I think I hate you, Mercury.

I feel like I owe everyone an apology, partially for a sort of absence on here and mostly due to how long it’s been taking me to get back with . . . everyone. I wonder if there will ever be a point in time where it doesn’t take me such ridiculously long stretches to get back with people consistently.

Yeah, probably not.

I guess I just need to accept that. I mentioned in the last post that my husband always tells me, “You’re only one person.” Obviously I hear that when I get stressed about one thing or another with work, at least when I’m stressing to the point where I tell him about it. Honestly? I hear that at least once a week. Seems like every time I do one thing, there’s this little voice telling me I should be doing something else. (Sometimes it’s not little in the slightest.) ‘It’s taken you over three hours to write this email. Don’t you know you have book stuff to be doing?’ (It happens.) ‘You’re writing right now? Don’t you know you have a pile of things you need to respond to? These people are going to think you’re a major a-hole.’

Lately it’s been, ‘You’re not doing anything productive? Don’t you know you have this massive pile of things that need doing? I mean, really. Aren’t you aware?’

I’ve been in a slump for about three weeks now, the sort of slump that I absolutely hate. I can usually get stuff done in some regard no matter how I’m feeling. The last few weeks? Nope.

I blamed it on the bad feels from the piracy garbage for about two and a half of those weeks. I’d tried to write afterward (because that almost always makes me feel better), and it just wasn’t working. It felt like I’d been sapped of about 94% of my energy stores. I also blamed it on the new scheduling and being awake (mostly) during the day. (My brain doesn’t function as well when it’s light outside. No joke.) I blamed it on the stress of upcoming releases and scrambling trying to get stuff done. But whatever I was feeling went beyond all that. Usually, no matter what is going on, I can and will find something to do. I just haven’t wanted to. (Not that I haven’t done anything at all, but nowhere near as much as I should have.)

So I was at the beginning of writing up this post, sitting here thinking about how there had to be some sort of reasoning for the sapping-feeling. (At least when it has lasted this long.) I thought about SAD yesterday, but fall isn’t depressing for me. Fall and winter have been great for me (writing-wise) in the past. I’m excited about fall and winter. (Besides, I’ve seen more sun in the last month than I did in all of spring and summer combined, I think.) I’ve worried more than once that I was having another repeat of whatever in the world was going on with me back in the summer, where I spent waaaaay too long so far down in something negative that I was concerned I’d somehow had some major personality shift or something. But this has been more a lack of energy/drive than legitimate down feelings.

For amusement, I looked up if Mercury was in retrograde again. You know what? IT IS. And WHEN did it start?

Three weeks ago.

Initially, I laughed the ‘Mercury in retrograde’ stuff off. I posted about it, mostly to be funny (and because I thought it was strange). I’m starting to wonder if it actually does make a difference, at least with me. I just think it’s weird that this feeling started at the beginning of it and has lasted the whole way through it, YET AGAIN.

The good news?

It supposedly ends tomorrow. I would say that if I miraculously feel closer to 100% tomorrow, then I’d be set on it. But if that happens, I’ll probably go with it being a mental thing. I’d imagine I’m going to spend the rest of the day thinking that things are going to get better tomorrow, which will (possibly) in turn make things better tomorrow. (At least where my headspace is concerned.)

To be honest though, just potentially seeing a light at the end of this tunnel does make me feel better. I miss being at 100% and having the feeling that I actually accomplished stuff.

Like I said, I haven’t been completely idle. Things are still moving along with the cover for the first in the trilogy. The front cover is almost complete (just needs the font). The back (cover) is on hold at the moment because I haven’t finished writing the blurb for it. I’m really so horrible at blurbs. I have been super excited about that. (The cover, not the blurb-writing.) And things are still looking good for me to hit the projected release date for it in December. So all that is really great. Obviously I’m still worried that something is going to happen to prevent that. I’m always ‘looking up and waiting for the sky to fall’ . . .

I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

Anyway, I hope everyone has been doing fantastically, and I really hope that whatever is going on with me hasn’t been messing with any of you. I’m really starting to think that Mercury is a major a-hole.

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Updates after an unplanned absence . . .

So, I’ve been completely absent for nearly a month now. I need to apologize for that.

(I’m sorry!)

It wasn’t planned. I wish I could blame Mercury being in retrograde again, but it is right now and honestly when it started is around the time I started getting everything straightened out. That would’ve made sense (or as much sense as Mercury in retrograde actually makes) as to what was going on with me several weeks ago. I don’t have the excuse.

Do you ever have one of those days where you’re just . . . bleh about everything? Of course you do. We all do.

I had a little more than a week of that. I don’t know what was up with it, but I seriously couldn’t force myself to do much of anything. I worked a little here and there, and just wasn’t feeling it no matter what I tried to work on. Wrote up a few blog posts during that time. Didn’t post them. Then I gave up and just played Skyrim until I felt a little more like myself. I take that back. I played Skyrim until I reached the point of, “I need to work regardless of how I feel. I’ve got too much s*** to do.” Then I worked until I felt more like myself.

I do have my theories to explain the weirdness. I think I was (and still am) overwhelmed. I was bogged down by not just trying to get this second book ready, but trying to get OTHER books ready (so I can eventually focus more attention on new things), also trying to work on new things, all the while trying to figure out how in the world to balance social stuff (at least the internet-sort). I’m used to working a lot (all the time) and prefer it that way, but I think I just hit some weird sort of breaking point that stole absolutely every bit of my motivation/drive. I did NOT like it. I’m used to being stoked to get out of bed every day so I can get to work.

There were also a few road blocks to getting book 2 ready, which left me kind of fumbling around not knowing what to do or what to say to anyone. So I stayed off everything until I would have something a bit more definitive to say.

Let’s see . . .

I have to delay book 2 a bit. Not long, but I was hoping to have it out within the next few days (with my projection). Not going to hit that projection. I don’t have a more set day yet, but I should be able to give everyone an update within a week or so. (*fingers crossed*)

I should have an update about the cover within the week as well. All I can say there is that it’s in the works.

I did (most of) another run-through of the trilogy. I’m currently part of the way through the last book, RIGHT AT the part where the time line flub starts. I wanted to be able to tell everyone I’d finally gotten that fixed, but I can’t because I haven’t.

I did some writing here and there on a few different things. The standalone short story that goes along with the Reave series, and also the ‘spin-off’ (of sorts). I actually got quite a lot done on the former of those.

Book 3 of the Reave Series is already in the hands of a beta-reader and has been for a couple weeks now. I’m really happy to report that people are liking the second book more than the first (LIKE ME!). I’m even happier to say that, last time I checked, my beta-reader was liking the third book even more than the second. (YAAAAAY! That’s SUCH a relief.)

Said beta-reader gave me cupcakes in exchange for B3, so I wasn’t joking before about taking bribes in all forms of cake. Not really. I was going to give her that one anyway, but I do love all forms of cake. By the way, THEY WERE THE MOST DELICIOUS CUPCAKES EVER. Not joking there, or exaggerating.

I passed on an opportunity to go back to Florida with my sister. I’ve been upset about that. I wanted to go, but there’s just TOO MUCH going on right now and I couldn’t justify being gone for ten days. Sad face.

I’ve been going back and forth about whether to release the third book in the Reave Series after the second, or to release the first in the trilogy. I haven’t decided yet. I’ve been wobbling about that for a few months now, but I’m leaning more toward first in the trilogy. That will all depend on a few variables, and I’ll keep you all updated either way.

Let’s see . . .

I went through books 3 & 4 in the RS as well during all this time. I didn’t print them out due to how few changes I made on book 2 the last run-through. Couldn’t justify ‘wasting’ money on the ink . . .

It gave me migraines. I hate going through books on screens, for so many reasons. I probably won’t do that again, ink costs or not. I really don’t know how people can use e-readers. >.< Well, I do know, but I just can’t do the ‘screen’ thing. I digress . . .

I think that’s really about it.

I just need to get my What’s in the works? page updated now to reflect all this and whatnot.

I’ll try to be on here a little more often. There will be a few days (hopefully soon) that I won’t be able to, due to busyness with B2, but I will definitely say something on here before that. I hope nobody else was bitten by the zero-motivation bug. That was seriously one of the worst things ever for me. I hope it never finds me again.

Mercury In Retrograde?

I’ll admit I’d never even heard of that until recently, on some episode of a TV show that I can’t remember (horrible memory). I want to say it was The Big Bang Theory, but I could totally be wrong about that. While I’ll admit I find that sort of stuff interesting and used to check horoscopes often when I was younger, I’ve never really legitimately put stock in it. It was more, “Oh, wow. That describes me almost perfectly.” (If you look up the description of a Taurus? Yep, that’s me.) Or, “I had a day like that today. That’s kind of cool.”

Obviously I’ve been taking my break for a few weeks now, since the day after Mercury went into retrograde, apparently. And it’s a bit funny thinking about it now that I read an article an hour or so ago that said it is no longer IN retrograde. Or something. I could’ve read it wrong. I wasn’t paying too much attention.

I’d been feeling extremely overwhelmed in the week or so before that break began, partially due to making such little leeway with my workload and partially due to a personal issue that came up out of nowhere and seemed to push me over some cliff of partial insanity. So that day or so before I started the break, I really did feel insane and honestly just horrible. (If you couldn’t tell the ‘horrible’ by the tone of the last entry . . .)

Why the Mercury thing is so funny is because of the way the break went/has gone/whatever. I got a lot accomplished during that time, I suppose. I finished up this run-through of Book 4 in the Reave series, inputting changes included. That meant I FINALLY could start working on something else until Book 2 is closer to release.

I can’t tell you how unbelievably STOKED I was to be able to write, especially while on a break where everyone knew I wouldn’t be posting things, etc. That would give me DAYS of work-time where I didn’t have to do ANYTHING ELSE. I was stoked.

I did have a bit of a struggle with myself over what I SHOULD do. What I SHOULD do is another run-through of the trilogy I wrote last year, which I hope to release relatively soon. But I’ve essentially been editingeditingediting for months. It’s all I’ve been doing work-wise since before I released Reave. I wanted to WRITE.

So I sat down that first free day, messed around a bit with that standalone I started. I was unhappy with it for any number of reasons. Maybe because I already know what happens (and it has to happen precisely how it does, which makes getting it out difficult for me). Maybe because it’s about my favorite character in the series (apart from Aster) and I almost feel like that’s . . . hollowed ground (I mean no offense by that) and should not be stepped upon, even by me who MADE THE GROUND. I dunno, but either way, I soon turned meh about it.

The next day, I started writing what happens AFTER the series. That was all for my own amusement and I have zero intention of releasing it ever. (It would take a LOT of bribery. And for future reference, yes, I take any form of cake for bribing purposes). My mom said I might change my mind about that, but I doubt it. The series ends EXACTLY how it’s supposed to end, and again with the hollowed ground thing. Just felt wrong stepping past. Obviously I know what happens after, and that’s part of the problem. It’s been driving me insane for over a year and I just want it out of my head. Still, I doubt my own ability to do justice to it and where it sits now is perfect for a spin-off I plan on writing at some point.

I worked on that for about two days or so (which was a LOT of writing), then unexpectedly turned meh about that as well. Messing around with the Reave series just felt so wrong. And also . . . I’d like to write more books that I might intend to RELEASE. Makes sense, right?

SO.

I started a new series. This one has been playing around in my head since last year. I didn’t think I wanted to attempt tackling it yet because I’ve only wrote one series out of the ‘YA’ genre (that trilogy I mentioned) and I still find myself a bit uncomfortable with the things I’m comfortable with (or not). The cursing seems more natural, but I think there’s just something that’s telling me, “People are going to have problems with you dropping the F-bomb twice in the same speaking paragraph.” Oops. I don’t have control over them. They say/do what they want. That’s why it all seems more natural to me, because I’m not censoring them as much. I’ve also realized that no matter how much I enjoy reading in the YA genre, I enjoy writing OUT of it (apart from the stray sex scene that happens when out, which thinking about still makes me squeamish due to not wanting to pull the ‘cut-off’ card [GAH-THE WORDS!]).

Anyway, I wasn’t quite sure I was ready to tackle this series, but it was the one that wanted out of my head, so I started it.

So here I sat, and what happened? First page in I realized:  ‘. . . . . . . . This is not ANYTHING how I thought it would be.’

Then I went through a struggle of: ‘What am I going to do with this?’ ‘Where is this going?’ ‘Why am I acting like I have ANY say in where it goes?’ ‘WTF-Bomb am I even DOING?’

The next several days were spent with copious hours of me staring at Herald’s face (my laptop screen), trying to figure something out while knowing I only have so much say in what happens. The beginnings are always pretty difficult, before the characters are ‘fully-formed’. I have more of a say. The more control I lose, the easier it is to write. On day three (I think – again with the horrible memory), it started picking up a bit. Still not the usual pace, and I blamed that on my frustration over it CONSISTENTLY being not what I wanted it to. Granted, it might be better possibly than I thought (maybe in some ways), but that’s not the point.

The point is: Why do I let these stories drive me insane for a year (or YEARS), then sit down to write them only to have them turn out to be nothing like I expected? Yes, it’s surprising and that’s awesome (among other things). I repeat: YEARS. (What is up with all the colons in this?) I just wonder why I have to think about them for so long. It’s a bit frustrating . . .

I don’t know what happened, but the whole time I was away, I was battling with not being ‘in the mood’. Not in the mood for writing? WHAT WAS WRONG WITH ME? I didn’t know.

So I took a break from my break. I went out of my shed, inside, and got Netflix just so I could finally watch Sherlock. That consumed my life for the last couple days. I’m not even going to get INTO Sherlock past that. Past that and saying again that I WANT BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH TO NARRATE MY LIFE. (You are typing. You are typing. You are drinking coffee.) Gah, that would be spectacular. Is it really asking for so much?

I’m digressing.

The entire break, I was having blogging withdrawals, which I count as a good sign. I’ve even typed up three separate entries to post, then didn’t because I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to END the break JUST THEN. I didn’t get as much writing done as I should have, after all.

While I’ll say the break was fantastic for getting into a different headspace than what I was, I’ll add that the one I got into wasn’t EXACTLY the goal. I wanted to utilize the time in the most productive ways I could, and . . . I didn’t really. I just wanted to play Fable and watch TV. I did get stuff done though, with the editing and whatnot.

But in three weeks (I think exactly), I should’ve been able to get a LOT more done than what I did. I believe the not-working at times was also good for me. I could debate with myself about the benefits of staring at Herald’s face for hours on end and how there doesn’t seem to be any apart from the stray paragraph or two added. But that’s a paragraph or two more than what I had before, and the NEED-TO-WORK part of me would rather that than stare at a TV screen doing nothing. (Adding again that obviously exceptions were made with Benedict Cumberbatch speaking.)

I woke up today and was like, “Yeah, okay. Gotta get back to all this other stuff. I really have to.” (Then the argument of, “But . . . . . I didn’t get all this stuff done that I wanted to.” Then the counter-argument of, “I gotta,” which put an end to my mental whining.)

The entire point of this RIDICULOUSLY LONG (apologies) entry was to say: I woke up today feeling more like myself. And I think it’s a bit ironic that I was an absolute mess version of not-myself during the ENTIRETY of Mercury being in retrograde.

So now I’ll add, “Damn you, Mercury. I blame you and your retrograding for my lack of utilizing time.”

In short, which I could’ve said from the get-go . . . I am now returned from my break and will be catching up with everything I said I would do and didn’t actually during it. Hope everyone has been well and that Mercury didn’t get to you too. 🙂

If you actually read all of this, feel free to imagine me either clapping or giving you a hug, whichever you’d rather. 🙂