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Updates on the tentative release schedule.

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This may not be the most exciting post I’ve ever written. In fact, it may be a bit disappointing. I’ve determined that I don’t think I’ll be able to keep the release schedule I previously had published here. Or at least I don’t think I can do it without sacrificing too much in other areas of life.

I still intend to release a book at intervals of roughly three months. In the world of self-publishing, a lot of authors are producing six, seven, eight books a year. Someday, I may get to the point that I can do that. For now, though, I have too many other commitments, and I don’t want to rush and put an inferior product out there. Quantity is important, but it doesn’t matter how many books you publish a year. If they aren’t any good, people won’t read them.

This decision has led to some alterations on my Release Schedule page. The Shadowed Land is still slated for release either late this month or early next month. The next book I’ll release will be Sunweaver, the first book of a new trilogy. Currently, I have this slated for December, but I may be able to get it out sooner because I’ve done a lot of editing on it already. If this happens, I can probably move up the overall release schedule a bit.

The key for me is not pushing myself too hard. When I do that, I tend to go through periods of major burnout, and that’s a losing situation for everyone. I hope nobody will be too disappointed by this news. But it’s a necessary change for me as a person and a writer. The stories you get will be much better if I take a little more time on them.

Progress Update

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With school starting back up, I have not been writing as consistently as I’d like. Hopefully things should settle down soon, once I figure out the right schedule to maximize my productivity. I’ve still been doing some editing, and I finished the third draft of The Shadowed Land. I anticipate one more draft and then the proofread.

I need to get back to writing Godchild. I’d like to have both it and the final book in the trilogy, Endlord, done by March (just the first drafts).

I’m also fighting that insane writer’s urge to write other things. I may work some on The Broken Sky, as it’s a project I’ve been excited about for a long time.

At this point, in my writing career, there’s still a lot of trial and error when it comes to writing productivity. As of now, I expect to keep to my release schedule.

I may have had a sort of breakthrough today.

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I had to work this evening. For those who don’t know, I work in the Shoe department of a retail chain while I’m going to school for Electrical Engineering. It was Friday night, so it was pretty slow. That gave me a lot of time to think, and I came to a realization. I don’t need to write huge epics. In fact, I would prefer to write shorter books loaded with action (not that my epics don’t have action, of course). In fact, my books would still have a lot of the more epic characteristics, just with smaller page counts. This may lead me to write more books in a series, but that isn’t a problem.

The big thing I want to do is write the kind of entertaining stories that keep the reader glued to the pages. While I enjoy longer and slower epic fantasy as a reader, I don’t think those are the books I’m trying to write. I’m sure anyone who’s read Empire of Chains can see that I’m not the kind of author who spends pages and pages on worldbuilding. That’s just not my strength. I prefer to focus on the characters and the plot and fill in relevant details about the world as I go.

My general rule: If I’m bored writing it, then the reader will be bored reading it, and I should either cut it or rework it.

Some of my more recent projects may already be trending in this direction. My World in Chains series has somewhat epic word counts, ranging from 120,000 to 170,000 words. My Sunweaver trilogy, on the other hand, has every book coming in between 104,000 and 105,000 words (I have no idea how I managed that). The first book of my God War trilogy comes in at about 114,000, and I’m anticipating the second book being somewhere in the neighborhood of 100,000. (Side note: there was a sudden jump in my progress on Godchild because I adjusted my word count goal from 120,000 to 100,000.) Looking at these more recent word counts, I’ve come to realize that I’ve been trending toward shorter novels for a while now.

This style of fantasy may not appeal to everyone. I know there are a lot of fantasy readers who read for the immersion in a detailed world. I enjoy that kind of fantasy myself. But it is outside my strengths as a writer. That doesn’t mean I may not come back to it at some point. That’s one of the fun things about the self-publishing career path I’m taking. I can experiment without worrying too much about failing.

Thanks for reading my rambling. I promise my books are a bit more focused. If you haven’t read it already, I encourage you to take a chance on Empire of Chains. The second book, The Shadowed Land, should be out either late this month or early next month. The next two should follow at roughly three-month intervals after that. The first book of Sunweaver should be coming out late next month, with a similar three months between each book’s release.

If you haven’t signed up already, there’s a spot on the right side of my website where you can sign up for my mailing list. I will not send out constant mailings. Usually, I send out a newsletter only when I have a new release or have a special sale going on.

Finding balance as a writer.

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This post is kind of a Part 2 (yesterday’s post was Part 1). I’ve been thinking more and more on what I want out of life and out of my writing career in particular. Today, I was eliminated from the Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off, which leads me to more thinking. Any hopes of a near-future writing career were dependent on success in the competition. That obviously didn’t happen, but that doesn’t mean I should give up.

But I think it may also be a sign that I need to find balance in my life again. I’ve put a lot into writing, to the point that it has almost become an obsession. That’s the surest way to burn out. I need to dial things back a bit and approach writing from the standpoint of having fun again. All this worrying about the success of my writing career has completely killed my writing productivity, oddly enough.

I also think this could help me do better. The more fun I have writing, the more fun my readers will have reading, and that’s the most important thing to me.

Am I pushing myself too hard?

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Just less than two months ago, I published Empire of Chains, my first published novel (though not the first I’ve written). Since then, it has been a roller-coaster ride of emotions. On the good days, I love what I’m doing. On the bad days, I get demoralized. This happens most often whenever a bad review trickles in. I worry that people will see that review and no one will buy the book.

At the same time, I have a set of deadlines I want to meet to get more books out there. As it is, I’ll go from one published book to seven within a year. All of these books are written, so they only need to go through editing, and I don’t anticipate having too many issues meeting my various deadlines.

Where¬† I run into trouble is producing new material. I’m halfway through the second book of another trilogy right now, and I’d like to have the entire thing written by March, when I’m getting cover art done for the series. But lately my depression has been hitting me hard, and I’ve barely been making any progress. Part of this is my normal depression. Part of it might also be worry about my overall writing career. I’m putting so much pressure on myself in writing my books, and my perfectionism is rearing its ugly head. I keep thinking I’m just not good enough, and that paralyzes me as a writer.

I need to reclaim the sense of fun I used to feel when writing, but I’m not sure how to do that. Choosing this as a potential career has not had the effect I thought it would, and that leads me to think that maybe I need to back up a bit with my expectations.

I need to have fun writing. I need to publish my books because I’ll be happy if just a few readers really enjoy them. I’m currently in school for electrical engineering, and that’s a worthwhile career that I should also find interesting. There’s no reason I have to go all-or-nothing on the writing thing.

My goal is not to slow down in my writing. It’s to take some of the pressure off myself and just enjoy the writing process again.

Cover Reveal: The Shadowed Land

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I now have a cover for the second book in my World of Chains series. It’s another great cover from the talented designers of Deranged Doctor Design.

As for the book itself, I’m still anticipating a release date toward the end of September.

Without further ado, here’s the cover:

2017-414 Ryan W Mueller b02

Depression and writing

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Like many writers, I have my struggles with depression and anxiety. In my case, it’s a product of my bipolar disorder. Most of the time, I get along just fine. Life’s a little bit harder for me, but I can manage. Then I have periods like the last three weeks or so. I’ve been depressed most of August, and that has destroyed my writing productivity.

This shouldn’t affect my release dates for anything, but I need to turn things around before I start having trouble meeting my deadlines. It’s not always so easy to figure out how to do this, though. The general advice is to push through and write, but that can be hard when you’re in the grip of crippling depression and self-doubt. Usually, my depressive periods don’t last that long, and I can make up lost ground when my mood swings back the other way.

Some of my recent struggles might also come from trouble with one particular project. Maybe it would be in my best interest to write something else right now and do a little more planning to figure out where the second book of my God War trilogy is going next.

At the same time, though, I don’t want to spread myself too thin. I don’t want to end up chasing shiny new ideas instead of gritting my teeth and pushing through the tough parts.

If nothing else, maybe writing this blog post–that is, writing anything–will get me back in the swing of things.