Writer’s Transition

I noted last October that I was dealing with writer’s apathy. I was hoping that NaNo would snap me out of it. As much as I liked working on my NaNo project and how in the groove I got while I was working on it, I don’t think that it did. I do think, though, that it opened my eyes up to a new possibility.

Maybe it’s not writer’s apathy. Or not maybe it’s not anymore.

Maybe it’s writer’s transition.

When I transitioned from fanfiction to non-fanfiction, I went through a period of writer’s block in which I didn’t write much of anything. It’s entirely possible that my current bout of meh isn’t so much apathy, but a sign of another transition. What kind, I’m not sure. Maybe it’s going from fiction to non-fiction, since I am looking at making some progress on a couple of non-fiction ideas and I am working on a podcast. Maybe it’s a transition of my fiction away from horror to another genre. Maybe it’s a transition away from writing (for now) to something else, like podcasting (which does involve some writing).

Maybe it’s a transition away from writing entirely.

Hell, maybe it’s not a transition at all. Maybe I just need to clear out a bunch of my projects just so I have space to work on something new.

Right now (write now?) I don’t know. I can’t say for sure. I have no intention of stopping what I’m doing until I feel certain about what’s going on. But I’m keeping myself open to a shift. I sort of feel like I’m waiting for a specific something, that “you’ll know it when you see it” thing, and as soon as I do, everything will come into perspective again. I’ll know where I am and what the hell I’m doing.

But, like I said, until then, I’m still working, still writing, still checking off my To Do List.

No need to be bored while I wait for that sign, right?

April Writing Projects

I honestly thought about doing a Twitter poll to decide what to work on this month because I’m feeling a bit adrift at the moment. Not sure what project to focus on, not sure what I want to do, not sure of much of anything.

Last month, I finished a round of revisions on The Coop Run (which may need another round; I’m sending it off to a beta reader to see if I’m getting anywhere with it). Great. I looked at my project list the other day to see what I should be working on this month.

I could start revising Murderville Season 4, but I’d rather wait until May. I like working on Murderville during summer because when I’m not struggling with health/stress issues, I get into a nice rhythm that keeps me busy and happy. I could start revising End of the (Werewolf) Curse because that is one of my projects this year, but I should really fix the beginning of (Vampires) Made in America now that I’ve had my epiphany about it, and start shopping it to agents again. I could revise a couple of scripts, but those projects are sort of pointless because I wouldn’t be able to do anything with them once I got them done.

Who knew this would be such a loaded question?

Well, I did, to be honest.

I wrote last month about how my productivity had been garbage and how I had no interest in much of anything. Shortly after that public whining, I found a burst of mojo that led me to recording a few Book ’em, Danno segments and doing some art and making some significant progress on my revising. The mojo was short-lived, but useful. The next week I felt like I’d been steamrolled and was back to struggling.

Sitting at the end of that week, with the latest round of The Coop Run revisions finished, I asked myself what I should do in April. And when I got that garbled-ass answer above which prioritized the projects that would make me money, I stopped, closed my eyes, and asked myself again.

What do you really want to work on in April?

I want to research and outline one of the ideas I have for a TV book that I’ll probably never write and I want to work on one of the poetry chapbooks I’ve been thinking about doing since it’s National Poetry Month.

Fine. Great. Let’s do that.

I need a break. A break from the pressure to produce. A break from attaching a dollar-value to everything I work on. Yes, I like to get paid for my work, but right now I need to work on something that might turn out to be nothing, something that might not mean anything to anyone but me.

I’ve got a few ideas for how to make the ends meet for May.

But someone has already met their end in Murderville. In fact, we’re at the half-way point of Rounds of Luck as episode 4 goes live on April 9th. Lucky for you, it’s easy to catch up. Become a patron for as little as $1 an episode. $2 patrons receive a bonus every other month, like this month on the 23rd. Don’t wait! Get in on the killer fun!

Just Let Me Have This Tantrum and Then I’ll Do It

A favorite story about me (stop me if you’ve heard it) is about the time when I was three years old and they found me crying in the closet at my grandparents’ house with a huge book open on my lap. The problem? I was mad at myself because I couldn’t read it.

And that pretty much sums up a big part of my personality.

I operate under the delusion that I should be able to do anything whether I know how to do it or not. Running tangent to this delusion is my bad habit of doing everything the hard way. Throw in my inability to ask for help and my overwhelming stubborn streak, and I am a recipe for minor explosions. And being the creative type, they occur more frequently than I’d like.

My most recent tantrum was about Book ’em, Danno, the podcast that is yet to be. I attempted some recordings for it one night and was so dissatisfied with what I had done that I went on Twitter to declare myself a failure as a podcaster and effectively cancelled the project.

And then two days later, I decided to try again.

That’s the usual outcome of my tantrums. I get frustrated, I get fed up, I chuck it in the fuck it bucket, and then end up digging it back out again.

Believe me. It’s just as annoying to me as it is to you.

But for whatever reason, it’s the way I work. It’s not very efficient. Laws knows that it’s not good for my blood pressure or my sanity. I don’t care to count how many projects I’ve rage-quit and then come back to and successfully finished. I do my best to keep these tantrums to myself because I know how likely it is that I’ll change my mind.

However, sometimes…

Yeah. If you see me having a bit of a meltdown about something I’m working on, just give me a little sympathy, pat me on the back, and rest assured that I’ll get it done in the end.

Flirting With the Idea of Freelancing

Several of my Twitter friends are writers. Some of them are freelancers. It’s interesting to watch their trials and frustrations, victories and successes. Because freelancing mystifies me.

Okay. Maybe that’s an overwrought way to put it. The truth is, though, that the idea of freelancing both intrigues and scares me. Sometimes I think I could do it until I remember that you need clips and pitches and whatnot. Then I’m absolutely certain that I could never.

It’s a push-pull thing. I look into it. I think about it. And I always talk myself out of it. I convince myself that I have no idea what I’m doing and would do it all wrong and would never get a piece accepted anywhere.

I’ve always been my own worst enemy.

Watching my Twitter friends talk about it, though, makes it a little more accessible. The idea of it anyway. They help to demystify the whole thing for me. I see what they do and what they go through. Their struggles do nothing to dissuade my interest. I’m used to struggle. It’s just my own hang-ups that I can’t get past.

There’s also the small matter of what I’d write about. I’m not qualified to write about anything. Hell, if blogging had requirements, I’d never meet them. And then, of course, there’s what I would write about if I were remotely qualified. I can’t imagine hot takes on old TV shows would find much of a market. No different from my fictional writing life, really. I write what folks don’t want to read.

Still, despite all of this, I think about it. I look into it. I ruminate over it a while before talking myself out of it, only to reconsider the idea later. It’s a tired cycle. One day, I might actually give it a legitimate shot.

Until then, I flirt.

I’m terrible at flirting.

It’s All Up Here (But I Just Can’t Reach It)

My brains are scrambled eggs.

I’ve been saying this for months now. It’s like my grey matter has gone all tilt-a-whirl. I cannot grasp a thought.

Oh, they’re in there. I know. I can have them. But I can’t hold them. I can’t grasp them and focus on them and turn them into something practical and real. And this is frustrating because if memory serves, I used to be able to do this on a daily basis without too much trouble.

I thought this concentration/focus issue was part of the fatigue and exhaustion that went with the anemia. I thought once the anemia was under control, my brain would revert to its natural state, the chaotic hellscape that I’m used to. Then I thought maybe it was the stress of the day job, but that’s gone now, too. And the elusive ether of my mind remains.

Okay, it’s still overly-poetic, but maybe not as bad as it was. It’s still very frustrating, though. It’s like I can’t see anything up there. I feel like I need to empty my head out on a table so I can sort through all of the junk in that storage bin and organize it. I know that it would be in my best interest to take a minute (or 60) and do just that. Write down all of the ideas in my head, all of the projects, all of the blog posts, all of the free-floating To Do List items that never seem to make it farther from a notion so I really can see it all.

But I keep putting it off in favor of…something else. Anything else. My procrastination game lately has been the best of my life, for sure.

What I really need is a break. A week of isolation so I can straighten myself out. Get my mind right, find my center, stop distracting myself, diffuse this brain static I seem to be suffering from.

What I really have is no opportunity for that. Instead, I’m going to have to fix this mess on the fly.

Live dangerously.

August Writing Projects

Wow, look at that. August already. This year is just rolling by.

And I’m still working on stuff that I swore I’d have done in June.

Yeah.

So, this day job is turning into one of the hardest retail jobs I’ve ever had and what was supposed to be an easy part-time gig to help pay the bills is actually a huge time and energy vortex that I’m getting swallowed up in. My plan was to write at least a page on all of my current projects on the days that I work and then really rack up the words on my days off. The struggle with that, though, is that sometimes I don’t have the time (or energy) to get in my one page on everything, and then on my days off, I can still only manage the absolute minimum because I’m recovering from working.

If there’s going to be anything new, then August will see a shift in priorities. As much as I hate to stop working on a project in the middle, The Coop Run rewrite has to go on the back burner for now. Season 3 of Murderville needs to be my focus until I get it done, and I need to get it done as quickly as possible. Ideally, I’ll have it finished in the first couple of weeks of the month so I can let it rest a bit and then revise it in September. Because here’s the thing. Season 3 needs to be done all the way down to the eBook before NaNo. I’m already way behind my usual schedule. Now I have to play catch up and hope I don’t fuck up.

I also need to make some time to revise and polish next season’s preview story. But that’s a problem for next month me.

Right now, it’s all about finishing Murderville Season 3.

I’ll work out the rest later.

Speaking of Murderville, the very last episode of season 2, The End Of, goes live on August 14th. Don’t worry! It’s easy to catch up. Just become a patron and you’ll get access to every intriguing moment. $1 an episode let’s you read; $2 an episode lets you read AND gets you swell bonuses every other month, like whatever is happening on the 28th. Don’t miss out!

I Have to Admit That My Struggle Is Real

I’ve been trying to do at least one blog post a week this year and I almost went without doing one this week. I’ve been working on a Rerun Junkie post that’s just not coming together. I have the idea. I know what I want to say. But the words will not make it from my brain to the laptop.

This is the latest symptom of something that I’ve been trying to ignore for the last several weeks.

I’m struggling. And maybe I’m a little burnt out.

I don’t like to admit that. I don’t feel like I’ve earned the right to admit that. I don’t feel like I’ve worked hard enough to earn that struggle or that burnt out feeling.

What it boils down to is that between a minor health issue, a new day job, juggling three writing projects, and the every day requirements of living, I’m wiped out. I don’t have the energy or the focus to do everything I need to do and do it all at the level that I want to do it at.

I’m already in the process of accepting that I’m not going to meet my deadlines for the month. What I thought I’d get done, I won’t. I just can’t. And that’s disappointing as hell.

I operate under the delusion that I should be able to do anything. If I say I’m going to do something, then I will find a way to do it. If I set myself a deadline, then I meet it. As a result of this, I have a tendency to believe that there’s no excuse for me to not achieve what I’ve set out to do. Which is fine in theory. In reality, it ends up with me being gruesomely hard on myself when I don’t hit my mark, even if I’m operating in circumstances that would have required some kind of miracle to make it happen.

Right now, I’m in a period of adjustment.

Part of that adjustment is my new schedule and what I can realistically accomplish within it while recovering from a health setback.

The other adjustment, the much more difficult adjustment, is my expectations.

Writer Thrill Seeking

If you asked me to go bungee jumping or skydiving, I’d probably chuckle and politely tell you that if I wanted to see the ground rushing up at my face, I’d get drunk and fall over. Though I’ve had my thrills and sometimes I go looking for a certain kind, nobody would rush to call me a thrillseeker. I don’t know if I’d get on a roller coaster that goes upside down anymore.

But when it comes to writing, I’m far more game for a thrill.

The first week of May I decided to spend money I didn’t have to enter a script that I hadn’t written into a contest that’s deadline was the next day.

Okay, now this only looks like a last minute decision. To be fair, I thought the deadline was actually the next week. I did think I had a little more time. And I wasn’t sure I wanted to commit to doing the contest because, like I mentioned, really didn’t have the entry fee to spare.

But when I saw that I was wrong about the deadline, I sort of…well…went thrill seeking. The first time I entered a script in this contest, I spent a couple of months working on an entry that got me an honorable mention. When I entered last year, I spent about a week on a entry I thought would ultimately be a throwaway, and I ended up with 5th place.

I could not pass up the challenge of writing fifteen pages of script in two days and see if I couldn’t beat 5th place.

The idea is one I’ve had kicking around in my head and I even wrote a short story/first chapter for it. I already had an outline. I was actually going in pretty well stacked in terms of knowing what I was doing. It was just a matter of finding the time to get it all written.

Yeah, about that.

During the same two days I was writing these fifteen pages I was also prepping for my next Green Hornet chat with Dan, outlining season 3 of Murderville, writing my page a day, studying my four languages, and doing my daily life stuff.

No sweat.

This is how I get my high. By driving myself crazy. I honestly think that I’m not happy unless I’m committing some sort of busy-ness that pushes me to the brink of insanity. For the last few months, I’ve been taking it pretty easy on the writing schedule. I was struggling with my mental and physical health. I really didn’t have the energy to push it. Or at least it didn’t feel like I did.

I’m feeling a bit more energized now, though.

Maybe I just needed a little thrill to get going.

May Writing Projects

You know, I said last month that April was my oyster. Apparently, I forgot that I don’t care for oysters. I did my page-a-day and my poem-a-day. I submitted a short story twice (same story, two different markets, a rejection was involved) and I submitted (Vampires) Made in America to a new agent.

And that’s about it.

I thought I’d be able to find a project to work on, but the best I did was rearranging my To Do List of Doom so it made more sense. I’ve still got a massive list of projects in various states and none of them made any progress in April.

I have my speculations about the reasons for this, but I’m not going to get into them here.

Instead, I’m going to move on. New month…well, same me, but actual stuff to work on.

I’ve decided to dedicate May to my Patreon. I’m going to outline season 3 of Murderville and write the first draft of the season 3 preview story. I’m also going to brainstorm ways I can be more involved on Patreon. Right now, it’s very much set it and forget it. I feel like I need to provide a little more content in order to entice new patrons and keep the ones I have. Can’t get by on my looks here.

Or anywhere, really.

Speaking of Murderville, episode 5 of The End Of is live May 8th. We’re over the half-way point here. Become a patron and enjoy the ride. $1 an episode lets you read; $2 an episode lets you read AND you get some really sweet bonus material in the form of other stuff I’m working on. It’s never too late to head to Murderville!

April Writing Projects

Last month I wrapped up the first round of revisions on The End of the (Werewolf) Curse and wrote the first draft of a short story called “The Support Group Meets on Wednesday”, as well as continued writing my one page a day for my experiment.

What I did not do was submit any short stories.

It’s the same ol’, same ol’. I look at what I have ready to submit and then I look at the markets that I find that are taking submissions and things don’t match up. At the very end of the month, I did find one story that kind of matched with one market, but I ended up re-writing the story to make it match better. So, I’ll submit it this month. And I’ll hopefully be able to submit another story or two to other places.

It also looks like I’ll be continuing my agent search with (Vampires) Made in America.

I’m not exactly sure, as I stare at my To Do List of Doom, what I want to work on this month. I think that’s a sign that I need to switch gears a bit.

Since April is National Poetry Month, I’m going to attempt to write a poem every day. I’ve done this before and I enjoyed myself. I have so many poem fragments around, I feel like this will be a good way to turn them into something while also shaking things up a bit.

I may also work on some non-fiction. I’ve got some possible projects that I’ve been speculating on and now might be the time to take a harder look at them.

Maybe I’ll work on a script since I have so many of them in various stages, too.

This month is my oyster, really.

Speaking of sea things…

Come to the Rocks is set to be released by NineStar Press on April 16th! Pre-order it and you get three days early. So order today! It’s like set it and forget it and then you get a surprise that will have your future self thanking your past self. Trust me.

Episode four of Murderville: The End Of goes live on April 10th. Become a patron for only $1 an episode. $2 patrons will get a bonus on April 24th. It’s never too late to get in on a killer good time.