So (if there’s anyone actually still reading this) you probably noticed I haven’t updated like.
In a while.
Things are not so good in my brain currently. I feel no creative spark. I feel no sparks at all. I am exhausted, mentally, physically…basically I’m a sad lump. I don’t even feel sad. I mostly just feel…tired.
I don’t know what I’m trying to say here. Maybe I just needed to say it, even if it’s only just shouting it into the void. I should make a doctors appointment and see if this is a symptom of something, maybe get my brain pills upped, but thinking about all that just makes me so tired.
If you’re scratching your head and puzzling over the chapter number, AFWT ch23 went up…week before last, I think? But only on AO3. Official sit is currently down due to an issue with the wordpress installation, and will remain so for the foreseeable future, as my time is short of late. It’ll go back up sometime when I have the time/energy/mental spoons to fix it. For now, you can still find the serial on Archive of Our Own, since it’s easier to update.
I am currently sitting at my dining table/plant stand, looking out over my frozen back yard. Honestly, if it’s going to be below freezing, we ought to at least get some actual snow out of it, but no, it’s frost-covered grass as far as the eye can see. There is ice on the trees, and they are making a rice-crispie sound in the wind. It is below freezing even though its the middle of the day, and in central Texas, that’s a pretty damn rare occurrence. Especially since we already had a bad freeze a few weeks ago, and lemme tell you, if anyone tries the climate change denial around me now I’m gonna point that out right quick.
In other news, in an attempt to get my slacking, super ADHD ways under control in the new year, I made myself an alarm schedule for my days off, and the Sunday schedule has a dedicated block for posting AFWT chapters before I get on to my plant-related shenanigans. So cross your fingers that I’ll be able to get those out somewhat regularly, barring day off-eating events like last week’s cleaning and cooking extravaganza for my father’s birthday.
I’ve actually been a tiny bit proactive since the brain fog induced by losing one of my ADHD meds cleared up. I wasn’t able to afford my health insurance this year, and apparently without it atomoxetine retails for $600. That’s a 90 day supply of pills, just for clarification. Completely bonkers. So I declined that one, and I think maybe now I’m actually doing a bit better without it? I hadn’t been productive at all since like, last summer, creatively speaking, but I managed to write a tiny bit this week, mostly on my phone at work, but still. I’ve been getting up earlier, or at least I was before the weather took a turn for the gray and frozen, sigh. I’ve also been organizing my future farm/plant nursery plans: creating spreadsheets, sorting plants into categories, accumulating growing information and sustainable farming methods, gathering materials for vertical gardening adventures, saving money for greenhouses…also binge-online-shopping for heirloom seeds, plus plant varieties that will do well in my nine-months-of-severe-heat-and-humidity climate. I’m toying with the idea of doing a vlog focused on building up the business. But that’ll have to wait until my next post, since I do have a chapter to get up and about a million plants to water and a house in desperate need of a vacuum cleaner.
Chapter 13 is up, finally. Sorry for flaking, I seem to have had a depressive episode that intersected with some hardcore hyperfocus, and I basically spent the last three weeks obsessing over succulents. Yes, the plants. I’ve managed to accumulate quite a collection of them. Also seeds for my annual gardening project. (Wait, what about that purple garden—yeah, that’s still in progress. Tiger rose is still alive. Wisteria is hanging on by a thread; we’ll see if it leafs out this year before I say anything more.)
Expect pictures of all my recent acquisitions at some point, which include a raspberry bush, a couple of flowering cherry trees, and a kiwi vine. I also bought a lot of heirloom fruit/veg seeds. My plan is to make a vertical garden with scavenged/reused materials. Probably some raised beds and a couple of arbors too, because what else is Pinterest for but giving people grandiose ideas about what they’re capable of?
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*