How are we already over halfway through the month? Time seems to be flying by. I have had a major health setback, so I am not quite as far as I would like to be this month but I have still been having a decent writing month. First round edits for The Discovery of a Lifetime are back to my editor and I should have the second round next week sometime. I am hoping to have a mid-September release date soon! I had a flash fiction story accepted for an anthology and will have more on that release when a date is set. And as for actually writing, I am about a third of the way done with my Christmas novella that I hope to get to my editor by the end of the month. Hopefully I have a couple good days of writing and will catch up. I even have found a cover for the Christmas novella that I need to purchase this month as well. So all in all a fairly productive writing month thus far despite some setbacks, I really can't ask for more I suppose.
We are already are half way through July and really summer if we are thinking about it. Where is the time going? While I am not the biggest fan of summer, I can't believe that it is flying by so quickly. Well, fast time aside, I thought that I would start giving little writing updates at the middle of each month. I am still struggling to get back into a writing groove and I think putting this out there will help keep me accountable.
So July is slowly getting me on track. I am doing much better writing wise than the past few months that is for sure. First off, I have been able to keep blogging three times each week so far. That is a good thing to get me back in the habit of writing on a regular basis.
I have been brainstorming several ideas and I think there are some real gems in my idea notebook right now. I am even sharing my ideas with my husband and getting feedback, trying to just get the creative ideas flowing and have things to write about. One of those ideas already turned into a completed 750 word flash fiction short story that has been submitted and will hopefully be accepted for publication soon. Fingers crossed. I am also working on a horror story at the moment to be submitted before the end of the month and another story to be turned in mid next month. When all is said and done I should have written over 10,000 words this month. That may not seem like a lot, but after the year I have had it seems like a triumph to me.
I am also working on some outlines for a couple of series that I have come up with and am going to work on ideas for my Gods Behaving Badly series and my Quest series. I am starting to really feel excited about writing again and this is a great thing.
So another gaming post, but hey authors have to have hobbies and get outside of the house every once in awhile! This time I am talking a little about getting into Warhammer 40K. I am pretty new to miniature gaming, my first really being Warmachine and Hordes. Now I am in the middle of building my Necron army for 40K and will soon be buying my army for Age of Sigmar. I must say that so far I am really enjoying myself. Now I have a slight tremor in my hands, so putting the minis together can be a challenge at times, but my hubby helps out a lot there. I do love painting these miniatures though! I know there are several unpainted in the picture, but I am working on it and hey I really wanted to start playing. As for playing, well I played my first two games of 40K this week and had so much fun. I won my first match and lost my second, but both were great learning experiences. I need to work on developing strategies and probably read the rules some more, but I am learning. As an author I love the lore of the Necrons and the whole world that Games Workshop has created. Part of me really would love to write a Necron based novel for them some day, so see this hobby does have a connection to writing. It also helps me socialize a bit more, as I have a tendency to become a hermit at times. So what is this rambling post really about? I guess it is about heading out and trying new things, meeting new people, and incorporating that into your life for that is what I am doing with gaming and my writing.
I can't believe that it's already July! Where has this year gone? I must admit that the first half of 2018 has been a rough six months on the writing front for me, with the past two months being the worst. Not only have I been suffering from some physical health issues, but I have been suffering from depression as well. The depression has been pretty severe since May when I lost my sweet little dog and I have really be struggling to get anything done. I manage to make it to the day job. I cook dinner and keep the apartment in some sort of order. I get groceries and manage to do laundry. Basically I do enough to barely keep it all together, but nothing more. I struggle to write, to even blog. I haven't been promoting my work much. I haven't been working out, or socializing, or actually living a life. I've been existing.
But a lot can change in six months and I am hoping to start making some changes starting now. Last week I socialized more than I have in quite some time. I am working on blogs for the month and trying to get that back on schedule. Yesterday I finally put my Fitbit back on and am trying to get back to walking and doing yoga. The going is slow but it is going. My husband and I are talking about starting a healthy eating plan together. I am making some forward progress. So now what I really need to work on is writing.
I have been thinking about writing a lot even though I haven't been doing any actual writing. Even was I was writing earlier in the year I wasn't really happy or feeling what I was writing. I wrote a m/m romance that I feel I just went through the motions with. It's definitely not my best work and I am not sure that I even want to work on it for release. So what I have been thinking is that I need a change of pace when it comes to writing. I'm going to back off straight romance for awhile. I think that I am going to explore with different genres. I have an idea for a four part hard fantasy series. I also have an idea for a New Orleans voodoo series. I want to finish my romantic fantasy sequel to Quest for Redemption. When it comes to romance again I want to finish my Gods Behaving Badly series. I really think that I need to work on writing just for me again, not writing for what publishers and markets want. I need to find my passion for writing again, to make writing fun again, or I just need to give up and find a full time day job. I am going to work on making that decision over the next six months.
In sickness and in health, those are pretty common words that many people recite in their wedding vows. As someone who has health issues, you soon learn that these words can affect your entire life. Yes, my husband is great and he loves me in sickness and in health, heck he doesn't even blink an eye if I go all 'Exorcist' or am confined to bed for days. But relationships are not the only thing that you have to consider about sickness and health.
When you have ongoing and chronic serious illness, you have to do many things when sick. I still have to work, even when I feel like death I slap on enough makeup to look okay and fake smile through the day or night. When people ask how I'm doing I say okay or good. Lies, but necessary ones if one needs a job while sick. I've had managers tell me that I should go on disability because people didn't want to be around sick people. First, it is illegal for a manager to say that to an employee. Period. Second, disability is not something that is just handed out when you ask. Third, sometimes having a job and acting normal can be a great help for some people, so why not keep your prejudices to yourself?
Sickness also affects my other job, writing. Sometimes I have a really hard time focusing and getting words on the page. I hate to admit it, but I am in a bad writing slump at the moment. Ever since the horrific attack that took my small dog's life I am having a hard time getting the creative juices flowing. Add to that health issues and yeah, my writing life is not going anywhere near how I would like it to go. I am having a hard time even motivating myself to be here on my blog, or to share my books to get sales. That is sad as that is the life blood of an author, getting your book in front of readers. I need to work on this. Yes my health sucks at the moment and things always seem to get worse in summer for me, but I am an author, a writer, and that means I have to find a way to get back to writing.
Sorry about this rambling post, it's a way for me to get some of my thoughts out and to let you my dear readers know why I have been so sporadic with my writing and posting of late. I'm working on getting back into some sort of groove with my life and my writing.
As many of you may know from a few of my past posts, this has been a very difficult month for me with the sudden and violent death of my beloved dog. But no matter how shaken up and sad I still am, life has to go on. My husband and I and our dog Charlie are settled into our new place and the past week I have been working on getting back into a writing routine after not writing a word for over three weeks. I am happy to say that I have finished two short stories. One I have already signed a contract for to be part of a post-apocalyptic anthology due out later this summer. The other will hopefully be part of a paranormal collection of flash fiction from my publisher out towards the first of June! I am currently working hard on a third short story, this one a steamy vampire short that is due on the first of June, fingers crossed that I get it finished in time! I'm still emotionally scarred, but writing is helping me feel more normal. I also am working on some outlines for longer pieces and am about to finish a manuscript to get off to my editor hopefully by mid-June.
As many of you who read this blog and my books may know, romance is where I got my start as an author but I have slowly been delving into other genres such as fantasy and horror. Well now I am happy to announce that I am currently working on a four book high fantasy series focusing on dragons and dragon bornes! Covers are almost done and I have my editor on board to start editing as soon as I get the first book done. I am outlining the first book right now and hope to have it to my editor this summer! I am so excited to be working on something high fantasy. Yes I have written fantasy before, romantic fantasy to be exact with Quest for Redemption, but this is my first foray into harder fantasy. Sure, I'm a little nervous that my readers may not follow me in this new direction, but I hope that you all will. I am not going to stop writing romance, but I just feel the need to explore more genres at the same time. I don't read one genre and I can't seem to pick just one to write in either. Stay tuned as I keep you updated on this new project of mine!
As I continue to re-evaluate my life and what makes me happy, I have been thinking about what I consider writing success and how I should adjust my goals accordingly. Do I want to have a huge best seller and make enough money to not have to worry about money for awhile? Of course, but if that never happens does that mean that I am a failure? No, I don't think that is how I want to define my career because lets face it, that kind of success is hard to come by.
I think that I want to define success by writing from my heart, writing what I want, and getting it read by people. Money is just an added bonus, a nice bonus but it can't be what drives my writing or I will never be happy in this writing life. So what direction should I take now to make my writing more fulfilling? I suppose it means following my heart, writing what I truly want to write even if it doesn't have a definable market for me to give publishers. That may me more self publishing. More genre combining. More weird and dark writing sometimes. Probably a little less romance, or different romance genres. It means taking more chances, writing more short stories, writing some super long pieces. It means not following the market. It means being true to my vision and seeing where it takes me.
Am I playing with fire by deciding to not care about the market or the wants and needs of publishers? Probably, but it could also lead to my best writing ever. Only time will tell.
Art and self doubt seem to go hand in hand, at least I know that they do for me. The thing is I am not alone in this aspect. Many artist suffer from self doubt, sometimes to the point that its crippling. What is it about the creative mind that leads it to doubt itself? I wish I knew the answer and how to stop doubting myself and my artistic endeavors.
So what do I do when self doubt comes knocking? Well when I start to feel like I am the worst author in the world, when I feel like no one will ever want to read my books, when I feel like people are laughing behind my back about my art, I tend to go into a downward spiral of despair. I usually wallow in the feeling of not being good enough for quite some time, fighting to pull myself out of my funk. It's hard to get out of that mindset, but I struggle until I feel some confidence slipping back in.
How do I get my confidence back? Sometimes it helps for me to look at cold hard facts. Like the number of readers on this blog for instance. All of the books that I have already published and sold. Sometimes I remember that many great artists feel the same way and yet they continue to make art. Sometimes looking at art, listening to music, or reading great books can pull me out of my own mind for it is my mind that is my biggest enemy at times.
So my fellow creatives reading this, do you sometimes suffer from self doubt? How do you get your confidence back when it strikes? What helps you stop the doubt in its tracks?
The last half of last year was a tough one for me on the writing front, I had lost my writing mojo and lacked inspiration. Taking this into consideration it should come as no surprise that I am seeking to become inspired once more. Not only do I want to be inspired, but I really want to learn and grow as an author, as an artist. I want to learn to be a more authentic author. Recently I watched the interview with Jack White (below) where he said something about his music that really stuck me. He said that he makes music in pursuit of trying to capture the truth. I like that. I feel that is probably what most artist in any field are trying to do. That is what I want to try to do more in my writing. Now I'm sure some people are going to laugh at that statement as I do tend to write a lot of romance, but I ask those naysayers this: What is more true than love? Though I do intend to branch out even more in my writing, exploring other genres and themes as I go.
Sorry, I digress, this post started out being about finding writing inspiration and one of the things that inspires me the most is music. Music has the power to move the soul and how can you not find inspiration in that? I listen to a lot of music not just when writing, but when I'm plotting and thinking about characters. Selecting music to write to can help me set the mood for whatever I am working on at the moment. For instance while writing Quest for Redemption I listened to a lot of Arch Enemy, a metal band with a female singer whom I felt had the femininity and toughness that I wanted Zanna to represent in that story. As I am working on the long awaited sequel to Quest, I have found myself listening to a lot of Jack White (hence the interview that I talked about above). Why? He certainly does not inspire my female protagonist Nyx, but his music fits her journey none the less. She is unique, she is searching for something even she doesn't know. She has power and mystery and maybe that is why this music is inspiring her story.
Who really knows where inspiration comes from? I know it sometimes comes from anywhere, from your own life, from music, from interviews with musicians, from nature, this list can go on forever. Personally I am just trying to slow down a little and actually listen and pay attention for these bouts of inspiration.
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!