Sometimes, Life Happens

20 May 2024


Above: A peach colored rose bloom next to a stem of young leaves of the same plant. The silky rose petals and leaves are all dappled with raindrops. This is one of the plants I mention below.

May 20, 2024


Convergence of Connection: In case you missed it, I recently announced that book three of The Way of the Wielder series is titled, Convergence of Connection. I’ll refer to it with this title from now on.

Progress on that has been slow as of late. And by slow, I mean virtually nonexistent.

Life Happens

Three things have slowed writing to a crawl over the last few weeks.

First, we had a carpenter in our house installing a tongue and groove pine ceiling in our basement. Because he’s a one-man-show, I helped him out quite a bit. Sanding and staining wood, hanging 16-foot boards, spotting while he used the table saw, etc. I enjoyed it, but it took time away from writing.

Second, our front rock wall (which is two-tiered with flowerbeds on each) was redone last fall, so I needed to install plants this year. I opted for mostly spring flowers, and I’ll be planting some vegetables and herbs in a couple of weeks. This gardening activity has also been enjoyable, but it also takes time away from writing.

Finally, I signed up for a marketing course. This 6-week program has already given me some tools to better market my books (and myself), so it has definitely been useful. But like the previous two things, it has taken time away from writing, and will continue doing so for the next three weeks.

The Mental Health Factor

Some might call this three week period a sort of vacation. After all, I haven’t taken more than two consecutive days off from writing or editing in almost two years. But I don’t see it that way.

“Just keep writing” is has become engrained in me, because as an independent author (indeed, likely all authors) the more books I have available, the more successful I’ll be. There is truth to that, of course, but the problem is the mentality.

Every moment of downtime—every moment I’m not writing—feels like I’m being unproductive and lazy. A couple of days here and there don’t impact me too much, but three weeks? In that time I wrote maybe 3,000 words. I can bang out that many words in two good writing days, and I did that over three weeks.

I won’t lie, it negatively impacted my mental health. Regardless of how much I enjoyed working in the basement, or gardening, or even the marketing, I’ve had more emotionally unsteady days. I’m a highly sensitive person anyway, but add in feeling unproductive and lazy, and it was a recipe for another depressive episode.

NOTE: May is Mental Health Awareness Month (at least here in the US). Please know that it is okay to not be okay, and that you are not alone if you are struggling. If you need support, there are great resources through Lifespan, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and many other places.

Better Days Ahead

The carpenter is gone now, and most of the plants have been installed. The marketing course is manageable with 1-2 hours a few times a week, and only for the next three weeks. Normalcy is starting to return, and I know my mental health will improve. With time and support, it always does.

And the truth is, everyone needs a break. Like I mentioned earlier, I haven’t had a break from writing in almost two years. Call it 100 weeks. 100 weeks! In that time I’ve written almost three books and published a fourth (well, it was my first book, but you know what I mean). I deserved to take some time off. Right?

Better days are ahead. Not just because normalcy is returning, but also because I’m going on a writer’s retreat this upcoming weekend. I’m leaving my husband with the cats and heading to the mountains for three days. There, I’ll be able to focus solely on Convergence of Connection, and hopefully make up for lost time.

Maybe that break was what I needed to have the energy to push through to the end of the first draft. We’ll see.

Thanks for reading. Until next time, be well, be kind to yourself and others, and stay creative.