Going Rogue

A lot of life has happened since I last wrote, which seems to keep happening on this blog. (That’s why I’m slowly transitioning it to more of an author’s website with a blog attached, instead of a neglected blog with author pages attached. Let me know what you think of the new look!)

My partner and I have finally moved to a new place, and it’s amazing what a change of space, of pattern, of light can do. We have so much more natural light now, and an extra bedroom my partner can use as an office (instead of working from the kitchen table, as he’s been doing for the last two years). I’m also getting a new desk this week, so I’m excited to have a new writing/day-job space to make my own.

We’re so grateful that we were able to move, and I’m already feeling so much better in our new place, although we’re still adjusting to the newness of it all. It also feels like we’re on vacation instead, since we’ve been having a heatwave over the last few weeks.

I’ve done pretty well sticking with my new year’s resolution of consistency with my everyday habits, except for one—my writing habit.

After diving into a new WIP, my beloved Heist Book, back in February, I started to stall a little way in, and I had to go back to the drawing board. Or in this case, the outlining board. I knew I needed to figure out more of the plot/heist logistics before I plowed ahead. But my brain wasn’t cooperating, since I couldn’t seem to work my way through the plot. Every time I put my mind to it, I hit another wall, another snarl, and I really lost confidence in my writing skills, even my imagination itself. ‘Twasn’t fun, to say the least.

Then I was chosen for Rogue Mentor, a fantastic flexible mentorship program, which was honestly such a boost, since I’ve applied for SO MANY mentorship contests over the years and never been picked. I got my edit letter for Raven Book back from my mentor, which was AMAZING and so in-depth, but also meant I really needed to reassess my whole concept and plan for that book too. And yet I couldn’t come up with any solutions, no matter how hard I noodled on both WIPs, or when I tried to let my subconscious do its thing while I did the dishes, or watched a travel documentary, or went for a walk around the block.

Weeks went by with nothing. No lightning bolts from on high, no whispers from the Muses, no half-remembered flashes of inspiration in the wee hours of the night or morning scribbled into my notes app. Nada. It felt like my brain had been washed up on shore and I was poking it with a stick, but it wasn’t budging. And I felt doubly guilty because I’d finally been picked for a mentorship program! I didn’t want to let my mentor down, or have her regret picking me!

So I consciously decided to take a month off from writing, and I definitely needed it. Then March crept into April, and life admin/stress about moving to our new place and selling our old place used up all of my brain power, so I really had nothing left over for my writing. I ended up taking April off too, even if it was less of a conscious choice and more of an unintended result of life getting in the way.

Then April turned into May, and May into June, and…well?

Imposter syndrome was well and truly kicking my ass.

Luckily, mercifully, FINALLY, I had some brain breakthroughs for Raven Book in June, and I talked them over with my incredibly patient and generous mentor, who really liked them (!!!) and said I should go ahead with my new plan. (Take that imposter syndrome! Until we meet again 🙃)

So now that we’re in our new place, and feeling more settled, I’m working on my new outline for Raven Book, and I’ll be setting myself a new deadline for the full revision, probably sometime in autumn, because let’s be realistic—life always gets in the way, no matter how hard I try…

And yet in the background of all this, over the last seven months, I’ve really felt the ticking clock eating away at, I dunno, life itself? And my chance of getting published before the collapse of society? And then I ping pong between feeling ridiculous for still wanting this dream in the face of all the horrifying things happening right now, or feeling like this is one of my only ways to rage against the machine/the dying of the light. (The whiplash is real, my friends.) The querying trenches also somehow keep getting worse, and harder, and more emotionally damaging for all parties involved, so I’m not looking forward to wading into that minefield again.

But I’m also keenly aware that the longer I take to revise, the longer it will take me to query, and with response times averaging about a year now from what I’ve heard, that’s putting whatever chance I might have into the nether reaches of the forseeable future. Because, honestly, who can say what will happen in the world in the next year or two or five, or hell even the next six months?

And I know so many people are probably feeling similarly. Beyond the point of burnout, where you’re just trying to survive, and keep your head above the onslaught of relentless bullshit life keeps throwing at us nowadays. And my life is so simple compared to others, those who have little ones depending on them, or elders they’re taking care of, or manual jobs, or chronic illnesses and disabilities where you have a very limited number of spoons each day/week/month.

I know I should be doing more, reading more, writing more, and yet I also know I’m not a machine either? I don’t want to give in to the toxic productivity mindset. But….I also really wish I could lose myself in my writing like I used to, and feel excitement and joy again about all the possibilities of storytelling, and not just….dread? About, well, everything?

Deep sigh. This has been very cathartic to write, but I’ve whined long enough now, so thank you if you’ve gotten this far. And as cheesy as it sounds, the latest images from deep space published this week really threw a lot into perspective for me in spite of all my rambling above, and I’m just going to do what I can on this speck of dust floating in the cosmos to hopefully create some joy, and maybe some magic. I want to give Raven Book one last shot, and goddamnit I’m going to give it my best, while I still can.

I’m so grateful to have been chosen for Rogue Mentor, and to get mentorship from Nat, and camaraderie from my fellow mentees who are in the same stage of their journey as me. And I’m so endlessly grateful to my CPs and friends who have cheered me on through this latest slump, and who didn’t give up on me or my stories.

I’ll try to update more soon (since now I’ll hopefully have more to actually give updates on!), but until then stay safe, mask up, and let me know how your adventures are going, with writing or just life in general.

Til next time,

~M

Things I’ve been loving recently

2 responses to “Going Rogue”

  1. Okay, so I LOVE this redesign!? It’s so classy and simplistic, yet it still feels like you (with your pictures, especially). And I enjoyed reading this post so much, even though I absolutely hate what you’re going through. Though, for what it’s worth, you’re definitely not alone. I feel like I’ve been in a writing slump for ages and, even though I started working on a new WIP, I lost steam after only three chapters. 😭

    But, I believe in you completely and know you got this!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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