Sorry that I have been missing in action the past couple of weeks. Sometimes life gets hard and I struggle to write during those times. That has actually been me the past couple of months, but these past two weeks my depression has really gotten the better of me. Some days I can't even turn on the computer to get writing work done. Of course I am a writer, so not writing just fuels my depression and a vicious cycle begins.
Last night I was asked to write a flash fiction story for my publisher, which I truly hope is up to their standards, but being asked for something directly helped to push me into action. I wrote a 1000 word story. I am blogging this morning. It may not seem like a lot, but I hope that means that my mind is seeing some light and that I might be getting back to writing. At least I pray that I am.
You see writing really helps me with my depression. Writing helps me escape some of the harsh realities I am dealing with in my real life. Writing is part of me and I need to do it to stay sane. When I struggle with words, well I struggle even more in life. That is why writing is so important to this person with depression.
This month is National Write a Novel Month, which means authors all across the globe are feverishly writing away, getting as many words in as they can. I fully intended to be one of those authors, but health and life seem to be getting in the way. I am so far behind in my writing that its not even funny. I am working on finishing a current work in progress and am still only in the note taking stage for the main novel I wanted to work on this month. Unless my wordage really picks up, well then it looks like I may not be getting my novel done this month.
Struggling with my writing just at the time that other authors are hitting some high points makes me a little depressed sometimes. Then I remember that I am only in competition with myself and even a few words a day are a win sometimes. I am still making some progress and that is better than nothing. Do I wish that I were writing more right now? Of course. Does it make me a loser if I can't keep up with others? No, it just means that I am going through a slow time right now. I am still writing and still moving towards more releases and to my dreams. I need to just keep that in mind on my bad days.
As I continue to take some self imposed pressure off myself on the writing front, yet keep myself challenged and writing, this month I am taking a fairly easy pledge to write one page each and every day. Sounds pretty easy and I expect it to be on most days, but we all have bad days and it could be a struggle every once in awhile. Still, I think that this is a good pledge, I don't have a certain amount of words to make, just one page. That is doable. If I write more than one page, great! If it takes me most of the night to get that one page done? Well I still hit my goal. I'm going to see if taking some word count pressure off myself helps ease some of the stress in my writing life. Let's see how it goes!
I have a hard time taking time off, relaxing, and taking care of myself. This has been brought up to me by a couple different friends of late. Not only am I working five days a week at the day job, but I am also putting in about 60 hours in writing and art work. That means that it's all work and no play for Sheri. Sure every once in awhile I go to the movies with my husband, but I work before and after usually. And yeah I take some time to exercise and keep the house running, but I really don't take time for fun. This is something that I am going to work on for the rest of the year.
The problem is I don't really know what to do with myself when I'm not working. My husband and I work completely different schedules, so I am on my own a lot and without the car as he has it. That means I'm at home and working. I feel guilty when I don't work and I feel like I need to put in a full day of writing work even after working at the day job. This pace is starting to wear my already not so great health down. I need to take some breaks, but I truly don't know how. How can I just watch tv or play video games when I know there is writing I should do? I don't know.
I am however going to start trying to take the weekend mostly off. I will be running errands, cleaning my house, spending time with my husband and family. Maybe we will see more movies, go hiking, go bowling, you know do stuff. Maybe that is what I need to focus on, doing stuff rather than writing and working all the time. After all, all work and no play makes Sheri a dull women and dull women have nothing to write about.
Wish me luck on learning to relax from time to time and also share tips on how you relax and fit it into your busy schedule below. I believe there is always so much that we can learn from each other.
I am so happy to announce that edits for my upcoming novella A Whole New Life are done! This book now moves to the next part of production at Hot Tree Publishing! I am so excited to see this book come out into the world. I have put a lot of hard work into this book and I think it is one of my best works yet!
Please head over and add it to your Goodreads page and keep a look out here on my blog and other social medias for further announcements on this project, including the exciting cover reveal!
As an author I am always reading. I especially love to read writing books, reading and learning about my craft at the same time. I recently just finished How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card. This is a very practical and straight forward writing book. I have some other books that go more in depth about world building and such, but this one is a great fast read that will make you stop and think about your writing in a very rational way. It really did help me with a current story that I am self editing, and that is the goal of any writing book, to help you with your own work. Since this book is quite helpful and easy to use, I give it 5/5 stars!
My writing schedule is a rather fluid being at times, with life or new ideas altering it quite often. Still I am writing every day and always updating my plans and now I am focusing on making things a little more concrete. Recently my publisher Hot Tree Publishing asked me to organize my submission plans to them for the next year. That was really the kick that I needed to get a tentative publishing schedule together for not only them but for my self publishing endeavors as well.
First off, lets talk about what I have planned for Hot Tree for 2018 and beyond! Of course you might already know that I will have my novella A Whole New Life coming out with them in February 2018! I just sent back the first round of edits for that project and look forward to the subsequent rounds headed my way! I am also currently working on a m/m hockey novella for them that I plan to submit next month and if all goes as planned with be out in spring of 2018. Then I also plan on submitting a m/m fantasy novel and a m/f contemporary romance novel to them next year for possible releases in late 2018/early 2019! So happy to have a plan with the Hot Tree Publishing family!
On the self publishing front, I plan on having The Rise of the Inquisitor out in October or November of this year. I have a cover for it and am about to enter into edits. It's a steamy little novella that will likely have two more sequels to it, one to be released in summer 2018 and another in 2019. This year I also plan on finishing the sequel to Quest for Redemption, entitled a Quest for Self. I plan to get it to my editor by December and have a spring 2018 release! I will then concentrate on the third book in the trilogy, Quest for Love to be released in early 2019! I also plan on starting an epic time travel fantasy, Rivals Out of Time and look to publish in late 2019!
Sure some of these dates are a couple years away, but its good to have a plan and for me to take time to put out quality books. And knowing me there will be other projects added into this schedule! Stay tuned!
This has been a rather hard week for me, especially on the creative side of life. I have been struggling with some health issues. My depression and anxiety have been pretty bad. I have also been suffering from some crippling self doubt when it comes to art and writing of late. Monday I seriously thought that I was having a complete breakdown. I doubted if I should continue art and writing. Maybe it is time to give up all these creative dreams and just get a full time job and be done with everything.
I think that all creative people go through these times of self doubt. As an author I have contemplated giving up before. It is sometimes hard to have the thick skin needed to be in this business. Rejection slips, bad reviews (and sometimes just plain mean reviews. I know that not every book is for everyone and I feel that constructive criticism is something one can learn from, but some reviewers get too personal and are just mean spirited. Not liking a book is not a reason to say terrible things about an author you have never met.), trolls who will bad mouth you for not giving them a free book or for not being who they think you should be, stalkers (yes I have had two), constant pressure to be on social media and more. It's a hard life sometimes, especially when it seems fewer and fewer people are reading nowadays. I have even given up writing before for short amounts of time, but I think that writing is in my blood and I keep coming back. I am still doubting myself right now, but I am back to blogging and editing and writing won't be far behind. I am fighting my self doubt the best way that I can.
Now when it comes to doubting my art, well that is harder to overcome sometimes. I am not very confident in my artistic skills. Art for me is usually a form of stress relief, yet I still want to be better at it. A few years ago I tried to take a class at my local community college, to work on improving myself and my art. The teacher instead of focusing on whether I had improved from day one, kept comparing me to someone whom we both knew, someone who had a bachelor's degree in art. I was not competing with an art graduate, I wanted to be better than I had been, but this teacher crushed me and left me feeling less than confident. I still feel that crushing of talent even though I continue to practice art on my own almost every day. Sure, I have even sold some art, but I always feel like that teacher was basically telling me that I will never be a good artist and that I should just give up. That is where I am at right now art wise, thinking I should give up art or at the very least never show anyone my art ever again.
I'm hoping that talking about this helps get me out of my funk. That some self confidence slowly starts to seep back into my being. Until then I guess I need to fake it until I make it?
As I work on self edits on my Port Stone fantasy story, I am working on a new m/m romance story tentatively titled Ice Breakers. It is a hockey romance that is sure to steam up the pages! I haven't gotten to the naughty parts yet, but I know that they are coming. This is the fourth m/m piece that I have written and I am taking what I learned from the other pieces.
This may be a hot romance, but at the heart this is a love story. Two men find each other at the oddest moment and sparks simply fly. They have a lot to overcome, but love is one of the most powerful forces in the world. I hope to have the rough draft of this novella finished soon and hope to get it edited and to my publisher by the first of September.
This is a busy writing month for me, I just hope that I have enough energy to get everything done. Then next month I plan on working on the long awaited sequel to Quest for Redemption, Quest for Self. I have a brand new shiny cover for it, not I need to finish it to share with the world!
Today I thought that I would start a new series for my blog, talking about my latest writing in progress! Right now I just finished the rough draft of the first novella in a series that I plan to write called the Port Stone series. It is a high fantasy series, full of magic, elves, and mystery. The two lead characters are strong females that fight their own battles and kick quite a few men's asses along the way.
The first novella will be called Port Stone: Dangers of the Swamp. Think of the horrors and nastiness of a medieval town and you have a good idea what Port Stone is like. Separation of the classes, which of course involves species in a fantasy world, plays a major part in the story.
It's hopefully for a magazine market and I am pretty proud of it. It is out to my beta right now and I hope to have it submitted by the end of the month. I am inspired by my love of fantasy, from JRR Tolkien to George RR Martin to playing Dungeon & Dragons. Hopefully I have found a market for this story, but if not I will get it to my editor and self-publish as this is a story I am really proud of and a fun and new direction for my writing to take.
Stay tuned for more writing updates on my current projects. I'll be talking stories, characters, inspiration, and more! If you have questions I will be happy to answer.
Author, artist, jewelry maker and all around creative person. I write in many genres and have a lot of fun doing so. Please take a look around and enjoy!