It’s Almost (Self-)Publishing Time… – An IWSG Post

IWSG badge

Let’s be totally honest. Writer’s are insecure, like…200% of the time. We occasionally have little bouts of confidence and genuine belief in our abilities, but the overwhelming majority of the time we’re little balls of misery and self-loathing, rocking back and forth in the corner, insistent that we have no talent, no prospects, and that anyone who ever said they liked our books was a dirty, dirty liar.

That said, I personally feel that the most powerful moments of insecurity come right before something is about to be published.

I’ve been working on “The Other World” for more than a decade, no joke. That wasn’t all consecutive, of course. It began life as a therapeutic way of dealing with my then-boyfriend breaking up with me. Those early drafts were very, well…terrible. It was a Mary-Sue story in which everyone loved the main character except for herself, and she made a massively huge deal about her own breakup, as though it was literally the end of the world. It was absolutely horrible, but at the time it served it’s purpose. It made me feel a little better, and it was a reason to put words to paper.

Eventually it grew and evolved. I’m not joking even a little bit when I say that I restarted this particular story from scratch at least a dozen times. It was my NaNoWriMo novel twice, and I would regularly return to it and completely rewrite it whenever I would get bored or frustrated with my other works. And as time went on and I learned more about proper styles of writing, what turns readers off, and so forth, the story changed more and more and more. Eventually it became a series. Characters transformed. Main plot points shifted dramatically. To be perfectly honest, at this point what I have in my Scrivener file has extraordinarily little in common with the original story. It has matured spectacularly from what it started out as. Even I – as a completely self-loathing writer – can see that. The story that I am currently performing final edits on is nothing like the self-absorbed cathartic ramblings that I first put down back in college. It is much, much better. Infinitely so.

know this. And yet, as I wait (im)patiently for my cover artist to send me some ideas, and I finish those final edits on Book One of the series, I find that little voice beginning to whisper in the back of my mind. “This is complete crap,” it hisses. “Your beta-readers are liars, and you’re a talentless hack who will never have any real success as a novelist. You should delete the entire file and never speak of this story again.”

That voice is a bitch. I know this, and yet it is exceptionally difficult to quell her. I have become the master of procrastination, taking much longer at each step of the writing process than is reasonable, because that voice slows me down, weakens me, and convinces me that it’s pointless. She’s a complete and utter bitch and I hate her.

So I say this to you now: moving forward I am going to do my level best to smother that voice and bury her deep, deep down where I can’t hear her hateful hissing. I’m going to trust that my beta-readers weren’t just being nice to spare my feelings, I’m going to work with my cover artist to create something beautiful and attractive, and I’m going to put that something out there for the world to see. Then I’m going to take what comes as it comes. And then, regardless of the results, I’m going to sit at my laptop, and I’m going to get to work on finishing Book Two, and I’m going to start the process all over again. Because that’s what a real writer does. We murder that voice in cold blood – no matter how many times it resurrects itself – and put ourselves out there regardless of the vicious whispers.

Who’s with me?

New Year, Same Insecurities – An IWSG Post

IWSG badge

So it’s the first Wednesday of the year, and hmm…seems like I’m still pretty insecure, so I guess I’ll keep making Insecure Writers Support Group posts.

I already wrote a Goals and Aspirations for 2017 post the other day, so I won’t repeat everything that I’ve said about my writing goals, but given what kind of post this is I will tell you how insecure I’m feeling about the whole thing.

For one thing, when I was going through all my numbers for 2016, I realized that despite actually putting forth some real, major effort (at least in the first half of the year), I actually wrote over 25,000 words fewer than I wrote in 2015. And this is in addition to the fact that I all but quite blogging in the second half of the year specifically so that I’d have more time and energy to focus on writing fiction. That is a worrying trend for me and it makes me wonder if – at this point in my life – I’m even capable of turning it around and moving in the other direction. Or will I just keep dwindling and dwindling until I’m basically writing nothing at all? It’s a thought that definitely troubles me.

Additionally we’ve got the whole self-promotion thing. I’ve never been good at it, but I seem to be getting worse, not to mention running out of methods to try. Changing the cover to “Nowhere to Hide” seemed to help a bit, for a short while, but that influx has long since died off and we’re back to being lucky to sell a book a month. I’ve tried giveaways, I’ve tried contacting reviewers, I’ve tried ads…none of them really did much of anything except for an extremely tiny boost during the actual event and then nothing afterwards. I’ve even sent books off to fellow YouTubers (which was more of a present thing than a self-promo thing, if I’m honest), but while their unboxing videos gave us a spike in subs to the YouTube channel, they did nothing for book sales.

I get that zombies aren’t for everyone, so you’re definitely going to get a lot of people who might look at the book and then just go, “Nah, not my bag,” but I have to be honest, I truly believed that I’d sell at least a few books a month instead of having stretches of months at a time of absolutely nothing, and it’s getting really old. I put a lot of effort into that book, I genuinely believe that it’s good, and I’ve had numerous people who don’t even like horror and zombies tell me that they enjoyed it.

But I just can’t get people to buy it. And it’s infuriating. And, justifiably, makes me pretty damn insecure.

I’ve considered sending it off for the Self-Published Book Awards (by Writer’s Digest) again, but I don’t think I want to waste the money. The last time my $75 entry fee got me a pathetic, four-sentence “feedback” e-mail that basically told me that my cover and summary were crap and didn’t really say a damn thing about the book itself at all. I’ve changed both the cover and summary since then, but the overall lameness of what they consider to be “feedback” doesn’t really put me in a mind to waste more money on them.

And so I sit here, thinking and frowning to myself and wondering what else there is I can try that’s not going to cost me money, because so far almost everything I’ve done has cost me money and I haven’t seen a return on it at all.

Also, just as a final note, I don’t know if this has even occurred to anyone who is reading this post, but if my thought process seems horribly disjointed, half-complete, and generally unfocused, I can confirm that it is, in fact, all of those things, because nothing has changed from 2016 and I’m still always doing fifteen things at once. While writing this post I’m also eating breakfast and trying to slam a bunch of coffee into me since I didn’t sleep well last night, chatting online with a friend who lives on the other side of the country so there’s only a few hours a day we can really catch each other, sending messages back and forth with a fellow YouTuber asking his advice on some things, and obsessing over the fact that I haven’t put away any of the Christmas stuff or cleaned up the basement to make way for all the videos we’re super behind on.

And people wonder why I’m insecure. 😛

Small Changes = Small Victories (an IWSG Post on the Proper Day)

IWSG badge

So, in the drunken-stupor-like haze that has apparently become my life, I actually posted my IWSG post last week on what my brain was telling me was Wed, Sept 1st, but was actually Wed, Aug 31st. I posted it early in the morning and went to work fully certain that it was Sept 1st, and didn’t really figure it out until late in the evening, by which time I’d gotten a few comments on the post, making me not want to reschedule it. So…yeah. If you want to read the post that was meant for today, here it is:

And someone, for the love of god, please figure out how I can get an extra 4-5 hours of sleep per night without completely destroying what little productivity I have. @_@

Small Changes = Small Victories (an IWSG Post)

IWSG badge

Has it really been a month already? I must be getting old, because lately it seems like I blink and it’s the next month. Ah well, I’ve got a few things to mention today!

First off, last month I mentioned that I was extremely frustrated with the release of my first erotic fairy tale because public domain issues made it practically impossible to promote it in any way, shape, or form. It turns out that I was very wrong about this – not about the impossibility of promoting something that’s public domain, but about labeling my story as public domain in the first place.

It seems that when I saw the option for “Is this book public domain?” I completely misunderstood the concept. In my mind I was thinking, “I’ve written a story based on a pre-existing public domain story, so therefore my story is public domain,” but that’s not true. Your story is only public domain if the majority of the story is actually the original story; if the majority of your story is original, written by you, then it is not pubic domain. There are exact numbers, but the long and short of it is that if you write your own, original story that’s only based on a pre-existing one, it’s not public domain. By choosing to say that my story is public domain I was actually saying “I do not own the copyright for this story”, and that is why you’re not allowed to use the promotional tools or choose to earn the higher royalty option.

So I got that all straightened away and, yay! A few sales rolled in! And then stopped… ^_^; Okay, they haven’t stopped completely. One pops up here and there, and I see people reading pages on Kindle Unlimited as well, so that’s something. I haven’t worked out the exact numbers, but I’d say I earned about…$4 or so on this story in the past month. Which is more than I earned on “Nowhere to Hide” for about six months in a row, so there’s that.

Speaking of “Nowhere to Hide“, it got its makeover! After a minor bit of quibbling over the finer details, a major change to the back cover summary, and the addition of an author photo and mini-bio, we are live with the new look! And honestly, I could scarcely be happier. I love the new, more dynamic cover, I love the new summary, and I love the fact that my picture is now on the back. Unfortunately I haven’t actually seen a physical copy of the book myself yet (god, shipping between the US and Canada just gets slower and slower…), but one of my lovely YouTube buddies picked it up and told me it looks great, so I’m going to take his word for it. ^_^ 

So far the changes haven’t really translated into sales, except for the few that I got from a couple of my YouTube subscribers and friends, but that’s also partially because I’m having a hard time with the promotional side of things agan. I don’t want to just spam my Twitter and Facebook accounts over and over again, but I haven’t found many better options since most promo sites are paid and I’m not looking to spend any more money on this project at the moment. Any ideas, fellow writers?

Oh, and of course, if you’d like to check out for yourself, here it is!

Well, that’s it for me this month. Unfortunately I’m so ridiculously busy that I’m actually typing this up on my phone on the bus to work and it’s starting to burn my eyes, so I’m going to give them a break now. Cheers, fellow insecure writers!

Trials, Tribulations, and Zombies: An IWSG Post

IWSG badge

The past month was all over the place for me, as far as writing is concerned anyway. So let’s take these subjects one at a time and make our way through them in an orderly fashion. 🙂

First off, while commiserating to a fellow writer that sales of “Nowhere to Hide” are abysmal (and that’s an understatement), she suggested that I rewrite the book’s summary (which is pretty boring) and change the cover (which was created by me and is thus significantly less than professional). I’ve known that I should consider these changes for a while, but I’ve continuously put it off because this book was my baby, designed 100% by me from cover to cover, and so I was loathe to change anything about it. In mid-July, however, I changed my mind. Myself and my closest friends and family all have copies of the original version of the book, so why not now do what I can to present a better face to the average paying customer? With that in mind I recently rewrote the back-cover blurb, while a talented cover artist has been working on the new imagery for me. When I get home from work this time around my father is going to take a professional photo of me for the back cover, and then we’ll be off to the races. There’s no guarantee that this will help sales, of course, but I figure it’s worth a try.

Secondly, and speaking of zombies, I had a really shift of work at the beginning of July. Why is that important? Well, it inspired me to start something that I’ve been getting questions about since the first few people read “Nowhere to Hide“: a sequel. Okay, technically it’s not a sequel, exactly – it’s more of a companion story that takes place at the same time as the first one, but in a different part of the country with different characters. While the first book started out in suburbia and moved mostly through residential areas, this new one takes place mainly in an oil sands facility. Do you see where this is going? I’ll give you a hint: I work at an oil sands facility.

So, long story short: I don’t know how this new story – which I’ve tentatively named “Nowhere to Run” – will end up going anywhere, but for now it’s an extremely cathartic exercise. I plan to do a great deal of damage to my “fictional” site and work camp, and while several of my coworkers are bound to be heroes in one way or another, there are also a few people who are slated to meet an extremely messy end. Does that make me sound like a ghoul? Perhaps. But I justify it in saying, screw it! I’m writing, and that’s a good thing…right? Right.

Finally, if you read my previous IWSG post, you might be wondering about the release of the erotic fairy tale. For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been writing a series of short erotic fairy tales, partly just for the fun of trying something new and (extremely) different, but also partly for the curiosity of how such stories would sell as compared to the (again, abysmal) sales of my zombie novel. Last month I mentioned that I had officially self-published the first story in this erotic series under a psudonym, so the experiment was on.

Well I won’t say that the first month was a failure, but it definitely wasn’t a success either, due to some unforeseen road blocks in the promotional department. The main problem is that the story is obviously public domain, being based on a well-known fairy tale, and what I didn’t know was that this means it is not eligible for any of the Kindle/Amazon marketing and promotion options. I can’t do a free book promo, a Kindle Countdown Deal, or even purchase an ad package to promote the book in its category. So that right there pretty much destroyed my ability to get the story out there.

So now it had become a game of “how the hell do I let people know that this thing exists?” I started the only way I could think to: by setting up a Facebook and Twitter account for my pseudonym, and joining a bunch of groups and lists that allow self-advertising. While doing this I found two Facebook groups who specialize in sharing erotic and romance novels. I got each of those pages to share mine, and as a result I saw a whopping four sales over eight days…and that’s all there’s been so far.

Now, granted I haven’t spent much time marketing the story since then – I’ve kinda got a lot on my plate to be spending too much time on the internet pretending to be my pseudonym – but it is a little frustrating that the first release didn’t go as planned. My original intention had been to have a free book promo to get those download numbers going, and then release the second story to spark more interest, but now I feel that releasing the second one would be a bit pointless because no one even knows there’s a first one yet. I need a strategy that doesn’t rely on the usual methods of promotion, and I just don’t know exactly how I’m going to go about that yet…

***EDIT: Turns out I was wrong about this; see the comments if you’re interested in the details. 🙂

So that was my month for writing. A little bit of fun, a little bit of work, and a little bit of disappointment. I’m all over the place in a sea of emotions, and “insecure” is definitely one of them!

Let the Experiment Begin: An IWSG Post

IWSG badge

Hello, fellow writers. It’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group time, and this month I’m gonna talk about something equal parts amusing and uncomfortable.

Okay, so quick background in case this is your first time here: almost two years ago now I self-published my first novel, “Nowhere to Hide“. And while I am very proud of the book, and it’s gotten some great reviews from the few people who actually read it (*chuckle completely lacking in humor*) it hasn’t been a particularly successful release. There are a number of factors that contribute to this lack of success, but the fact of the matter is basically that people are not buying the book. End of story.

Now, for a while I’ve been making jokes to my husband and coworkers about how I’m going to quit my job (as a commissioning technician on the Alberta oil sands) and just start writing erotica. It’s a joke I’ve made when I’m having a bad day, or when really crappy stuff happens (like the huge pay cut we just took), but I’ve only really been half kidding this whole time.

Because, you see, a while back I read an article about how (supposedly) easy it is to make money from writing erotica, and it got me wondering if I could write a short erotic novel that is more successful than my zombie novel has been.

So during last year’s National Novel Writing Month I decided to give it a go. I chose a theme for my novella’s that was something I thought I could easily stick to – fairy tales – and I started jotting down ideas and scenes for different characters. Several months later and two nights ago, I compiled and uploaded the first in the series. It is now available on Amazon. @_@

Now, let’s get something straight right off the bat: this is not a good story. And while just the admission of that might make some of you cringe, I have to respond by asking if you’ve ever actually read any erotica? None of it is good. It’s designed to do the job, as it were, and half the time even the popular stuff isn’t so much as properly edited. So no, this story is never going to be a glowing mark on my writing career. As such, I decided to write it under a pseudonym, and I’m definitely not going to share the book link on my blog as a big shining beacon that says, “HEY! I WROTE THIS!”

Why, then, am I sharing this with you now? Well, I just thought you’d find it interesting, basically. 😀

So let the experiment begin! I definitely don’t expect anything substantial out of this little idea, but I’m interested to see what happens, and if nothing, it was pretty fun to write. XD

My New Favorite Toy (An IWSG Post)

IWSG badge
It’s time once again for a little bit of support among the insecure writers, so I want to start off this post by saying that it’s been a much calmer month that I’ve had in quite a while.

Last month for this post I announced that I was going to be cutting out the overwhelming majority of my blogging because, while I do believe that blogging is important for an author and her brand, I also believe that it’s quite pointless if it’s keeping you from, you know…writing. I’d gotten to a point where I was working, being a mom, being a wife, being a YouTuber, and writing blog posts…but not actually writing anything else because I couldn’t find the damn time. Now cutting out blogging hasn’t given me vast quantities of time with which to work with, but it has definitely helped because it’s just one less thing I have to worry about on a daily basis. Since cutting it out I’ve finished the beta-reader copy of my current manuscript (and got it sent off to my readers), gotten started on book two for that same series, and been working on a side project that I’m very interested in. My overall word count hasn’t spiked a great deal, but mostly that’s because working on the beta-reader manuscript didn’t contribute many new words. All in all, I feel it was a highly productive month compared to many others, and I’m happy with that.

But that’s not all I wanted to talk about today, because I also have a new “toy” that I wanted to share with my fellow writers because I think it’s something many of you would love to have. It’s a special notebook that was created through a Kickstarter that I funded a while back, known as the Rocketbook Wave.

There are two awesome things that I love about this notebook. First, it uses special dot-grid-design paper and a set of icons and a scan code at the bottom of each page to allow you to use your smartphone to quickly and easily scan your documents and send them right where you want them. Using the free app you assign each of the seven icons to wherever you want: your email account, a special folder in your Evernote, somewhere in your Google Docs, etc. Then you just point your phone at the page and it takes a hi-res photo of the document and shoots it off to whichever location you’ve chosen by placing an X over that icon. It’s a super quick and easy way to get your handwritten notes digitized, backed-up, and sent somewhere where you can retrieve them later when you need them. I absolutely LOVE it, because I love writing by hand, but I hate having to transcribe later by trying to type while staring at my notebook (seriously, I know at least some of you agree with me on this one…I’ve gotten so many cricks in my neck by staring sideways and down at the notebook while the rest of my body faces the laptop).

But the second feature might even be more awesome: the entire notebook is erasable. You place it in the microwave with a cup of water, nuke until the symbols on the cover turn white, and boom. Fresh pages. Mind you, you have to use the proper pens (but they’re an erasable brand that’s available at Walmart – Frixion) and the ink residue eventually does build up and thus the notebook wears out, but they say the average user should be able to easily get ten erasures, so I think the price of approximately $30 for an executive-sized notebook is pretty damn reasonable.

I’ve been having a blast with this thing since it arrived. I haven’t erased it yet, since I obviously won’t do that until it’s full, but I’ve scanned tons of documents and it never loses its charm, let me tell you.

So basically, long story short; if you want something that could make your writing life a lot simpler and more streamlined, I think this might be the item for you. I can definitely tell you that I’m in love with it. ^_^

Cheers, fellow writers!

This Blog is a Waste of Time (An IWSG Post)

IWSG badge
I’ve been thinking about this for quite a while now, and I thought that an Insecure Writers Support Group post was exactly the right place to finally bring it up. And believe it or not, though the title of the post might throw you off, this is not going to be an overly negative post.

Here’s the thing…when I started this blog, amongst other things it was a way for me to create an author “brand” for myself. I’d read so much about how important social media is to a writer, and I agreed, no two ways about it. I’ve seen the power of social media, so it only made sense for me to make this blog as a central point for the web of social media that would become TRACEY THE AUTHOR. I still think it makes sense. An author has to be seen as a person as well, someone that her readers can communicate with, someone within reach. I’m definitely not denying that fact in the slightest.

However, my life has changed a fair bit since I first started this blog, and it’s busy.

For one thing, I’ve been doing the “working out West” thing for a few years now, and that understandably takes up a massive amount of my time. Even though I only work for two weeks and then have two weeks off, you have to consider the whole picture of that… Those first two weeks are 14 days straight of 12-hour shifts sandwiched between half-hour bus rides and a desperation to try and get some sleep in a work camp whose walls are about as thick as a saltine cracker. The second two weeks are time off, sure, but they’re also spent desperately trying to get done all the things that I can’t do while I’m out West (in other words: they’re pretty damn full).

For another thing, somewhere along the line I got this silly idea to start making YouTube videos. I was just doing it for fun, here and there as I received my subscription boxes, but over time it became an entity in and of itself, something that also takes up a great deal of my time. I still do it for fun, I love it, and my husband has been an enormous help in taking some of the weight off my shoulders (via editing, creating thumbnails, etc.) but my output has also grown quite a bit, along with the need to engage viewers, so quite a large amount of my “free” time is spent recording (and sometimes re-recording) and juggling multiple tabs of social sites on which people are looking to talk to one of their favorite YouTubers.

There’s also the matter of family and quality time. While I’m on my days off from work I get my daughter ready for school every morning. When she comes home we do her homework together, and at the end of the night I read her a story, every night. We watch the new episodes of her favorite shows together, I help her beat hard stages of the games she loves, and I’m always sure to find time to spend on My Little Pony pool parties and Disney-Princesses-at-school games, because a girl needs her mommy as much as possible when she can’t have her for two weeks out of ever four. Similarly, when the kid is occupied or asleep, I spend time with my husband, watching our shows together, going shopping for geeky collectibles, and having as much fun together as we can cram into those days off before I have to return to work again.

And of course, these things don’t account for those day-to-day basics…cooking meals for my family, catching up on the news, running errands, occasionally doing a thing or two to try and keep myself something resembling healthy…

And if it seems like I’m rambling, I’m not, because what it all comes down to is this:

I hardly ever spend any time writing. I call myself a writer – and I am one, no doubt about it – but I spend very little actual time sitting down with a pen and paper or my laptop and just writing.

Of course, the thing about being a writer is that you have to force yourself to write. You can’t claim that you don’t have the time; you have to find the time. I’ve been thinking about this for quite a while, and since I began using a day-planner to keep track of my goals and day-t0-day nonsense, I’ve found that a pattern has emerged. That very little amount of time that I spend writing? It’s mostly spent writing posts for this blog. And that, to me, is a horrible waste of time.

Should I ever become a popular novelist there is no doubt that I should have a blog, along with a web of social media to promote myself and engage my readers. But for the time being, with one unsuccessful novel under my belt and a zillion other things eating up the overwhelming majority of my time, taking what little spare time I have and investing it into this blog is not only pointless, it’s stupid. What is the point in maintaining an online presence as an author if I never actually publish any new books because I never dedicate any time to my actual manuscripts?

And to be honest with you, especially given all the other stuff that’s on my plate that I’ve mentioned above, this blog has been mostly just an added stressor for quite a while now, and that’s a stressor I’m finally willing to cut free.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not going to delete the blog or anything, and I’m not going to abandon it completely. I’ll still put of “Flash Fiction Friday” posts when I’ve got something to share. I’ll still write IWSG posts and my monthly “Goals in Review” posts. And I’ll still share my YouTube videos (although I won’t accompany them with a post). But this will not be a dedicated part of my life any longer. I won’t sit at my computer and struggle for post ideas to make sure I have five posts per week. I won’t waste any more time writing half-assed posts about whatever topic I was able to drudge up just so that there will be something up on the page.

To be honest; I probably should have done this a long time ago. This blog was never as successful as I’d always hoped it would be. At the moment I have 443 followers, which is less than one person for every three days since I’ve opened the blog, and the majority of those people rarely ever engage the blog. I only get an average of 35 views per post. By comparison, my less-than-two-year-old YouTube channel has almost 1600 subscribers and each video gets hundreds, sometimes thousands of views. So again, I ask you, why do I spend so much of the precious-little spare time I have on this blog when I could be using that time to do what I actually love…writing novels?

So, again, long story short, this is the end of an era for No Page Left Blank. There will be a (mostly) guaranteed two posts per month for IWSG and my Goals, and there will be a smattering of videos and flash fiction as I see fit, and other than that I’ll only be posting when I actually feel I’ve got a reason to post.

That feeling that I’m feeling right now? That’s called liberation.

For those of you who read my blog regularly, I do apologize, and I hope you’ll still stick around for what will pop up every so often, but I imagine most of you understand what I’m going for here: it’s time to finally put the focus on my novels instead of the superfluous stuff that currently has little point or impact in my life.

So without further ado, it’s time to sign off for now, open up Scrivener, and get down to what I’ve been failing to do for countless months now: write some damn novels.

Time Is(n’t) On Our Side Now (An IWSG Post)

IWSG badge

Writers often enough complain about how “real life” is cutting into their writing time. We lament that such things as day jobs take up all our free time, make us tired, make us miserable, and just generally make us unable or unwilling to take the time to sit down and write.

But what about when good things interrupt your writing time? What about the other things that are big, important parts of your life that make you happy but also happen to dramatically lessen the time you have available to write?

I currently find myself wedged in between both problems. I’ve spoken time and again about how my job’s strange schedule (fourteen 12-hour days enveloped in two days of all-day travel, followed by twelve days at home before repeating) makes it very difficult to find time to write, but there are also several much more enjoyable things that tend to take precedent.

For one thing, there’s my awesome little kid. I only get those twelve days home out of every twenty-eight-day period to spend time with her, so I do my best to spend lots of time reading, playing board games, baking, and whatever else she wants to do at any given time. It only makes sense. I miss her when I’m away, and she wants to cram in as much time with me as possible when she’s got me. Ditto for my husband, who spends half of every month waiting for me to come home so we can watch our shows and spend some time together.

For another thing, there’s my YouTube channel. It’s not the most important thing in my life, but it has definitely grown into this thing that I enjoy a lot, and although I’ve recently started letting my husband help out with things like editing videos, there’s still a heck of a lot of time that goes into it. One 15-minute video can easily take almost an hour to film, and I’ve got to film as many of them as I can in those twelve days at home  because I certainly can’t drag my Pops and subscription boxes out to Alberta with me.

And of course, there’s all the little things too…my monthly massage (NEEDED, thank you very much), my hot baths (the only real time I ever get to myself), video games (although they’re hard to squeeze in too), and all the other little things that make me happy and keep me from basically losing my mind at any given time.

These are all good things, mind you – things that make my life awesome, make my world enjoyable. But, they’re also things that, by necessity, tend to come before writing.

Many writers would say that I’m doing something wrong, that if I’m serious about being a writer, writing has to come first. Writing before everything. Get your butt out of bed at 3 am if you have to, and write at least 2000 words before even thinking about doing anything else.

To that I say: yeah, I’m a writer, and I am serious about it, but I’m also a mom, wife, instrumentation technician, YouTuber, and human being, so take that attitude and shove it.

I love writing, and I’ll never stop writing, but the real world – both the good bits and the bad bits – don’t always cooperate. I work around it, scribble out words in a notepad at work, pluck out blog posts on the airplane, write a few paragraphs of fiction in between forkfuls of supper…it’s not ideal, but it’s what I can manage right now.

Maybe someday I’ll come up with a better system. Maybe I’ll learn how to subsist on four hours of sleep per night. Maybe I’ll master the art of psychically transferring my thoughts to a Word file for later revision. Either way, I’ll keep pushing forward because I am all of the things I listed above – including a writer – and I refuse to give any of those identities up any time soon.

The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: An IWSG Post

IWSG badge

Usually, during Insecure Writers Support Group day I tend to try to give advice or hope, to tell my fellow writers that we’ve got to keep moving forward, keep writing, always writing. And none of that is any less true this month, but I feel like going in a bit of a different direction this time around. I feel like whining (just a little, I promise).

If you read my “goals in review” post earlier this week you’ll know that my writing goal didn’t work out all that badly for January. I wrote an average of over 600 words per day, which is pretty damn acceptable, especially considering my work situation and the fact that I spent a decent chunk of the month sick as a dog. However, I was still quite disappointed in my performance for January, and the reason is that I never once touched my actual novel. No, none of those words I wrote had anything to do with an actual manuscript of any kind.

I’m disappointed in myself for a number of reasons, but the big problem here, I believe, is that I’ve grown a little disenchanted with my novel.

If you don’t know, what I’ve been (not) working on is a four-part young adult fantasy series. I am approximately 90% finished with the first draft of the first book and have been there for something like five months now. I desperately want to get this thing finished, to pass it off onto my beta-reader and move on to book two, but somehow I just can’t seem to force myself to do it. I tell myself, day after day, “Sit down and finish that damn story”, but it never happens. There’s always an excuse, something else to do, something else to focus on…or I just curl up in bed and refuse to move. That’s actually probably the most common result.

It’s not that I no longer want to write the story…in fact, technically I’ve been writing this story for years, although it’s only recently that I decided to make it a short series. The real problem, I think, is the scope. “Nowhere to Hide” took almost three years, all total, to go from idea to available-for-sale. At that same rate of accomplishment, my current project won’t be finished until approximately 2028. That’s not to say that I couldn’t write these books faster, but there’s only so fast you can go without sacrificing quality, especially when you have a demanding day job and other projects that you’re not willing to give up. And so I imagine that my daughter will be graduating high school before I have the entire series done, and thinking about that exhausts me. Thus, I don’t write, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy because I’m wasting even more time and pushing the end-game further back.

Even I can see that this is extremely stupid. And yet, here we are.

So I guess, what I’m looking for here is a bit of commiseration from my fellow writers. What do you do when you become disenchanted with your story, but you still do actually want to complete it? Any tips for me? I could definitely use them right now because I’ll be super-frustrated with myself if I go an entire month again without contributing anything to this project. >.<