A Look Back

I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions. I rarely made them growing up, because I never really saw the point. If I wanted to change something, I didn’t bother waiting for the new year. I just changed it.

The beginning years of me trying to write a novel, I did begin making resolutions. Except, I didn’t think of them as resolutions, but rather as the setting of goals. As I’ve mentioned before, Origins took me several years to write, and I had a few false starts even before then. During those years, my goal was simply to finish a novel (check out that journey here).

2016 was when I really began to get serious about pursuing a writing career. I began the first draft of my current fantasy project that summer, but I only made it a few chapters in before I had to put it on hold. My mom had back/neck surgery that September, and I moved back home to help take care of her and take over the babysitting duties for my sister’s kids. My time grew shorter, and I got more exhausted, and I just didn’t put the effort into the project that it needed.

Then came 2017. My mom was on the mend and doing well, and I started looking to the future again. I bought my new laptop in January and began researching writing software (you can check out that search in Switching to Scrivener). And I made a specific, time-oriented goals. My birthday is June 29th. I wanted to complete my draft by that time, and be pursuing publication before the end of the year.

I didn’t make it. I’ve set this project aside numerous times over the course of this year, but, unlike the breaks I took with Origins, I filled the time with other writing pursuits that were incredible learning experiences for me, and I don’t regret a single one of them.

In March I entered James Patterson’s co-author competition. I didn’t win, but the experience was enriching and it’s something I can now use as writing credentials. I dedicated most of the summer months to revising and submitting Origins, which held its own learning experiences, even though it crashed and burned. There are many things I now know to do differently, and I can make the appropriate changes in how I approach my current fantasy project.

I also hadn’t realized how much I needed to close the book on Origins. It was always there, hovering on the edge of my mind, reminding me that the work was unfinished. Success felt so close, if only I could get the draft ready. Success wasn’t close, but I hadn’t learned that yet, and I needed that closure. I could always try again sometime in the future, but the draft needs a complete overhaul, and that’s a project in its own right. In fact, the failure of Origins is what inspired me to begin this blog, and one of my first posts was about Letting Go.

I got back into my current fantasy project in September, and I’ve been working mostly diligently ever since. I missed the deadlines I wanted to hit, but I reached other goals that I hadn’t known back in January that I needed to set. And, I kind of reached one goal. I did pursue publication before the end of the year, just not on the project I had planned.

So, on to 2018. My goals for the new year are much the same as they were this past year. Finish my current fantasy project. Publish it, pursuing self-publication if I must. Begin my next project, which is driving me nuts bouncing around in my head and screaming to get out. And I’m going to reach them this time.

 

Short On Time

I’ve been neglecting my blog. I know. When my schedule settles I’ll be better able to figure out where it fits in.

I told you that I started a new part-time job. Obviously, it takes up time, and I’m having to rearrange how I normally do things and find a new routine. Example: I worked this morning. It was only a couple of hours, but I did my grocery shopping after and got home just in time to have lunch. After lunch, I cleaned the kitchen and the bathrooms, then I took my dog out to play. By this time, it was 3 o’clock, and I had yet to get out my computer for the day.

I got the computer out next. Did the normal everyday things, checking email, bank accounts, etc. I finally got into my writing, and actually had a success! I finished chapter 16 today, and I have a brief outline for chapter 17, so I’ll be ready to jump right into that tomorrow. I even came up with a new plot twist that I’m excited about exploring. Which brings me to now, when I’m churning out this blog post and thinking about when I need to start on dinner.

I’ve had a busy day. And I’m tired, because my new job keeps me on my feet, and I’m not used to that anymore. Plus, I haven’t been sleeping well, because I can’t seem to shut my brain off after I lie down.

Things will get better. My body will adjust to the extra activity. I’ll be able to schedule my house cleaning chores on days when I don’t work, which just wasn’t in the cards this week. Everything will fit, I just need to go through this adjustment period first. Until then, my posts may be farther apart than I’d like them to be. But, as I’ve said before, this blog doesn’t top my priority list. My writing does. So, when I get out my computer these days, my fantasy project needs to come first. If there’s no brain or battery power left after that, then so be it.

If you’re a regular reader, please bear with me. The point of this blog is to be an outlet for me to share my writing experiences, and fighting for time isn’t a unique experience.

Working Cures My Depression

This week has been emotionally hard for me. I have some personal things going on which have contributed to that, but this post isn’t about those things. It’s work-related, so I’m going to focus on the work-related things that have been difficult, and how I’ve learned to get through them.

I started a new part-time job this week. I’m officially a Retail Merchandiser for Hallmark. I don’t work in a Hallmark store, but I do re-supply Hallmark products to other stores that sell them.

I’ve mentioned in previous posts about my struggle in applying for a part-time job. Our family could use the extra money, which is the only reason I was looking. I don’t want to work. I want to write, and chase this dream. Looking for a job felt like I was failing, like I was taking backward steps when all I want to do is run forward. But we don’t always get what we want.

So, I had my first day of training. It wasn’t terrible. But by the time I left, depression was settling in. It hit me that I was stocking shelves at WalMart. I came home to an empty house (Kasey had already left for work), and I just wanted to cry. I tried to do some writing, but the words on the screen just swam in front of my eyes. I couldn’t get past this feeling that my life was playing a cruel joke on me, and I was never going to accomplish anything worthwhile.

I got nothing done that night. I watched Supernatural on Netflix for about 7 straight hours. When Kasey finally got home after midnight, I completely broke down. It wasn’t pretty.

I got up yesterday morning, and the only thing that had changed was that I was fully rested. My emotions were still roiling. The depression was still there.

After Kasey left for work, I began working on putting myself back together. I took a long, hot shower, and spent some time pampering myself. I got focused, and got out my computer. I learned an important lesson back in September while dealing with my query letter rejections. Feeling sorry for myself accomplishes nothing. Getting back into my story and pushing forward is the only way I know of to combat these feelings of failure and uselessness.

So last night I got back into it. I began chapter 16, which was a shift in the story and took some time to sort out, but I’m happy with the 1,100 words I put down. I worked for a couple of hours on my freelance writing application, which you can read more about here in yesterday’s post. Productive work chases away my depression and helps me to feel like a person again.

The emotions are still there. It still makes me sad that I’m working a dead-end job when it does absolutely nothing to further the career I want. The personal issues are still there, and I’m working on those too. But I’m not spiraling anymore. I know what I want, and I’m going to continue chasing it, no matter how long it takes. And when the depression strikes, I’ll deal with it the only way I know how: getting work done.

Talk to me in the comments. How do you deal when depression strikes?

 

 

Yet Another Move

Into my new office, that is.  The room itself has been ready for almost 2 weeks, but there was always a reason for me to not move in yet.  Ultimately, the reasons themselves didn’t matter. I didn’t move in because I’m resistant to change.

I’ve been working in the living room since we moved here, about 8 months now. I have a routine there. It’s physically comfortable. I can arrange everything to be within easy reach. While not perfect, it was normal.

Working in the office is not normal. Everything’s in a different place. I need to find new homes for my phone, my glasses case, my notebook. The lighting is different. The seating is different. Even the company is different. The dog has forsaken me to sleep on the couch in the living room, and I’m all alone at this end of the hall. All in all, I was reluctant to officially move my working time into the office, because it’s different.

So, today I made the decision that I needed to move. What’s the point in establishing an office if I’m not going to use it? I’m sitting in here now, writing this post. It’s not too bad, although I need to figure out a better way to sit. We put a piece of the couch in here, the curved part that makes it an L-shaped couch, and it’s not quite as comfortable as I thought it would be. My back is bent a little funny, and I’ll need to do some adjusting to figure out the best way to sit in it.

But, the work is getting done. I’m even writing today, which is the first day this week. Now that the holidays are over and life is settling down again I should be able to get back into a regular writing routine (wow, try saying that 5 times fast). I’m still in chapter 14, but at least I’m making progress again.

I’ll get used to my new routine. I always do. And in a few weeks, or maybe months, I’ll wonder why I drug my feet in the first place.