Progress Is Progress

Hello, world. Somehow I have once again managed to find my way to the surface to post. Truthfully, I had every intention of posting at the beginning of this month and keeping up with it this time. I even had all my Writer’s Guide topics laid out for each week this month! That’s a miracle!

Unfortunately that didn’t go to plan in the slightest, and I’m not really sure what happened that screwed every intention I had.

My last post — nearly a month ago now — was right before Camp NaNo began, and I had talked about getting ready for that, and I possibly also ranted about work… *Looks off innocently*

I suppose I could account part of my “falling off the blog wagon” incident to work and how much of a hell situation is was a month ago, but that has smoothed over for the most part again about two weeks ago. Maybe I was just so burned out and fed up with life and work that I no longer cared. Or maybe I was just so bummed and mad at myself because I wasn’t working on my Camp project that I figured I had absolutely nothing to talk about. Maybe all of the above and then some. Who knows with me, I’m not going to try to find the source of my absence, it’d be pointless.

(I do know there was more than one time I remembered I needed a blog post, and by the end of the day I had totally forgotten again and it was too late to do it. That happens a lot anymore. I need to start setting myself an alarm to write my posts so I stop forgetting.)

So while the first two and a half weeks of this month were a complete bust in Camp NaNo and life, I seem to have finally managed to pull some semblance of productivity and motivation back together. Perhaps this time the pieces of my life are a little more well glued together. A feat I can credit to some friends of mine.

Camp NaNo 2017

For the first three weeks of July, there were truthfully only two days in which I edited and worked on my concordance for Fated to Darkness. Those days were Day 1 and 2.  After that it was all down hill from there.

My original goal was to work up through Chapter 11, which was roughly 146 pages or so.

At first I wanted to work on it and kept telling myself I should work on it, but it just didn’t happen between work and other obligations. After that first week, when I had fallen so far behind in only managing to do 23 pages, I started to give up.

In the beginning it came across as I was going to have to lower my goal, to what I didn’t know, but I was going to have to lower it below 100 pages because the rest of my month was so booked with work, camping, and other obligations, that I was never going to have any free time at all to edit. (Or so I thought.) Then that notion began to spiral into not caring if I won for the month or not, which lead to wanting to just delete my entire Camp project for the first time ever because I was so frustrated with myself. I couldn’t figure out why I had tanked so hard this Camp.

On the last possible day before validation began I dropped my goal to 55 pages, which was only two more chapters from where I fell off the Camp wagon. A couple hours after that, I dropped my goal even lower to only 38 pages: one more chapter.

I hated myself for it. I hated how pathetically small that number looked, when I had such high hopes and plans for how I could finish the minor editing and concordance work before November started. I could see all those plans and hopes washing away down the drain each time I sighed heavily and officially dropped my goal.

But I’ve come to realize that I dream too big for the war I fight inside my own head every single day. I’ve come to finally see that those dreams carry me away on an euphoric high way up into the pristine white clouds and sunshine for a little bit, then the storm clouds roll back in at the slightest diversion to those dreams, snuffing the sun out, and the high is gone. The storm takes my motivation and hopes with it; and Mother Nature always wins in the end.

I also realized something else though. If I cannot find the willpower strong enough to hold myself accountable to my goals and dreams, then I do need help to do so. I don’t mean just encouragement, I mean the kind of help that stands at your side as your shadow, doing exactly what you do so that you aren’t doing it alone anymore. It’s easier to motivate yourself when you have someone in your corner consistently cheering you on and helping you build castles from sand.

And that is what happened finally.

Five days ago the black clouds began to clear, and with help — and much grumbling and resistance at first — I got myself to once more sit down and try to edit. I only expected to work for an hour, if that if I could keep myself focused, and instead I ended up working for two hours. Perhaps I didn’t feel very accomplished in the end, perhaps I didn’t feel the excitement to be working again yet, and I didn’t believe at the time that “some progress is better than no progress”, but that was because again I was still dreaming too big.

I’ve been looking at the long run goal for so long instead of looking at the stepping stones that lead me there. I’ve been looking at the completed concordance, and all 43 chapters (including Prologue and Epilogue) read through, slightly edited, noted for paper edits, and all the work for Phase 2 of this stage where I take all my messy notes and organize them to the concordance, and every word of every page in the Word doc that is overwhelming.

I’m psyching myself out when I stare at the project as a whole.

Yes I have a long, long way to go in this novel yet, but don’t they always tell you to stop and smell the roses, to enjoy the journey instead of focusing solely on the destination? Isn’t it easier to see how far you’ve come when you break the journey into parts, like traveling cross country, state to state, city to city.

If I stop thinking about the goals, if I stop making the goals, then I finally stop stressing about making par, about getting to the page or chapter or word count I so-called need to.

Progress is progress, no matter how small or big.

Yes, I want to finish this stage before November, but I don’t have to plan out doing this many chapters and pages every single month. All I truthfully have to do is show up and work, and before I know it…I’ll be farther than I thought I would be. Then suddenly I won’t be worrying so much about par, wondering if I’ll make my goal for the month.

I read somewhere that it is more motivating to make a list of all the things you accomplish, instead of a list of all the things you want to accomplish and never get to cross off half. Watch the positive list grow and grow to build yourself up, and if you so wish, make that goal list anyways and watch it grow smaller and smaller compared to your accomplishment list on steroids so long as you show up to work. At some point the positive one will come to outweigh the ever-growing, daunting list.

So right now I have no true monthly goals anymore. My only intention is to be through this stage of editing before November, and at the rate I’m going now without the stress of meeting quotas, I might even be there before October.

Right now it’s just work for one hour a day at the very least with a friend to help hold myself accountable. (Most days I’m finding I do more than an hour.) It doesn’t matter how many pages I get done, or if I make it through the chapter or not, just work. The hope is the more I do it, the easier it will get, the more habit it will become until I can hold myself to it every day without issue. And the more I work, the further I get every single day.

A week ago I thought I wouldn’t make goal for Camp. A week ago I wrestled with myself over deleting my Camp project and giving up entirely. A week ago I didn’t care. It’s amazing how one week, one day, one conversation can change everything.

Now I here I sit making sure I edit every single day with a writing buddy for at least that one hour. Now here I sit somehow managing to get through almost a chapter a day without even realizing how much progress I’m making. Now here I sit truly wondering if I ever needed to drop my Camp goal at all from just four days of work.

I am over halfway to my original goal of 146 pages, and there is still six days left to Camp NaNo. I am 23 pages away from being one-sixth of the way through my entire book. I am 23 pages away from breaking triple digits in page numbers. I am three chapters away from breaking double digits in chapters.

When I look at it that way, in bits and pieces, only then do I see just how far I’ve gotten already. When I look at how many pages are being added to my concordance, how many notes are being organized and recorded to make the paper edits that much easier, I see just how far I’m getting finally.

Progress is progress, no matter how small or big it may be. Remember that fellow authors, writers, poets, and dreamers. Always remember that and the storm clouds will clear the way for sunshine once more.

Now What?

On Sunday I finished the first draft of Fated to Darkness and since then…I have felt like a lost puppy. I’ve sat on my desk chair spinning in a circle because I haven’t known what to work on. I’m so used to working on FtD for so long now that it feels weird to not be working on it, to not be pushing for that end scene yet.

I feel so lost.

There’s still a very palpable sense of grappling for straws on the reality of completing this novel right now. The “now what?” feeling as I try to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing. It’s been five days since I finished the novel, but I’m still staring somewhat dumbfounded at the binder that holds my concordance for FtD and at my other WiPs with an “aaaaahhhh….” kind of expression. I could almost just flip a coin to try to figure out what I’m doing.

Granted, there are many, many things I could be doing now.

For starters I could get back to working on Clockwork Heart like I wanted to use part of Camp for. I could use the rest of the year, or however long it takes, to work on that novella/novel. Or I could go back to the very first novel I ever started writing, Breaking Point, and continue that. (The more I look at that novel though the more I need to do some outlining and brainstorming and probably a title change too. To what though I have no idea…sort of.) I could even start outlining Shapeshifter Wings and start work on that. Then there’s the option of starting one of the plentiful, new novel ideas kicking around in my head — like Alice in Court, or Book 2 to The Dark Heir series, or the horse ranch storyline that’s been kicking around up there since I was little that actually has a title and subtitle already.

Or, I could forgo novel work for the time being and start on some short stories. I could write the sequel to The Black Lake, or redo that story altogether to make it better then do the sequel. Or expand and fix up The Beast. I could also poke around at Seductress and see if it leads me anywhere beyond the vague storyline and grand ball scene it has.

On the other hand, I could refocus my efforts to editing instead of writing. I don’t mean editing Fated to Darkness. No no. That is going to sit and wait until I can come back with fresher eyes. I mean that I could take this time now and focus on re-editing, polishing, and maybe expanding Rivers of Black more. The thought has crossed my mind to try to publish the story, but I’m not going to explore that spurt of consciousness any further yet. I don’t want to think about publishing right now…

The fact I have finished the first draft of Fated to Darkness doesn’t mean it’s not going to be touched at all until I’m ready to edit though. I won’t let it collect dust for a couple months. I still have a binder concordance I need to flesh out and finish, and there are multiple notes within my book that I need to find a way to organize and put together in a notebook or something so that as I go along and edit and answer the questions I left myself I’ll be able to avoid plot holes or errors.

There’s still quite a lot of work to do on FtD before I get to the true editing phase. So while I spend the rest of the year — I’m hoping to be done before December, because…holiday — finishing the concordance and finding a way to organize those notes and questions to myself, I am going to be working on something else as well. I would like an entire month of letting FtD sit completely ready for edits before I do dive into full on scrutiny paper edits, but until then there’s lots left to do.

My tentative plan right now as I start to get the ball rolling again is to get working on the concordance and an organization technique for the notes/questions I left. In doing that, I will be reading through my entire novel, which also means that while I’m reading I can minimally fix light edits. Say a missed word, or the wrong version of a word, missing quotation marks, and so forth. The things that won’t require me stopping for an hour on one paragraph to make it sound the best it can possibly be. Doing this will make the paper edits a little less daunting in red marks.

That’s the plan for Fated to Darkness from here till December. *Prays I can be ready by then*

Because I don’t want to lose the next six or seven months with no writing to show for it — well, that wouldn’t have happened anyways because of July’s Camp NaNo and November’s NaNo — I am going to work on something alongside the next stage of FtD. I believe that “now what?” feeling is going to be geared toward writing Clockwork Heart and trying to finish that story this year, as well as re-editing Rivers of Black.

Actually, my original goal of May was to re-edit Rivers of Black finally since I kind of failed on that one last year. Perhaps that will actually happen now that FtD is done. Then again, I had expected Clockwork Heart to only be a short story and already be done by this time too, but…

Yeah, the universe hasn’t been kind to me this year in more ways than one.

But that’s the plan for now. I guess I’ll see how it works out, though I don’t have many expectations for it. I’ve learned better at this point. The hardest part I think is going to be finding a balance between these three projects now when my life is already so screwy and unpredictable.

Or, maybe, the hardest part is going to be finding the heart that says it’s worth it again…

Sleepless Tangents And The 100 Word Trick

!DUE TO A LACK OF SLEEP, THIS BLOG POST HAS BEEN CANCELLED!

Just kidding. No it hasn’t. A friend dropped that line to my exhausted self when I had no idea how to start this post and I had to use it.

For real though, I am running on less than two hours of sleep as I write this so I’m going to warn you readers now: There is a high possibility very little of this will be coherent enough to understand, or not wander off on a tangent because I am too exhausted to focus.

The lack of sleep was totally worth it this time. Do you ever get so caught up in a book or plot or scene that when it’s coupled with music you just…can’t? Like, there’s not even any words that can describe the feeling. It’s just powerful and emotional and Oh.My.Gods. All you can do is swear, squeal, mutter incomplete sentences, and die while you cry internally at the amazingness that is the plot/scene/book.

Yeah. That was totally me all last night. I would have said screw sleep and stayed up all night — despite the looming long ass early work shift — if a friend and I had kept going in the roleplay because it was just that good.

I just couldn’t stop. Still can’t. I didn’t want it to end. I read back through every reply again before I finally did crash just so I could picture it again in my head. It gives me chills, it makes the heart clench and stop in emotion, makes your breath hitch in your chest. I would have kept reading it over and over if I didn’t put my phone down. Hell, I left the same song playing on repeat the entire plot because it just made it so much more powerful and deep. Actually, I’m still listening to the song on repeat, and it’s been two days straight now. The only time I haven’t been hearing it is in my sleep and at work. Not even gonna lie, I am listening non-stop. (My household wants to strangle me by now for singing it and blasting it so much.) I’m listening to it right now, but with earphones. It’s better with earphones.

It’s just… UGH. I CAN’T. CAN’T EVEN. HOLY DAMN.

See what I mean? Total incomplete sentences because I can’t put the feelings into words when I mesh the plot and song together. Unless you want a long stream of curse words and one word answers, mixed in with some squealing and screaming. All I have to do is think about it and…nope. Can’t even.

So, yeah, the less than two hours of sleep was totally worth it. No regrets. I wish it didn’t have to end, but alas, all plots must end to some degree. Sadly. Ah, well, I’m sure there will be another soon enough that I’ll be slack-jawed and addicted to again. They’re like a drug. A wonderful drug that I can’t get enough of.

Hello, I’m Daelyn and I am addicted to stories.

I’m an author, I’m supposed to be addicted to stories.

Alas though, it is Camp NaNo and the stories I’m supposed to be creating right now are novels, not co-written freaking amazing roleplays. (Though they can give you soooooo many plot bunnies you can actually USE in the REAL story. I’ve lost track of how many things I have planned and resolved to use in the real book from roleplaying it. It’s an insane number. Roleplaying with your characters is seriously an author’s greatest gift of ideas, it is so damn helpful.)

And I’m getting off track. Already. Again. I mean…

Which track was I even on to begin with?

I have no idea.

The first week of Camp NaNo is just about over and I’m still just under 10k. I’m kinda upset with myself for not being further, for not having finished Fated to Darkness already this month. My motivation is seriously waning and struggling this month. Which is weird, because normally I’m excited times a million on the first NaNo of the new year.

I mean, some unforeseen stress hasn’t helped matters, and the fact Easter is right around the corner and work is getting crazy because of it doesn’t help either. But… I don’t know. Something just still seems off with me this month for Camp. I can’t quite put my finger on it.

Part of me thinks it has to do with finishing this novel. One minute I’m excited and squealing that I’m so close! Then the next I’m almost scared to be finishing it so I think I start dragging my feet. I mean, this novel has taken up two and half years of my life writing it. It’s going to be…weird to be done writing the first draft. Weird is going to be an understatement of the century. I’m going to miss it. As a friend explained to me, maybe I don’t want to stop interacting with the characters.

In a way I think she’s right. Granted, I know there is going to be a Book 2 and I’ll see them all again for that adventure, but… This series is my heart and soul so I think I’m hesitant to finish it and have to let it sit while I work on Clockwork Heart. (I DO want to release something this year, and that is my most logical WiP to complete and release. It’s also a fun story to write.) I don’t have to let FtD sit completely untouched because I do need to work out the notes I need to print with it too when it comes to editing, and all the other concordance notes I want to finish too before I get to the major editing. But…that’s just not the same as writing it.

I’ll get myself moving on it somehow. I must. I would like a bigger goal than 30k for the month, and I would like a decent amount of words added to Clockwork Heart by the end of the month.

The last two days have sucked in writing though. I haven’t touched FtD the past two days. Or… Wait, did I add at least some words to it Tuesday night after I did my other blog post? I feel like I did, but… Oh hell, I can’t think straight to remember that. I mean, I did do some writing the past two days. I haven’t blown it off completely. I did my Shard and I posted to the #ThursThreads challenge again this week.

I kinda really liked what I came up with for the flash fiction challenge this week. I took it my normal dark direction, but I broke the glass ceiling of normal statistics for serial killers, and I also took it to a slightly sexual route, not even straight sexual. And I don’t normally ever write anything sexual, let alone LGBTQ+ sexual.

Was that too much information?

Oh hell, what do I care? I don’t follow the normal stigma. I like open and honest and brave people who aren’t afraid of themselves, who shed their masks and are willing to speak out despite the societal norm. It’s oppressing enough as it is to not lend my voice to the growing volume of acceptance. Change starts with one and grows.

Wow… This blog post really is all over the place. Not to mention shit just got deep.

And this post has had next to nothing to do with Camp NaNo progress, hasn’t it? I should rectify that a bit here…if I don’t end up wandering off on another tangent of thought. (I did warn you folks at the start of this post.)

So week one of Camp NaNo is coming to a close today and I am just under 10k words. I have two more work shifts before I have a day off again, but at least these next two are short shifts. They are also closing shifts which means, thank the Gods, I can sleep. Glorious sleep.

Hopefully since these next two shifts are short and closing I’ll be able to get some writing in without being exhausted or worrying about needing to be up early and if I should be sleeping instead of writing. I truly debated on just saying screw it and staying up all night last night to write, but I had a feeling my brain was going to kick me in the ass if I did that so for once I listened to logic.

It still kicked me in the ass.

Should’ve had that Monster earlier to wake me up…

I wish I had the energy to write tonight — I’m getting antsy from not writing for Camp — since I don’t have to be up early tomorrow, but I’m not sure how well that’ll work out this time. Then again, if I just start writing it might just keep flowing and I’ll forget how exhausted I am as I get caught up in it. Or, you know, I’ll write something so incoherent that I’ll fall off my chair laughing and wonder what the fuck just ran through my head.

Both of which I’ve done before.

Although that reminds me of another piece of advice a friend gave me yesterday: It’s easier to tell yourself “write a hundred words” than it is to tell yourself “I have to write”.

I never realized how true that was until I tried it, and I’m now calling it the 100 Word Trick.

The hundred words comes almost easily, and once you get that hundred words, if you’re lucky, it just keeps flowing and the next thing you know you have a thousand words, or two thousand, or five thousand.

The other trick she just taught me in regards to the 100 Word Trick: Start that hundred words of writing in a brand spanking new pristine white Word doc.

Why?

I asked the same question, and the logic she gave me I cannot dispute.

What’s less daunting? Going from 0 to 100 words, or going from 259,658 to 259,758?

Makes sense when you look at it that way, don’t it? Having a word tracker with charts and visuals like NaNo does helps make it seem less daunting too because you can see your progress in more than just rising numbers. You see jumps in a bar graph and your estimated win date going down, not to mention your “words left to write” number gets smaller too.

So perhaps I really should just drag my zombie ass off to my Word doc and start writing that hundred words. See where it leads me. Some words are better than no words, some progress is better than none.

After all, “you might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.”

You Know You’re An Author When…

We authors do some strange things.

We can hold full blown conversations with the characters in our heads. We have both disturbing and hilarious Google histories when it comes to research for our books. We’ll sit down to write, end up on a roll, and then four hours later remember we’ve forgotten to eat or missed that appointment. We can write an entire book or scene in our heads to perfection but when we stare at the Word doc to actually write it, we end up saying “wut r werds?” and it never actually comes out as pretty as we imagine it.

Sometimes we’ll try things out before we write them just to see if it’s actually possible, like ripping a thong off someone. (No I haven’t done that, but I’ve heard other romance authors have tried it before writing it since they weren’t totally convinced it’s so easy.) Other times we’ll make the same faces our characters are making while we listen to them chat away in our heads when putting words to a page. We have the ability to become experts on a certain subject in a matter of days since our character is an expert on it, because hell, how can we write their genius if we don’t know it ourselves?

We’ll wake up in the middle of the night with sudden plot fixes or brilliant ideas and then suddenly we’re up till dawn writing because it’s too good to go back to sleep. Showers and baths are our greatest moments of inspiration! Because, of course, you can’t write it down while you’re in the shower. There’d be no other logical time for those lightbulb moments to happen. We have the infuriating ability to say “oh, I’ll remember that idea or plot fix, I don’t have to write it down”, and then prove to ourselves a few hours later that we should have written it down. Yet still, we never learn our lesson on that no matter how many times it happens.

Yep. We writers do some strange things. We’re a quirky bunch, with a touch of insanity. I mean, sanity is overrated anyways, isn’t it? It’s much more fun to live in the realms in our heads!

I seem to have a trend of making Facebook posts when I write, things that I stumble across and go, “Yep, I’m definitely an author” for. I had another one yesterday while I was working on Fated to Darkness. I was in the middle of writing a scene in which my character was running from something, trying to get to a friend, so it was outdoors scene. I got about halfway through it before realizing I had completely and utterly forgotten what timeframe the setting was in.

My Facebook post looked like this afterwards…

You know you’re an author when you repeatedly associate your book’s month/season setting with your own present weather conditions and time frame, forgetting that they are not, in fact, in the same month, time, season, or even year as you. Which then leads to leaving yourself notes in your Word doc like this…

[SHIT. IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE WINTER. YOU NEED TO CHANGE THESE SETTINGS SLIGHTLY AND MAKE SURE TO ADD DETAILS OF THE SEASON — SEEING BREATH IN THE AIR, COLD WIND, ETC.]

#writerproblems

I make a lot of these posts, actually, because I’m always finding something I do that is so a writer. Most of my posts start with the, “You know you’re an author when…” phrase. But occasionally I have some other goodies like these two from a week and a half ago:

When you’re trying to fall asleep and your brain suddenly magically remembers the word you were looking for hours ago while writing, but couldn’t get it off the tip of your tongue no matter how hard you tried so you used something you weren’t totally satisfied with instead. Go. Figure. *Mentally throttles my brain* #writerproblems #onlywritersunderstandthefrustrationandpain

And…

Trying to fend off a new plot bunny as an author is like trying to stop a flood with a piece of cardboard. I’m failing. Epicly.

I had another “You know you’re an author when…” post just this week after I wrote Mission To Write. Because only an author can turn a writer’s life into the story of a secret agent in comparison.

Sometimes I seriously question how my brain works. Other times I just roll with it like, eh, yeah, I’m not even going to ask where that one came from.

I’m quite curious though now. What things do you do, if you’re an author, that you can sit back at and go, “Yep, I’m definitely a writer”? How would you finish the phrase “You know you’re an author when…”? I would love to hear your responses to that question down in the comments.

In other news, I’ve been debating on branching my social media platform a bit more. Mainly, I’m debating on setting up a Twitter. I’m still a bit undecided though. Although there is another online writing site I’m half hashing around in my head to joining, since Wattpad is actually a complete and utter liar. But I’ll save those stories and decisions for another day.

In other, other news, I’ve been forgetting to shout out my accomplishments in #ThursThreads flash fiction for the past three weeks. The past two weeks I snagged an honorable mention, and today, on the last day of Year 4 for #ThursThreads, I achieved my FIRST WIN!

WOOOOHOOOOO! *Does a little happy dance*

(Seriously, I saw the notification of my win at work and smiled for the rest of my shift. I may or may not have squealed too. It’s really hard to get a win when there are a couple really good authors who almost always come out with either a mention or a win. So this definitely made my day. I feel kind of invincible, and proud.)

I’d love to share my honorable mention tales of 250 words, but I feel kinda weird sharing them so overdo. I swear I meant to share them each week, but kept forgetting. (Just like I’ve forgotten to share my Shard story to Wattpad yet. Whoops…) Perhaps I’ll throw them up to my Facebook author page just for fun sometime. Since my win did come today though, I thought I’d share my little tale to sign off for the week on a good note.

So here’s my tale…

Robin helped his mother through the doorway, holding one of her hands to steady her slow, frail steps. Once safely inside he guided her to sit at the rickety table, settling their satchel down on its surface.

“Are you alright, mother?” he asked with concern, brow furrowed.

She waved a wrinkled hand then placed it over her chest, smiling lightly to him. “Of course, dear.” His mother began to reach for the satchel of market goods they brought home, leaning her walking stick against her chair. “I best be getting supper started now. Don’t want the children to be coming home without supper on the table.”

He frowned, stopping her reach gently. “Mother… There’s no children coming home. We’re all grown up.”

“Nonsense, they’re all wee babes yet,” she dismissed, shaking him off and reaching in the satchel to pull out wrapped parcels one by one. “Where’s my eggs? I can’t cook without them.”

“We didn’t buy them, remember?” he said softly, crouching to her level.

Puzzlement crossed her features, turning to peer at him. Once bright blue eyes where dulled and filmed over from old age and fragile mind. He noticed the way her lips pursed tight and sadness touched her features in a telltale sign. Then the sadness was replaced with confused wariness and all previous thoughts were forgotten.

“Who are you?” she asked quietly.

His heart ached, holding her hands. “I’m your son. Robin. You rest now, mother, I’ll make supper. I love you.”

thrusthread winner badge

Lookie! I even get a really cool badge! *Grins*

Last of all as I head out, here’s what the judge said to my tale: I really loved the compassion of this tale. You can see the remnants of the elderly woman’s independence and in a moment it just disappears. And the sweetness of the son’s willingness to just take what was offered. Great tale.

Mission To Write

Happy Spring!

blessed ostara

The coming of Spring seems to have given me the kick in the ass I’ve been needing. Or maybe it was a combination of things that lit the fire under me until fingers started flying over keys again.

I think it was more of a domino effect of a few things, starting with my realization from my last post of who I wanted to dedicate Clockwork Heart too. When I finish the story, that is. (I still want to send those emails I talked of too, if anyone remembers/knows what I’m talking about.) That realization ignited the first spark of desire to write once more. Because I’m not going to get to Clockwork Heart again until I finish Fated to Darkness, and if my plan is to use Camp NaNo for writing that novella, then I need to get moving on finishing Book 1 of this series.

After all, there’s only eleven days left in March. Camp NaNo is fast approaching here. Eep.

The second domino falling was watching a fellow Snippeteer’s weekly live Facebook video to connect and talk to her followers. It wasn’t the video itself that tipped the domino, it was the topic she was providing insight on: how to get the words onto the page without getting distracted. More accurately, how to make time to write.

It made me realize something. Something I had known before and had started to work into my life but had eventually fallen through because, you know me and the words “follow through”.

Of course, with her life style as a full time writer, it’s easier to set a schedule for writing that could work around having no interruptions and wouldn’t also change day to day. She has the support in her life that helps make that schedule easier to stick to as well.

I don’t have those things. I can’t make a set time and schedule to make a habit of writing daily when I work a part time job in retail where a thing such as consistent hours and shifts are as mythical as the Loch Ness monster. I can’t quit said day job either to try to make writing my living (yet) when I still have bills to pay and not enough of a name for myself yet to venture that far. I don’t have the same support and understanding from friends or family where they would back off to give me the solitude needed to be able to write, or to keep others from bugging me.

I don’t have any of that. I’m pretty much on my own in this adventure, at least in trying to make it work with my life.

Despite the fact I don’t have the ability to set a specific schedule and time to write daily (unless I want to make it at midnight or later every single night, but then I’d never see or talk to any of my friends much) there is still something she reminded me I can do.

Every author out there knows social media of all forms are both an author’s best friend to build their fan base and the perfect platform to get yourself out there, and also an author’s worst enemy in lay they are a major time suck that we can get sucked into an endless abyss of memes, videos, and DIY recipes and never get anything done. Ever. Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, Wattpad, YouTube… They are all demons and angels at the same time.

Sometimes the only way we’ll ever put words to a page is if we force ourselves away from those black holes of procrastination and sit down in a place, or a way, we can’t be tempted to wander on back to them. At least, not wander back easily enough by just a mouse click or tap of a finger on our phones.

I like calling this way of enforced self imprisonment with a countdown bomb your life depends on diffusing or satisfying in time “going dark”.

You’ve probably heard that term before. Going dark.

If you haven’t, going dark means to unplug from everything. It can mean going somewhere where there is no internet to distract you, and no LTE to turn to. It can mean shutting your phone off and leaving the house to go write somewhere without wi-fi. It can also mean you simply shut both your internet and phone off and you don’t touch them until you reach the goal you set.

To me that goal is your Bomb. The one your life depends on diffusing or satisfying so that it doesn’t explode on you and tear you up. The self imprisonment, what I’m going to refer to as your Insnare – yes, I spelled it wrong on purpose, is willing shutting every distraction and interruption out, of not letting your butt back out of that chair until your task is complete.

Of course, you could still break every single rule in the book of Missions and trigger your Bomb to explode by turning that phone and/or internet back on before you complete your assignment. But it’s a lot easier to tell yourself no and stay focused when you can’t access those black holes with one click.

Just like that there was my second domino falling, because I realized I had forgotten just how well that trick works. As J. K. Rowling once said, “Be ruthless about protecting writing days, i.e., do not cave in to endless requests to have ‘essential’ and ‘long overdue’ meetings on those days.”

Maybe our endless requests aren’t about meetings. Maybe they’re about social events, or the call to pick up another shift, or even as simple as a text message saying hello. In a sense, every distraction and interruption is a meeting you have a choice to say “give me two hours of complete solitude, and then we’ll talk” to. Or any version of the word “no”. You could blow your cover in the Mission by giving in.

Some people may understand your stubbornness, others may get frustrated and angry you’re blowing them off in a sense. But as J. K. said, be ruthless. The only way you’re going to get those words to the page is if you make it happen and don’t let everything else in this fast-paced, chaotic world get in your way. If the people butting in are true friends and supporters of the dreams you’re trying to achieve, they’ll understand and give you those few extra hours or whatever you need. Hell, if they’re true supporters they’ll encourage it and protect that time for you just as fiercely as you do.

On Sunday I took that initiative and dove into the dark to write, starting the first quest of what I’m calling Mission To Write. While I didn’t turn my wi-fi off, I didn’t open my internet browser at all to tempt me to hop over and check websites; and while my phone was playing music in the background, it was nowhere near me where I would see notifications pop up and whisper at me to check them. The goal was to stay in the dark until I had finished the chapter of Fated to Darkness I was on. Or rather, write until Once Upon A Time and Time After Time came on and then return to the Mission after my shows were over till my task was finished.

And I did it. In only about an hour and a half I had managed almost 2k words and was mere sentences away from finishing the chapter before my shows came on. If fact, I finished the final sentences during commercials because I found I didn’t want to stop again. Then after that I continued a bit further for the first 700 words of the next chapter.

I’m now down to the final FOUR chapters of Fated to Darkness.

That same night my third domino began to tip in the form of some fellow authors and friends I made through Wattpad coming to me with a proposal for forming a writer’s circle. Wattpad was good and all for sharing and garnering feedback and a fan base, but we’ve learned – thanks to my experience – how untrustworthy the site is for those really aspiring to be published; and also that sharing your work elsewhere can hurt your chances of getting it published because it counts as “previously published”.

With those two things heavy on our minds and hearts, we decided to ban together on our own and create a small group of those we’ve interacted with and grown close to, those we trust, to help each other on this crazy adventure of achieving our dreams. A group where we can share our work for feedback and opinions on all types of things within our writing. A group where we can bounce ideas off each other to help spark our imaginations and fix plot issues. A group where we are serious in our endeavors and will show each other the support and help we need to coax our dreams within our reach.

I may already have a group like that, but it can never hurt to have another. While the group I have now with two other friends is more geared toward simply holding ourselves accountable to writing, this group will provide a following-the-entire-journey beta reader’s insight. One can never have too many beta readers.

So my dominos have begun to fall and fuel my fire once more, and while they may have been shaken by all that goes on with Wattpad yet and other realizations in the realm of publishing, they are still blazing strong.

Maybe that was all I needed all along: Reminders on how to make it work with my life. There are many things wobbling on the edge of an uncertain abyss right now, many things I must think over and determine where my heart and goals lie – mainly with my story Rivers of Black right now. I am in no way over how these realizations have shaken me, for I feel betrayed and cheated by Wattpad yet, but perhaps I’ll have learned from this now. Perhaps even, it will be the insight I needed to take a step further toward my goals of becoming a published author as my career.

As a fellow author and friend once said, it takes balls to be an author, and my Mission To Write is only still beginning. One day, the target, S. P. Author (Successfully Published Author), of my Mission will be in my grasp.

Decisions, Realizations, and Dedications

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

saint patrick's day

On Tuesday I posted a warning to Wattpad users about the site not being as safe and secure as they claim to be. Since then it’s been on my mind a lot, and not just because Wattpad refuses to do anything about my situation.

Wattpad was my greatest place for trying to get feedback and notice on my work, more so even then this blog or Facebook. It’s also the place I’ve meet three awesome writing friends I never would have known if I had never joined, one of which began a best friend. The place that helped me develop so much more of Heather’s story that I may never have come up with on my own. And despite this problem, I don’t want to lose what advantages Wattpad does have.

Because of that, I’m reluctant to leave Wattpad.

Granted, I’m a bit more hesitant about some things, but I don’t want to delete and leave. I’ve watched writers grow from nothing on this site, and build such a large fan base that it helped carry them through to publication. You can’t always say that about other writing sites, or about a blog alone.

So while I’m a bit wary of Wattpad now, I can’t bring myself to take down my works and shut down my account. I am going to add copyright claims EVERYWHERE in my stuff now. I’m also going to keep a very close eye on things, but there’s no way in hell I’m backing down from spreading the warning or continuing to prod at Wattpad for it.

In fact, since they’re so set on shutting me down if I send another report, I’m going to take a different route and start sending letters or emails straight to Wattpad HQ demanding something be done and that they start rethinking their policy and conduct guidelines. I don’t think they realize just how big an issue this could be, or I’m betting they don’t give a shit simply because the account I had this happen to was a strictly roleplay account. And Wattpad once before tried to shut down roleplaying from their threads, leaving many to turn to making accounts to continue their passion.

In all honesty, I think that’s the exact reason why Wattpad won’t do anything about this. Because they don’t give a damn it’s a roleplay account and to them not important if someone tries to steal it or duplicate it. It’s not real writing, right?

Wrong. Fucking wrong in so many ways.

It still sets the example someone could do it to an author’s account that holds their stories. I don’t think that’s the message they want to be sending out, or maybe it is apparently. Either way I’m not letting this go yet.

But I’ll stop ranting about that now before I ramble on forever and return to writing news.

Two nights ago I hardly slept because my brain was abuzz with thoughts of writing and, oddly enough, past teachers. I’m not quite sure how my brain went from writing, to video games, to past teachers, and then back to writing, but it did. During the trip down a rabbit hole, I was suddenly struck with a thought that now has me itching to finish Clockwork Heart.

Somehow, in thinking of past teachers and writing, I suddenly realized who I want to dedicate Clockwork Heart too.

Four past teachers I had in grade school from 7th grade and up that impacted not just my writing, but my whole life. The ones that went above and beyond the classroom. The ones I haven’t forgotten. I want to thank them.

When I graduated high school, I had actually sent an email to one of those teachers to thank them for their faith and belief in me, for what they did for me. The email I got back made me smile and know it was worth taking the time to send it. Teachers are so under appreciated for all they do, and even the smallest act of gratitude letting them know they are making a real difference could mean the world to them. Especially in this day and age. Almost just like how one single comment from a stranger can mean so much to a writer.

Actually, I think it’s exactly the same concept.

Since that realization of mine, I’ve been itching to jump back into Clockwork Heart so I can finish it and send it off to a publisher for a chance. And if it gets accepted to be published, I know one of the first things I’m going to do is send out a signed thank you copy of it to each teacher I dedicated it to. I’ve even been meaning to send an email to them again, because I never did thank the other three that impacted me.

So while I may not be getting very far on finishing Fated to Darkness at the moment, I’m thinking about writing and wanting to write. Now I just have to write those emails and finish that book before the end of March, that way I can use Camp NaNo to work on Clockwork Heart.

I guess I better use my four days off next week, and this weekend off to get working through Fated to Darkness again. There’s only two weeks left till Camp starts.

Finding My Way: An Apology and an Explanation

It’s been weeks since I’ve posted anything, and for that I apologize to my followers who pay attention to most or all of my posts. The last few weeks — month is more like it — have been really rough, and to be completely honest, I lost my will and passion for a lot of things. For awhile my mantra was “what’s the point?” because I just…didn’t care. I was really down and defeated, for reasons I still don’t fully comprehend and understand.

To a degree, it’s still rough right now and every day is a constant battle with myself and life. I am far from perfect, and I have a lot of demons inside that tear me down. Sometimes I’m winning the war against them, but a lot of the time I’m losing. I can’t say it’s over and I’m back in full swing here, because I know it’s not over. This right now is a break in the overwhelming storm clouds, and I’m holding onto the ray of light shining through. There’s still a high possibility some days there will be no post even though there should be, and I hope that you’ll bear with me and care enough to stick around despite the chances of sporadic posts.

To be totally honest again, I haven’t done any writing in weeks.

I don’t think I can call it writer’s block, even though when I try to write I am staring at a blank page and a blinking curser. It’s not a writing block per say, it’s a…motivation block. It’s another I lost my will and passion to write, as well as my motivation to reach the goals I set out. Part of it may also be no inspiration right now, no creative juices flowing when there’s so much else weighing me down.

Whatever it really is holding me back, it’s hindered a lot more than writing, but I won’t get into that and spare you the dreary details. This is just something I have to figure out on my own this time, and I know it’s not going to be easy and it’s not going to come over night unfortunately.

On the other side of things, there’s a small beacon of hope and motivation bobbing on the horizon after weeks of oblivion. I’m trying to  chase it and catch it in my hands before it can disappear, but it’s a fickle thing and is easily snuffed out.

I’ve been thinking a lot of how I can keep my motivation, how I can push to keep my follow through from, well, falling through, and there is one thing I’ve finally come to realize that may help me.

There’s all these author’s posts I see popping up on Facebook lately — some I know and others I don’t — of them getting excited over new releases of theirs, throwing release parties and giveaways, and just all around joy to have typed the words ‘The End’ on another novel. When I see them I find myself wondering how they do it. How can they put out these novels so quickly, and so…easily it seems? Especially when I struggle so much on mine.

When I think of that and read their elation in their posts I remember my first taste of pure elation to publishing news. That first taste that I will never forget was the email that read Embermyst had been accepted for the anthology last year in August. I will never forget the overwhelming joy that coursed through me, the smile I couldn’t wipe from my face for days, the squealing, screaming, laughing I did out of excitement, or the tears of happiness. It is by far one of the best days of my life, and I have very few of them.

So when I see these author’s posts, and I remember my own elation from months ago, a desire suddenly begins to grow rapidly within. A desire that is so easily lost and stunted that if I don’t grab hold at the first prick of sensation, it will slip away again into the darkness of self doubt and despair.

It’s the desire that screams at me “I want that to be me next time”. I want that post, that elation to be me again. I want to be able to scream to the world I finished a novel, or another story. I want to be able to shout from the rooftops that I managed to push through the hard work of editing and am ready to send it off in hopes of getting another acceptance letter or email. I want to be able to plan a release party and actually build a fan base where people will show their support of my writing and be as excited as me about the release because they want to read it. I want to be able to hold my published book in my hands and be able to tell myself “I. Did. It.”.

That is all I want. That is my only dream anymore. So when I see those posts, and I feel that desire, suddenly I want to write again. If I don’t sit down and write right then and there, that desire starts to trickle away and I struggle once more to pick myself back up and do the work.

How then, can I find a way to replicate that sense of determination and purpose? How can I turn that split second of motivation into something that lasts and carries me through the hard work and self doubt? How do I turn that into my beacon of hope in which I can pull myself through the darkness with all the way to the light?

Those…are unfortunately the answers I don’t have yet. Just thinking about it helps a little, but it’s not the same as that first initial reaction to reading one of those posts.

As part of my Path, I know there is balance in life. That nothing is strictly one way or the other, but instead many shades of grey. Yin and Yang. Without balance there is chaos. I have been unbalanced for a long time now, in many forms, but only recently have I finally accepted that. I spent so much time trying to stay one way, trying to stay this person I wanted to be, that I ended up ignoring what yanks me away from that fantasy and dismissed it. For in a way, it was a fantasy, an illusion. Like I was living a lie. In reality, I should have never dismissed what my instinct was trying to tell me, but I was too afraid to listen, too desperate to finally feel okay and mean it to face those harsh and ugly truths screaming at me.

Part of me knows the only way I’m going to find the answer to my questions is if I find my balance again. I had it once for the first time in my life, years and years ago, but it was shattered not long after I found it. Except, finding that balance is a lot easier said than done, and it’s something only I can do. Perhaps there will be spots of guidance along the way, but ultimately only I can walk this path to find my answers. I can’t have the outside world muffling what’s inside me trying to speak.

Maybe this all sounds like a whole lot of spiritual mumbo jumbo, maybe it sounds cheesy and fake to you or even cliché. But I’m not you, and you aren’t me. To each their own, they say.

Some days will be harder than others. Some days I may fight with my final burst of strength for the day and I still won’t come out victorious against the demons when I close my eyes to sleep. Other days I may be able to move mountains and scare off the demons as if I am the Devil himself they fear.

This is me right now, but I don’t want it to be me forever. I just have to find my way.

It will not be swift when the war finally ends, it will be a long and tedious journey with steps forward and retreats backward. It will not be easy in any sense, it will be a battle well fought. But then again, they do say the things that are worth it in the end are never easy.

A Desire to Write

Attention! Attention my lovely followers! I have an announcement to make.

*Holds up hands for silence, clears throat*

I am proud to announce that I have kicked the ball back down the hill and am plunging back into writing full speed ahead as I pick up momentum with each passing second.

*Cheers and throws confetti*

(I’ve had sugar today, can you tell?)

You know what’s funny about us authors?

Sometimes it only takes one reader to speak up, or one tiny occurrence as small as a follow, or a like, to bring back your drive to write and create worlds at your fingertips. It’s truly amazing how just one person can lift your spirits so high that you’re left with a smile on your face for the whole day and your desire to create drives you further than you had gone in days or weeks.

I saw this on Facebook yesterday and I just had to share it to my author page, for it truly summed up how much that one comment can mean to any kind of artist, writer, or creative arts person. We are a strange breed of people plagued by our own doubts like a suffocating disease, though we possess the potential to turn caffeine into stories if only we are provided with the cure to our plague so that we may thrive.

viewer_artist

This time for me, it was a couple of occurrences that brought back my drive, and my cure finally.

For starters, anyone who saw my Snippet Sunday post this week has probably noticed that I started sharing from something brand spanking new: Clockwork Heart. If you’ve followed along my posts for the past month, you’ve probably seen that title a lot. That title also held a lot of ups and downs for me in that month. At first it was going great, then it got halted by some disappointing news, then I just kinda fell off the wagon in working on it thanks to said disappointment.

Well, the bloggers of the Snippet Sunday group who visited my post this past Sunday have had good reviews for the start of the story. Some of which are people who almost never comment on my posts, so that alone was a welcome surprise. To see their positive comments was an added bonus of excitement, building my desire further to write again.

The second thing that helped bring that drive back was the fact I actually got some good fresh air and sun yesterday. The weather was beautiful, it was warmer, the sun was shining. I got lucky enough that I was off work and I took that chance. I took a walk and shot my first air soft gun — because I have always wanted to try. Just getting the fresh air for about two hours helped to clear my head and lift my spirits.

The final thing surging my drive on is Wattpad. For a long time now I haven’t been promoting my stories to the SYS (Share Your Story) threads within the club forums. Part of that is because you have to promote every single week after the threads are refreshed by a Wattpad ambassador, and the threads are never refreshed on the same days across each genre club. The other part to me not doing it for a long time is due to the fact I’ve been wanting to rework some of them. Rivers of Black being one of those stories. I think The Black Lake could use a bit of work too — I’ve begun that by asking for a new cover to the story. The original was done by me and it…could be a lot better.

So the other day as I was working on the drafts to revamp my blog, I decided I was going to promote a few of my stories to the SYS threads, just because I haven’t done it in so long and I have not been seeing the viewing numbers move in ages.

Well, guess what happened?

Since I did that several days ago, I’ve seen two new follows, a few new views pop up in some of the numbers, and I’ve had at least three different viewers dropping me votes on my stories again. So, YAY!

I keep hoping one of those voters is going to leave me a wonderful comment but no such luck on that just yet. Darn.

You put all three of those occurrences together though and suddenly I’m itching to plant fingers to the keyboard again. Believe it or not, I actually opened Fated to Darkness again to start work back up on it! I haven’t touched it since NaNoWriMo, which is partly due to the Christmas/inventory season, and also partly due to when I began working on Clockwork Heart in January.

Yesterday that is what I did though after clearing my head from the walk. With the will to write I sat down and pulled out my computer. I debated which story I wanted to work on and then found myself opening Fated to Darkness. I had to read through some of it to remind myself where I was, and where I was heading, but…WOW! I read the chapter before the one I left off on because they go hand in hand, and this was my initial reaction that went to Facebook after reading it:

“-*Reads through semi-recent chapter of Fated to Darkness from NaNoWriMo*
-*Jaw drops*
-*Stares at Word doc for a good two minutes*
-Holy shit! I wrote that?!”

After that, I immediately dove into the chapter I was currently writing to keep going. It’s a good thing when you don’t want to pull your eyes away from the scene, right? It’s been two months since I read through or looked at any of it, and I was glued to my own screen. For when I got to the part I left off at, this was my next reaction to Facebook:

“You know you’re an author when you get to where you left off last and freak out at yourself because you left yourself hanging on a cliffhanger.Guess I better start writing!”

I quite literally went slack jawed and threw my hands up, yelling at myself for leaving off where I had. I spent the next several minutes internally freaking out and itching to write before I regained enough equilibrium and direction on the chapter to start writing again. By the time I stopped due to an irritable need for food, and a less irritable desire to watch Quantico, I had gotten in another 1.2k words.

The chapter isn’t done just yet, though it’s more than half way completed now, but I am certainly loving how it’s coming along. I just need to keep reminding myself of my MC’s age once in awhile. I keep mixing her young self with her future self on attitude and reaction. Although, her attitude doesn’t much change, but word choice and reactions do matter when comparing their ages.

It’s actually very hard to write a child and to stay in their mindset. It’s even harder when you have so little knowledge of how a kid that age should act, or what they should be capable of mentally and physically. Then when you throw in the fact her…genes give her a growth spurt in a faster maturity than a regular human and you really screw yourself on how she should appropriately act.

A good deal of the earlier parts of Fated to Darkness may need some tweaking to keep straight with her age, but that’s for edits. Actually, a lot of things are going to need tweaking when I get to edits. My writing style has really grown since I started this book. But that’s for a later date to worry about.

Right now I just have to remember I am six chapters away from completing the first draft, and goddammit I am going to finish that soon so I can work on Clockwork Heart. Somehow I seem to be talking myself into the fact I want to try to get that one published this year instead of completing two other novels I have started.

Why you ask? Because I’m an idiot who can’t focus on the goals she already set herself without more ideas popping up in the form of half started WiPs and raging plot bunnies.

Oh, wait, doesn’t every author have that problem?

Confessions of a Writer

How do you put to words what you can’t even comprehend?

The answer is you don’t.

Sure, you can try your hardest to describe it, you can try your hardest to understand what you’re thinking and feeling, but the truth is it never does it justice in the end.

So…what do you do?

The answer is I don’t know.

For the past several days to a week now that has been my dilemma. I can’t seem to comprehend the emotions and thoughts whirling out of control and spiraling into so many different aspects.

Maybe it’s been the awful week I’ve had, or maybe it’s a whole lot more.

The truth is it doesn’t matter how long I spend thinking and trying to find the root, I’m not finding it. I don’t think I’m ever going to find it.

Maybe it’s irrational fear, or maybe it’s not irrational. Perhaps it’s hesitance, or even a panicked desperateness because it feels like time is running out. For all I know it’s insecurity, and uncertainty. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s all of the above.

Huh…

As a writer, have you ever had this great big project that is your heart and soul? A novel, a story, a series, a poem even, that’s your baby? The work you will forever cherish and love above all others?

I have one. Mine’s a series.

I’ve spent the last two and a half years, almost three, working on it. But I’m still only on Book 1 of the series, and I’m still writing. I’m not editing and re-editing yet. I’m not polishing and making it great. I’m still…writing.

I’ve come so far in it and I can see that light at the end of the tunnel that is the very last chapter of Book 1, and I can see the pulsing light that is the beginning of Book 2 just waiting for me to grab it.

But I’m not reaching either.

Pretty soon another year of my life is going to turn the clock of my age, and all I can think about is time is slipping away from me and I am getting nowhere fast, with hardly anything to show for these last four years of my life.

I hate that day. Every year I wish I could skip it. It doesn’t hold any good memories for me, so why bother celebrating and listening to a chorus of excited friends wishing you well on a day that only makes you bitter?

I’ve never liked that day, and I never will. This year it is filling me with more than just dread.

I’m a published author, and I have a confession to make.

With  another year on the calendar of age about to tick by, I am terrified the series that is my baby is never going to be completed. I am terrified that one day too soon, life is going to shred the wool over my eyes telling me “you’re still young, you have a lot of time”, and it is going to drop me to fall from the skies until I hit rock bottom.

Friends will be graduating college this year, starting their careers in something they love. They will be taking adventures and going places while I’m left in the dust to try to stumble after them as I have been doing for years now.

Where am I going? What am I even doing?

There is no direction that I can see. Take it one day at a time, they say. There’s no rush, they say.

But there is.

Because soon “one day at a time” will be too late to do anything else. One day there will be a rush because you just never know what tomorrow is going to hold, especially in this day and age.

So what do you do when you feel stuck, when you feel desperate?

I have another confession.

While I may have gotten a foot in the door of the publishing world, of my dream to be an author, I do not write nearly as much as an author should. I can hardly even call myself a writer anymore. If it wasn’t for the weekly flash fiction, or the group in which we write together for a short period of time each week, I would probably not write a word until NaNo starts up again.

It’s not because I don’t want to write. I do. It hurts and it is killing me inside that I’m not writing. Sure there might be a little hesitance over it since I need to read to pick up where I am, and sure some of my will to write may have been squashed by disappointment and a change of plans, but the want to write is still there.

Yet I’m not writing…

After almost three years I am desperate to finish this book. I am desperate to take that larger chance at getting published. I am tired of waiting, of putting it off, of everything in life getting in the way. Because now life is passing by without me.

I’ve been asked before if I’m happy, truly happy with my life. I can never answer that question, at least not out loud because I know the answer is one I never want to admit to anyone.

Now… Do you know what thought continues to cross my mind out of this desperate uncertainty?

That the only way I am ever going to finish this novel, to take that leap, or the only way I am going to start building a real career and life for myself, gaining freedom, is if I quit my job and spend my time doing what I want: writing, going back to school, trying to learn to drive.

Because trying to do it on top of working just isn’t happening anymore.

If I were to make it work while still working, I would have to become a recluse that does nothing, goes nowhere, and talks to nobody.

And I can’t get the thought out of my head now.

Yes, I am a published author, but I confess I am terrified I will never make it out of this lifeless cycle if I do not do something drastic to reach my dreams.

Indecisiveness

What do you do when you have a topic(s) to talk about but you have no idea how to start? Do you just start rambling and hope it brings you along to tie everything together? Or do you hit the ground running and see how much it may or may not suck, and/or work out?

That’s my dilemma.

Both for this blog — as I have a topic, or two, to talk of — and for some other news I received a week ago but only pieced together a couple days ago.

Remember me talking about the new short story I was working on, Clockwork Heart? And remember me saying it was going to turn into another submission for VTP’s spring anthology?

Yeah… About that…

There’s no more spring anthology to submit it to.

Turns out, VTP is switching up their submission and anthology releases this year. Instead of doing four separate themed anthologies, they’re trying their hand at a boxed set of stories centralized around a specific setting. In other words, you write a short story in that specific setting regarding this specific place, and your story may tie into another author’s story a little bit. It’s like trying to intertwine the characters and plot lines of four, or more, different books and to me that sounds like a headache and a half to try to get right.

Not at all something I’m interested in. I like being able to control and create my worlds and settings considering I love fantasy and paranormal, and with it being a specific place I have to include, it limits what kind of characters I can create as well.

So, Morgana is out of an anthology she was going to submit to. Which both irks and disappoints me. I was looking forward to completing the story and sending it in for another chance.

Of course, this doesn’t mean I can’t complete the story. I’m still going to write it and there is an option for me to submit it to PbRJV or someone else as a stand alone story, but now I don’t have the same motivation to work on it. Now there’s no deadline looming over me pushing me to work.

Granted, that’s both a blessing and a curse.

In some ways it’s a blessing. I don’t have to worry about my word count anymore which means I could even expand on the story a bit more than I anticipated — which means I also need to do more playing around with it. Since I’m not worrying about a deadline I don’t have to rush or stress over completing it in time. That also means I can pick up on working on Fated to Darkness as well and sort of hop between stories instead of focusing solely on Clockwork Heart.

However, it also sucks because without that deadline, as I said, I’m less motivated. I do still want to finish the story, and while this messes with planning my goals for the year, I think I want to finish it and submit it to something before a certain time. I’m just not sure if that something is going to be PbRJV or a different company. I’m also not sure of that time frame now. I guess I’m going to be doing some researching, though right now I’m not sure of much regarding the story and how I’m going to change course now.

As long as I keep myself writing somehow…

Speaking of which, a new idea for a plot bunny popped into my head today thanks for a coworker. Well, it’s not a fully developed bunny in any way, more of just a really cool idea I could use in some mystery or secret adventure/action kind of scene.

Did you know that if you draw on yourself with a fluorescent highlighter and wash it off, you can still see the residue of it under a black light because it will glow, even if it’s no longer visible?

I did not know this and I’m suddenly fascinated by it! Imagine writing a message on a wall in highlighter, and then washing it off because it must remain secret. However, your partner could come and hold a UV black light over it and read what you wrote yet. Or you could write something on your hand, like a ticket into a secret night club that no one could see. Or a tattoo for the same purpose or for a secret organization or gang that you can only see with that kind of light.

It has so many possibilities! My brain is running wild with ideas!

I’m rather sure my face lit up like a Christmas tree in excitement when my coworker showed and told me about the trick.

So, yeah, now my brain is running wild with ideas for this awesome little fact. I also now want to write a story in which I can use this. In fact, I might have one I can use it in already from a dream I had awhile ago. Or maybe even that new Halloween plot bunny that’s kicking around my head…

Hmmm… So many decisions to make for so many things.

And certainly not enough made-up-my-mind answers to them yet.