New Years, Commitments, and Fantasy

In years past, I’ve often tried to commit to blogging on a more regular basis come January first. (I mean, technically there’s no reason I have to use the passing of a year to define when I should start writing again, but it’s a useful starting point.) I always start out with the best of intentions, and usually end up faltering and ceasing within a month or so. And whilst I can certainly try to do better this year, there’s really no reason for me to expect that 2021 will be any different than 2020, or 2019, or any year before that. I would love for this blog to reach the heights of its early days in 2011 and 2012, but it probably won’t happen.

That being said, I still have marked out in my calendar a regular post schedule (Thought of the Week on Mondays, Movie Night on Fridays, etc.), and I’d like to use it as a reminder of that fact that, at the end of the day, I really do enjoy writing and communicating ideas – asinine as they may sometimes be.

I already wrote a Movie Night and Music I Love post on Saturday to grace the start of the New Year, but today’s post really marks the beginning, as it’s the start of the week, and I want to see if I can outline some of what I’d like to accomplish over the coming year.

I know well enough that getting readership is highly dependent on both quality of posts and quantity – a post a month is hardly going to garner interest – so a commitment to regular writing is important. But I don’t want to simply reduce myself to posting arbitrary thoughts of nothingness just for the sake of it, so I want to outline a schedule that I can at least try to adhere to. So here goes:

  • Monday: Thought of the Week – this is my opportunity to discuss anything that happens to cross my radar – whether it be political, literary, musical, or anything else that seems of interest.
  • Wednesday: Sci-Fi & Fantasy – here is where I will post about things with a focus on science-fiction and fantasy – whether it be updates on my own series, The Redemption of Erâth, or thoughts on other fantasy and sci-fi stories and franchises.
  • Friday: Movie Night – discussions of film, cinema, and movie reviews.

Additionally:

  • First day of the month: Music I Love – this will be an opportunity to discuss all things music-related, wether it be album reviews, discussions of classical music, or anything else.

This will allow for around 12-15 posts each month, which I hope will be manageable and not overwhelming. I think one of the biggest challenges I face when it comes to writing is the fact that I often feel lethargic, depressed or simply overwhelmed, and writing ends up taking a back seat to simply trying to make it through the day. I also hope that, with a planned schedule, I can take advantage of my quasi-random days off from work to write out several posts in advance, so that I don’t feel as though I’m down to the wire when it comes to getting posts written.

Finally, I would also love for 2021 to be the year that the fourth Redemption of Erâth book comes out; I started working on it over a year ago, and took a break to wrap up my second Young Adult novel (under my real name), but I’d very much like to see where the story of Brandyé, Elven and their companions is going. This is going to take a lot of time and commitment, but with no other books in the pipeline, I might just have an opportunity to really tackle this story once and for all.

So here’s to a new year of writing – and hopefully one that will see my word count skyrocket!

Wild Mood Swings

I am getting tired. Tired of so much, in the world, in life, and in my thoughts; but most of all, I’m getting tired of not knowing where my head is going to be next month, next week, or even tomorrow. Frankly, living with bipolar is an exhausting experience, and although I’ve mostly just dealt with it until now, I have to admit that I’m running low on energy – not just energy to live and do things, but energy to cope.

It’s one of the reasons, if not the most prominent one, why I don’t attend to this blog like I did years ago. I feel bad about it, but feeling bad was never much of a motivator for me, so I continue to neglect my daily writing in favor of sleep, TV, and sleep.

Historically, long periods of low mood, energy and motivation have formed a large part of my life, from my teenage years through my adulthood and to present day; I’m no stranger to depression. Often this manifests as wanting to stay in bed, feeling hopeless, and an inability to cope with the most basic of daily functions (e.g. showering, brushing teeth, etc.). I’ll spend day after day not even watching TV, and just staring at the ceiling, waiting for sleep to take me to twisted dreamscapes where I can escape from reality – if not entirely pleasantly.

But more recently, I feel I’m struggling with a new level of exhaustion: one that wears my mind down from an excess of actual mood swings. If my normal depression is akin to the tiredness of a marathon runner nearing the end of the slog, my current state of mind is closer to that of a sprinter after a day’s worth of races: running full tilt, then stopping, then starting again, over and over with no end in sight.

It’s like being on a non-stop rollercoaster. It’s like falling endlessly. It’s like … well, there are likely dozens of metaphors I could choose from, but the point is that I feel like my brain is about to leak through my eyes and ears, a complete and total meltdown from being forced to cope with a rapid cycle of ups and downs in a very short period of time.

Only a month ago, I was suffering from one of the worst depressions I’ve known in recent years. I couldn’t work, I couldn’t play, I couldn’t get out of bed, and I was sorely tempted to begin self-harming again after over a decade clean. Last week, I finished the last pages of my new manuscript after several days of hours-long writing stints. I went from catatonic to manic within a period of only a few days.

I don’t think this is good for me. It’s left me with a whole new level of exhaustion that I’m entirely unused to, and I honestly don’t know how to cope. It was my birthday over the weekend, and I spent it mostly in the loft watching Lord of the Rings and writing emails to people I haven’t contacted in months, or even years. I don’t know what I’m doing.

I wake up every day before 6 AM, but I want to pass out by 7 PM. This is also new; I normally sleep in like crazy, and stay up late.

I wonder if it’s to do with the new medication my psychiatrist started me on; I wonder if it’s to do with the strange weather (70°F in November, what’s with that?). I wonder if it’s … I don’t know anymore.

In any case, I’m done writing young adult/new adult for the time being, which means maybe – just maybe – I’ll find some time to return to The Redemption of Erâth for you all, as I started on book four almost eighteen months ago and never really got too far into it. In the meantime, I’ll see if I can start posting here a little more regularly, as I always want (and always fail) to do.

Many thanks!

A Change of Pace

I’ve been struggling to write for nearly a year now. When I released my young adult novel in the autumn of 2017 (under my real name), I had a plan that I would spend 2018 writing the fourth Redemption of Erâth novel, and 2019 could focus on my second attempt at YA.

Sadly, this isn’t how things have turned out. I spent most of 2018 trying to start writing (with very little success), whilst also attempting to market and sell my YA novel. This did not work. I’ve spent most of 2019 trying to get going on the second YA novel … which also didn’t work.

In the midst of all of this, I’ve become increasingly negligent of my blog, and The Redemption of Erâth has dropped off the face of the earth. There have been a lot of ups and downs (mostly downs) over the past two years, but nothing I haven’t been able to weather before. No – this time, I think I’ve really just become complacent, and found it easier to do the things that keep me going day by day, without finding room for the things that make those days worth living.

That thing is writing. The feeling of accomplishment, of success, when writing the final lines of a novel … there is nothing comparable. It’s a deluge of heady satisfaction, and it doesn’t matter if another soul in the world ever reads it. Just knowing that something exists in the world that did not before is a reward worth a thousand kingdoms.

So what can I do? The first thing I know I can’t do is make a promise. Promises lead to broken hearts, and I’d not have that for anything. But I can try. I can continue to try, day by day, and if I write a word or not, I know that the next day will come, and with it new energies and new ideas that might be able to revive me.

So for now, I will put a pause on my YA work, and see what the world of Erâth has to hold for me, for Brandyé, Elven, and all the others. I am going to try diving back in to the fourth book in the Redemption of Erâth series, and see if my mind can fathom the next steps there better than it can in the real world.

I will do my best to post regular updates and thoughts, but as before – no promises. I do look forward, though, to the idea of regaining this community, discovering new people, and writing new worlds.

Here’s to the next 12 months!