The only thing to fear is fear itself?

So, with my depression and anxiety, I have done a lot of reading and therapy and what not and part of the stuff I’ve learned is that you have to know what you’re feeling and then try to figure out why.

And that doesn’t make the feelings go away, but sometimes you get insight or figure out what to work on.

And, as previously mentioned, I’m trying to regularly work on Book 6 and as I was doing so, I found I was just…. IDK, dreading sitting at the keyboard. After a few days of dread (where I did manage to write), I decided it was time to try and ‘sit’ with this feeling. Mostly, I dread a thing and then do the thing and then PEACE OUT BITCHES and that gets me nowhere. You actually have to feel the feels and think about them.

Which can be yucky. I don’t mean to make light of it or make it sound like I’m dismissing it. I genuinely find it yucky and I don’t like to do it. But figuring the feels out does work.

So, why so much dread? why the sick feeling in my tummy when I think about going to write?

After looking at the handy emotion wheel, (which I highly recommend), I started to suspect it was fear I was feeling/dreading.

Emotion Wheel

But I wasn’t sure WHAT I was afraid of. So I sat with that for a while and then I finally figured out that I was afraid I would sit down and the words wouldn’t come. I was afraid even though I’m trying to write book 6, that book 6 is unwriteable and I will sit there and slowly watch myself fail at this task.

And…. that was scary and I don’t like feeling it, but okay, now at least I know what I’m working with.

I’ve been trying to sit with the thought that…. THAT MIGHT BE TRUE. I might sit down and the words may not come and it may all be a big, slow, slog to dismal failure.

And that will not kill me. *takes a deep breath*. It will SUCK and I will not like it if that happens, but it will not kill me.

And of course, on the other end of the spectrum is I keep working at it and I DO FINISH Book 6! So…. there’s that out there too.

Now, for those of you that do this kind of review of your feels, you know the drill – this doesn’t make them magically go away. I’m not suddenly UNAFRAID OF THE FAILURE. but now I can name it and recognize it and DO THE WORK ANYWAY. Whereas before I would just…. IDK, classically avoid those feelings by avoiding the writing.

So, I’m still going with the writing, and it’s slow. But it’s going!

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Weekly Check-in Thingy

I’m back for my weekly-ish check-in. Still hanging in there and getting my writing done 6 out of 7 days this week, which I feel pretty good about. I’m done editing what I had already written and now working on new stuff for Book 6. Some days, my word count doesn’t appear like it’s made my 250 goal, but that’s because I’m deleting stuff that wasn’t working as I go. I may end up writing 500 words, but deleting 300 of what I previously had. So, my actual NET word count is below the 250 goal, but I’m still happy with my progress.

Current total word count for book 6 is about 49,000 ish words. I solved one problem I was having with the ‘vibe’ of the book by changing a thing, but then that introduced another problem (isn’t that always the way), but I think I’ve got that sorted out too!

Vague writer is vague. I like to talk about it, but don’t want to risk spoilers.

Haven’t worked on my fanfic project this week although I think I’ll tackle that a bit tonight. I’ve got book 6’s words done for the day on my lunch break from day-job, so I can potentially look at my fanfic project tonight. There are no goals on that fanfic (no fest/posting date set) so it doesn’t matter if it never gets done.

And that’s the tea for this week.

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Working away….

Again, trying to post more regularly to keep the momentum going. I’ve been working on book 6 as discussed and it’s slow going, but it’s at least going. I have a very small and modest goal of 250 words a day and I managed that 6/7 days this week, so I’m happy with that! I’m editing my way through what I’ve already written and was mostly making minor changes, but now I’ve reached the last two scenes and have to clean some stuff up so that I can go forward.

MILD SPOILER ALERTS – Jump to the ******** to avoid

So, I had Lily going away in this book but then SOMETHING HAPPENED And she had to come back and that felt really… annoying? IDK what the word is. It’s like, why set her up to go away if she’s just going to turn around and come back, so she’s not going away, she’s at the Coven now, except I wrote two scenes with her NOT THERE, and I have to update/change that because she very much WOULD BE THERE for Jade.

****** End of mild spoiler.

Non-spoiler random chit chat – I always want to keep the Lily-Jade relationship close. I feel like women have relationships, close ones, with their family, their friends and sometimes in books I don’t see that. I see a lead female character that has no close female friends and it bothers me. I have a lot of great friends (SHOUT OUT TO THE SQUEE GANG and my other PEEPS) and we lean on each other and while it may not always be an exciting scene or a page-turner when you go to your friends/family for comfort, it’s REAL.

And if you don’t have that, I think you still might like to see it happen to know it’s out there, and maybe live vicariously off that comfort.

I don’t mean to be unnecessarily ‘gendered’ about that either – PEOPLE have non-romantic relationships that are very important in their life, and I want to see that in books/fiction. It’s just that to me it’s also special that it’s a close relationship between two women.

So, yeah, that’s how it’s going. I’m going to keep plugging away to meet (or exceed) my daily word count goal. This week, I’ll be wrapping up the editing on what I’ve already written and plunging into new writing.

To help me have projects to rotate, I’m also picking away at a fanfic (I think I’ve mentioned before that I have written and still do write it – and no you can’t have my fandom name ;)). Fanfic is just fun. I can re-write the same story over and over and over again making only minor variations. ALL THE TROPES!! ALL THE CLICHES!!

I have a fandom fanfic bingo card, where you have a bunch of tropes and you try to write for each square to get a bingo and my brain is like BUT WHAT IF I PUT THEM ALL INTO ONE STORY??? lol, can you imagine?

That’s it for now!

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Book 6 – more detailed update

In an effort to maintain accountability, I thought I’d pop in and put up some notes on where Book 6 is and what’s happening.

So, way back in, like, 2018? 2017? IDEK anymore, I had written a large chunk and book 6 was sitting at about 48000 words. And then, I didn’t know where it was going or how to get where I wanted it to go. I had my high-level plot point, but didn’t quite know how to get there.

As an example, for book 5, I knew there would be a forest fire and Jade would battle it and SOMETHING would happen where she would be in over her head and she’d have to have THIS MOMENT OF TRUST AND SURRENDER with Paris.

And that’s usually how deep into WHAT WILL HAPPEN that I know for my books. I usually have a high-level idea of what I want to have happen, and then how I get there (or rather, how Jade gets there) is as much of a mystery to me as anyone!

so, I had my beginning clearly written – 48000 words, which isn’t anything to sneeze at.

But then… like my brain gets in the way sometimes. Do you have those moments? where things are okay but then your brain is like OH HEY, LET ME HELP YOU and you’re like no, no Brain, I got this, no help needed, and Brain is like NO REALLY LET ME HELP. I AM A GOOD HELPER. But then Brain busts in and is not, in fact, a good helper. At all.

What do I mean by this? Well, I have always read books/articles/whatever on writing as I do want to grow as a writer, and I feel like I started paying too much attention to them. There’s all this advice out there about how by the time you are ‘this far’ into your story, you should have done all these things and have all these plot points set up. Or “Here is the list of all the plot points that must happen in your story.”

And I was like, oh shit, I’m at 48000 words and THE BIG THING I need to have happen (to kick off all the ‘stuff’) has JUST HAPPENED and if that’s supposed to happen in the first quarter of the book, then is this book going to be 200,000 words long? WHAT THE FUCK? I can’t write that. And if I go by this list of the 10 plot points I need to have, I don’t have plot point 2 and 4! THIS IS DISASTROUS.

Then depression and anxiety and yadda yadda – we had a whole post on that so I won’t go into it again. Then more depression, more anxiety. ETC.

So, where does that leave me now for Book 6? Well, now that I’m back writing, I’ve started by going back over what I’ve written and editing/re-viewing. It’s how I get back into the vibe I had for a book, or figure out if I even have a vibe yet.

And there’s stuff I can cut. I had an entire sub plot thing happening with Lily getting her own familiar that is NOT RELEVANT and not necessary so I cut that out. SORRY, LILY – maybe you and your familiar will get a short story.

I also realized I had a thing I needed to change. Hopefully this isn’t spolier-y, but there’s a moment in book 6 where a THING HAPPENS and rest of the Coven supports Jade and I realized…. Sorry, Jade, that doesn’t get to happen for you. You feel like an outsider and you still kind of are one, so #sorrynotsorry, your warm fuzzy moment has to go and they still won’t like you.

I feel a lot better about how that vibe is going to play out in the book.

As for the plotty mc-plotterson stuff I was discussing above – after long consideration, I decided I don’t, or rather I can‘t, care about general writing advice for how far along I need to be in my plot, or the order in which things have to happen, or even what a word count should be. I love the fact that people like my books, but I also write them for me. So, if I like the story I’m writing, then I’m happy. That may mean it’s not well-structured or wouldn’t get me a passing grade in a class on writing, lol. But I’ll be happy.

With that self-imposed pressure ‘released into the ether’ I’m just going to focus on writing the story I want to write and I hope that people like it when it’s done.

All right, internets! Take care and stay safe out there!

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I don’t even know what to say?

As advertised, I’m not even sure what to say. It’s been well over a year, nearly two, since I last posted on this blog and I wish I had ground breaking news or something earth shattering to report, but I don’t.

As I’ve posted about before, I struggle with depression and anxiety and it’s been a long slog. If I look back, I can sort of pinpoint the end of 2015 where things started to take a slide down the well and since then it’s just been about riding that slide. If you suffer from (or have suffered from) depression or anxiety in the past, you know what I mean. If you haven’t, then I really hope you never do.

I get anxious talking about it in a public forum, like the interwebs, or even in any public space as I’m well aware I may not ‘look depressed.’ And also, there’s still a lot of stigma associated with mental illnesses. I try to speak up when I’m able because I think it’s important to be the change you want to see in the world.

There was a tweet I saw on tumblr that accurately summed up 2015-till about now.

the truth about depression

And wow. That was me (and apparently a lot of people based on the likes and retweets).

I don’t know how to explain if you haven’t been there what it’s like to have that be your life – going to work and doing well and then coming home and just… existing until it’s tomorrow and do it all over again. I dreaded people asking me what I did the night before or on the weekend. You can’t answser it honestly. Not to the general public. like Hyperbole and a half once alluded to in a post, it would then put you in the awkward position of having to comfort someone else about your feelings.

comforting others is hard when you have no spoons

So, that was me for a long, long 5 years. In April of 2018, I started seeing a new doctor and we cycled through some medication and if you’ve ever done that, you know it’s a gross slog of trying stuff out and waiting to see if it helps all while you ask yourself “Okay I’m still miserable, but am I less miserable than I was before? Or is this the same amount of miserableness?”

And then last January, I found myself a therapist again to talk through some of my ~issues. I ended up BACK on the same meds I was on before, but this time they seemed to be working and things started looking up. But I was still struggling with writing and I said to my therapist, I just don’t know why that is. She mentioned something like that getting better isn’t just a switch you flip. I was doing not-great and now I’m doing better and so all the stuff that I can do when I am better should suddenly just come back.

And I get that. I do. But it’s still kind of shitty because I had just foolishly assumed that PRESTO CHANGE-O HERE WOULD BE MY WRITING MOJO AND ALL WOULD BE WELL. it would be two thousand words a day and they would all be glorious and not need editing.

Um. No.

I’ve spent so long not writing that I’ve romanticized how it is for me. It is work and not usually easy, but it’s something I enjoy.

So I’ve started back up. I’m going to do a separate post on where exactly book 6 is sitting but I am back at it, and I plan to finish it. If you are looking for more details on that, I’ll have a post up soon.

I thank anyone and everyone that messaged me or left a comment, even if I didn’t (couldn’t) answer. Your interest in my writing means a lot to me. Sometimes my anxiety gets bad and I struggle with even answering a comment, so for all the times a Thank You has gone unsaid, Thank you.

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Book 6 – update

*cough cough* Is this thing on *taps mic*

Soooooo, long time no post? Honestly, I don’t know where time goes. It’s like it all gets sucked into some weird vortex called OH YEAH REAL LIFE.

So I’m still here! and still writing! But as you may have noticed, I’m woefully behind on book 6! If I followed my normal timeline, book six should have been out in June 2018. Well. that didn’t happen. I had renovations and a job change and just…. it didn’t happen.

I’m aiming for June 2019, but may fall a little behind that schedule too. I’m about 45000 into book 6 and I think I’m about a third done. I think. lol. So it’s going to be longer than I originally projected (90000).

But I wanted to drop a quick line and say I’m still here! and still working on it!


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HalCon and traveling as an introvert with social anxiety!

YOU GUYS!

I’m in Halifax for HalCon!

I’m super excited to be here! I’ll be speaking at three panels and have some book signings (gulp).

My schedule is:

Friday, September 22
Saturday, September 23
1:00pm – Women in Media
Sunday, September 24
12:00pm – Margarita Gakis Signing
1:45pm – Author Writing Tips

 

As I said, I’m really excited but also nervous. I’m an introvert with social anxiety – how can I not be nervous? Strangely, I have no fear of public speaking, but the one-on-one nature of signings and me sitting at a table is what has me freaked out! Most people who meet me are surprised I have anxiety because I socialize well. as I’ve said. I’m not an ogre. Like, I know how to do it. It just makes me nervous. And takes a lot of self pep talks to get me going places.

Because I get anxious, when I travel, I try to make it about little victories. Did I get out of the hotel room? Was I able to find coffee? Did I actually interact with people? Last night, I made it to the hotel pub for dinner – GRILLED CHEESE WITH BACON COMPOTE – like, you had me at bacon and cheese, y’all.

This morning, I went out in search of caffeine .I love how the FIRST and BIGGEST thing on this sign is the Timmy’s. I found it and used my HAL-CON COFFEE SLEEVE!
 YES THAT’S THE SLEEVE I GOT IN MY SWAG BAG (okay, yeah, I’m just caps locking everything now.)
My swag bag also had candy from Freak Lunchbox, and of course I had to go to a place with that name. It’s a candy shoppe!
 And I walked down by the waterfront.
I’m getting ready for my first panel this afternoon at 4.45. i was going to go to the convention center right now, but I got scared and it’s still early, so I’m blogging instead. #hidingout, #Ididgetoutalreadythough, #Idon’tfeeltoobad
Wish me luck!
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Show me your teeth

You guys.

YOU GUYS.

Ugh. I have had a number of root canals over the years. I try to take care of my teeth, but this is just the way they are. I don’t remember how many i’ve actually had, but I just had another and it was the THIRD ONE where the freezing wouldn’t take all the way.  Jesus take the wheel.

I’m no tough girl when it comes to pain. If something hurts, I want it to stop. And tooth pain? *shudder* THE WORST. Any kind of nerve pain brings me to my knees.

All that to say, I’ve had a lot of therapy in my life due to my mental issues, and that shit comes in handy. I’m able to breathe, self-talk and work my way through stuff. And also, I don’t blame the dental personnel for the problem. They are tryign to help me, and don’t want to hurt me, but may have to in order to make me feel better. My options were:

1: Wait another half hour for the freezing. At that point, it had been two hours and I’m like, BRO (YOUNG BRO – so YOUNG!! omg, I’m older than all my dentists now), half an hour ain’t gonna help.

2: Send me home with more antibiotics and hope they help whatever is happening and I can come back and it will work. Oh, young dentist. Bless your heart. You don’t realize this is my third go-round with freezing that won’t work.

Option 3 – just go in, do the work and hope for the best.

At that point it had been two hours of trying to freeze me and about 8-12 needles to the mouth. I lost count. I saw no other option than 3 – let’s GET ‘ER DONE. I said, I don’t think this will get better. I think option 3 sucks, but we gotta do it. and then it will get better. (me internally crying.).

This dude was trying so hard to be positive, but he knew it woudl suck too. He tried to give me a pep talk before he started. He was like, “Okay, so we’re going to go in and hopefully this will be…..”

He trailed off and I could tell he was coming up blank, not sure how to reassure me for something he knew would hurt and be unpleasant.

“QUICK,” I blurted. “THE WORD YOU’RE LOOKING FOR IS QUICK.”

He  gave me a nervous smile and said, “Yes. I hope this will be quick.”

He was – they were all super nice to me and efficient and though it was hella unpleasant, they did good work.

I *think* I’m on the mend now. My lower jaw is pretty fucking unhappy with me and sore, but BETTER. I CAN THINK NOW. I CAN PROCESS INFORMATION.

For those of you that struggle with chronic pain – you are far stronger and tougher people than I am. I pray for and salute you.

 

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The Problem with Past Tense

My dad died in 2006. Death is a strange thing. It’s not like you stop missing someone, but you get used to it. I don’t think you get over it. I think you just learn to accept it. Dad is no longer here. It sucks. it will continue to suck, but it’s the way it is.

Today my mum and I had to re-add me to the safety deposit box because the bank ‘lost’ part of my access. DON’T GET ME STARTED – THIS BANK, MY GOD. IT’S NOT LIKE MY MUM HAS BEEN A CLIENT FOR FORTY YEARS OR SOMETHING. Anyway, we have to review the list of people for the safety deposit box. Guess what? My dad is still on the list. We said, you know, we removed him when he died. He shouldn’t be on the list. You should take him off the list. He’s dead.

The bank dude was like, “UMMMM, I can’t take people off the list without my manager *anxious shifty eyes*.”

We went back and forth for a few minutes, and I finally said, “well leave him on the list, I guess it’s not like he’ll be dropping by to access the box!” My mum laughed and agreed, “Yeah, it’s not like he’ll stop by!” We chuckled, but the young bank teller was visibly uncomfortable.

But, I have a problem with the past tense sometimes. It doesn’t always come up. I’m okay saying “My dad used to own a restaurant” – he sold it before he died. I can also say, ” My dad read Louis l’Amour books.” He did. Or, “My dad tried to garden but never had the time.”

Strangely, I struggle with, “My dad was Greek.”

I know this may seem odd, but it’s like when I say he WAS Greek that he’s no longer Greek or he lost his ‘greekness’ when he died. But he is Greek. He’ll always be Greek. Canadian too! But how else do I say it? He’s “Dead but Still Greek”?

I feel like I need a tense in between past and present.

Death, man. It’s weird even after millions of years of evolution.

 

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