After totally wasting a ton of time on a bunch of Christmas ornaments, which is really annoying and upsetting, I finally got the AFWT website up, and it’s currently up to date with all the chapters released! I know, nothing short of miraculous! I’m still working on the other venues—-Dreamwidth (horrible name aside, it’s the most like Livejournal we’ve got that’s not being slowly ground to dust under our megacorporate overlords), and Pillowfort (not exactly a burgeoning community over there yet sigh). I still need to chop up all the chapters into individual documents, proof them one more time for typos and flow issues, and back them up to the cloud so I can do this shit even if I’m not in front of my tablet. Do not ask about my laptop, it is currently circling the drain. I think it knew I was going to end up flat broke and in mild credit card debt this year so yay for that. (I love my awful fur children but they are EXPENSIVE YO *sobs hysterically*)
2019 was an industrial trash fire! Good riddance!
Here are links to Chapters Five and Six! Links to the alternate sites are on the home page at AFWT.jmcowan.net, as are the social medias where you can follow the updates!
My goals for the new year! Learn how to talk to other people! Get more crafty stuff done! Finish A Shield and an Anchor, and also Golden Wolf! Blog more! Totally break the record on how many exclamation points one person can use in a single blog post!
The beginning of the year was tough for me. The weather was acting up, my allergies were acting up, work was…awful…and I hit another one of those long, drawn-out depressive patches. I did finally manage to break out of that and finish the revisions to A Flower With Thorns, so yay for that. The website for the serial is a work-in-progress, slightly stalled for the moment because BRAIN STUFF UGH.
My doctor changed my meds–I transitioned from the Xoloft to something called Effexor XR. It seemed to work at first; I had a six-week-long burst of creativity, mostly writing, and got through a couple chapters of A Shield and an Anchor, the sequel to AFWT, and through chapter eight of Golden Wolf, and then…I crashed right into a wall. It’s been over a month since I’ve gotten anything substantial done, creatively speaking.
Yeah, not great. I’m not even sure if this is a depressive streak, since my mood has been mostly good. I was just caught by a sudden obsession with comparison shopping for sewing machines, and then looms. (I’ve always wanted to learn how to weave.) It’s ridiculous, since I’m so freaking broke right now I couldn’t afford to buy either one even at the best price. Sigh.
I did manage to finish GW ch9 the other day, and I made an over-the-sink shelf for my kitchen, so it’s not like I’m wallowing in my inactivity. I just can’t seem to get back to any of my current projects with any kind of consistency. I was reading about how adhd is frequently misdiagnosed as depression, and I’m thinking maybe it’s time to try meds for that. It’s kind of nervous-making, since a lot of those meds are addictive stimulants, but not being able to get anything done is also pretty upsetting. I have an appointment soon, and intend to discuss it with my doctor then.
I’d been planning to launch AFWT in July, got the website up and everything, but that didn’t happen either. I’m going for ‘at least before the end of the year’ at this point, but we’ll see.
In other news: work has continued to be HELL because summer in Texas is basically hell, but with more tourists. (Although if Hell were real and plottable I’m sure there’d be people lining up to tour it.) We were short-handed for most of the summer too, so I have not had my vacation yet, and I spent most of June and July exhausted from overtime and the gross heat/humidity.
I am also spectacularly broke. I started the year by needing a new washing machine, and the expenses piled up from there. Also, before my meds were changed I went on another of those shopping sprees–bought way too much crafty stuff, which I regret now, since we had to take Belle to the vet for a bad UTI, and now Evie has an abscess on her jaw again, and also, the universe gave me a dog, which was not cheap, even if he was free.
(The cats are not exactly pleased with this development, in case you’re wondering, lolsob)
The pupper’s name is Benedict Benjamin, Ben-Ben for short, and he’s a white German Shepherd. He was very shy when I brought him home but after a couple of weeks, he’s settled in and getting rambunctious with it. Ben-Ben is currently about five months, sweet and pretty dang smart. He’s learning commands pretty fast, I just need to teach him to listen to me even when the cats are making noise. He’s a bit of a chewer, already mauled one of my books–but it was only a 50¢ copy of The Red Badge of Courage. He hasn’t touched another one since, so maybe he was just express his opinion on American classic literature; no one actually likes that book.
I was doing really well with my Wellbutrin but the last week or so everything just kind of…ground to a slow crawl. I was lucky to get out a couple hundred words a day, then luckier to get myself out of bed in time for even that much. Then one of my coworkers flaked out and I ended up doing overtime which meant I worked seven days straight so I am EXHAUSTED still from that. Plus the stress of having to be a witness at an upcoming drunk driving trial…
(Why, why can people not just behave themselves?!)
The latter of which is the reason that I had to be up at a truly ridiculous hour on the first day I’d had off in a week. Got to the Justice Center fifteen minutes early only to find out the trial has been reset.
I am not currently filled with faith in our justice system. The drunk driving thing happened two years ago.
So. Came home, ate, went back to sleep. Read and played Tropicats for a while before I made myself get my computer and look at the sadly neglected Ch53, then realized the reason it was so hard to drag the words out was because I was taking the chapter in the wrong direction.
So I’m probably gonna have to scrap all three thousand words of it and start over.
As you can probably imagine, this was not a fun thing to realize. I meant to go through what have and try to fix it, but then I remembered I had to go back to town, to work, on my day off, to renew my UST training. That stands for Underground Storage Tank, but after following too many romance authors on social media (and more recently, falling down the fanfic wormhole) I can’t look at that acronym without wanting to LOL.
Anyway, that’s an hour of my life I’ll never get back. Stupid certifications. *grumbles about people with no common sense making things more difficult for the rest of us*
I crashed again when I got home. Laid in bed not really sleeping until ten thirty, when I finally forced myself to get up and make dinners for the rest of the week. I’d bought chicken, mushrooms and Brussels sprouts after I got off work Monday, but was too tired to cook after having to work Sunday night and then get back up early on Monday morning for the truck. So I prepped the garlic, shallots, mushrooms, and chicken, and while that sautéed, started shredding the sprouts. I’d gotten through about half of the bag before I managed to slice a chunk of skin off the edge of my thumb.
Which is bad enough but I couldn’t get it to stop bleeding, and it was my right thumb, naturally, so everything after that was awful. It hurt, I couldn’t manage the spice jars or the pepper mill. Ended up tossing what I had of the shredded sprouts into the pan and finishing it up as a one pot dish. It didn’t turn out too awful, but it certainly could have used a bit more flavor. Sigh.
I cleaned up as well as I could manage one-handed, which is to say, not that well, and went to bed.
Anyway. Not a great week. I am officially taking a break from everything creative until next Tuesday. Then I’ll figure out if I was just rundown because overwork and too hot weather, or if I need to try to up my Wellbutrin.
Either way, it’s super annoying that it happened when I’m on the last dang chapter of this book. :/
I am on my third week on Wellbutrin, and so far, it’s still knocking it out of the park. I finished Ch51 last week, and it took me a couple days to edit it to send out to my beta. I actually finished the first editing pass last Friday, but I thought it needed one more, so I decided to do that after work.
Let me tell you, the difference in working with Wellbutrin and working after it’s mostly out of my system is like night and day. I was up until 5 a.m. (after getting off work at about 12:30) and it took me that long to read through a not-quite 7000 word chapter. My attention span was ALL OVER THE PLACE. It was frustrating, and the only thing that kept me from checking out of the attempt was that I’d told my beta I’d get it to her that night.
I gave myself a break over the weekend before diving into Ch52, but it took me until Tuesday to actually start. I’m not managing to write much on my days off–to be honest, I’m still having trouble getting my lazy bum out of bed–but the chapter is already about 1500 words. It’s going well, I think. I’m optimistic that I’ll get the first round revision done before fall. I’m shooting for an October or November release right now, but at the very least before 2019 starts.
*knocks on ALL the wood*
In more practical progress, I’ve made a list of WordPress themes to use for the AFWT website, though I’ll wait until I’ve actually finished the first round revisions before I mess around with installing it on the domain.
On other fronts…well, let’s just say art stuff is still stalled out due to lack of time. I did start working on my Christmas gift prep work for this year–accumulating reference material, brainstorming ideas, shopping around for the supplies that I don’t already have in my considerable collection of crafty junk. I even made a notebook on my iPad to sketch out ideas, though I haven’t actually drawn anything in it yet: see aforementioned lack of time. I’m using Inkflow, which has a terrible name, but is actually a very nice notebook app with a lot of useful features.
I’ve gotta get that in gear, I don’t want to make myself crazy like I did last year, waiting until December to start on the projects and having to stay up until ridiculous hours to get things finished.
I have managed to write quite a bit this last week! I am trying not to get too excited, because the placebo effect is a real thing and it can take time to adjust to brain meds, but I haven’t written this regularly or this prolifically in months. I’m nearly done with his chapter, in fact. :D
That’s not to say I’m doing super great or anything. My ability to get up before noon is still hit or miss–to be perfectly honest, it’s mostly miss. But even with an hour or less of writing time on workdays, I have been getting out between 500 and 800 words (the 800 word day was largely typing up what I had written at work the day before, if I’m honest, but it’s no easier getting handwritten stuff into the manuscript than it is typing up new stuff or editing old stuff so it still counts). I have one scene left to finish, and if I can get it down by Tuesday, it’ll be an entire chapter drafted in two weeks!
It took me months to finish the last one!
Anyway: ability to focus has definitely improved. I am currently quite happy with the results, writing-wise. It hasn’t made me significantly less scatter brained in other areas, and I have yet to manage any art-related projects, but that’s mostly a time issue. Working six days a week is…not conducive to the creative hobbies. Just, you know, in case you were wondering. *sigh*
So I’ve been on the Wellbutrin for a week now. It took a couple days into my vacation to start feeling productive again but Thursday ended up being a pretty good day for writing, about 1,500 words for ch51. I didn’t get anything done Friday (because that wasn’t a vacation day T_T) but I had almost 3k by the end of Sunday, finishing off the climax scene. The scene still needs work but the method of finishing a chapter before fussing over corrections to it is the best way for me to actually finish things.
I didn’t write much this Tuesday but I maintain that’s not really my fault because two of my favorite authors came out with new books ON THE SAME DAY SO RUDE RIGHT DONT THEY KNOW I HAVE A NOVEL OF MY OWN TO FINISH
But today I managed just shy of 500 words despite only have about 45 minutes of writing time. Which is a lot better than what I’ve been doing. And it was relatively painless work so I’m holding out hope that this new medication will work out.
In other facets of my life, I am still the same scatterbrained space cadet I’ve always been so no change to my work or the fact that I can barely shift my lazy bum out of bed before noon. Still working on that lolsob.
So, Ch50 is edited, sent to my beta, and it was…one of the most painless editing sessions I’ve ever experienced? And I wrote 1100 words today, which is…really good, considering I’ve gotten down maybe 150 on the few days I’ve managed to get up early enough to make writing time for the last couple months. I am not sure whether to ascribe this to the Wellbutrin, or to the fact that I’m on vacation and literally have nothing better to do than spend several hours slouching over my laptop (and no customer service stress to exhaust me, can’t underestimate the value of that). I don’t feel any different? A little light headed, but not enough to affect my actions. I may be a little better able to resist the constant distractions that have prevented me from getting things done recently, though? I think?
The true test will be after I go back to work, I guess. When you only manage to grab an hour or so of regular writing time, distractions are like a death knell to progress. I am still working on getting myself into bed at a reasonable hour though lolsob. I have not managed to get up at a decent hour over the last few days of taking it. (sigh)
Anyway, the climax to this ridiculously long book has begun! I want to keep working, but I think I’m all written out for the day, so it’s probably a good idea to go do something more active and a lot less attention-requiring. Like go to the grocery store. Cause I’ve barely left the house since my vacation started. *shrug*
Hey, it’s been a while because I am literally the worst at blogging! I keep meaning to post something but my life is so boring I don’t really have much to say. I work, I read, occasionally I manage some writing. (I just completed the draft of Ch50! Thought I was never gonna get it done -_-)
The Zoloft is doing its work. My anxiety is still pretty much gone, my depression is…manageable. The sleepiness is a small problem, made worse by the incessant heat–summers in Texas are no joke, and it makes me so, so tired. Doesn’t help that I get up right in the middle of the day most days, when it’s getting really hot, and then go to work in a place that is like, 90% windows, coolers that blow warm air, and a 550 degree pizza oven–I really hate that thing.
Summer has never really been one of my productive seasons for that reason, unfortunately, but I feel like this year was even less so than usual. I don’t want to complain about my anti-depressants because they’ve made my existence so much better, but the main reason I got on them was so I could be productive again, and aside from the boost I got right after upping my dose, they have…not really done much for that.
If anything, I’ve gotten a bit worse. :/ I’ve been stuck on Ch 50 for months, my brain feels so scattered whenever I try to focus on anything that requires serious concentration, and I’m pretty sure it’s executive dysfunction that keeps me in bed till noon or later nearly every morning.
So on my last follow up appointment, I mentioned to my doctor that I thought I might have ADHD. Long story short: they made me an appointment with a psych nurse, she is leaning towards an ADHD diagnosis (it is apparently difficult to diagnose adult ADHD because there are so many reasons why adults could have attention issues) and I started on medication for it today.
I was leery of doing this because when I was researching long term effects of drug addiction for Woodhaven, I discovered that literally every single ADHD med is on the big, scary list of frequently abused prescription drugs. So yeah. I really do not enjoy taking medicine in the first place, and I think the fact that I faffed about over the issue until I was 36 years old despite being miserable a good 90% of the time says pretty clearly how reluctant I was to take this step, and even though I am glad not to live in a vortex of anxious despair anymore, I kind of resent being dependent on medicine for something that most people take for granted.
Yet here we are. I took my first dose of Wellbutrin about an hour ago. It’s not an ADHD med, but it is used to treat it in situations where stimulant based drugs can’t be used. Hopefully it will help my concentration issues. I’m not sure if it’s doing anything yet, because I slept like crap last night. I’m on vacation this week, so it’s a perfect opportunity to keep track. I’ll keep everyone posted. For now, though, I’m going to laze about in bed a bit longer, because what’s the point of a vacation if you can’t? ;p
I’ve been doing pretty well in general on my upped dose of Zoloft: writing more, being more social, getting out of the house on my days off. I feel more energetic (though that could be the prescription Vitamin D I am also on) and happier in general, and when I’m not it’s much easier to push past the negativity now so I can get back to what I’m doing without going into an emotional tailspin that sends me completely out of it for days.
Also, I can have caffeine again. Dark chocolate. Tea.
Which is good, because Zoloft is not without its side effects, and the one I’ve drawn seems to be…sleepiness.
On the plus side, this makes for slightly more restful sleep at night, though I still have nights when I lie awake and/or wake up repeatedly. I have also been having some very…odd sorts of dreams. Some of them have been quite intense. And the sleepiness hasn’t kept me from getting up in the mornings, interestingly enough. I’ve gotten out of bed before noon nearly every day (though some days it’s been only just before lolsob).
On the negative side, it means I spend a lot of time yawning and stumbling around/into things, and napping in the afternoons when I’m not working. But, as I said: I CAN HAVE CAFFEINE NOW!!!
I did have my first really bad patch since having my dose upped this week. Wednesday we were super busy at work, and Thursday I had to do a work-related thing that ended up forcing me to cancel my plans for my day off. (And it turned out to be completely pointless? Like, our store consistently scores very high in our image evaluations. My boss is so conscientious I could probably have taught the damn class myself without notes.)
I tried to treat myself to some shopping after, since I had to drive back though my usual shopping haunt, but it didn’t help. I also got yelled at for sitting in a chair I was considered purchasing and that was the opposite of help. So when I got back home I decided to lie down for a while and ended up sinking into a horrible funk and being basically non responsive to everything, and, consequently, getting none of the things I needed to do done.
I did try–got up about midnight and made myself eat and stared at Ch49 for a little while before giving up and taking some Benadryl and rereading something from my fave list in bed while I waited for sleep to claim me.
Friday I managed to get myself up in time to be practically productive if not creatively. I felt bad when I realized my sister had taken out the trash and cleaned up after the cats while I was busy being a semi-conscious lump, so I washed the dishes. Felt twitchy and anxious at work, plus we were super busy for much of the night. (Fridays. Ugh.) So I was exhausted by the time I got home. I basically just ate and went to bed.
HOWEVER. I feel back to normal today–worked on ch49 and everything!–so my fingers are crossed that the last three days were just a confluence of PMS and being way too busy at work and possibly also allergies messing me up.
So, last time I talked about my antidepressant stuff I sounded so optimistic, but then I crashed hard. December was…literally the worst. And January wasn’t too hot either. (Literally or figuratively…my electric bill! *sobs*) So my doctor doubled my dose of Zoloft. I have to take it twice daily now, which is a pain to remember even with alarms on my phone, but it also means that forgetting for an hour or two doesn’t mess me up as bad as when I was on one a day, so that’s nice. I’ve actually managed to be productive–not super productive, but I have managed to write about eight thousand words in February, which is better than the two previous months combined. Unfortunately not all of it was for AFWT. o_o;
It’s not unusual for me to come out of a depressive spiral with a new story idea–I tend to find something to distract myself–a TV show, a movie, a new books series–and start poking at it until it suits my tastes. This one started off as fan fic of my own characters, a fluffy tea shop AU, but the idea sort of blended with the books I was reading recently (Psycop and the Rowan Harbour Cycle) so now I have a third story to tell in my Genius Loci series, Woodhaven, about an asexual enby artist/seer who works part time in a cafe run by genius loci descended wolves in a town hidden in a forest, which is populated by a variety of genius loci who have lost their ancestral territories and human magic-users hiding from the eyes of the world. It takes place some time after the events in the two previous planned series, Golden Wolf and A Spirit of Place, but I don’t know if the characters will cross over yet, since I haven’t quite crystallized the plot details in my head. I should probably do that, lol.
I am chipping away at the next scene for AFWT, but it’s a duel scene and those are hard. (It doesn’t help that I can’t get my lazy arse out of bed early enough to have time to work on anything.) But it is getting worked on. Soon I’ll be done with the beginning of Woodhaven and my brain will hopefully get back on track so I can finish the beast.