I’ve had two productive days, well the whole week has been productive to be honest. Although today got off to a later start as I had shopping and some errands to run.
I am making progress with my goals for this month. I’ve typed up the short story I recently wrote and will be looking to do the next edit pass before the end of the month.
The read through of the vampire book is moving nicely. I’m finding more little errors and continuity issues than I was expecting, but nothing major.
I’ve also started digging into the planning for Penal Earth book 2. I’m hoping to have this as a major project for 2023. I’ve got a number of stories that are either ready to go (zombie and Penal Earth) or very ready to go (vampire and Black Blood), and I really want to push to get those published or submitted one way or another in the next two years.
I still need to be writing though. Yes, I’ve got those four pieces to get out into the world, but I also want to get ready for what’s going to be published after those.
This surge of productivity, I’ve had it before and it drifts away. I’m tired of letting it wonder off when it sees fit. I’m working on figuring out what causes me to loose this drive I’ve currently got. I know it’s anxiety, self-esteem. Confidence. I’m better prepared for working it all out than I’ve ever been. It’s still not always easy, and it’s something that’ll take time. But I’m getting there.
I have had a productive morning. I did a wee bit of tidying and rearranging before getting stuck into writing today. I managed 1023 words on typing up a short story that I wrote a few months ago. This afternoon I had a nap. I’ve got an early tomorrow and I never sleep well when I’ve got an early, so I’ve found that nap during the afternoon to be essential.
I posted a new flash fiction piece to my Ko-Fi tonight, please support and check it out if you’d like to.
There’s been a lot changing in my life recently, one of which is that my mental health medication was increased. I’ve been on medication for anxiety and depression for a couple of years now and with this adjustment it feels like the dosage is right.
That’s not the only element that has helped, I’ve been working on listening to my body. Whether it’s about how I feel after eating certain foods, or how something makes me feel. What the increased dosage of my medication has done is shut down the anxiety better than anything I’ve ever tried before. I was working out in our garden a few weeks ago, taking down an old shed that has long been past its use. We’re hoping to repurpose some of the sides of it, but it needed to come down. Half of the roof had collapsed and it needed to come down. As I was taking it down though I was feeling good about the task. I wasn’t hesitating in how to take it down, I was even thinking about how to make use of the space. After a good few hours of work I took a break, sat down, had a drink. I was also texting a dear friend who I was talking to about what I’d done that morning, when it struck me that I wasn’t anxious. I wasn’t questioning myself in any way. I actually broke down, began crying and text my friend ‘Is this what life is meant to be like?’ she called me and said, quite simply ‘Yes’. We then talked about it, as I cried. So many fucking years living scared of the world. Some days I was fine and did enjoy life, but these were few and far between. Most days I was anxious to leave the house, mainly doing so because I had a job (that I told myself I loved, but in truth I hated it). There was so much I wanted to see and do in the world, but I was too scared too. Twenty, twenty-five years of my life gone. That day as I was sitting in my back garden talking to my friend I cried with a sort of relief at finally feeling free of the prison that my mind had put me in, but also at anger of having let myself be in that prison for most of my life.
Male suicide rates are significantly higher than that of women. Here’s some numbers from the Samaritans. And yes, I was suicidal on a couple of occasions (Not anymore though). There is so much more to what I put myself through over my life, but I’m not going into it here, not now. Partly because I haven’t figured it all out yet. When I mention non-fiction that’s what I’m talking about. Trying to break down the why of this all. I’m slowly getting there, I’ve had some counselling and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy that has helped immensely. I’ve also opened up with my loved ones. Instead of hiding my problems, thinking it’s better not to worry them, that’s bollocks as well. Being open and honest with what I’m going through has made it easier to work through all of this. Having that support, that I’ve always known is there, has been priceless.
Ask for help, Mental Health in this country needs a major overhaul and we as a society need better education on the subject. But there are resources out there. Speak to your GP, Google mental health hotlines, there are plenty of organisations, charities, out there who are able to help. Yes there are waiting times, yes it is hard to admit to needing help. Trust me though, it’s worth it.
I still have bad days (I took a big self-esteem hit recently), but they don’t last as long and I’m able to manage my moods so much better. I listen to my body, mind, and soul. Trust me, it’s paying off. I’m happier now than I have ever been, shit, I can’t ever remember feeling this settled and capable. There’s a lot playing into that, but we need to be open to seeing it. To appreciating what we have, to loving what we have.
Okay, this became a much heavier post than I was expecting it to. But too many people out there are struggling with mental health. And the amount of men who are struggling that don’t seek help because it is not what ‘men do’ is costing too many lives.
Life is amazing when we get out of our own way. From a writing point of view, I’ve been more productive in the last few months than I feel I have ever been. See, brought it back to writing.
At the moment I feel like a fraud, maybe a wannabe is a better word because I have not got anything published so readers can judge for themselves whether I can write or not. (Please don’t judge my writing ability on the content of this blog 😛 )
I’ve been writing for a good ten years now and I have never even attempted to have anything published. Okay eight of those years were spent mainly on one novel with a friend which will never see the light of day in its current state. I have in the last three years written eight or nine short stories which need tidying up and submitting to the sci-fi magazines, although a fair chunk of those are tied in together so I may put those into a collection.
It has only bee the last couple of years that I have been taking this more seriously. In that time I think I’ve come along so far but I’ve still not got anything ready for the world to see. In those two years I have also been working mainly on two joint projects, with Owen, from the same universe which are evolving as we write them so neither are ready to be published.
The rest of this year is going to be focused on writing a novel that I’ve got kind of written but I’m not happy with it and I’m going to start fresh with it. Me and Owen are going to get Apollo wrapped up and there will be some work on The Residents with Chrystalyn.
I am deffinately going to self publish, ebooks mainly but eventually I’ll do Print On Demand too. What sits in the back of my mind a lot are the bits that I do not need to worry myself with at the moment. Cover art and formatting, paying tax on what I (will hopefully) earn. Where and how to submit to magazines and lots of other little things that I don’t need to address yet. I need to shut those thoughts out and focus on the actual writing and the story.
Along with those doubts and the lack of confidence in about my writing ability I mentioned earlier, there are times when I feel like my head is going to explode, but then I look at some of the people who I have met through writing. Cinta Garcia de la Rosa and Chrystalyn Hope are the two people who have encouraged me more then any others. Both of these amazing ladies have read my work and have been not held back from telling me how good a writer I am. Both are amazing writers as well whose work I adore reading. Then there are people like Christopher Stocking and Jordanna East who, like Cinta and Chrystalyn, are amazing writers. Each one has written fiction that I’ve not been able to put down.
People have told me I am a good writer, this I still doubt but that’s a confidence issue that even if I out sold Stephen King I’d still have but if I can get just that little bit more confidence in myself I will be able to suppress many of these doubts.
I KNOW I can write, but when I have something ready to put up on Amazon I hope I’ve got someone standing behind me with a hand on my should (or a gun to my head) saying “Publish it mate” I hope once I’ve got one out in the world for all to see then a second, then a third and beyond will be easier to put out.