A Realization

Tonight, I had one of those random writing-related epiphanies I get from time to time. Oddly enough, it happened while I was reading.

This is my realization. I’m not the kind of writer who can write x amount of words every day. It just doesn’t work well with my overall personality. I tend to work in spurts, largely due to the manic side of my bipolar disorder.

But I’ve read so many bits of writing advice that tell you that you have to write EVERY SINGLE DAY. Maybe that works for these people, but it doesn’t work for me. Writing every day makes it feel like an obligation, and I begin to resent it.

Instead, I’m going to focus on writing when I have time during the week. I know I can do well writing in spurts, so I’m hopeful that, in two or three days, I can hit the same 7,000 words I’d produce if I did write 1,000 words every day.

In the end, I think this approach will be better for my productivity, my mental health, and my passion for writing.

Finding the right (write) balance.

I’ve written a number of posts on this subject, but I feel like it’s important to write another one. As writers, we are not writing machines. We are human beings with all kinds of interests and obligations. Sometimes, I have to remind myself of this.

In the end, writing is something I want to enjoy doing. The biggest part of making it enjoyable is taking out the pressure I’ve been putting on myself.

So I am no longer going to beat myself up for not writing or not editing. I am no longer going to scold myself for missing a tentative deadline. I am no longer going to pressure myself to write X number of books per year.

Writing is just one part of who I am, and I want to enjoy it again. But other parts of me are just as important. I’m a student. I’m a son. I’m a gamer. I’m a reader. I’m an engineer by trade and a scientist by nature.

Most importantly, I’m a slave to our feline overlords, and sometimes they don’t want me to write.

In the end, I have to do what’s best for me. I don’t want to forget about my readers (few though they are). So I just want everyone to know I am writing. It’s just not the sole focus of my life. I tried to put that kind of time and effort into it, and it sucked all the joy out of the process.

As someone who struggles with depression, I don’t need that kind of pressure making something I enjoy doing feel like work.

So I hope everyone will be patient with me.

I’m still alive.

Just in case anyone was wondering.

I’ve been back in school for the last month, and it has really been messing with the writing side of things. At the same time, my summer depression is still hanging around. A lot of times, it goes all the way through about January.

That being said, I am making progress editing The Winds of Time. I’m on the final draft and proofread, so I’m hopeful I can get it done in the next few weeks.

Sometime after that, I’ll get up a boxset of all four books in the series, which I will offer at a discounted price compared to buying the books separately. It will also be in KU.

My next editing project after that is Fireweaver, the sequel to Sunweaver, which I released in January. Ideally, I’d like to have Fireweaver ready by the end of the year. It’s on the shorter side, so it might be doable.

As for writing, I’ve been making very slow progress on Endlord, the final book of The God War’s Chosen. I don’t know why I keep stalling on it, but it’s been happening. I also wrote 2,000 words in a new project today. It’s one I’ve been thinking about for a long time, and I just wanted to get something down. We’ll see where things go from here.

Right now, I’m focusing on maintaining my sanity while self-publishing. While I’d love to release books more frequently, I have to do what’s best for my health. At the moment, that’s a slower pace. That may not always be the case, but it’s the right thing for now.

My hope is that I’ll write more consistently once I’m done with school. Between an unpredictable work schedule and unpredictable time demands for my classes, it has been tough to carve out a consistent writing routine. While I will probably be working full time once I graduate next May, it will hopefully give me the consistency I need to write.

Anyways, thanks for putting up with my rambling.

And if you’re looking to give any of my books a chance, Empire of Chains is still free. I’ve gone back into Kindle Unlimited with it, but Amazon hasn’t seemed to notice that it is no longer available for free in other places, so it’s still free. Not sure how long that will last.

An Update: Depression, Writing, and a Free Book.

I haven’t been on here nearly as much as I should be. I’ve recently struggled through a bad period of depression. It feels like it might finally be lifting, but I can never be sure.

Through the depression, I’ve been making slow progress with the revisions for The Winds of Time. I wanted to have it out at the start of September, but it’s not within two weeks of being ready, so I’m going to have to push that date back. Again.

I need to remind myself that there’s nothing wrong with taking five months between releases. Most trade-published authors go a year or more between releases. It’s more the crazy state of self-publishing that encourages you to churn, churn, churn. When I’m not going through a depressive phase, I feel like I can do that, but then the depression hits, and my productivity slows to a crawl.

It’s a bit of a vicious circle for me. When I’m depressed, I don’t write. When I don’t write, I get more depressed. If I’m not careful, that turns into a downward spiral.

So I’m starting with baby steps, both in writing and in other aspects of life. I force myself to do just a little bit more than I want to do each day. That way, I can start feeling more productive, which helps alleviate my depression, but I can do it without putting too much on my plate.

Now that all the depression talk is over…

I don’t know if I mentioned it on here, but Empire of Chains is now free on Amazon (and elsewhere). I still need to get the other books in the series published on the other sites. Thanks to my depression, I haven’t made it through that yet. It shouldn’t be too hard, though, once I get started.

http://mybook.to/EmpireofChains

Sunweaver, the first book in my other series, is a participant in the Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off, and it is still free for Kindle Unlimited members.

http://mybook.to/Sunweaver

I will probably try to outline my tentative release schedule in the next post.

Trying to find the fun in writing again.

I haven’t been posting a lot on here because the whole writing thing has become exhausting. I’m going through a period of writing burnout unlike anything I’ve had before.

The good news is that I think I’ve identified the reasons for this burnout. I’ve become obsessed with how much I’m selling and the quality and quantity of my reviews.

But that’s the wrong approach. I got into writing because I love writing. So now I need to figure out how to reclaim that love of writing. I don’t want to sacrifice the quality of what I put out. I think I can manage that if I just focus on the feelings that got me into writing in the first place.

I mean, if I’m not enjoying my time doing it, there are many other things I could do with my time. But I know that, deep down, I am a writer, and I always will be. I just need to figure out the right balance between writing and everything else.

Has anyone else ever had a period of burnout like this? How did you push through it?

Writing, Depression, and Being Realistic

I know I’ve been rather quiet around here lately. That’s both for good reasons and some perhaps not-so-good reasons. On the good end, May was a productive writing month for me. On the bad end, depression has reared its ugly head once again.

Depression has been a hot topic on the internet in recent days, after the suicides of some high-profile people. It has always been a major part of everything I do. I’ve struggled with depression since the age of ten (so that’s 18 years at this point).

In my case, I struggle specifically with bipolar disorder. It’s predominantly depressive in my case, and the manic side is well-controlled on medication (better-controlled than the depressive side at any rate). Because of these struggles, I am not always as productive as I’d like to be.

To those who are following me, you’ve seen that I’ve been keeping a pretty rapid release schedule, releasing a book every three or four months. So far, I’ve been able to keep that schedule, but I’m starting to feel stressed about meeting these self-imposed deadlines.

And that’s how I’ve realized I’m going about this the wrong way. Writing has always been an escape for me. Since I began self-publishing, though, it has turned into yet another thing to cause me stress. That’s not what I want out of my writing career going forward. I need to find a balance. Some days, I simply don’t have it in me to write or edit. Trying to keep a consistent writing habit makes it feel like a chore rather than something I enjoy doing. If writing becomes like a chore, I’ll lose my will to keep doing it.

So I’m going to be dialing back my efforts. Some people can handle the rapid-release treadmill. I’m not one of them. I have my limitations, and I’ve recognized that. I’m no longer going to beat myself up because I’m not being as productive as I want.

We can all be our own worst critics, and that’s even more the case for those of us who struggle with depression. And we need to call it what it is. It is abuse. If I said the same things about someone else that I said about myself, it would be emotional abuse. And I’d never do that to someone else, so why should I do it to myself?

In the end, life is about finding as much happiness as you can no matter what obstacles are thrown at you. Focusing so much on my self-publishing career has been a rewarding experience in many ways, but it has also driven me crazy at times.

Once, I thought that embarking on a writing career would make everything feel better, but even if you’re doing what you love (if only part-time), you can still struggle with depression, and sometimes that thing you love simply makes it worse. I have to do what’s best for me, and what will ultimately be best for my readers. At the rate I’ve been going, I’ve been on the edge of burning out, and there’s no telling whether I would come back from that.

So, if it takes me six months to release a book instead of three, or if it even takes longer, that’s not the end of the world. I have to find the right balance. I hope you all can be patient with me. I’ll try to be better about keeping everyone updated. Thanks for reading.