They say to count your blessings, right? I think I kinda forgot that for a bit.
Here’s what the deal is: my publisher is on this marketing/branding/selling kick lately, and with me already working a full-time job plus having other “non-writing life” obligations, it’s stressful how much they’re pushing it. Like, I already try to spend any waking non-work/non-SCA/non-sleeping hours writing, being active on Twitter, making Instagram posts, sharing links, etc., and for them to pushpushpush like they are, it’s getting to me. Can’t get blood from a turnip or something, right?
But I forgot. Sorry.
I mean, yeah, it’s stressful, but I guess in their own way they’re trying to help. My brain just isn’t wired to accept the pushing for the nudging and encouragement it’s meant to be. My whole life, whenever I’ve been pushed I’ve “pushed back” in the form of passive resistance. Basically, you push me, I dig in and shut down. My personality doesn’t dig it.
I know I should be grateful. I should be thanking the Gods that my publisher came to me and said they wanted to publish Abnormal. They saw potential, and I shouldn’t take that for granted.
But damn, I just keep forgetting.
Now, I’m not saying that for them to push in the way they are is okay by my book, but I do need to slow my roll on the bitching and get over the initial knee-jerk reaction that I have to it. They’re trying to teach strategies; my learning style just doesn’t jive with their teaching style, and I think I need to have a (level-headed) talk with one or more of them about how I would best benefit from what they have to teach. I’m sure that we can put our heads together and figure out the method of encouragement that would work best for me.
Yeah. That’s what I need to do. Talk. Not bitch. Count my blessings. Show gratitude, not attitude. (Cheesy, I know, but it is what it is.)
Well, right now, in my mind, the little things apparently matter–in a big way. I’m talking about all the little things that people say that might be well-intended but get skewed in perception.
Here’s the thing: I commented on a post in the writing group I’m part of. Big mistake. Really big mistake.
The OP (original poster) was talking about how if you want to be a best-selling author you need to think like a best-selling author and treat your writing like the job it is. Okay. Fine. But what about the job I have that pays the bills? What about the few real-life friends I have? What about my physical and mental exhaustion? Did the OP have any advice for me on that?
Not really. I was basically told that, since the SCA is not 100% necessary (like the job obviously is) I need to reevaluate my commitments to it (and, of course, the people in it). Okay. I kinda get that, but the OP fails to realize that the SCA is my only source of real-life friends outside of the one or two friends I have at work. So….to succeed I need to give up having friends?
Yeah, that’s how my brain works. But that’s not the best part. It gets better.
The OP also told me to “schedule” writing time and “prioritize” it. Okay. But I kind of already do that. Unless I have an urgent embroidery project (oops! there’s that pesky SCA thing again), my insomniac mornings are spent on writing, editing, and marketing my writing through social media interactions. So, yeah, I schedule writing time in a manner of speaking. I prioritize it by choosing that over trying in vain to go back to sleep. I spend hours on this. Almost every day. Probably cumulatively more time than I spend at work, when I think about it. I can easily be awake for 5-6+ hours in the morning before getting ready for the day job, and I spend a lot of weekend free time on writing as well. Hell, sometimes I sneak a little modern day into the SCA events by using my phone for Twitter interactions and Instagramming and yeah, I even bring my laptop on camping events so I can hotspot my phone and–you guessed it!–work on writing, editing, and marketing.
But my brain’s not done yet. No sirree. My brain had to tell me that the OP was singling me out. He had to have been picking on me. Insulting me. Telling me that I will fail if I don’t do the things the way he says to do them. That’s what my brain got out of that.
So that’s the worst of it, right? I got over it, calmed down, recentered my perception and got out of my own way?
Nope. I went full-on psycho paranoid ultrasensitive bitch.
I worded my response carefully, or so I thought. I didn’t bite back, even though I felt attacked. I kept it calm. Or did I…..?
Guess not, because the next day, the OP wrote another inspirational/motivational/well-intended post, this time about excuses.
Oh, shit. There goes my mind again.
Clearly he’s writing about me. Clearly he’s targeting me in this verbal assault. I’m obviously the sole inspiration for this outrageous insult. When I was asking for advice on how to deal with all that’s going on in my life, I was obviously making excuses and thus the new post was born.
I’m trying to tell myself it’s not personal. Or at least, if it is personal, it’s meant to help not harm. I am trying.
Oh, shit again. There I go. Using “try.” (The OP also posted about taking “try” out of one’s vocabulary today. Yeah. Today was a two-fer.)
I’d say that it’s a neurochemical shitstorm (ooh! I like that phrase–sounds better than “off my rocker”) in my brain right now, what with the medicine that helps me de-stress and not think this way being denied by my insurance, but I don’t even know where mind and matter separate at the moment. I don’t know where the line is. I don’t even know if there’s a line anymore. My mind is twisting everything I read to be an affront against my person, and I don’t know how to stop it.
I was better in my outward reaction today. I bitched to one or two people privately, but I didn’t comment on his posts. I kept my fat mouth shut. What does it matter, anyway? He’ll just twist my words around to make everything that’s wrong with my life my fault and I’ll feel even shittier than I already do. Best to leave it alone.
One of these days–maybe not soonish, but some day–I’ll even out. I’ll stop taking every little thing personally. Until then, though, I’d better retreat. Back into the shell you go, personality. Back in there before you screw something else up.
Okay, so Pixabay didn’t exactly have an image with a woman in scrubs, a woman in casual clothes, and a woman in SCA garb all together. Let’s just pretend that’s what’s going on in the above picture.
This weekend, I decided to take a mini vacation from both my day job and my writing. I needed that small break (and besides, yesterday, if you remember, was my anniversary). The SCA event we went to was not as relaxing as I had hoped, though, and I’m getting back to that feeling of “obligation” moreso than “hobby” or “volunteering.” It was like okay, I agreed to do the thing so I’ll do the thing, but what I really wanted to do was spend the day with my husband.
It would have been okay, but he got busy with autocrat stuff (he’s co-hosting an event in a couple of months) and I got a rash from the grass at the site and ended up falling dead asleep in the car for a good solid hour courtesy of the Benadryl I took. I barely saw him all day, and for our anniversary dinner he invited a lot of people, so it wasn’t as intimate as I would have liked for our anniversary. In fact, he sat with his back slightly turned playing host to the friends at his side of the table for most of the meal.
I discussed with him afterwards, told him I would rather celebrate our anniversary in a more intimate setting, and I told him that, even though our SCA “anniversary” tends to fall on the same weekend as our wedding anniversary, I’d like to keep the two separate.
Next weekend we have another two events. The weekend after is technically free, but I’ll likely be doing the embroidery for my good friend’s elevation to the Order of the Pelican because, well, the elevation is the very next week.
I’ve also got embroidery to do for my belting to my soon-to-be Peer, a Laurel I both admire as an artisan and as a friend. There’s also an art exchange gift that I need to finish before my belting–both of which are due the week after the elevation. Then, when all that is caught up, I need to finish the embroidery project that I’ve been working on for the past four or five months for Their Majesties….who will no longer be ruling by the time I get finished but who have told me that my friend’s elevation project comes first.
So, long story long, I have ended up with a third job in the midst of all this. The SCA is becoming obligatory instead of just fun.
Don’t get me wrong; I like doing the embroidery. I like when people take note of and enjoy my work. But it IS work, so I have to once again force myself to slow down and reflect on my priorities.
Day job (gotta pay the bills)
Writing (which I hope will some day assist in the payment of the bills)
Sanity (yes, I do need to include this in my list)
SCA events and activities
I don’t want to stop altogether. I like my SCAdian friends and family… I just need more of a balance.
In pursuit of that goal, I picked some Fridays next month to sign up for the live stream Writer Imperfect, where I get to chat with other authors and answer questions about what little I know about the publishing world. I still have an event in May, but it’s just one event. Those three Fridays are for my writing career.
I’ll survive. I always do. But my survival hinges more and more on me standing up for my needs and voicing my concerns when I get overbooked. And speaking of booking, I should try to get some writing time in today….
One hem for Their Royal Majesties is almost done, and one hem left to go!
This has been a much longer project than I anticipated, but now that I have a clear direction and seem to have found the most efficient order of stitching for the design I’m doing, I think it’ll go a little quicker now. I’m so grateful that Her Majesty has been so patient with me during this project, but I’m definitely going to slow my roll on the projects until I find a better groove.
I still have my IKEA (Intra-Kingdom Exchange for the Arts) project to do (which shouldn’t take too much time once I get started), and of course the belt ends for my apprentice belt. (That’s right, I’ll finally have my own Laurel to advise and teach me things!)
I’m going to take some time off from SCA embroidery projects for a little while at least, so I can make some stuff for me. Y’know, like the dozens (probably hundreds by now) of embroidery things I want to make for myself. Because I gotta take care of me from time to time.
I tell myself this, but I have no idea if I’ll stick to it. By the time I’m done with what I have to do, I’ll probably end up picking up more projects. That’s just the way it goes, I guess. I should be grateful that people want stuff that I’ve embroidered.
Just a few more days of work, then I have pretty much a free weekend or two coming up. The hubby has some cheesemaking workshops the next two weekends, but since I’m not terribly interested in making cheese, I’m going to finish my project and relax. Sounds contradictory, but now that I’ve got a good flow on the project it’s actually, well, relaxing.
Almost to 2k followers on Twitter now, which is a little more than 3k less than what I need to be considered to have a “presence” on Twitter. I can do 5k, but it’ll take some time, that’s for sure. I’m starting to download Kindle Unlimited books to my phone to read during downtime (ha! what downtime??) in the hopes that those authors will download and read and review my book. I hope the ones I’ve selected so far are interesting, because if I don’t review, they won’t review. Tit for tat, and all that.
Gotta get ready for work soon. It was nice not having work yesterday, but I need to get back in the work mindset.
And I need to figure out how to get that damn “follow” button back on my Home page. It disappeared a few updates ago, and now I can’t find how to get it back. I’m sure it’s something I’m doing wrong, but damned if I won’t figure it out somehow.
Next week is Estrella War, the biggest SCA war in this area of the country, and I have a lot to do still before we leave on Wednesday.
I have to repair a couple pieces of garb. I have to keep working on the embroidery for the King and Queen. I have to mentally prepare for the embroidery classes I’m going to teach (the actual physical prep is pretty much done). I have to do laundry. I have to pack my garb and any mundane clothes I want to bring. I have to pick up the Viking coat that my fencing teacher made for me.
I’m sure there’s more, but that’s all I can think of right now. So despite the fact that after today I’m off work until the War is over, I’m still going to be quite busy.
I’m hoping to get a good start on the hem embroidery for Their Majesties by the end of the weekend. It should go quicker than the cuffs did, despite the additional details. I’m hoping. Fingers crossed. Lol
Even with War going on, I’ll have the good ol’ laptop handy to tap-tap-tap away whenever I have some free time. I’m not going to let my early a.m. insomnia go to waste just because I’m at an event! No, I’m going to keep busy with writing and editing in the wee hours while there’s not enough light to embroider by. Y’all can’t get rid of me that easily. 😉
I’ve added a subscription option to this page, as well as a newsletter that will be going out on a semi-regular basis. I’ll have tidbits about the projects I’m working on, links to blog posts, and other fun stuff. Keeping up with that should prove interesting, but I think if I set myself reminders on my Google calendar or something I’ll be okay.
Well, off to do war-like stuff now. Or embroidery. Or loading the dishwasher. Whatever my happy little butt decides to do. Lol
This weekend has been nice. Low-key, home alone, and best of all: not sick as fuck.
I made myself retrospect a little too much, though. I was cruising Netflix, looking for something to watch, when I found a good movie. Silver Linings Playbook. Excellent flick, great acting….and maybe a little too real.
Being bipolar, I feel this movie on a visceral level. No, I’m not quite like Pat. Or Tiffany. Not really. I’ve never been hospitalized for my emotional state, never been that far off. But yeah, I’ve missed work over my mental state before. I’ve obsessed over failed relationships, I’ve written nutball letters/texts/emails to my exes, I’ve been the “backup.” I’ve slept around because my depression had me down, or because my mania had me horny. I’ve quit taking my meds more than once. So maybe I’m bits of Pat and Tiffany. I’m Piffany.
I’ve been doing okay for a while now. Well, mostly okay. I mean, I get depressed sometimes. I get manic. I’ve been on an embroidery kick this weekend, and I’m pretty sure it’s not completely deadline-induced. I’m probably manic. I mean, I’m tearing through these embroidery projects, stopping briefly to eat or go to the bathroom or take a catnap. But mainly I’ve been embroidering. To the point of dry skin and calluses on my fingertips.
The whole Pat thing happened to my brother a few years ago. Not the beating-a-man-almost-to-death thing, but the bad ending to a bad relationship that ultimately resulted in him being committed. I won’t go into it too much here, because it’s his story not mine, but it was scary to watch.
It was even scarier knowing that our great-grandfather died of psychosis. “Exhaustion in the progression of psychosis”–that was the CoD on his death certificate. He was so fucking crazy it killed him.
Since I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder before my brother was, I always assumed that was my eventual fate. Then my brother got diagnosed, and combined with his substance abuse issues he’s way worse off than me. He had his psychotic break in his mid-40s….the same age good ol’ Great-Granddad was when he died.
My brother didn’t die. We’ve got better meds now, better tech, better treatments. But guess what? This year I turn 40. Now, like I said, I’m not as bad off as my brother. So I’m not necessarily on a timeline here. The past doesn’t have to repeat itself. Maybe my brother’s incident was the repetition, and I’ll be passed over. Like the Christian thing. I dunno–I’m not the religious type. But maybe I don’t have to dread my mid-40s. Maybe I don’t have to go go go, to push myself so much, to worry about whether or not I’ll make it long enough to do the things I want to get done.
I want to finish my sci-fi series. I want to finish the collaboration I’m working on. I want to learn more about making garb and clothes and embroidery and get good enough at researching it all to become a Laurel. I want to learn more rapier techniques and practice enough to be good at them. And I want to lose this weight I’ve gained. I want so many things, and I think the back of my brain is telling me “You’ve got a few years left. Five, six max. You need to hurry up. You need to get your shit together while you have the mental capacity to do it.”
I gotta get that out of the back of my head. I gotta tell myself that there’s no deadline to insanity, that it’s not written. It’s not predestined. I don’t have to go crazy. I can stay sane, stay mostly stable, stay me.
I also have a secret weapon: my husband. Even if I do go crazy, I have him to keep me alive, to keep me from going so far down the hole that I can’t crawl back up.
That’s it. That’s my silver lining. That’s my ace in the hole.
Five or six years. I pass that, and I win. I beat history.
It’s been about a day since I got home from the pharmacy after spending almost four hours at the doc-in-the-box. What has a day alone been like? Let’s see…
I slept off and on quite a bit. I got a lot of progress made on my royal embroidery project. I wrote a chapter in one book and tweaked another chapter in a different book. I ate–a LOT. (Apparently bronchitis is not having an adverse effect on my appetite.) I watched several movies on Netflix. I listened to music. Somewhere in there, I had brief human contact when a friend came by to pick up my car to take it to my husband, who is out of town. Oh, and I’ve nearly completed a new Viking tunic for myself to wear at Estrella War.
I’m kinda proud of myself for that last one. Eyeballed the whole thing (I know, there are garb makers out there cringing), and only really had to make one small adjustment… more for comfort than anything, really, as it still would have fit, just been really big on me. I plan on adding trim woven by my husband (hint, hint honey) later on, as well as some embroidery done by yours truly.
Sure, if I wasn’t manic with pent-up energy from being confined to the house for over 24 hours, I might have stopped and done the embroidery prior to assembling the tunic. But no, I had it in my head that I was going to make a tunic, and that’s just what I’m doing.
I’ve got color blocking and front and back facing and top stitching and a whole bunch of stuff that I’ve never done without a pattern before. That, of course, has not deterred me. I took the fabric I had, looked at what it could become, and went with it.
I’ve still got to stitch on the sleeves and side gores, but it’s almost done. All in all, not bad for twenty four hours of mind-numbing solitude.
I’ve got maybe another day or so before my husband gets home. I’ve got some cleaning up to do around the house, but I’m wondering if I can swing an underdress before he’s back…..
Follow me on Instagram to see how the tunic turned out!
It’s that time of year again–time to set the new year’s goals/”resolutions” and reflect on where the old year took me.
Let’s start with 2018. 2018 was a long, full year of firsts and new triumphs. I went to my first Estrella War, moved into my first house, published my first novel, submitted my first sequel…. Sure, there were moments when I wanted to rip my hair out, but overall it hasn’t been too bad.
What do I need to do for this year? Let’s take a look (in no particular order):
-Get Book 2 in the bag and on the shelves. Yeah, I’ve got the first draft submitted and the first round of revisions (in before the new year!), but, as I’ve learned, there’s so much more to getting a novel published than simply writing it. Lol
-Take it easy on the SCA events so I can have time for other projects–to include my writing. I’ve been overdoing it entirely too much, and I need to pull back and reevaluate where I’m going in the SCA and how fast I want to get there.
-Finish the draft for Book 3 and polish it for submission. This is kind of a given. I have to keep them rolling while I still have story to tell, and the further ahead I get the easier it will be to stay on top of the writing game.
-Remember to keep marketing Abnormal. I can’t stop just because the book’s been out a few months now.
-Start a collaboration project. Because yeah. I need more on my plate. Lol
-Get more organized at work and get ahead of that game as well. I’ve got charts piled up, and they won’t stop coming any time soon.
-Focus on health. I need to zero in on what I should prioritize health-wise to take care of myself. Walk more? Eat less? Sure, but what then? I’m the biggest I’ve ever been, and at this rate it’ll be hell to try to fit into all of my garb for this year’s Estrella War. As it is, I’ve got all of a month and a half to drop a few pounds and squeeze into the garb I have–or to alter the garb I have/make new garb. Either way, I’d better get on the ball.
-Be more assertive with my needs. I can’t keep trying to please other people. I have things I need to be physically and mentally sound, and setting those things to the side so other people aren’t disappointed won’t do me any good in the long run.
That’s all I have for now, but I’m sure I’ll come up with more. Right now, I’m trying to focus after a three-hour night’s sleep…and right now, my brain has fewer tabs functioning than my web browser.
Oh, and one more thing about 2019–it’s gonna bring me the big 4-0! That’s right, I’ll be 40 this summer. Will I have a midlife crisis? Will I sail through? Who knows? The fun’s in finding out!
Well, I’ve done it. For better or for worse, I’ve sent in the first round of revisions on my sequel novel.
Is it better? I think so–but then I’m a tad biased. Some scenes that I spent hours writing are gone, and new scenes are in their places. Some scenes are just plain new. But it flows, it reads well, it’s done…for now.
Now I wait on the edits.
Not sure which is worse: knowing that the book is in someone else’s hands, or the wait to see what they say. I’m not so cocky as to think that I learned all the lessons I needed to from the feedback and edits on Abnormal, but I know I learned a lot, and I’m hoping that means there’s less work for the poor publishers to do. Fingers crossed for a clean, tidy draft that they only have to make minor suggestions and adjustments to.
I’ve been working on SCA garb this weekend as well. I feel better having told my husband that I need to slow down on the activities, and this weekend has actually been quite nice. Would I rather have spent it at home? Yeah, but I’m making do. I got my Persian coat almost finished (my eyes went wonky with the button sewing, so I am taking a break from that until the dizziness passes), and it’s looking pretty sharp. Here it is (pre-buttons):
Screenshot taken from a video my husband took as I modeled the pirihan and coat. No, that fabric isn’t stamped; it was purchased from JoAnn’s just like that. On clearance. The last they had. It was barely enough for me to make the coat. Lol I was originally going to make longer coat sleeves, but I had to shorten them to make all the pattern pieces fit on the fabric I had.
I still need to make the pants, which will be a nice golden-yellow linen, my husband’s entire outfit to make, and, if there’s linen left over when I’m done with those, a sash or two for cinching the waist(s). I’m really, really hoping that our friend who has been helping us with patterning got the time to cut pattern pieces out for my husband’s garb. I don’t think I can do it on my own; when she made my pattern pieces she went so fast I didn’t retain everything she said. If push comes to shove, I can try to fudge it, but time is rapidly passing me by. I probably shouldn’t be typing this post right now, actually.
Once I have my coat finished (after finishing this post, of course), I’ll start on Book 3, I think. I know I kindasorta started it already, but I’m dissatisfied with the timing on the opening scenes. I need to start it closer to the end of Book 2, but not too close. So yeah, today is: coat, rest eyes (if need be), Book 3 opening scenes, and another party at the end of the day…probably a more crowded party than last night, but at least I know there’s an end to the partying in sight.
That’s what the surgeon at work says when he listens to a patient’s lungs. I always find myself unconsciously deep breathing with the patient as the doctor says this, and even though it’s relaxing in a way, it’s not enough for the day I had yesterday.
It was busy. I mean, I did some standing around, but it was mostly when I was standing still during the lasers. Mostly I was hurrying back and forth from room to room to room, and though I managed to get a break I never felt rested or relieved. It didn’t help that the heater was on at 73 all day long, and when I first got to the office it was so hot in the exam rooms that I immediately started sweating. From there, it got worse. Between the movement, the heat being on, and the stress of one problem after another, I ended up damn near drenched by the end of the long day. Even though the temperature was in the 40s when I left, I cranked the A/C to half blast and left a window open as I drove home. It took about fifteen minutes to cool off.
But I’m trying. I’m trying to calm down, trying to take those two deep breaths when I need to. I’m trying not to stress about the things I can’t change, and I’m trying to be more assertive in the things I can. Yeah, I’m still going out of town this weekend. I didn’t really try to fight with my husband on that. But I did tell him that I need to slow down and that I’m feeling stressed. I can’t do anything much about the work stress, but I can at least try to minimize the home stress. I will cut down on the SCA activities. Sadly, that sometimes means cutting down on time spent with friends who also participate in SCA activities.
Once my laundry is done–any minute now, really–I’m going to finish getting dressed, go to the post office, and go visit with a friend. I need that so much right now; “me” time with someone I enjoy talking to. I haven’t spent much time with my local SCA friends lately because I’ve been trying to cut back wherever I can, and unfortunately the local events and get-togethers have suffered. By the time I’m done with work, or back in town from a weekend away, or whatever, I just don’t have it in me to go exercise with my friends or go to rapier practice. I quit going to the monthly populace meetings and the months Court Nights because A – I’m not an officer anymore, so I don’t have to go to the populace meetings and B – no awards or recognitions are ever given out at Court Nights, so what’s the point? It’s generally a regurgitation of the information from the populace meeting, which I can easily get from my husband. So, long story short, I don’t see my local friends too much. Feeling kinda guilty about that lately, so I need to see when I can find the time to hang out with them where it won’t add to my already-full plate.
That being said, the next two months–basically now through Estrella War–are still going to be hectic. I still need to reevaluate the events I’ve agreed to attend and see which I can stay home for. I’ll feel bad leaving my husband to attend on his own, but I have to take my health and well-being into consideration. The stress is affecting me adversely, so I need need need to do this. For me. For my sanity. For my physical health and mental health. All of it.