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.
It’s been two weeks since my surgery, and I’m feeling more myself. I can breath, I can eat, and I can walk around comfortably for a bit.
I still have a ways to go. My staples get removed tomorrow. I’ve started the process of building up my stomach muscles again but there’s only so much you can do at first. Better to be safe and not tear anything. But I’ve made a lot of progress, like finally being able to sleep on my side again, and able to sit up in bed without help.
You never realize how important your stomach muscles are until you can’t use them for a while.
But, since I’m feeling better I am back to working on my writing, art, and a few other things.
I was finishing up the very last chapter and rereading some of it, and realized I need to just take the last five chapters and re-read them all, and fix them. There are some plot issues, and pieces that are out of order. A few things happen twice. Time to redo it and make it better. But that means once I get that taken care of I will be done and ready to send it to an editor.
I’m drawing on a lot of my memories from North Dakota in the snow this time. She’s a fire mage, she hates the snow, and it seems to hate her too. But that’s what’s so interesting about writing it.
I’m also challenging myself to do some drawing over on my new instagram. Life for the last two months has been pretty consumed by medical issues (rightly so) and I need to get back into the swing of things, so this little challenge should help bring out some creativity.
I’m also trying my hand at learning programming. I always wanted to, and now I have an excuse. I would love to use my story telling ability a little differently.
But the book is the most important thing. I want to finish that before anything else. It’s just nice to have the art and game dev as something to do when I need a break.
Oh, and before I forget, I do have a new short story out. Impology.
Today I have been working on several smaller projects, getting things set up for the rest of the month. That includes getting my bullet journal in order, setting goals for the month, and starting in on a new art challenge to get me warmed up in the morning.
I’ve also made a priority of taking care of my mental health this month. I’m sure I’m not the only one who is having trouble with staying indoors so much. I’ve been trying to just get out in the back yard and sit in the sun a bit more. Exercise every day by dancing. And eating something healthy (with the occasional unhealthy cookie now and then.) I’m in Texas so things are starting to open up again, but I won’t be able to go out just yet. But soon!
This weekend I have two free books, and anthology and a short story.
Twilight Tales: three unusual tales of creatures that go bump in the night.
This week my boyfriend has been making fresh bread. It’s the type of bread that you bake inside a pan with a lid, and it gets a thick crust. Today was the first time he added a few herbs to the dough and it was tasty. He’s really enjoying baking, and I am enjoying eating it.
Meanwhile, I’ve been learning to cook new things, and use food that I’ve never used before. You have to make do when all the potatoes are gone at the local grocery store.
This morning I complained about dishes, and couldn’t figure out where they were all coming from. “We’ve been eating at home more,” my boyfriend reminded me, and a light bulb went off. Less fast food means more dishes. It also means healthier eating.
I hope all of you are doing well. This week I have two more short stories up for free. Hopefully it will entertain you for a little while.
My mother-in-law sent us a care package from back home today. In the box of assorted snacks, and home made cookies, she included a roll of toilet paper, and a thing of hand soap. Odd that sending people toilet paper now seems almost normal now.
The best part was she printed out memes, and faces, for everything and stuck them to the individual items. Our Cheez-its now have a big goofy smile on them, it’s great.
It’s been almost two weeks since I’ve been to the store so I don’t even know if they have any at ours. I hope you are able to find the things you need right now.
Continuing on my entertainment for those stuck inside (which is most of us right now) I have two more short stories for free, and an anthology.
The Ring and The Camera: Two short stories revolving around cursed items like a Tales from the Crypt style.
Stars End: a glimpse into a possible future, and the way technology might change relationships.
This year I’ve been trying a few things to get more organized. I didn’t have to do spring cleaning (after moving twice in three months I already purged everything I could) but I am in desperate need of organization of my time.
On that note I am starting a bullet journal. This is just a fancy calendar that has a few extras, like mood and habit trackers so that you can see a bit more in depth how your month went. It also has spaces for keeping track of daily tasks, and for mine I added a tracker to see how much time each day I was spending on writing, art, marketing, and other things I need to do.
A few years ago I started tracking how much I wrote daily, and that helped a lot. I still track that, but now I need to branch out and look at how much time I am spending on it as well. Word counts can’t go up if I’m spending more time playing games than writing.
The second thing I did last month was separate my writing from my art… for the most part. I created a new Instagram specifically for art projects, and set aside a little time each day to do a new sketch or finish an old one. This has been a lot of fun, and a boost to my accomplishments since I am completing a project every day, even if it’s a small one. Finishing these small projects makes me want to go out and finish bigger projects. It’s also encouraging me to learn new techniques, and just get better.
I’ve been working on making prints, or other items with the art. I’ve added a few things to my Etsy store, and I’ve been working on prints. I really do want to do a little more with my art then just show it online. For right now I’m going through and redoing a LOT of my old art to make it up to date. Crisper, sharper, better colors. I also need to figure out a printer soon so I can do even more.
Okay, now I need to get back to the writing portion of the day.