New Year, New Resolutions (New Promises to Break)

I’m not sure why the start of the year (or, I suppose, the end of the year, depending on how you look at it) is a time for resolutions, other than it’s an easy marker to know when you last make promises you (probably) knew you weren’t going to keep. I mean, I could make a resolution to write more in July, but something about January just makes it easier to remember something you’re going to forget.

I wrote forty-nine posts in 2018 (including this one), which is up from the twenty-nine in 2017, although in fairness I wasn’t working on fantasy at all during that year (instead focusing on completing my YA novel, 22 Scars). Still off from the goal of at least one a week, but better than I’ve been for a while.

The thing is, this blog isn’t just about fantasy. I mean, yes – it’s under my fantasy pen name, Satis, but it’s also where I built my first following, got two articles posted on the WordPress front page, and set up the idea of Thoughts of the Week, Movie Nights, and many other short-lived topics. This blog was meant to be a place to express myself, a safe place to talk about mental illness, and all the things I think about.

But I think it’s time to focus and tighten up, and that means separating what I write, where I write it, and why I write it. I now have three blogs I write for regularly: satiswrites.com, cmnorthauthor.com, and thebipolarwriter.blog (the first two are mine; the third I guest write for). My plans for the next year include writing a second YA novel, probably before focusing on the fourth book in The Redemption of Erâth series, and so I imagine that I’ll have a lot to say over at cmnorthauthor.com. I also want to contribute to thebipolarwriter.blog more frequently (at least once or twice a month).

That doesn’t mean I want to leave satiswrites.com to languish, however. Even if I don’t have many fantasy contributions for the next twelve months, I still intend to post here for my Thought of the Week, Movie Night, Music I Love, and other random bits and pieces. So here’s the plan:

There might even be room for crossposting, but we’ll see how things go. I want to write more this year, but I don’t want to promise things I realistically know I can’t deliver on.

So consider this the first post of 2019 – and let there be many more to come!

Working on My Signature

My son came to me the other day (he’s fourteen), and asked for a signed copy of The Redemption of Erâth. The interesting part is that it isn’t for him, or even for a friend – it’s for a friend’s friend.

One of his best friends is a huge fan of fantasy, including Harry Potter and others, and for her birthday one year we gave her a copy of the first Redemption of Erâth book, Consolation. Apparently she liked it, because she wants to give a signed copy to one of her friends for Christmas.

It’s kind of neat.

I know perfectly well I’m not famous, well-known, or even known at all; fewer than a hundred people have bought my book, and probably fewer still have actually read it (so many people buy things they don’t read). But when someone recognizes you for your efforts, however small the recognition, it feels good.

I was in my local coffee shop the other day as I often am, and as I’m waiting in line the owner offhandedly comments that I’m on the ‘wall of fame’. I wasn’t sure what he meant until he pointed to the door, where, lo and behold, my picture is on the wall, amongst half a dozen others! I’ve done exactly one book signing there with about three people in attendance, but they still felt it was enough to recognize me on the wall of the shop.

That felt great.

I was in the local paper the other month for that book signing; a reporter happened to be picking up his own coffee the day I was there, and sat down to ask me a few questions. The book signing and article are about my young adult book, 22 Scars, but in some ways that’s even better, because that’s my ‘serious’ work.

The point is, it’s interesting to consider who might know you, and what they might think. Once your work is out there, you can’t take it back – people know you and your writing, even if it’s only a very few people. And to think that those people enjoyed my work enough to want to share it with others – whether via a gift, or by recognizing me on a wall – is a feeling that hits deep. It really feels meaningful, because of course that’s why I started writing in the first place – to touch people’s lives.

So who knows – maybe one day I’ll be signing books all over the place! More likely not, but still – time to work on my signature!

Mental Illness and Creativity

This is hardly a revelation, but many of the most creative minds the world has produced suffered from mental health issues to some degree or another. From Pablo Picasso to Charles Dickens, the struggle against the mind is intertwined with the creation of art.

That’s not really what I want to talk about.

What I want to talk about is why I’ve seemingly abandoned this blog, despite its one-time popularity and my commitment to writing. You see, from hundreds of posts in 2012 when I started to only 30 so far this year, my participation in this blog has dwindled, but it isn’t because I’ve been more depressed, or less committed to writing.

It’s because I’ve been medicated.

I suffer from bipolar disorder, which comes with periods of crushing depression, alternated with periods of (for me) hypomania – not quite the euphoric, top-of-the-world feeling of some sufferers, but rather a sense of needing to be prolific, to be productive, to get things done.

Back in 2012, when I first started blogging (also, as it happens, when I started work on The Redemption of Erâth), I was completely unmedicated. And looking back, I think I was going through a long, drawn-out manic phase. I would blog three to four times a week, write for hours a day, and wrote a complete first draft in three months (by contrast, the most recent book in the series, Ancients & Death, took over a year to write).

This period of productivity came with its downsides, too; I became distant from my family, using my writing as an excuse to ignore them and sit in my office for hours, sometimes days, at a time. That wasn’t fair to them. I focused so heavily on my writing that all else – my life, my job – became secondary.

But then something happened. Around 2013 or 2014 (I can’t remember exactly), I went to my doctor and asked for help. I couldn’t handle the depression and the mania anymore. And since then, on and off, I’ve been on a variety of medications, some of which are helpful and others that I had to leave well alone. And one of the things that this medication has done is keep me on a flat, level plane.

That’s okay – it’s what they’re supposed to do. But it has hindered my creativity … to an extent. Whilst I’m not usually cripplingly depressed, nor do I have any real manic phases, which leads to the problem: sometimes I just don’t do anything.

I want to blog regularly. I want to pick back up on my Thought of the Week posts, and others. But the motivation is hard to come by. It isn’t depression – it’s just a lack of desire.

In the meantime, I have done work; I wrote and released my young adult book 22 Scars, and I’ve been working hard at editing and finalizing Ancients & Death. And now, it’s ready for release.

With the book writing a little more out of the way (I’ll probably pick up on the sequel to Ancients & Death sometime in the new year), maybe I can focus back on blogging a bit more. I’d certainly like to revitalize this page. And who knows? Maybe I’ll make some new friends again!


The Redemption of Erâth: Ancients & Death (Vol. III) is available for pre-order, and will be released on Sunday, November 4th.