Sorry for being so quiet!

This week was a rough one.

Mostly, a lot of developments in my business-life (as supposed to writing-life or… well. life-life) meant that I had zero time for any writing or even social networking.

I’m not complaining. Any movement in the business is good, so I rather spend more time a day and get things dealt with than drag things out. Now we’re basically back to the waiting part, which means I should have more time to write.

I have sooooo much writing to do, though. It’s kinda starting to give me a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. It’s not a guilt thing. It’s a stress thing. If I’m in stressful situations, writing helps me blow of steam, but when I’m too tired to write… I don’t, and the stress keeps building.

You’d think that would mean the words just come rushing out as soon as I sit down, but you’d be wrong.

Cause the more stress builds, the harder it becomes for me to find my words. Which adds to my stress, which makes writing more difficult, which adds to my stress.

Yeah.

Not fun.

And I’d like to say I’ll write this weekend, but I’m days behind on my editing goals as well. So now I don’t know what I should do first.

I’ll just have to figure it out over the weekend.

How are you doing? 

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A Belated Update Day

So after all this time, I finally managed to be way late for my own bloghop. It’s been a long week and I got home so late that I just couldn’t focus. I decided to sit back and sort through my goals for July in the morning (because I didn’t have time to do it all week).
And when I finally managed to sit down and put this post together, I realized that I’ve got to be realistic and completely change the way I’m approaching my goals.
Why?
Let me show you…
Writing Goals:
1) 60 000 words written, 60 hours of edits or some combination of those.
The equivalent of 23k words.
2) Find and submit to Critique Partners for Wo6C3
Sent to one CP and in short, Wo6C3 needs only a ton more work before I can send it out to more.
3) Critique works by critique partners.
I’m waiting for my CP’s work.
4) Edit ES1
Didn’t look at it.
5) Prep rewrite for BvB2.
I managed to think of this a few times before I had to do something else.
6) Complete revisions to O1
I revised two chapters.
7) Add 10000 words to StW1
Added almost 8k words.
8) Work on CdW concept
Nope.
9) Start Sci Fi Project. (Still thinking about an suitable acronym.)
Nope and Nope.
10) Work on concept for a new story that came to me while I rested.
A little bit of this done, but not much in the way of a concrete start.
11) Edit my Untethered Realms anthology story.
Done. Yay. I managed one thing.
Reading:
Read 6 books.
I read 4.
Read some chapters of Les Trois Mousquetaires.
Nope.
Networking and Marketing:
Rethink Social Network Strategy
This I did and it’s huge. So much so that it’s taking a chunk of my writing time to implement.
Regular updates to at least some of the social networks.
This I was spotty on because I’m basically rebuiling my entire social network from scratch in some places.
Confirm new covers for Wo6C series.
Done.

Life:
Maintain balance between life, writing and work.
Bahahahahahaha *cries*
Go to dancing classes once a week.
Didn’t go because the week before I was to go to my first lesson, I discovered that I’m moving again, so I couldn’t sign the membership contract.
Get into the habit of eating more frequent, smaller meals. (Stress and an ulcer don’t mix, so I have to help where I can.)
This I did and also cut way back on carbs and sugars to help even further.
In short: I managed to do precious little that I set out to do.
There are a variety of reasons for this:
1) I’m having to rebuild my day-job business from scratch yet again. Which means I have to put in more hours.
2) I’m having to restructure my social networking (see here if you’re curious as to why and what I’m doing.)
3) I’m a bit of an emotional mess due to reason number 1
4) While being an emotional mess, I default to working on The War of Six Crowns, which means that I broke my own rule of not working on a sequel before the earlier book is ready for publishing, so that I could work on Book 4 while waiting for CP feed back on Book 3. And now Book 3 needs more work.
5) People, I feel like crying this morning.
In short, it’s taken just about two years of unrelenting pressure, but I’ve buckled under. This month was the most unproductive I’ve ever been and it’s been a downward trend from January.
Yesterday, I spoke to my mother about how I’m feeling right now and… It’s not good. I’m exhausted. Completely and utterly. I’ve expended every ounce of my energy to keep going earlier this year and in return I got my suppliers and clients stolen by someone I trusted and nothing to show for it because all the money I’d earned went into surviving.
So.
The situation is this.
I’m not catching a break.
My hard work does not result in anything. Because in this life, it seems, the only thing that matters is being rich or being lucky. I’m neither.
And yet, I can’t just give up, so I have to keep going.
I have to keep working in the hopes that this time I strike it lucky. And heaven knows I’ll keep writing because the day I stop that I might as well stop living.
But I can’t keep trying to do so much because I have readers waiting for Book 3. I probably have one or two people hoping I get the sequel to Endless out too. Since The War of Six Crowns is my happy place, that’s my priority, but other than that, my only priority right now is to survive rebuilding, moving house, and doing everything else I need to do in order to have a shot at making it as a writer.

Sorry if this is way too much of a downer, but this is where I am right now. Hopefully tomorrow is a better day. 

Insecure Writer’s Support Group: This is a big one.

Hey everyone. Today I’m a bit all over the place. (Okay not really. Just here and three other blogs.) 
I’ll get to this month’s insecurity now, but first, let me just warn inform you of my whereabouts. 
First, I’m visiting Denise, sharing a story of the insecurities I faced when I started writing Endless. She cross-posts to two blog platforms, so if you’re on Blogger, click here. WordPress: here
Then, Jessica interviewed me on Author Tracker and Ken interviewed me on My Hogwarts Sabatical
But it doesn’t feel like to skip the Insecure Writers’ Support Group (and boy, do I have a doozie today), so I thought I’d leave a post here too. 
Okay so this is going to be hard. Because today I’m going to share a bit of a secret. Or not. I’m pretty sure I might have mentioned this once or twice before. 
The thing is, I don’t like talking about it. 
But hey, as I said, it’s a doozie of a cause for insecurity and I’ve been struggling with working through my feelings. So, since writing is a good way to do this (and posting gives me motivation to actually do it…) 
*Deep breaths* Warning. This does occasionally go into ranting territory. 
So on Saturday, I woke up to the thought that nothing I ever do is enough to actually succeed. 
Which, on its own, might seem like a rather silly little issue. 
Except I have an anxiety disorder. 
Yeah. I do. Had a psychologist who diagnosed me in my third year of university. Maybe I’ve had it forever. I know I had my first (and oddly enough last) panic attack when I was in sixth grade. People didn’t handle it well. I suppressed it and thought that it had gone away. 
But yeah. My second year of university wrecked me. So badly that my mom made me go to a psychologist because she thought I either suffered from depression or did drugs. Yes. My emotional state had gradually darkened and grew so bad that my mom thought I had taken a control substance because my entire outlook on life had changed. 
I had gone from being a go-getter with huge goals and the daring to get it to someone who no longer felt like there was a point to trying anymore. 
It took me an entire year (and an existential crisis) to find myself again. During which I almost ran away (and I’m purposefully using the phrase) to the navy because I couldn’t deal with my fears that I’d get trapped in a job I hated because of a degree I no longer even wanted to get.
But I clawed my way out. Step by step. First by realizing that I didn’t actually have to do what people expected of me. Then, but proving to myself that I could get ahead and still write (which is actually one of the key aspects to my dealing with my mind.) 
And boy. I got ahead. I finished a shit ton of books. I got a publishing deal at 24. At exactly the same time, I was a co-owner and shareholder of an 8-digit turnover company.
It’s easy to function through my insecurity when things are actually going well. 
That was 2013. 
In 2014, everything went to hell, basically, except for my and my family’s health (which I’m grateful for). 
But materially speaking, we lost everything. My whole life went into a dive and I’ve been fighting to pull out of it ever since. 
In January 2015, I was determined to pull out and just. 
Fucking. 
Get. 
One. 
Fucking. 
Step. 
Ahead. 
It’s May 2016 now. And yes, I’ve made progress. At the moment I’m touring the third book I released in two years. My mother and I started a business that we merged with another. 
But it’s also May 2016, and after months of hard work, most of which I’ve spent working 12 to 14 hour work days (you know, not writing). 
And, except for the fact that I’m not able to write for vast majorities of the time and risking burn-out by writing in literally every available moment of time when I’m not sleeping, (I’m serious. Except for about eight hours of singing in total and maybe four t.v. days, I’ve done nothing but working, writing and sleeping since December.) I’m no better off now than I was last year this time. (In fact I’m worse off, but explaining that will probably stretch the post too far.) 
I can’t describe the mixture of fury and hopelessness welling up within me as I write this. 
So on Saturday, I guess I came to the point where my anxiety would no longer be ignored. But if I give up, I’m fucked. And I won’t be the only one. 
Somehow, I have to ignore the patent evidence around me to say that there is a point to this. That it must break at some point — hopefully before I do. That yes, doing all the right things and working hard will bring me success again. 
That this time, my success won’t be stolen by another asshole that I will see on t.v. with my fucking business that was also a casualty of 2014 (not kidding. Happened yesterday.). Or someone else I will probably hear of in my day-job due to (yep, you guessed it) anther 2014 casualty. 
Somehow, I have to fool myself into believing that all this will happen so that I can at least write again. Because if I stop writing, there’s no point to hoping I’ll become a writer, is there? 

Arranging Furniture in My Head

I’ve recently been under a lot of stress. In fact, it’s gotten to the point where it felt like my whole brain wanted to short-circuit. (Not going to give a whole blow-by-blow again, but if you’re wondering what it’s like, you can take a good look here.) 

The thing is that I’ve been having to function under increasing levels of stress for the past two years, and I kind of reached a breaking point over the weekend before last. The funny thing is that I’m actually not as stressed this year as I have been for the past two, but at any rate, I haven’t been in a place where I can honestly say that I can truly breathe easier in the past two years. 
And. 
Sigh. 
This is going to be hard to say. 
Anxiety is a real thing, and last Wednesday was that thing raising its head in a way I hadn’t experienced in years. 
I think it was a build up of little things that kept growing and growing until one extra little thing made me feel like my whole life was getting wasted and that I’d be trapped watching said wastage taking place forever. 
The good thing about all this was that this particular freak-out meant that I woke up to the need to evaluate my life and see where I can smooth things over in order to maximize the odds of me breathing easier in the near future. 
So. What this means for me is cleaning up house, so to speak. Which mostly centers around me using the three public holidays I have (one on this past Monday and two on Easter) to do a ton of things I’ve wanted to do that I kept putting aside for other stuff. 
It’s not necessarily a nice feeling, because right now, I’m feeling like I’m in dire need of a vacation. So in between, I’m taking plenty of breaks and doing things I enjoy. But overall, the idea is to give myself fewer things to worry about, so I can deal with the big stuff more efficiently later.
I’m also instituting changes to my current life-style. Such as… I’m not going to get fired for not looking at mails after hours. So I’m not. Nor am I going to look at mails before 8 a.m in the morning. Nor at lunch. And if I’ve done my duties for the day, I’m going to use my available time to write. (Don’t worry. I am actually allowed to do that by contract.) 
Which means I’m going to start setting myself some goals for my job in the same way that I set writing goals. I need a way to measure my progress. (Which will also help me not feel like I have nothing to show for my time at the end of my work day.) 
But yeah. That’s where I am at the moment. 
How are you doing? Do you also take time to evaluate and adjust? How do you deal with pressure?

January’s gone?!

I can’t believe that January has gone by so fast. It’s almost terrifying to think of the speed at which time is flying by. Because today is the last Friday of the month, which means it’s time for…

For those of you who don’t know, the rules to this bloghop are as follows:

1) Beth and I will be co-hosts of this list.
2) If you do enter your link into the list, please be supportive of the other entrants.
3) Keep us up to date with how you’re doing. Update Day is on the last Friday of every month. Even if you don’t think you achieved much or anything, write a quick post to say so. We can’t encourage if we don’t know.
4) When you enter your blog’s address write your goal as the link title. For example, my link’s title will be “earn $7500 per month.” Not your name or your blog’s. This is so we can keep track of who’s doing what. AND it will serve as an easy indication of the fact that you’re not the only crazy one.
5) Please please please spread the word! I know this is nuts, but I know a lot of people need encouragement, and making a decision and figuring out how to get there is half the battle…

You’re welcome to sign up at any time.
http://www.simply-linked.com/listwidget.aspx?l=FF64F07D-7C24-4F9D-9F74-B5AFA89E3BCC As for how I did in January… not good. I’ve been required to keep an insane work schedule with the two first weeks having 16 hour work days. Which meant that I mostly slept when I didn’t work. By the third week, things were going better, but I was so exhausted that I just couldn’t put in the hours of writing and editing required to achieve my goals.

To sum up:

Goals for January: 

Writing: 


1) 60k (which can either be 60k written or 60 hours of edits or a combination of the two.)
I managed 8877 words, about half of which was edits. I want to see if I can get past 10k this weekend.
2) Finish the Wo6C3 rewrite. 
Didn’t start yet. I wanted to, and had some free time, but it felt like I’d lost my train of thought. So I had to reread the whole thing that I’ve written so far in order to pick up where I left off.

3) Submit “Turning Points” Short Story by 31 January. 
4) Finish Untethered Realms Anthology rough draft. 
I’m on track for both, mainly because I decided to publish the same short story in both anthologies. (It’s funny, but the same story fit both topics, while the two topics will appeal to two different audiences.)

5) Finish BvB1 print-out proofread and formatting. 
I got through the actual proofreading, but haven’t implemented any edits yet.

6) Revise ES1.
I’m still waiting for one more CP to send me her feedback before I start.

7) Rough draft BvB2. 
Didn’t even think about this yet.

8) Prep DM1 rewrite.
I did do a little bit of thinking about this. Which should make the actual preparations easier for me when I get to them.

9) Research CdW. 
Didn’t get to this.


Reading: 

Read six books.
I read three so far, although I might try and see how many I can squeeze into this weekend.

Networking and Marketing: 

1) Set publishing date for BvB1.
Done. BvB1, aka Endless will be out on 30 April. 


2) Arrange blog tours, reviewers etc.
This is in progress. I’m still looking for more help, though, so if you haven’t yet and you want to give me a hand, please click here. (Opens to a new window.)

3) Get into a regular posting schedule for main social networks. 
I mostly managed this with blogging, only missing one day because my laptop broke. I didn’t get to Twitter, Tumblr and Wattpad the way I had wanted, though.

Life: 

1) Fall into a regular schedule between work, writing etc as fast as possible. 
Epic fail.

2) Commence refined carb cut-back. 
Done. For the most part I’m living off fruit, veg, protein and dairy.

3) Start singing lessons.
Done just in the nick of time. I started lessons yesterday.
4) Start new dance/sporting activity. 
Not done. 

So all things considered, I don’t think I did too badly. Although I really wish that I can get more done. The good thing is that this month should give me quite a few nights off with no internet access, so I should be able to get more done. 

Goals for February: 

Writing: 

1) 60k written, 60 hours edited or a combination of the two.
2) Finish Wo6C3 rewrites.
3) Finish Endless edits and formatting. 
4) Revise ES1
5) Resume writing BvB2
6) Start rough revisions to O1
7) Prep DM1 rewrite
8) Work on CdW concept.
9) Rough draft StW.

Reading:

Read 6 books.

Networking & Marketing:

1) Finish arranging blog tour. 
2) Send out e-arcs to reviewers. 
3) Start A to Z Challenge Posts.
4) Start prepping for blog tour.
5) Finish Endless paperback cover.
6) Maintain current blogging activity.
7) Become more active on one more social network. 

Life: 

1) Get into a regular work/life/writing schedule.
2) Maintain diet change
3) Keep singing.
4) Find new exercise/sport activity.
That’s it for me. Lots to do, yes. How are your goals coming along? What are your plans for February?

I feel sort of guilty.

I do. I know I’m not supposed to, but I do.

See, I have so much to do. I have three books to edit. I have three to rewrite before the end of December. And I have two to rough draft.

And I haven’t done anything related to any of those projects this week.

The problem is that I’m tired. Even when it ended up being nothing, the scare, drama and anger associated with the events of Tuesday night/Wednesday morning have possibly managed to tip over the scale into emotional exhaustion, which I have been trying to fend off since January.

So although I know I should write/edit, I just don’t feel like I can. And when this feeling strikes, I know it’s time to do something else instead.

Which I guess probably means I’m going to not do anything I set out to do in the beginning of November. But you know what? If that happens, I’m saving time simply by not pushing myself into a full-blown burn-out that lasts months somewhere down the line.

Instead, I’m going to take this afternoon off and draw. Then I’ll see how I feel about things in the evening. If the drawing doesn’t help, I’m going to keep drawing and add a reading marathon into the mix until the end of the month.

I’m figuring that a total of two weeks out of my writing schedule can’t be that bad, given how little breaks I’ve given myself this year.

What do you do when you need to rest? 

Editing and Warm and Fuzzies

First things first: Let me start with a quick flash of admin. In case you missed it, I’m still looking for critique partners to help me edit my Historical Romance, so if you think you might be interested, please head over and check it out. (I do return the favor if you help me.) 

Secondly: The Vanished Knight is being featured on Andrea Washington’s blog. She’s a bit new to the community, so I’d love if you said hi. 

Okay? Okay. Now let’s get into today’s post.

(How’s that for a smooth segue, eh?)

After putting out a call for critique partners for that romance, I decided to open it up one more time before it went out for a critique. The last time I had time to do so was in April.

I’m actually glad I waited so long, because I have a rather interesting relationship with ES1. See… this is the first book I ever tried to write when I seriously became a novelist. Then stuff happened and I moved on to greener pastures. The book stuck with me, though. Again because of a character walking into my head while I was reading. (It happens to me a lot. The Vanished Knight started in much the same way.)

I kept coming back to it, though. Even working on it on weekends while working on the beast that would become The Vanished Knight and The Heir’s Choice. (Yes, it was once one book.) In other words, ES1 became the second book I ever finished. Then I rewrote it and lost the entire rewrite the day after I finished it.

I know. It was horrible. The loss, I mean. The book was (I think) good. Hard to tell. See that draft is a lot like a dead person to me. You know how dead people suddenly become saintly and perfect after they died? Yeah… like that. There’s this part of my mind that keeps clinging to the idea that that draft was simply marvelous. Even when I never even edited it. Seriously, it was the worst time to lose a draft. Right after the high from finishing it.

Needless to say, I didn’t have the heart to start again, so I put the story on the back-burner and worked on three more books. It took me a year, and when I came back to the rough draft, I realized that it was a mess.

Which meant one thing. Redraft. I went through the book and basically split it in two. Don’t worry, these stories won’t end in a cliffhanger. It’s just that I had a huge cast of characters. I split it in two, which allows me to tell two previously competing plot arcs as stories in their own right. (I still need to write the second one. It’s on my to-do list.)

This time, I loved the story as I wrote it. I loved my rewrite even more. After the pain and slogging that goes with writing the War of Six Crowns series (no seriously. I take four times as long to rewrite any of the books), ES1 was a joy.

So when I read it two months after the rewrite, I still had the warm and fuzzies.

Six months later… Not so much. Okay, okay I’ll admit that it still makes me go “AWEEEE!” every now and then. It’s just that now that I’ve been able to look at it without my other writing experiences coloring my vision, I’m noticing things.

Things like: I deviated far from the genre norms in certain places. (Which is fine. I do it all the time. Just wondering how it’s going to go over with the readers.) Or… I noticed I glossed over a lot of scenes. Which now makes me wonder if I’m being overly critical (glossing over boring things is a good thing), or if I really didn’t put enough attention into some aspects of the story.

I’m mulling this over for now, and will continue to do so while the manuscript is with my critique partners.

Do you also suffer from warm and fuzzies after finishing a draft? How long do you have to wait to make them go away?