A year later…

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!


Writers Block and Stress

I have officially had writers block twice now.

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.

5 Min – Day 4 – Clutter

Last night was an interesting point. For the first time, EVER, I said I think it’s time to get rid of all the consoles.
I’m a gamer, and I love my games. I refuse to give up my games. But…I am tired of having so much stuff, too. I love Steam for this reason. Most of the games I own are now on my PC. Some of them aren’t on Steam, but most of them are. That means I can just install them when I want to and go.

But the consoles…I love consoles. I love some of the games I have that are only available on console. But the problem is they take up a lot of space. I have six of them, and two stacks of games, and a bunch of wiring, controllers, etc. etc. etc.

Time to give them up. Time to clear out my home and start downsizing everything we have down to just the absolute essentials.

I know a lot of the problems I’ve been having lately are due to the fact that the house is so cluttered. I come home and I look around, and I’m just not happy. It’s sad, and I hate it. I sometimes avoid it because I know I’ll have to clean the kitchen before I can use it.

But if we only have the things we need, and nothing else, then maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. Sure, keep some of the keepsakes, and awesome things (like my master sword) but get rid of the rest of it.

I have five book cases of books, many of which I haven’t read yet. I will never get around to reading them, there just isn’t enough time in the world. So maybe it’s time I start pairing down to only the books I absolutely love, and buy the rest I want to read on kindle.

But that’s a discussion for another day. My five minutes are up.

Won’t you take me to Funkytown?

This month has been less than stellar. It’s already the 9th and I’ve had two good days of writing, and couple days of no writing.

I think I know what’s causing it, or rather aggravating it at the moment. I’m under a great deal of stress from the rest of my life. This has put me in a kind of funk, and I hate it. I admit I’m prone to depression sometimes, and I’m not quite at that stage at the moment, but sometimes it does look a little bleak to my messed up brain chemistry.

I can’t tell anyone why that stress is (yet) but I can tell you I am taking measures to alleviate it. The solution isn’t an easy one, and it took me months to finally decide to do it, but my close friends who know about the situation agree that it is the best thing for me right now, and are being very supportive in the situation. I will let all of you know what happened, and what my choice to fix it was, as soon as things are fixed.

What does this mean for my writing?

It means I’m not writing as much as I’d like to, or need to, in order to finish the novels I had planned on time. NaNoWriMo is coming up soon and I was planning on writing a stand alone novel, “Awaken the Dragon”, but I don’t want to do that unless my Witch’s Trilogy is finished and on to the editor. As it is I am 50,000 words into a 80,000 word novel. I think I might end up using NaNoWriMo as a boost to get it finished.

After NaNoWriMo I planned to start working on my urban fantasy series, Eternal Tapestry, about goddesses in the modern day world. I still plan to do that. I have five novels already outlined for it, and some of them already have several thousand words of beats and chapters written. For 2016 I want to get at least four of them out. They are shorter novels, but fun to write, and not quite as difficult as the Witch’s trilogy has proven to be.

On other news I am moving all of my books (short stories and novels) off of other platforms and going strictly KDP. This means that you can get (almost) ALL of my books through Kindle Unlimited. It also means there will be several books coming up for free. I had been holding out on the Witch’s books since I wanted to put the first perma free once I got the third one done but it’s not doing anything while I wait for that to happen. Better to try KDP for a few months and see what happens.

I’ll try to have one free story every other weekend for a while. We’ll start with that and see what happens.

Also, if you haven’t seen my youtube channel yet here is a good opportunity. I decided to participate in Booktube more. It was an easy choice since I love to read, and I’m passionate about books. It’s also loads of fun. Who doesn’t like to talk about things they love?

If you’d like to see some of the episodes you can check that out here. There will still be the occasional vlog from Gregg and I, and there will also be Loot Crate unboxings, and other little things. But mostly it’s going to be about books I love to read and I think others will like too. I would love to see you guys in the comments. Tell me what books you love, or which characters you hated.

I’m also going to try… TRY… to be better about sending out newsletters. I’m terrible with it and I know, but I do want this to be a useful thing, not just sending notes in bottles so I feel like I need something to say, and with my publishing schedule I don’t have a lot to say very often.

To that end: do you have any questions? Concerns? Gripes? Let me know. It will give me something to talk about in the next newsletter.

Stress Matters

Witch's Curse smI hoped to have Witch’s Curse out on August 8th last week. Unfortunately the editor took a week longer then planned to get the edits done. partly because he had an emergency come up that pushed back the start date of my edits by a few days, and partly because my novel ended up being slightly longer than planned.

I finally got the edits, and started working through it. Great! Everything was wonderful…except that once chapter. The editors note said “you might look at this chapter, it was a little confusing.” So I did, and discovered that it was confusing, and it was really boring. So…I decided I had to throw it all out (5000 words) and begin again. Not an easy task, but doable. I’m about half way through revising it.

That means “Witch’s Curse”, the second book in the Witch’s Trilogy, has been pushed back again since I do want a second edit of the things I changed. But that’s okay, I can still get it out by the end of the month (I think.)

But the title of this blog post is “Stress Matters” for a reason. Writing can be a cathartic activity, giving you the time to think, and relax. Or it can be incredibly stressful depending on what you are writing. Writing also uses a lot of your brainpower, so if your thoughts are revolving around a particular problem in your life, say buying a house as I am currently attempting to do, or troubles at work, or a death in the family, then your writing is going to suffer.

The last two weeks have had a bunch of little things that slowed down the publication of “Witch’s Curse”, but the stress of trying to buy a house, and work issues, worked to set it back a little bit more.

Stress matters! If you’re stressed out you probably need to take care of those issues before you can really focus on your writing. But sometimes you just have to write through the stress. It might not be great writing, it might not even be publishable, but it keeps you writing. Don’t stop! Don’t let the stressful slings and arrows of day to day living keep you from your dream.

As for me, I’m getting back on finishing that chapter.

Stress, and day 6 of NaNoWriMo

It doesn’t matter what goals you set for yourself… getting that new job. Asking that hot girl out. Finishing that project by such and such day…. We are all going to have distractions, all have little things that set us back, or make the job harder.

Right now, stress seems to be the biggest one for me, and my goal of finishing NaNoWriMo, or more importantly to myself, finishing a full length novel.

And the stresses aren’t major ones. My tire was flat, I had to take my daughter to pick up her glasses, my normal back aches and pains. Nothing huge, but those little stresses add up.

Sometimes it’s best to just take a day off and relax. Breathe. Read a book. Listen to some music. Go out to dinner with your significant other. Sure, you’ll fall behind on the goal for a couple hours, but you can catch up.

Even if the only break you can get is taking twenty minutes to walk away from the entire situation and just do something that has nothing to do with your goal, you will return feeling fresh and invigorated.

Yesterday I was only able to put a hand full of words on the page. It was a struggle, and I decided the better idea would be to take a break. Finish the book I’d been reading. The word count wasn’t worth the stress. Not when I could take the few hours to pull myself together, and start fresh the next day.

That means I need to write 1800 words a day to complete NaNo on time, or just have some really good high wordcount days. Either way… I’ll get there.