It’s the End of the World as We Know It…and I’m Bored

So today’s my first day off work as a direct result of the healthcare ramifications, political decrees, and economical fallout from COVID-19.

It sucks.

Since the COVID outbreak, I’ve read an entire erotica novella series–seven books in all. I’ve finished my first draft of Book 3 and set it aside to simmer. I’ve completed the beta/line edits for Book 2 and returned the file to the publisher. I’ve done my work-work, including some newly-assigned work. I’ve done one embroidery project for myself, started one for my husband, and got the materials for a third. I’ve eaten half my weight in snacks. I’ve napped. I’ve started mapping out the first book of my paranormal asylum romance trilogy.

All this…and I’m bored.

I can only handle stitching for so long at a time before I tire of it and need to do something else. I am sick of all the Amazon music stations and albums I usually listen to. I’m tired of trying–and failing–to find music on YouTube to make a playlist/”soundtrack” for ABNORMAL to put on this site. I’m not in the mood to read more, and I’m stuck on the novella mapping (for now). Not sleepy enough to nap more, not feeling motivated to draft up some new garb or search Google or Pinterest for designs to embroider on the old garb. Nothing that I can do right now sounds appealing.

Despite my lack of motivation, I did at least manage to change into clean pajamas today. That’s sort of like being an adult, right?

Tomorrow I go to work again (long story, but basically our office hours are all mucked up because of the outbreak), but unless the schedule changes I’m off Thursday as well. Financially, it’s scary. Mentally/emotionally? It’s a struggle. I’m not gonna lie–if I can’t get in to see my psychiatrist at my scheduled appointment in two weeks, I don’t know what I’m going to do.

And that’s another problem stemming from COVID: office closures. My office is not the only one shutting down for certain hours/days, and some are shutting down completely. Will I be able to see my rheumatologist? What if I get sick but not COVID-sick? All these questions are bubbling in my brain, but I don’t have answers yet. In fact, it seems precious few people have answers, especially when it comes down to “when will this end?”

Will it end? Will it just keep going until either the virus or our own hysteria takes us all out? Who knows. As an author, my mind is already drumming up outrageous scenarios. Some of them are pretty ridiculous and not likely to ever actually happen, but some…some might be plausible.

I need some kind of distraction. A movie, maybe, or a different radio station to listen to. Maybe try to force another few chapters of outline out of my sluggish skull.

I just don’t know what to do to pull myself out of this boring funk. And if Day 1 is like this, what’s Day 2 of stuck-at-home going to do to me? The more I get done today, the less there will be to occupy me on Thursday…

Or will there be less? Maybe I should look at it from a different direction. Sure, I’m stuck on the trilogy–at the moment–but if I can break through today, that means I’ll have momentum to carry me through the in-between moments on Thursday when I’m not embroidering or snacking or who-knows-what-ing. Maybe if I can get the first book mapped, then the second and third will stop being obstinate and fall in line.

There we go. The hint of a glimmer of the edge of a silver lining.

I can do this. I can make it through Day 1, and Day 2, and any other days that I end up stuck with.

Now to grab that notebook and force my muses out of their quarantine so I can get shit done.

Can’t keep me down for long…

So coronavirus is a thing. It’s a big, scary thing. It’s a thing that is gradually encroaching on more and more aspects of our lives.

Aside from the cancellation of all upcoming SCA events until the end of next month and a noticeable drop in patient load at work, I haven’t been terribly affected…yet. Oh, things are changing, but as of right now, the reality of the changes hasn’t had a chance to set in. My brain has yet to appreciate the gravity of the situation. That being said, I’m aware enough to be cautious when venturing out (only going to work and home, unless supplies are absolutely necessary) and to take note of how other authors are handling the state of the world right now.

Like many others, I made the one book I have pricing control over free for a few days. I’m also trying to share the links for my two freebie reader magnets more widely, and I am going to start sharing the freebie box set more as well. This is a time when entertainment needs are changing; people can’t necessarily go to the same social gatherings that they used to, and books provide no or low-cost entertainment that doesn’t require breaking quarantine.

WHISPERS OF DEATH is still free today. Tomorrow it goes back to its regular price, which I may or may not alter in readers’ favor. I mean, I can change the e-book cost if I want to….I think. I’ll have to check on that when I get home from work.

I don’t yet know what my hours are going to look like for the coming weeks. Months? Who knows. But if I end up with a sharp decline in hours, you can bet I’m going to write my little tail off. Not only to keep myself busy, but also to have more material to release. The more I write, the more I have to share. That’s the way I see it, anyway.

I have a plan in the works for a paranormal romance novella trilogy, which I need to step up the timetable on. That means getting off my ass and sitting down to write it. Lol I also have Book 4 of the ABNORMAL series to start on, as well as editing and polishing Book 3 (which, I’m happy to say, I finished the draft of Sunday). Book 2, ESCAPE THE LIGHT, will have ARCs going out soon, which means the release is within sight! (Okay, so there are still a few steps before the release… but my hope is later this year.)

The virus is disrupting our lives, but I’m going to make every effort to make the best I can out of this disruption, as should everyone.

We can do this. Nothing can keep us down forever unless we let it…

Prepared or Paranoid?

The debate rages on: How much of the current healthcare hysteria is warranted, and how much is being blown out of proportion?

Personally? I’m more worried about the overreactions of the “common man” than I am about the disease. Hoarding is destroying the supply/demand ratio, and people are freaking the fuck out. At this point, I don’t even care about whether I get sick or not; I just don’t want to be a casualty of the idiocy of the masses.

I’m not calling everyone an idiot. Just, y’know, large groups of people. Large groups of panicked, irrational people. People who watch too much “reality” TV, people who watch too many disaster movies, people who watch the Goddamn news too much. People who feed off of each other’s fear.

It’s not just the mass idiocy. There’s also another section of people–the people who cultivate the fear. Who take advantage of the panic. Who use the crisis as a weapon, a means of achieving their desired ends.

Me? I’m not in the first or the second category. I’m in some grey area in-between. I’m concerned more about the disruption of normal life than anything. It sounds callous and uncaring, I know, but it’s not like I think I’m immune or something. I mean, I have an autoimmune condition, which automatically puts me at higher risk. So…why am I not worried about getting sick?

I don’t really know. I just know that the panic that has seized a large majority of my friends and family just isn’t in me right now. Will I panic if I get sick? Hopefully I won’t have to find out.

Will I panic if society collapses? Maybe. But maybe I’ll just be pissed off.

The End Is in Sight!

Okay, so I’m not quite there yet, but…I’m almost done with the first (well, more like fifth first) draft of Book 3 of the Abnormal series!

It’s been a long, long road, and there have been many roadblocks and speed bumps along the way. However, early yesterday I had a breakthrough that accelerated my writing to the point of reaching the climax this morning. I still have at least a couple chapters to go, and the word count is dismal, but I’ll finally have a full story to work with.

The bonus? I’m free most of this weekend. Only a couple of SCA things, one of which might get canceled, and the usual laundry/housework mess to deal with. Otherwise, I’m golden to type away until I hit “The End.”

My concern is that Book 4 will take just as long (or longer), but I can’t let that stymie me. I have to keep going and continue with the momentum I’ve developed. Can’t let the fear of writer’s block stop me from writing more. I have stories to tell, and I can’t let them fester inside me when there’s a whole world of people who might want to read them.

After I hit “The End,” I plan on working on my Palmore’s Home for Wayward Mages novella trilogy for a little while, until the draft for Book 3 has had enough time to sit and simmer. Then it’ll be on to revisions, fill-ins, and edits to polish it up before I submit to my publisher. It’s going to take a lot of work, but I’m confident now that it will be ready to submit this year, hopefully before Book 2 is released.

I’ve got another week or so before the beta read/line edits are done with Book 2, after which I can churn out the revisions and start sending ARCs to potential early readers/reviewers. Then, ideally, the process of prep and publication will step up. I really want it released this year, and I would love to have another book out there to market and sell.

Things are looking up. I had almost given up hope, but I finally found that well of inspiration.

“The End” is indeed in sight now.

Making a list

Okay. Estrella War is over. I’ve had time to get settled back in to work, to somewhat sort the house, and to breathe after the marathon embroidery sessions leading up to War.

Now? Now, I have to get ready to dive back into projects. Just because War is done doesn’t mean I don’t still have shit to do. It’s just different shit.

Aside from one workshop I’m teaching next month and one not-urgent commission, the next couple of months are just for me and my husband, at least as far as crafting and art projects go. I still have writing to do, as always, along with the usual day job and housework stuff, but for projects, it’s all for us. A little bit of a break from the norm to be selfish.

I want to make some new garb, because mine is almost entirely too big. That’s a good thing, in a way, because it means the keto diet’s still kicking ass, but it’s also a pain because I have to either take everything in or start fresh. I was planning some new garb anyway, but this is going to be on a whole new level.

Some stuff needs mending. Some stuff needs to be trashed or repurposed. Some fabric needs to be washed. The WHOLE craft room needs to be cleaned.

I have to take stock of what I have that still fits that needs embellishment, because part of these selfish-time projects is to embroider some of my own garb.

Then there’s the writing I need to tackle. I have to get past the muck that is Book 3’s current state and get the draft finished! I want to be able to submit a polished draft to the publisher later this year, hopefully at or near when Book 2 is released, but at the rate I’m going it’s not likely. I am having to wrench this draft out from my head with rusty pliers, and it’s got me a little worried. It’s not that I don’t know what needs to happen–I can’t seem to find the words to make it happen.

The list so far:

-Assess garb situation

-Find embroidery patterns to put on existing salvageable garb

-Make new garb

-Mend/take in old garb

-Do the one commission I have

-Get together materials for teaching the workshop next month

-Bang out Book 3’s draft!!!

-Get rolling on Book 2 pre-marketing

-Continue work on currently-released box sets

-Draft more stuff!

-Somehow fit in day job and “real life”

-Try to stay sane through it all

It’s a long list (and I’m sure I’m forgetting some very important things), but one I hope to tick off quickly. I can do all the above things; it’s just a matter of prioritizing, finding the right times for the various projects, and knuckling down. Then, once the dust settles, I can take on commissions again. Get my art back out there. Make people happy.

Oh, and start on Book 4….

What have I done?

No, I haven’t really done anything wrong, per se, but I haven’t exactly done much right, either. I’m not talking about major life choices, but about the things I have–or rather haven’t–accomplished in my working life.

I updated my resume. Made it reflect my writing accomplishments. *Thought* I’d made it reflect my job skills and accomplishments as well, but a read-through by an online resume review company basically said that I was only describing what I did, not what I accomplished. So what have I accomplished?

In nine years at the rehab hospital, I didn’t do really anything except what I was supposed to. I didn’t excel at anything except telling nurses and techs what room to go to, making copies, and simple data entry. In nine years at the eye clinic, I haven’t accomplished much of anything, either. I mean, I translated some forms into Spanish–that’s about it. Nothing special there.

How am I going to get out if I can’t prove to potential employers that I am someone worth hiring? I guess it’s off to ground zero with googling popular resume keywords…see if I can find any that technically fit what I’ve done while making it look like I accomplished something.

I’ve been tinkering with the resume off and on this morning since getting my review or whatever you want to call it. Of course, for a nominal fee, the website will help me rewrite it. For a fee. I’ll be damned if I’m going to pay someone to tell me I’m worthless. Let me figure it out my damn self, thank you very much, and let me fail on my own rather than pay you to spin things so I might or might not fail anyway.

Resumes suck. It’s so disheartening to have to quantify the things you’ve done–sorry, accomplished–over nearly a decade in one place. I mean, I can’t just say “my bosses all love me, I just hate the place.” What do I say?

That ol’ depression monster is rearing its ugly head. I can feel it. It’s dragging itself out of the mire to torment me again.

In half an hour I have to start getting ready to go back to work. Back to a job I hate. Back to purgatory. And, unless I can figure out what I’ve accomplished or how to word my deeds as accomplishments, I might just be doomed to stay there.

Is it time to break free?

This morning has been a quiet one, which at times can be dangerous for a thinker like me. Today’s risky thinking: Now that my direct supervisor is back from maternity leave this week, should I get serious about searching for a new job in a new field?

Why is that necessarily risky thinking, you may ask. Well, I’ll tell you why: I have little to no experience in other fields. For the past almost twenty years, I’ve worked in some sort of healthcare–nine as a rehab hospital secretary, and now nine as an ophthalmic assistant. Beyond that, I’ve worked in retail. That’s pretty much it, the sum of my “careers.” And it’s not enough to get me out of the hole I’m in.

I don’t mean a financial hole, necessarily; I mean the hole of depression and stagnation. The hole of “Oh, my God, will this ever end?” The hole of knowing I have nowhere to go to get out of the job I’m in.

But does that lack of experience necessarily mean I shouldn’t try? I mean, there are plenty of people who change careers in their forties–and even though I’m nowhere near the level of “able to live off my writing,” maybe, just maybe, I can find a way to finagle that writing into a professional writing career, though it won’t be the kind of writing I really want to do.

I’ve been told that being a published author can help get a foot in the door with technical writing, but all the technical writing jobs I see posted in my area have requirements that I don’t meet, whether it be a degree in English or some such writing-related degree, experience as a technical writer, etc. I’ve also been told that I should apply anyway, that just because I don’t meet all the criteria doesn’t mean I don’t have a chance. In comes that fear of rejection, that fear of trying only to fail. I’ve got to get past that if I want to escape the life I’m currently trapped in.

Another issue is pay. I make a decent amount at the job I’m currently in, enough that I can’t just take any old job I find, especially not in the small-town area we live in. I have to find one that pays me as much as I currently make or more, because we simply can’t afford for me to take a pay cut, sanity-saving or not.

Yeah, my current job has gone way beyond the danger zone of stagnation and soul-crushing. I feel trapped, like I can’t leave because of the above hindrances on my ability to move on to something else. I had started a new job search months ago, but barely got my feet wet on it when my boss went on maternity leave, and at that point I felt obligated to stay because of us being so short-handed. Now, though? Now I want to escape as soon as I can. We’re still short-handed (another employee in my department is on maternity leave now), but I just can’t keep living like this. Dreading the weekdays. Forcing myself to drag up off the couch, away from writing and book marketing, to go take my shower, get dressed, and drive myself to work. Forcing myself to make it through the day, no matter how stressed or anxious I get, no matter how strongly I feel the need to talk to my psychiatrist or call a helpline of some sort to see if I should have myself committed or something. (I recently walked into work with zero sleep the night before and riding a high-octane anxiety attack, which lasted most of the jam-packed work day.) To be perfectly honest, the way I feel some work days I truly think I need at least a 72-hour admit to stabilize myself, but I literally can’t afford it. I can’t afford to get back into my right mind. What kind of life is that?

I want OUT of healthcare. I want OUT of the rut I’m in. I don’t even care right now if I end up straight in another rut. At least it will be a different rut. A new rut.

I don’t even care anymore how much I am or am not needed. How good I am at this job or not. I can’t keep going like this. Nothing is going to change; if anything, it’s going to get worse.

This evening, maybe, I can start looking. Start putting out resumes. Start making a change.