out the pieces, figure out how I felt about it all, and move on. Sometimes you have to give yourself permission to do that, to set everything aside…. And just be for a while.
I did create. First art, then games, then little stuffed monsters. Each of them came with learning experiences, and new challenges that I loved. And I will keep creating all of them just for the fun of it.
Creativity is a huge part of who I am. Creating worlds, and characters, and giving them life… I have to do it. I’ve been doing it since I was little and it isn’t going to stop because the world goes sideways. But… Maybe it’s okay for those worlds to appear in a different way. A game instead of a book. A stuffed animal instead of a witch at sea. Describing something with markers and paint instead of words.
I still love the books I’ve written, and I want to finish the ones I have already started. The pain of the last few years has faded… Now it is more about discipline, and fortitude. It takes months for me to write a novel, but it takes a lot to actually get that done. The words don’t magicaly appear in the computer, you have to take time, and effort, to put them in. Without the willpower to stick with something and get the job done…. The novel never becomes reality.
So that is what I’m working on. Call it a new years resolution maybe, to write every day. Even if it is only 200 words. Because the habit is gone and I need to rebuild it. But I’ve been here before, I’ve made this journey. I can do this!
For the last five years I’ve done an end of year review were I look at what I accomplished in the year before, and where I will be going in the coming year. Generally this has to do with my writing, how much I wrote, what I published, and what I have already started for next year.
This year things are a little different.
I wrote a total of 50,000 words last year. That is for the entire year, something I usually do in November for NaNoWriMo all by itself.
For comparison: in 2019 I wrote 230k words and published three novels. In 2020 I wrote 141k words and published one novel and a short story (while also dealing with being sick for part of that year.)
So what happened in 2021? The pandemic was in 2020, my tumor was in 2020, you would have thought that would have been the year to drag me down, and yet it wasn’t. Or rather… It wasn’t right away.
Stress has a way of building up and weighing you down. Sometimes you won’t notice the effects right away, but when it does start to effect you everything starts to go downhill fast.
For me this started at the beginning of 2021. I was feeling better after surgery and it was time to get a “real” job. After all, we needed money to move back to Seattle, and since my then BF was still obligated to work for the person we were staying with for room and board (and nothing else) I decided I would go back to work and earn some extra money for truck rentals and gas. Our savings has already been depleted and I wanted to help.
I think getting that job was the best thing for me, physically, because it helped my recovery after surgery progress faster. It was a very physically demanding job and I had to get strong or fall behind.
But as a consequence I was tired… A lot. My body had just been through a major ordeal. I lost 50 lbs, and had been on a starvation diet for a few months because the tumor didn’t leave room for food, so my body had a lot to recover from.
For the first few months of 2020 I still managed to fit a little writing in between work and falling asleep. When I couldn’t consentrate on words anymore I started drawing… A LOT.
Then in April we moved back to Seattle to stay with my ex’s parents. They are lovely people, and I still care about them, but my life was changing. Again. The stresses were building up and it seemed there was no real solution.
The stress was so bad that writing became difficult. More difficult than it had been in a very long time. I will even admit part of it was a sense of failure on my part. I tried to make it as a writer. I wrote, marketed, and advertised. I did what I knew how to do, and it wasn’t enough. I didn’t find that key piece that I needed to make it work. To make a living as a writer.
That sense of personal failure and the constant reminders around the Seattle area that we were in a pandemic and you should “be afraid” all the time were getting to me.
For the rest of 2021 I didn’t write a lot, but I did draw quite a bit. I published three books in 2021, all of which were art related. I felt comfort in art when I could not find any in the written word.
Then November happened. My boyfriend broke up with me, and I had to move to North Carolina because I had no where else to go. That’s where I still am.
On the bright side… The weight that had been settling over me for the last year started to lift. In December, in amongst all the issues I was having, and the sadness of loosing something so important to me, I wrote 8K words, and 13k in January of 2022. The block that had been plaguing me for a while has become something of an annoyance instead of a permanent fixture.
I also recorded my trip across the USA, and posted it on youtube, rumble, and bitchute. Some of it is a sad look back at what was, but there is also a fair bit of optimism for the future.
I still have a ways to go. I have three novels that I want to finish this year, and all of them are in various stages of completeness. I also have a few more art pieces I want to do, and possibly another coloring book to complete.
The three books are Vertigo and Steel Code from my LitRPG series, and a third book in the Half Blood Sorceress series. All three have about 50k words already written so I think I can finish them this year, it’s just going to take some perseverance. Something that I am relearning.
The sudden shift in my life may have hurt, but it was probably for the best. Even if I can’t see it all the time. I sent so many years living for others, and supporting their dreams, that I set my own aside. Time to work on mine.
Relationships are tough in regular times but they are even harder when the world around you seems intent on throwing everything out can at you.
To anyone who thinks love triumphs over all, sorry… It doesn’t. Sometimes love faces, sometimes things change, sometimes you change. And during all of that you have to work really hard to keep that relationship working. If one of you doesn’t want to… Well…
The good news is you can work on a relationship. Spending time together, doing things outside the home, especially active things (that means watching TV and movies isn’t nearly as good as playing a board game, or going on a hike together.)
But you have to be willing to do those things. Sometimes one of you might not feel like it. Maybe they lost their job and doing anything is just tough right now because they are down. Maybe their health isn’t great so they are scared it nervous and doing things together is difficult.
But that’s where tenacity comes in. Either you say “this relationship, and the history we had is worth fighting for”… Or you don’t. Only you can choose.
Sadly sometimes you don’t have a choice. You aren’t the one that chose to stop fighting. You aren’t the one that didn’t communicate. If that’s the case you can ask to try, you can make suggestions, and even try writing a letter to them, or letting them know how you feel. But ultimately you have to let go.
I won’t lie, it’s going to hurt, but eventually you’ll wake up one day and realize you did all you could. It was their choice. And you can still go on.
And if you find yourself at that moment, I’m sorry. I am there, too. But we will make it through. We did what we could. Now it’s time to make a new life and find out what new passions we can follow.
I don’t mean the days when you don’t feel like writing, or when the words are a struggle. I mean days when I look at the screen and the words seem to swim away from me. Weeks where stringing two sentences together is such a struggle that I actively avoid even going to the computer, or finding a notepad.
Both instances of writers block were caused by the same thing: stress in my the real world.
Usually writing is a way to get away from the real world for a little while, to create new worlds, and explore them. But every once in a while the stress from the real world compounds and writing seems almost impossible.
The first time it lasted ten years as I struggled to pull myself back after a long, bad marriage. It took a while to find myself again, and once I did it took some more time to remember that passion I once had for writing. This time it’s been the last two years of… everything.
I am starting to pull myself out, and write again. I am finding that taking long walks, limiting the news, and spending time with my mom are helping.
All this to say… it’s okay if you can’t write sometimes. Sometimes things are difficult and you have to take care of yourself first. It’s okay to take your mental health seriously. In fact, you should.
This month was NaNoWriMo, in fact, and I didn’t even try this year. Too much was going on outside of writing for me to even look at NaNoWriMo.
And now it’s almost the end of November. I’m flying back out to Seattle (oh, did I tell you I’m currently in North Carolina?) I am spending thanksgiving with my children, then I am getting in my car and driving all the way to North Carolina.
This is going to be the first time I’ve driven this far on my own. I have no plans other then enjoying the drive, listening to some good books, and taking the time I need to grieve the loses I’ve had this last month.
I hope when I get back to North Carolina in a few weeks that I will be able to move on with my life and find a new start. And get back to the writing.
I’ve removed my books from KU so this will be the last time they are free on Amazon for a while. I want to get all of the short stories up on Kobo, B&N and other websites so that they are more widely available. So, if you haven’t grabbed them on Amazon yet, here is your chance to do so.
In a world where everything is automated, including parenting, you might not be able to get back control if you give it up. Sounds familiar.
This is an unusual dystopian story. Set in a world that looks beautiful on the outside with shiny buildings, perfect smiling faces, and lovely houses…but when you pull back the set pieces you see the true ugliness underneath.
The mother and father set their child up with Future Babies, a service that allows you to connect your baby to a virtual world with a virtual representation of parents. The child is taught, nurtured, and loved by the virtual parents leaving the real parents time to go back to work.
The parallels to the real world where many parents sit their children in front of a TV or tablet to watch programming instead of interacting with them directly is clear, but there’s a darker undercurrent. Once you relinquish your time with your children and allow others to raise them you loose the ability to truly be a part of their lives.
A very well done vignette, and well worth the watch.
Just a small rant: I’m in Texas. We just got power back after 16 hours without. The house was down to 48 degrees, and we had nothing in the house to eat except chicken salad sandwiches because the stove is electric. At least it was cold so none of our food in our fridge went bad. And thank whoever’s listening that we had the chicken salad we could make.
We finally got internet back today and I hopped online to see what was happening and… It’s tons of people making fun of Texas. More than half the people there voted for Trump, but the other slightly less than half… we care about them and we don’t want them to freeze to death.
What the hell is wrong with people? They hate people so much just because they voted a way you didn’t like? There have been plenty of votes, and laws that I have disagreed with over the last four decades of my life. I didn’t hate anyone for it, I just disagreed with them and tried to have a conversation with them about it.
And for the people saying how awful our government in Texas is, and it’s all their fault… Really? I was in North Dakota 24 years ago when the entire state had a black out because of an ice storm. I was in CA during a lot of their fires, and Washington during both the fires, and the massive snow storms that paralyzed the entire region. And we survived. None of them were the fault of the government any more than Katrina, or other natural disasters. That’s because it’s nature, and nature can do what she wants.
What did our state reps do in Texas that was so awful? They put too much reliance on wind power, and the system froze under the onslaught of a winter storm that hasn’t happened in recorded history that I can find. Sure, it’s snowed in Texas, but not like this.
Why do I want as little to do with the left as possible? Because of crap like this. This isn’t about politics, this is people freezing to death in their homes because nature did something we couldn’t be prepared for, because we didn’t know it would happen. A hurricane in the gulf, a blizzard in North Dakota, those are predictable. A blizzard in the heat of Texas? Not so much.
So we’re expecting more ice or snow tomorrow…and hopefully they can keep the wind turbines working. The things that are supposed to be greener, and better for us… And I am reminded, yet again, that you should never put all your eggs in one basket.
This 12 minute movie has everything you want in an Among Us theme. Suspense, mystery, accusations, and really good cinematography. They did a pretty good job of making it feel serious, while at the same time adding in a lot of the fighting, accusations, and back and forth from actual game play. A great watch.
Perhaps it’s the fact that they kept it down to 12 minutes that really makes it shine. They had enough time to tell the story, and even add in a bit of back story for the origin of the virus, but didn’t feel the need to bog everything down with long drawn out mellow drama. Well done, and the actors are really good at getting their emotions across in this short film.