Tag Archive: Work


Holidays

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I am currently on leave from work and I am busy, but in a way I like to be. I am writing. I have set myself various goals for these weeks off and I aim to be productive.

So many people were asking what my holiday plans were and then wondered if I wouldn’t get bored being as I’m not going anywhere this time.

Thing is for the last little while all I have really wanted to do is write. I have a novella length project that I’ve just finished the main edit on and it will hopefully be published before the holidays are done. I have also gotten my edits back from my editor and after a pain in my butt stuff around by my cover artist, I have commissioned a new artist and will hopefully have that soon, so Book three in the Oparna Legacy can be published.

Also my faith has hit the forefront of my life again and I have a project tied into that which I plan on making substantial headway on during this time off.

Then of course there is the new series I have started working on as well, an urban paranormal crime series that I think will be kind of fun.

So that’s it for my holiday plans and I can’t help but think my 6 and a bit weeks leave isn’t going to be anywhere near long enough for me to get all the writing done that I want to do.

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Tough Times, Tough Decisions.

The start of this year has been tough.

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Unexpected expenses, but that’s life, just work more to deal with them. Broken promises, disappointing but life goes on. the weight of additional expectations, but you adjust and step up to the new mark.

Then in the space of less than two weeks I lost one of my regular coping mechanisms and one of my work colleagues committed suicide. Two separate events, both having a profound affect on me.

Life isn’t always easy to compartmentalise and as much as I’d like to treat these things as two completely separate events, from a mental health perspective, that’s not necessarily how it works. They are, by virtue of the fact I experienced both, inextricably linked.

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I have always been open about my own battles with depression and my history of self-harm. I also have people both incredibly close to me and in my wider circle of friends that struggle with/deal with depression and anxiety on a daily basis.

But I also see myself as a strong person. Someone who will stand up for myself, my family, my friends and any underdog who doesn’t seem capable of fighting for themselves. Here though is where I get tripped by one of the quirks of my brain. Because I will fight for others, sometimes I expect those others to fight for me. Why? When they won’t even stand for themselves? I have no idea. It makes no logical sense. That is the way it is though and when they don’t, the little voice in the back of my brain pipes up. ‘Cleary you don’t mean that much to them. Why do you think anyone cares what you are going through?’ Some of you will know that voice I speak of.

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Again logically I know my inner dialogue lies. Knowing that doesn’t stop the room closing in, the clouds blocking out the light, or the quicksand pulling me emotionally down.

Here is where coping mechanisms come in. I run, walk, hit something – any kind of solitary workout. I get lost in a book. Sometimes I just repeat to myself while I am lying there, ‘this too shall pass.’

I have something else though. I have people around me I can reach out to. People who understand, to the limit you can understand, the fucked up nature my headspace.

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Which brings me to my work colleague and their very final actions.

I work in an incredibly high stress job. The number of suicides is staggering. We all know it. We know the mental health stats. We know there are people, even professionals, we can talk to. And yes I have availed myself of that service.

Still this person, this bright shining star, in possession of a uniques and larger than life personality was clearly suffering.

Why? I think it’s probably the biggest question after something like this. Why didn’t they ask for help? Why did they isolate themselves? Also what the fuck we’re they thinking? I wanted to be so angry with her. We weren’t the closest but I still would’ve been there if she’d asked. And I know she had people close to her who are wondering why didn’t she just reach out to me?

The answer is, I don’t know. I don’t know what she was thinking. I don’t know why she didn’t reach out. I don’t know if or why she thought she wasn’t worth helping.

I don know her actions have had a rippling affect on those who’s lives crossed with hers. I do know she will be sorely missed. And I do know thinking about it still makes me cry.

Helping-Hand

And so I will say it again, as I have before, if you are struggling for any reason, reach out. Do I need to say it again? Reach out. I will say it as often as I need to. Reach out. You are never alone. There are no easy fixes or quick answers, but there are people who would hate for you to not be in their lives anymore.

Of course things sometimes aren’t that simple. Sometimes the people you expect to support you don’t. For what ever reason. Which brings me to point two, but before I get there, remember don’t give up and don’t believe the lies. One set back isn’t the end of things.

Now this second thing.

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I’ve already talked about coping mechanisms. We all have them. I attended a specific event several times a year as a way of de-stressing. It gave me a sense of belonging, a place to let go and be me. In my regular role, it was a place I thought I was useful and quite frankly, good at. I made heaps of friends, had problems I could solve and then bitch about, and fun moments.

Things though have been changing and I don’t claim to understand why. This last week and a bit though, things have come to a head. I know I was usually in a fortunate position, but I felt I’d worked for it and earned it. It seems this was not the case.

For reasons I do not know I was removed from that position and put somewhere I didn’t want to be. Oh don’t get me wrong, it is another position other people desperately want to be, but not me. I’d done it once because I was told I had to, sure it wasn’t exactly the same but it was similar, and it broke me. Plain and simple I had a mini breakdown.

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I told them this when the move came up this year and I was told that’s terrible, what can we do to help, and where else would you like to be? I  just wanted to go back to my comfort zone, but it seems this was not an option. So my choice was, do something I was pretty certain wouldn’t end well for me, or go into another area to learn something I didn’t want to learn and be isolated from the very people I had gone to see.

I didn’t want to make this choice. I though long and hard about the decision I ended up making. I cried (yes I am stupidly emotional at times, but I’m hardly the only one and I don’t care). I had many internal debates. I overthought. My stress levels went up. The clouds began to close in.

In the end I knew my initial gut reaction was the one I’d have to go with. I had to walk away.

deucesNow this is something I have devoted hundreds of hours of my life and thousands of my dollars on, and I knew I had to walk away.

Support I expected didn’t come.

I don’t know all of what is going on behind the scenes, or in other people’s lives. I still don’t know why I had to make this decision. I just knew I was hurting and it didn’t seem to matter.

Then something happened.

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Support came from unexpected places. Sometimes it’s the people you don’t expect that see things, they see the struggle and understand.

We tell ourselves we should just get over things, deal with things or suck it up. Really that’s not what we need at all. Oh absolutely there are times when those things are all completely valid pieces of advice, but not always.

Sometimes what we need is someone to say – I’m here, what do you need?

The answer isn’t the same for everyone. It could be; ice-cream, a shared laugh, company, a hug or even nothing – because you’ve already done it and I no longer feel alone.

I am very introverted by nature. I love the quiet, home and not being around people, though I can certainly do the opposite. I know though that life is never something we get through alone.

So one door shuts and I’ll have to find another door to open. The ache of the losses will pass and life continues on it’s sometimes not so merry adventure.

For the love of everything, please don’t be afraid to reach for help, it’s there. I know it is. Just maybe not where you thought it would be.

Perseverance

Sometimes I wonder why. Then I scoff at myself because I know why. I write because I have to, there are ideas floating, sometimes churning around in my head that have to be let out. That want and demand a life of their own, silly as that may sound.

The other day I was in a book store and I was looking at all these new titles that I thought I wouldn’t mind checking out even though my bank account isn’t that friendly and I wondered what I was playing at thinking myself an author. I am one though. I am also published, sure I haven’t cracked the traditional market but does that make me any less an author? I don’t think it does. I work incredibly hard on my books, I write, I edit, I re-edit and I pay for a professional edit. This whole process takes massive amounts of time, mind space and effort, so I guess I shouldn’t really question whether I am an author.

Yes I wish I could see my books on a shelf, and maybe one day that will be a thing. For now though I just have to persevere with what I do, slog through the daily effort of juggling a full time job, a family and writing, in the hope that one day I will earn the break I’m working towards.

Being An Author

I guess I really am an author. I have two books published now and a third in editing stage.

I love the cover for my second book and the thanks for the art go to the amazing Mel Schwarz, and the graphics were done by the awesome Peter B.

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I’m pretty happy that the second one finally got out, later than what I’d hoped but what are you going to do, some times life simply doesn’t go according to plan. It will mean (hopefully) that the gap between two and three won’t be as long because the first draft for three is already finished.

Other huge things are happening for me I’m about to venture into the unknown. I’m going to speak at a conference. It’s not the first stage I’ve been on, not by a long shot but it is the first where the audience is made up of professionals expecting to hear from another professional. I believe I can do this but there are still occasional doubts. I had a moment the other week when I was thinking about the people I will be talking to and I wondered why I thought I could do do this as they are all grown up and the like. Then I realised I too am a grown up I just somehow seem to forget that about myself. What it is is that I don’t take myself as seriously as I seem to think these kind of professionals do. I guess I will find out.

Also on the writing front, I jumped out of bed this morning to write down another idea. It’s good to know I have enough ideas to keep me writing for a while yet, I only wish the need to work and pay bills didn’t interfere.

I know I haven’t got a proper handle on keeping regular with my blog updates, I really wish I was better at it, I used to be. Again though, life gets in the way and sometimes something has to give. For me it is this. Here’s hoping that I will get better at keeping this updated sometime soon.

Wow

It is difficult to fathom two things. One that it’s been so long since I posted, I mean November was the last time, really, that seems wrong somehow. Two that we are already into April of 2018.

Let me see how much I can remember to catch you up on.

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I went on a mini cruise in January with my family. It’s the first time I’ve been on a cruise and I loved it. It was what my munchkins referred to as an ‘old people’s cruise’, and they weren’t wrong. It was a small boat but still it was good. I had nothing to do, no responsibility and it was great. I didn’t have to clean or cook. I thoroughly not having to do anything except read and write and spend some time with said munchkins, but I didn’t have to do that because they had their cousin to play with. Awesome.

Long and the short of it is, I really want to go on another cruise, just a bit of a bigger boat this time.

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Then there is work, lots of work, but I’ve got to pay the bills somehow.

So onto the writing side of things.

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I thought I was in really good position to publish book two of the Oparna Legacy for April then something happened. I don’t talk about my faith very often but its there, it underlies much of what I do. I don’t advertise it because I have issues with organised religion and I really don’t like being shoved into claustrophobic boxes. Anyway the long and the short of it is the big man up stairs gave me a task. This task was research heavy and became something like an obsession. Every waking moment it seemed, was taken up with working on it. It was something I’ve never tackled before and something somewhat out of my comfort zone. However it is now done, or at least the bit I can do at the moment is. And no I’m not going to be more specific because I really can’t, there is nothing more I can say until the next stage happens, if there is a next stage.

Oh and I also wrote two short stories that I have now submitted for competitions, both of which were more of the literary fiction type, nothing spec fiction about them at all. It is such a challenge to write in different genres, it may not be something I want to dabble in for a full length project but it is still worth dabbling it in.

Moving on.

In all of that I actually did get book two finished, given a solid second edit, got it to the beta reader and did the read aloud edit with my hubby (who doesn’t read but is a very happy listener who points out good things and bad). As a side note, I find reading aloud a very useful editing tool, because it forces you to go over every word in a way you sometimes don’t when you a a fast reader as I am, and know what you think you wrote, which sometimes you totally didn’t.

I now just need to find the time to catch up with my beat reader, do all those changes and a final edit before I send it to an actual editor.

Then just for fun I have also finished the first run through of book three, and I’m working on two other full length novels, one of which looks like the start of a series that will be longer than three books. So plenty of writing left to go in my very active mind.

Now you are up to date.

I’m on leave and it’s almost Nova time again. Here’s hoping I stay organised enough to update you on a way more regular basis.

 

So Many Thoughts

I have so many things spinning around in my head.

Some times it is so confusing in there. There are so many stories floating around at times. It’s difficult to focus on just one. So right now I’m working on a couple of things. First edit of book two is a current big red mess. Well the first 100 pages at any rate.

My other project I’ve not touched whilst I’ve been on leave. Instead I’ve worked on knitting and sewing projects. Creative is creative after all. I quite like doing creative things with my hands there is something incredibly satisfying in it. It is just something I don’t do very often anymore as I have so many things going on.

It can be a very full schedule when you’re a wife, mother, full time employee and a writer. Oh there is also my convention habit.

I love my life, mostly. I guess I just wish things would happen faster. I wish I was already published, I wish certain other things had gone my way and a few other things were different. Things that I don’t need the world to know but that would make my life a little easier.

Part of the problem with the internet is it is so easy to over share. I could complain about the things that have gone wrong, the problems I have, but ultimately what would be the point? Complaining online won’t solve my problems. It may be cathartic in the moment but what can it possibly achieve? It won’t fix anything, it won’t make anything go away. I don’t understand why people do it.

Whining doesn’t help in anyway. You know what does help? Getting on with life. Doing what you are good at. Fix your sights on the goal, pick yourself up out of your pity party and put one foot in front of the other. That is how you get to where you want to be.

Life for most of us is not about the quick fix, it is about the long journey. Sure there are lucky people in life, those for whom things come easy. For the rest of us we work at it. We take one step after another, stopping to recharge, refocus and step again towards that goal we hold so dear.

And Then There is Work

Perhaps one of the most frustrating things about being a writer is the fact bills still need to be paid. Even for a lot of published writers a second job is required in order for all to be covered. For me though writing is something I have to do, but as yet it contributes nothing to my bank account. So I work at a regular (or not so regular many would say) job.

It is a job that allows me flexibility to travel to conventions, which is my stress relief from the pressures of that job and general life, so that is a very good thing. I’d like to think I’m pretty good at my job, and despite its peculiarities I like my job. I just wish at times that writing contributed a little something so I could spend more time focussing on that and not need to clock in the overtime shifts in order to pay for my convention habit, and my book habit.

Ahhh the first world problems of a writer-in-training.

 

Oh My Glob!!!

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Wow! I totally had no idea that I’d neglected this page for so long. That is simply terrible. For myself not so much for anyone else. This is my writing blog. The one that details my journey and, let’s be honest, my geeky stuff as well. If I can’t regularly add to this how am I going to manage when I’m published and needing to keep a profile as an author. Of course that is the hopefully vain part of me that dreams that someone will care. A girl has to dream right.

So.

Where did I leave things?

June Nova and a signed contract. Both great things. Now six months have passed and what has changed? Nothing and a whole heap. November bought another Nova tour. Yay!!! These events are my stress relief. They give me the chance to catch up with friends from around the country and shmoose with people I admire from various reactive pursuits and pretend they will remember me the following day. It’s okay I know they won’t but I’m a writer I spend a large amount of time living in a fantasy land.

12279208_10208499849113168_8893095336609938655_nYou may wonder though, how the chaos and busyness of a weekend convention, where I barely get to eat sometimes and grab pee breaks when I can find a minute, can be considered stress relief. Well when you have a day job that many would consider one of the most stressful out there, any kind of change is a relief. Plus I get fun stories and sometimes ever funner (it is a thing now) pics.

12305998_896270337135300_2107145663_nWriting takes up a chunk of my spare time. I have finished my first run though of book two. Even though my intention had been to step away from Evayn and her story for a while and work on something different. The story it seemed had other ideas. It simply would not let me go. I’m not sure whether that was because it was the most unformed part of the whole thing and I had a whole heap of world building to do, or because the characters weren’t ready for a holiday yet. Whatever the reason, the second act is now loosely formed and I’m happy with it.

Now I’ve finally been released to step away from them and have completed three short stories for a friend who wanted to collaborate on a project. The worst part of it all is I’ve written them and sent them off and now I’m waiting for a response. That as we all know is the worst part. What if he doesn’t like them? What if they really don’t fit his interpretation of the very loose parameters he gave me? What if?

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I’m not sure how much that matters though. Well it does and it doesn’t. See writing is really very complicated in it’s simplicity. Full of double meaning and both sides of coins. It matters in that I really do want him to like them. I want him to feel they are useful for the project. On the other hand though, I am really happy with the stories and have a special place in my heart for the characters I created. So yes,it does matter if he likes them, but also it doesn’t.

Confused yet? I probably am, but that is pretty normal for me.

Now those stories are doing what they will in the ether I have begun working on a different project. I’m finding it fun and interesting and not at all sure where it will take me story wise. I have an overall view of it in my head but it is very unformed. How it all shakes out in the end will, hopefully be a very interesting journey for me.

So I have finally done another post, hopefully with this new year, all its potential and all my plans (and a book launch baby!) I will maintain this page in a better manner than last year. That is about as close as I have come to any kind of New Years resolution.

Take care peeps. Enjoy your journey.

The Creative

So I am still writing. In fact the writing is going pretty well for the most part. Ideas are coming together, the big picture is falling into place and I really love some of my characters.
But I’m still waiting and it is hard.
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I have however roped in a couple of friends to mock me up book covers. Why you may ask. The answer is simple, visualisation. I want to be able to visualise what my own book may look like. Sure it may look nothing like what they come up with for me but still it gives me something to hold onto.
Also I want to use them as props for a photo shoot I have coming up.
Things at the moment though are busy. There is work, the thing I have to do to pay the bills, whilst I dream of the day that writing will at least help with some of that and I can stop doing OT.
I still network because I believe the day will come when that will really pay off. Of course everyone that knows me will have to buy a book, I’ve told them I don’t even care if they read it, as far as I care once they’ve bought it they can use it to prop up a table if they want.
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On other writing news I’ve been invited into a world and asked to collaborate. That in itself is all sorts of exciting and a little daunting. When writing for yourself you only have to please yourself with the story. When entering someone else’s world and collaborating you also have to please them. Arggghhhh! What if they don’t like the idea that seemed so very cool to me?
Self doubt, such a bitch. I’m sure most authors experience it to varying degrees. Though I can really only speak for myself.
Then, yesterday, my little miss hands me the start of a story she had just spent the last hour typing on a typewriter (yes you read that right – she has in her room an old typewriter I salvaged from when my dad died). The thing is, it was… well I know I’m her mother but it was good, really good and so far above what I’d expect a 7 year old to come up with. She handed it to me and all I could see was potential. And the need to find out what the heck happened next. Yeah the hook was that good. So now, I am determined to find the time to help her develop this as far as she wants.
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There just aren’t enough hours in the day sometimes.
The problem with being so busy is finding down time.
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Or more specifically when I do, when I’m flaked on the couch in front of the tv binge watching some series, I feel guilty for wasting time. The thing is though it’s not wasting time. Not really. It is easy to think it is but truthfully we all need to find time away from our projects to decompress. To just step away because if you don’t know it yet, stepping away from your own work can bring a clarity to it. You can see what has been holding you back, what isn’t working, or how to get past that thing that has helps you up for a week. Investing time in the work of other creatives can have the very effect of reinvigorating your own juices.
The other thing I like to do is walk. Running often just clears my mind, sometimes it does more but often walking gives me the chance to clear and pick at story ideas.
Sometimes you just need to do something very different, go and play a game with your kids, have coffee with friends, connect with family.
Writing can be a time demanding mistress but it does us well to remember that sometimes the best use of our time is to walk away.
Keep writing, keep believing.

The Waiting Game

The waiting game sucks, that is all.
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Book two is well underway and there are a few other ideas stirring around in the back of my mind, some are even making it to paper.
Life has been very full. Sometimes the juggling game is a little tricky but the truth is I’m happy with where I am at the moment. Work is good, family are mostly happy (when the preteen isn’t moody) and writing keeps me busy and sane (or insane as the case may be).
So onward I go into the realms of my own invention.
Waiting, waiting, waiting for the day I can say I have a publication date.
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