Getting Back to Basics

I briefly considered writing this post for my other blog (you know, the one that actually is supposed to contain musings about my life), but I put that one on hiatus more than a year ago, and I feel bad to take it off hiatus for what could potentially be only one post.

So here we are.

I’ve been really quiet. Mostly I just needed a break. The events of the past two weeks just really brought me to a brink I didn’t like being on. A kind of mute terror that nothing would ever be okay again.

And no, I’m not being dramatic.

One day, I might actually write about this time here, but if you’d like to know exactly what’s going on, I have a post about it on my Patreon feed, which you can get to (as well as some awesome rewards) for a $1 subscription pledge. Eek. That looks like a plug. It’s really not. I don’t like keeping secrets from you guys, but what’s going on right now is so ugly that I can’t just post it out in public. Patreon is a balance of both, offering easy access to those who really want to know while keeping it relatively private so it can’t just come up whenever someone searches my name.

For those of you who’d rather like to skip to the current point I’m making: The shit situation continues, but I’m picking myself up (again) and dusting myself off (again) and getting on with getting on (again.)

Sometimes, it’s really hard, almost impossible to do that. Especially when I’ve been knocked down and back so many times that I’m about a hair’s breadth away from losing all faith in humanity. Because the most frustrating thing about all this is that I didn’t put myself here. 

But I have to get out somehow and I can’t do that if I keep wallowing in the rage I feel toward the growing list of people who’ve wronged me and those I love. I can’t get out if I don’t have hope that one day, something I or someone in my family did will pan out. I also can’t do it if I’m snowing myself under with a laundry list of expectations when some days, just the act of getting up for the day feels like a chore.

So now I’m going back to basics. If I feel like I’m too burned out to write, I don’t write. I’ve scrapped my publishing deadline for Book 3 because it’s already too close and I really don’t need the extra pressure. I’m putting in more time with my freelance work which, while still not quite in the “it’s taken off” category, still is doing well enough to give me hope that it will take off in the near future. I’m cutting out as much negativity as I can.

This means willing myself not to dwell on the past, and particularly not this most recent thing. I let myself feel them, but then I remind myself I have to move on and do that instead. But also, I’ve found that the Trump election has turned a lot of people in my social networks (on all sides of the political divide) into toxic people to have contact with.

So I’m culling them out of my feed.

It’s nothing personal, but for the sake of my own well-being, I’m doing what I must in order to keep myself in as good an emotional shape as I can.

Because I can still move for as long as I can function on some level.

And if being ruthless with my culling and stingy with my time is what it takes to just get anything done, so be it.

It’s already helped too. Because here I am, writing when on IWSG day I could barely even type out a sentence without crying.

There is hope. There is progress.

Onward.

How about you? How do you deal when life gets really difficult? 

Holy Crap I Forgot It’s IWSG

I wish I was kidding, but sadly, I’m not. The first of the month always catches me for some reason, because my brain seems to believe that the first Wednesday for the month must be the third or later. *facepalm*

No idea what I’m talking about?

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group is a monthly bloghop taking place on the first Wednesday of every month. About two hundred writers are part of the IWSG, sharing our doubt, fears, insecurities and encouragement to let everyone else know that actually, they’re not all that alone after all.

You’re more than welcome to join, if you’d like. Click here for more information or to sign up.

So.
Because I already eloquently explained myself last week by vlog, I’m going to re-post here. I did try to keep a brave face on everything, but by the end of the first third or so, I’m basically going into where I really am in my life at the moment.
Spoiler alert, it’s not pretty. (Also, this isn’t family rated. Just so you know. And yes, the f-bombs I dropped actually did make me feel better. My mom always asks me that. No idea why.)

Since I’m just going to let that do the talking for me instead of writing again (because I’ve *just* managed to not burst into tears at the thought and writing about it again would open the scab, so to speak), I figured I’d answer this month’s question for those of you who’d rather not see/hear me.

Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

Yes, I have. A long long time ago, I finished a rewrite to a book shortly after I finished rewriting Doorways. For those of you who weren’t visiting my blog at that time, The Vanished Knight + The Heir’s Choice = Doorways. 
 
It wrote like a dream. I backed up.
I was backing up the file for the last time when something (and don’t ask me what) went wrong. The entire file disappeared, replaced with an empty one of the same name.
I was heartbroken. So much so that I decided to just shelf the whole project until I could look at it without mourning the project I’d had.
It took about five years before I decided to look at that thing again, and by then, I’d grown so much as a writer that I ended up redrafting the whole thing from scratch, keeping only the characters and about half of the concept.
Any you know what? I love it even more than I loved it before. I’ve started editing it and working on it with critique partners and they’ve enjoyed it too.
But… it’s still a to be continued when it comes to knowing if it worked out. It’s not shelved per se, but because of my lack of time and the abundance of crap in my life as is mentioned in the vlog above, I just haven’t been able to get to it when I’m supposed to be finishing the sequel to The Heir’s Choice. But one day… Hopefully in this year…
What about you? Did you ever rework an old story? Any good news to share? Really in need of some good news. 
 
One update I should mention: the business plan is in with the possible investor, so prayers would be appreciated. 

Insecure Writer’s Support Group

For those of you unfamiliar with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group… A couple of hundred writers from around the blogosphere have signed up to this bloghop, which is hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Then, on the first Wednesday of every month, we share our insecurities and/or encouragements.

This month, I’m co-hosting the IWSG Bloghop along with LK Hill, Juneta Key, Christy, and Joylene Butler.
Before I get into my post, though, I just have two more spots of admin to get through.
First, I’m also visiting Ronel Janesen van Vuuren today, sharing some of my thoughts on Patreon.
Then, if you’d rather read this exact same post on Blogger, please click here.
Right. Now that’s done, let’s get into it, shall we?
As you may or may not know, I’ve recently started taking this being-a-writer thing seriously. Like… really really seriously.
Like… I’m-being-a-writer-for-90%-of-my-time-and-using-my-writing-skills-to-earn-99%-of-my-income seriously.
And how’s it going?
Surprisingly well, money wise. I basically started from scratch in September. And in January, I’ve made my country’s minimum wage for the first time.
Which is AMAZE-BALLS. You guys can’t imagine how happy I am with that.
Except.
Most of that money’s coming from me freelancing as an editor/formatter/cover designer (which I totally see as writing skills, because all of the above are needed for me to make it as a writer.)
Not so much from selling books.
But that’s okay, because I always knew I should start of making money as I can and spending money on marketing etc for my books in order to grow my readership.
Here’s the thing, though… Growing my readership will actually happen when I have my next book out. Which I can’t get to when my freelance list fills up out of nowhere.
And I can’t market my old books until I have them updated. Which some of you might now be chortling about, because I’ve been saying I’ll update the books since May last year. And the cause of the delay?
Newsletters. Website. I have no money to pay someone to design either, and because people are hiring me for a ton of stuff they don’t have time for, I don’t have the time to do either of those two myself.
And I can’t link to them unless I have them set up. So I can’t update my books to include the links.
See? One giant bowl of I-really-have-no-time spaghetti.
So now, I’m trying to make writing time, which is making me feel bad, because the whole reason why I decided to go full-time was that I WANTED TO HAVE TIME TO WRITE!
*gasp gasp gasp*
How do you deal with everything trying to steal your writing time? Any advice for me? 

Insecure Writer’s Support Group: It’s Never as Good as You Remember

It’s the first Wednesday of the month, which means it’s time for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. The brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh, IWSG is a monthly bloghop where writers can share their doubts, fears and insecurities. In supporting each other, we can then see that we’re really not alone.
You’re welcome to join. All you have to do is click here for more info and to sign up.

As I’ve been mentioning lately, I’m busy updating (and in a lot of ways, upgrading) my first two books in The War of Six Crowns. Since I’m a bit of a perfectionist, I couldn’t leave things at changing the covers and fonts. Oh no, I decided to give the books another proofreading pass.
After all, it’s a well-known fact that mistakes slip through the finest of nets. So it couldn’t hurt, right?
Well.
I finished reading through The Vanished Knight yesterday with a growing sense of insecurity. Not because it was bad, but because it was good. The characters’ voices sing in this story. There’s a sort of poetry to the way it’s written.
It’s just… amazing.
Almost to the point where it’s shocking to think that I wrote it.
And Book 3… just isn’t on that level.
And that got me down.
 
But then I gave myself a mental slap. 
 
See, I first published The Vanished Knight in 2013. And before that, I spent two years struggling to get through writing it and the sequel. In fact, it was such a pain in my ass that I almost quit writing altogether. Gasp! I know it’s hard to think that I’d seriously contemplate quitting.
But The Vanished Knight and The Heir’s Choice were so hard to write that it damn near convinced me I couldn’t write for shit.
Fortunately, I had a lot of awesome blogging buddies (including you guys in the IWSG) who could talk me down, and I didn’t give up.
After that, The Vanished Knight alone when through over 30 (count them. THIRTY) revision and editing rounds to get it into the shape it’s in now.
And I guess I forgot about all that because one doesn’t remember pain.
But the history is there.
The struggle was there.
And expecting myself to draft out the sequel to the books that almost made me quit while expecting it to look like The Vanished Knight looks now is lunacy.
So this is a reminder.
 
Don’t ever compare your drafts to books that have been published. (Be they your own or someone else’s.)
Those books look so good because of a huge amount of work that went into polishing them. Work that you still need to do, but that you can’t do if you’re crippled by the idea that you’re a bad writer.
So.
Stop moping because a book is soooooo much better than yours, and just write yours. Who knows? The book you’re working on right now might just be good enough to send someone else moping later.
Do you get down when comparing the quality of your writing to published works? 
 Before you go, the Mni Wiconi Bloghop in support of Standing Rock has been extended to 7 January, if you’d still like to sign up. There are prizes to be won too, so check it out. 🙂