Struggling

Still here.

Still in pain. And it’s amazing how much chronic pain can suck the life out of you, drain away your energy and your drive, and make even enjoyable activities dead and lifeless. I had two procedures to hopefully fix the issue, but the relief was short-lived and I’m back to struggling every day to simply haul myself to the EDJ, put in the hours that won’t even pay enough to settle all the bills, and then rest.

I’m still writing. But wow. So slow. Sales of course have tapered off and I know I need to get things turned in, get that next book written, but it’s hard to concentrate, let alone be creative. Having a financial crisis on top of things doesn’t help either. I have to pretend to be upbeat and energetic in interviews in order to get a job that will dig me out of this hole, and that’s draining too. I have to dig deep simply to find the energy to spend any time with any of my friends at all.

This isn’t meant to be a ‘pity poor me’ post, however. There have been a few great reviews that I’ve come across which help encourage me to keep going. I’m committed to finishing the Oddities series and I still have plenty of passion for the boys.

I apologize to readers that I’m not getting these books out more quickly. I sincerely hope you’ll hang in there with me.

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Status of WIPS as of 10/10/2017:

  1. 3rd Oddities book is now at 54,417 words. I have about another 1800 words needing to be typed in. Estimated total length:  95k.
  2. YA m/m paranormal currently at 60,030, and about to head into the climax. Estimated total maybe 70-75k?
  3. Deena and the Professor Part 9:  Currently at 4096 with another 400 words to type up,  estimated total 10k.

 

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A Quick Update

I know I’ve been very quiet lately–barely any online presence at all. The last two months have been a blur for me, trying simply to get through each day. I understand now what chronic pain is, and how it can swallow your life whole.

I feel like I’m barely crawling, in getting anything done at all. That includes writing. The old spoons analogy really applies here–I look at each day and know that I’ll only be able to do a few things before I have to lay in the recliner and let the aggravated nerves settle down again.

But today hopefully that will change. I’m heading out in an hour to do a procedure where my doctor will be cauterizing some of the nerves in my lower back and sacral area, so that I no longer have these shooting pains down my legs and the ever-present dagger in my back. Apparently it all comes from arthritis, which I seem to be developing at an alarming rate. I’m not THAT old!!

Wish me luck.

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WIPs:

Book Three of the Oddities series: currently at 48,501 words. (Plus about 1200 words hand written in a notebook needing to be typed into the Word file).

Fae Fortunes: currently at 58,741 words.

Deena and the Professor Part Nine: 3006 words.

Life’s Hurdles

January was a disaster.

I started a new job making less than half what I made before in a call center where every second is monitored and controlled. (No really!) It’s a large financial institution, so they’re very strict. It’s basic customer service and what I was doing in my twenties, so I feel like I’ve leapt back a decade. I’m trying not to feel like a loser, which is difficult because I’m not even making enough to pay all the bills.

Then on top of that, on Friday the 20th, while driving at night in pouring rain, I was sideswiped by another driver who took off afterwards. And it wasn’t my car, but my partner’s car, and therefore her insurance, so I felt even worse. Car’s now in the shop so we’re having to share and she’s having to drive me to and from work. I’m fine, but I really didn’t need this crap.

Then we both had the flu. Recovered now, but all of this meant that my writing and editing goals for the month went right out the window.

And guess what? My fun still wasn’t over!  The first week of February, while my partner was driving my car, some old lady backed into it. So that’s another car to fix and another having to deal with an insurance claim. Again, happy that nobody was hurt, and this time there was a driver at fault who had insurance. But UGH!!!  Enough already!

I’m not even going to bother posting word counts at the moment. Just know that the third Oddities book is coming along okay–it’s at about 19,000 words in the Word document, plus a bunch of pages that are hand written and need to be typed in. I’m in the second round of line edits for the second Oddities book, which is set to be published May 29. And I’m slogging (SLOOOOWWWLY) through the first round of edits for my weretiger m/m novel, set to be published May 15.

So just letting everyone know that I haven’t disappeared, but my online time these days is almost nil.

The last news is that I received my rights back from Torquere Press for my m/m/m novella, “Friday at the 7-Eleven.” I have someone to format it and I’m working on a new cover, and then I’ll republish it. (It’s still up on Amazon under Torquere. I’ve asked that they take it down.)

Thank you for all the reviews. That’s one thing that’s helping me get through this difficult time. I appreciate all of them.

 

So proud I could burst.

My daughter’s been through a bit in her life, at least emotionally. I left her dad when she was two because he was an asshole and I was a fool for marrying him. He barely spent any time with his daughter even on his weekends, as she was growing up.

Then when my daughter was eleven, he told her he didn’t want to see her any longer because I was living with my girlfriend. My daughter fought depression and low self-esteem, ran away for a few days when she was fourteen, and has struggled with standing up for herself and not giving up on things when they get tough. She’s book smart but not street smart, and very behind, socially. She does best when people tell her what to do.

My partner suggested that maybe the military would be a good option for my daughter, even though with her grades and advanced classes she’d be a good candidate for scholarships. My daughter seemed surprisingly okay with the idea.

When I asked her about it, my daughter confessed to me that she’s been thinking about serving in the military for some time, but she was too afraid to tell me. She wants to serve her country, she’s not afraid of the physical conditioning, and again, she likes following orders. She also thought it might build her confidence.

I told her I was proud of her, and that she should never be afraid to tell me anything.

So it looks like when she graduates, my kid may be joining the Air Force.

Time Management

I knew that writing would become more challenging when I was laid off from my steady 8-5 M-F job and began working from home as a consultant, but I don’t think I fully appreciated how challenging it would be. Add in a ton of doctor appointments for myself and also my partner, and it becomes almost herculean. Oh yeah, and I’m ADHD. Which means I pretty much suck at time management.

Lately, what this has all meant for me is that I’ve been spending a lot of time on my weekends catching up on the work and writing tasks that need to be completed each week. Which means there hasn’t been a lot of time to relax and regenerate. Which is probably why I keep getting sick.

Ugh, but now it sounds like I’m complaining, which I’m not. I like working from home, and I like the fact that so much is happening for me right now on the writing career that I have no time. It’s just tough to stay on top of it all.

Which brings me to this blog and what I wanted to talk about in the first place. How does one manage time when there so much to do? Some of these I came up with myself, but I have to give most of the props to my partner, who is a brilliant problem solver.

  1. Make daily goals.

I do this for my work as well as for my writing, having a minimum number of hours that I need to work each day in order to make the money to pay the bills (I’m paid by the hour as a subcontractor). I also have a minimum word count that I must write each day in order to meet my deadlines.

2. Use calendars. Plural.

My most important calendar is in my phone, because I can instantly share it with my partner, putting in all meetings, appointments, social engagement dates, etc. I also have a wall calendar by my desk because sometimes it’s just easier to glance over at it.

3. Have reminders.

This is a big one for me, with my problems remembering and keeping track of a lot of details. I use three different apps on my phone–the built-in “Reminders” app where I can schedule reminders for things like “Get cat food” or “Call the insurance company.” I also have reminders every day for things like taking medication. I also use checklists, including an app called “2Do” which is great for shopping lists, task lists, etc. I’ll also use visual reminders like leaving out a bill or a note for myself.

4. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

Even with every strategy above and more, there will be times that I forget something, or I just plain run out of time. I try to keep things in perspective and not kill myself off trying to do everything. Stressing out only makes things worse, after all. I still try to have fun and relax once in a while.

 

Real Life and Writing

May was a hell of a month.

It was a month filled with doctor appointments, the creation of a pilot training program for work, line edits that kicked my butt, and at the very end, a medical emergency that required a fast trip to the ER.

Please note that 90% of the medical stuff was actually my partner, who has been dealing with several health issues that we’re trying to get a handle on. She suffers from Generalized Anxiety Disorder, so I accompany her to most of her doctor appointments. And she’s fine; the medical emergency was a very bad reaction to a new medication–hives, swelling of the face (and eyes! O.o), and the beginnings of trouble breathing. Fortunately, having experienced an allergy to medication myself, I knew exactly what to do. By the time we reached the hospital the Zyrtec I’d given her was already taking effect and helping the breathing and the hives.

Still, it wasn’t a great month for trying to be a writer. And that brings me to today’s subject.

Real life kicks our butts sometimes. It can be the day job, relationship issues, health, family–you name it. Life has a tendency to try and crowd out  writers’ efforts to carve out time to do the thing they love most. Even scheduling writing time doesn’t always work because emergencies can come out of the blue.

I think the key to being successful is to just get back into the chair as soon as you can. I met my May goal for my main writing project (the one with a deadline) because I forced myself to write and catch up to my daily word goals: 400 words a day, five days a week on that book. I let other projects slip because there just weren’t enough hours in the day to do everything. And yet even though the month felt terrible, I still managed to write over 12,000 words total.

So the key to success in writing, like the key to success in anything else in life, is persistence. Try to schedule time for the activity. If something comes up, schedule a makeup session. Try for a daily minimum word count, but be realistic. I feel irritated on any “writing day” that I don’t get any words out. I try to take that fuel and use it to write more the next day. But I also try not to beat myself up if some other part of my life demands attention. Prioritize each day, and try to balance the things in your life.

It just takes dedication.