Tuesday, January 19, 2016

January Update: Seasonal Depression and Changing Goals

While I've only been regularly updating for the whole last year, the one reoccurring theme over the last five years this blog has existed is my eternal struggle with winter. I've finally admitted to myself that I suffer from pretty acute SAD (seasonal affective disorder). The dark, cold months at the beginning of the year send me to an even darker place inside of me. Half the time I don't even realize I'm there. One of the biggest challenges with this mood downturn is it affects my motivation, not only for day-to-day things like chores, but fun stuff like hanging out with friends and writing.

The first week of January was lost to this mood, until one of my good friends checked in on me, and the rest of my friends helped dig me out. I'm doing better now, although I'm still fighting with a cold, hoping it doesn't turn sinus infection.

In the midst of this low mood, I dug into Monsters of Lawrence, as I had planned to do this January. That first day was terrible. I skimmed through the first paragraph of the first twenty or so chapters, and was shocked and sickened by how mundane and downright poorly written it was in so many places. This is not a novel that showcases my writing talent. So during that day, I almost quit. This novel needed so much more than the quick cleanup job I thought it needed.

However, the next day, I tore into it. Ok, so it needs more work than I expected. I know what it needs, at least. With my sharpened editorial skills I've honed over the last two years, I began intensive surgery. I cut apart chapters, I spliced chapters together, I breathed new life into dead scenes and sentences, all the while working to implement the changes I had discussed with my beta readers.

I've been working on it nearly every day for the last week now. It's slow going, folks. But, I already feel a thousand times more confident about it. It's still a mess. I compared it to cleaning a closet: you have to pull everything out, creating a gigantic, disorganized mess before you can start to put things back in a more organized, logical way. It will take at least another pass once I'm done tearing this draft apart to clean up any scars I've left, make sure I didn't leave any surgical implements inside the body. But it should be better, faster, stronger when I'm done rebuilding. The bones are good. Most of the second half of the book only needs minor adjustments.

In light of this project, though, I got to thinking about my collection. The little collection that could. My sad attempt to be part of the cool kids table at Conquest. It's not meant to be, friends. I examined my reasons for wanting to put it together, and the work doesn't justify the end result. So, for now, I will continue to write short stories each month for the Cafe, and maybe someday, once I have a novel or two published and some fans who like me, I'll self-publish a collection.

The only thing I lament after coming to this decision is that it will be that much longer until my gorgeous cover sees the light of day. So I am sharing it here, so at least it is out there. Enjoy, friends. You saw it here first.

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