I’ve had a terrible revelation

Originally posted on my Tumblr.

For the past several months my writing output has been way down. At first, I was really worried but I took a small step back and reminded myself that it’s not unreasonable to slow down and recharge. So I dialed back my expectations and tried to keep writing at a slower pace. This kind of worked but I’ve had to scale back a second time as my output continued to stagnate.

Today I had a revelation as to why my writing has been suffering.

Earlier this year I was moved from the jewelry counter to the sales floor. My writing flow used to be: write story fragments, a few hundred words or so, down during slow periods at the jewelry counter, come home and type up those fragments, and use that as a springboard to write more.

Now that I am working on the sales floor, I don’t have the chance to write anything down. I’ve lost my springboard. I come home and struggle to focus to write because I don’t have that easy jumping on point of typing up what I wrote earlier.

If I could write at work between customers why don’t I just write at home? Answer: At work, the only distraction is the store music, while at home I have podcasts, tumblr, random stories, video games, facebook, email, twitter, netflix, to name a few. At work, I have no choice but to be separated from the constant noise my brain seems to want.

So in conclusion, I think my writing output has gone down because I’ve lost the time I used to have at work, free from distractions, to write bits of stories that I would then type up when I got home thus priming me for more writing. Now I have to figure out a way to fix this, which is going to be easier said than done. I fell into the habit of writing when I typed up the bits I wrote at work.

So, I need to create a new habit for writing. I need to carve out time daily to shut everything off and think about stories. I need to reprogram the (now faulty)routine I’ve been running for the last few years. I’m sure this is going to be a piece of cake.

Author update

So, story and blog posts have been a bit sparse during the last few months. I had a bit of writer’s block/story block for some weeks. Regular posting is going to resume but at a lower rate. Instead of posting two stories a week(eight a month), I will be posting two a month as a minimum up to four a month. This is to give me time to edit and improve my writing. For the last couple of years, I’ve put a lot of focus on just pumping out stories on a regular basis. Forcing myself to hit that deadline of a “finished” story every few days was a good exercise for me.

I’ve also restarted work on the ebook collection of stories from last year. No timeline on when it’ll be done. I was way too optimistic at the start of the year to think I would have it done by March or April. My only goal is to have it done before 2019.

Also, I set the price for “Love and Comets” and Other Stories, the ebook collection of stories from 2016, at pay-what-you-want on Gumroad.

Writer/Patreon update

Last year, I wrote and published close to 90 stories on my site. I started around March putting out three stories a week. In September, I cut back to every other week as I started to feel depressed and couldn’t keep up with my previous output. I may, also, have had mild burnout. In November, I barely made my quota and realized I would not be able to do so in December. A large factor at that time was how busy my retail job had become during the holidays. So, I took December off and planned to take January off as well and return to writing in February.

A few days ago I started thinking about revising one of my stories. And then I restarted putting together an anthology of stories from last year. Also, I took everything I learned in the last year and worked out a plan for the rest of the coming year.

Starting in February I’m going to be posting two stories a week four times a month to my Patreon. Non-patreons can read them a week later on my site. I plan to keep this schedule through December. Eleven months, eight stories a month is eighty-eight stories. Because of how irregular months are there will be a few months that will have a skip week and I’m adding a couple of stories to make it a nice round ninety stories. I’m already planning on writing ahead so I can take a break again in the fall/winter and work on a second anthology of stories to be out early 2018. Patrons also get copies of the ebooks.

I hope to have the anthology I’m working on right now out around March.

My Patreon is currently on hiatus, since December, until I resume posting in February. If I keep to my schedule, there will be only one month, January, that I don’t post anything. I’ll be asking my Patrons how they would like me to handle that month.

My Mind is a Labyrinth

My memories are a labyrinth
Winding corridors
Secret doors
Dead ends and pitfalls

These are the first lines in a recent poem I wrote called My Memories.  The poem is not very good.  I shied away from what I really wanted to say.

My mind is a Labyrinth
Winding corridors
Dead ends and pitfalls
The monster is my memories.

Lately I find my mind twisting and turning back on itself.  Linking memory to memory in a winding path that leads me back to my sister’s death.  Even this post is another trip through the labyrinth with the same destination.

The path is well worn
Leading from room to room
Each one a tableau,
A story leading me deeper.

When she died, I spiraled into depression.  The same kind of depression I feel now.  Maybe that is why I keep returning to those memories.  Maybe they resonate with the same emotional chord.  I feel closer to her death than I have in years.  I can’t claim to have completely healed from her death, I still have days that my memories reach for her only to find her gone, but the blow of remembering she is gone has lessened.

Deeper to the center
The center where the monster lives
The Monster I created from memories
The Memories I wished to forget.

I remember too much to tell in this space but mostly I remember sitting in the hallway of the hospital.  Family had gathered in the hallway because this was the last time we would be able to see her, the last chance we had to say goodbye.  It all happened so quick.  Less than a day.  I remember the end of the hallway was a big window.  I remember wanting to throw myself through that window to escape from having to wait for her to die.

I can’t forget these memories
They loom over my mind
I wish I could forget them
But if I could I wouldn’t.

My sister’s death caused me much pain.  I became more depressed than I had ever been before.  I reached the breaking point where I sought out help from my local county health services.  I was denied.  I quit my job.  I felt completely lost.

My memories are a Monster.
Not evil, Not malicious,
Just painful.
We make monsters of things we don’t want to see.

But then, things began to change.  I found some new friends.  I found a new job.  I found acceptance from the people around me.  My sister’s death didn’t directly lead me to any of these things but it was part of the journey.  My life has not been smooth sailing since then.  There are ups and downs.  Her death was a major down in my life and while I wish it had never happened; I would never want to forget that it did.

I didn’t want to write this poem and mini-memoir.  I needed to write this.  I needed to work through these feelings and to not shy away from these memories.  I’m not cured of my depression but I feel like I’ve found a new path through the labyrinth.



Site Update/Writer Update

So, I know that my depression worsens after summer.  I had hoped writing and posting stories every week would build momentum enough to carry my through to November when it gets really busy at my retail job.  I had planned on taking like half of November and December off from posting stories for the holidays.  But here I am in September(not even officially fall) and I can’t focus, I’m having trouble sleeping, I’m getting migraines at a higher rate(this is due to the weather not depression but it isn’t helping).

Basically I can’t keep up with the pace I set for myself during the summer.

So I’m going to try halving my output for September and October.  Instead of three stories every week(twelve a month), I’m going to post three stories every other week(six a month).

In November, my output might drop to zero because of the holiday rush and stay that way until January when regular posting will most likely resume.  That might be a good time devote to editing some stories into a small ebook.  I’ve been meaning to do that but writing the weekly stories has been the priority up til now.

I know it may seem like a sudden change but this is something I’ve dealt with for years.  I didn’t know how my plans for posting stories regularly would be effected by my seasonal depression.  This is still the first year of what I plan to be a life long endeavor.  This year I have to slow down in the fall and probably stop during the winter.  Next year might be the same or it might be better.

An Idea

So I had an idea today.

I’ve been thinking about my zombie story(trans woman in a zombie apocalypse, you can find some early sections on my fiction tumblr). It’s the longest single piece of fiction I’ve written(I have a series of stories that’s longer combined). It’s not novel length. At around thirty thousand words, it’s in the novella range. This is the first part of the story that I’ve written, there’s a second part that I have outlined but not written.  While the first part is not completely stand alone, it ends at a good transitional section.  The first part is about 90% written. I’m going to make a push to finish this first part soon(I’ve said this a few times before but I really mean it now). So soon I will have a finished draft, which I will have to spend lots of time editing before I begin putting up parts on my website.

Or do I? What if I ran Kickstarter to turn this draft into a polished ebook? Hired an editor, hired a typesetter(or whatever you call someone who can turn a text document into an ebook(yes I could learn to do it myself that’s not the point), hire a graphical designer for the cover, maybe hire an artist to illustrate a few scenes(this would probably be a stretch goal).

And what if I hired only trans women?  I can think of a few off the top of my head that might be great for this. At the end of everything I would have a shiny ebook that I can sell, I’d have briefly employed 3-4 trans women, and backers would have gotten a copy of the book and some rewards.

I’m mostly thinking out loud at the moment but it’s an idea.  I’ll have to actually finish the story and then figure out what it would cost for editing, typesetting, cover design, and illustrations.  And I would need an actual audience to buy into the Kickstarter.

Is this idea workable?