anxiety and depression

I am now, officially, medicated

I was prescribed Zoloft for my depression, and I have just taken my first dose. I finally achieved the unlikely combination of being tired of not having the motivation to actually do any of the things I want to do, and a day in which I actually felt well enough to make the phone call to my doctor’s office to ask for it. I was offered meds back in March (I think?) but I said I wasn’t sure then.

I don’t know if I’m sure now. I am very anxious about this, but the paperwork assures me Zoloft also works for anxiety. Convenient. I will try to document my journey into (hopefully) better mental health, or alternately, into the Land of Horrible Side Effects, whichever it ends up being. Supposedly if I take it at night it should help me with my sleep issues. We shall see. I have been medicated for about ten minutes so far, and I am starting to feel rather sleepy already. Probably I should go get ready for bed now, but I feel like I should at least talk about something more cheerful first.

I am still (yes, still) dragging along on ch46. This middle scene was supposed to be short, but it’s proving informative, as worldbuilding goes. I had to come up with names for side characters, but I was at work when I got to that part, and somehow the constant running around is frustratingly inspiring. (Frustrating because I have the attention span of a gnat and the memory capacity of an antique floppy drive. I have no idea how many conversations my characters have had while I’m too busy to write anything down, but it is one of those scary-large numbers with lots of commas, probably.) Anyway, I am pleased with how it’s going, my tendency to go on and on and on, etc, notwithstanding.

Goblin Fruit


I bought these strawberries three days ago, and they have been sitting on the top shelf of my fridge since then, unattended by my usual wash-and-put-in-an-airtight-container-treatment, and they are still as perfect looking as strawberries can be unless you actually grew and harvested them yourself and now I’m horribly afraid I’ve come across a carton of enchanted goblin fruit that will put me in the debt of the Fair Folk or something equally fraught after eating them. So if no one hears from me in the near future, that might be it.

(Or it might just be the antidepressants I’ll be taking starting tonight. I am hella nervous about this.)

But seriously, these strawberries are like, unnaturally delicious.

Pretending to be a real grownup

I had a reasonably good day today! (I mean Tuesday, not Wednesday. Working evenings messes up my sense of days, lol.) Slept later than I wanted, but there was housework, and phone calls*, including scheduling an eye appointment for the first time in *mumblemumble* years, a doctor’s appointment to discuss medication for my mental health issues**. I also worked on AFWT. I’m in the beginning of the middle scene, which should be short, but I think I’m gonna be looking at a longer than average chapter again…

*sigh*

Anyway, I have a comic page to ink! Preview pic tomorrow, hopefully!

*I really, really hate talking on the phone, sometimes the very idea of making phone calls makes my stomach curdle. Apparently this is not an uncommon anxious reaction, which makes me feel, if not better, then less like a freak.

**It makes me feel positively paradoxical, however, that I have to have a superlative mental health day to get myself to do something about my mental health issues…

So…I bought myself a hat?

I am becoming ever more housebound, between taking my writing seriously* and the burgeoning anxiety/depression issues, but a few weeks ago, my sister did manage to get me out of the house on a shopping trip. We went to a craft store, a book store, and Target.

At Target there was a hat.

My BFF promptly named it my sherbet hat, and so it shall be called for ever and ever

I loved it at first sight. The colors are so cute! I made the cardinal mistake of putting the hat on and wearing while I followed my sister around the store. It felt odd at first, but then I forgot about it except when I was walking fast enough to make the beads bounce against the brim in the most satisfying way.

Of course I ended up buying it.

Now, I am not a hat person. Hats make me feel like I should be trying for some sort of fashion, and my fashion is generally ‘whatever is comfortable and doesn’t make me look ten pounds overweight’ and ‘sandals when the weather approves.’ In Texas, it approves most of the time. I wore them today when I took my dog for a walk.

I also wore my sherbet hat for the first time too, because one of the reasons I was able to persuade myself it wasn’t a self-indulgent waste of money was that I sort of needed one for our walks. Texas is a big, open place, and even more so in the winter, when all the trees are hanging out in their birthday suits, and the sun is free to shine right in your eyes when you’re walking in the direction of the sunset on a short January evening. The sunlight shining through the brim was very nice, all golden through the pinkish-red of the hat itself. I am satisfied with my purchase, and am not inclined to castigate myself for spending the money.

*Hey, J.M., how is that going anyway “Oh, fine, I felt really good this week despite being tired as hell, so I’m almost done with Ch34, (one scene left *crosses fingers*) and not terribly discouraged even though the mess my country has gotten itself into since November sent me into a Spiral of Doom™ that put me two and half months back on my schedule and now AFWT probably won’t be released until autumn at earliest” she says while totally not sobbing in a corner.

No, it’s fine, really, I promise. I feel good today, anyway, so I’m going to make the most of that while it lasts.

Revisions Hell: One Month In

Anyone who has ever heard me talk about writing has heard me say this but in case you missed it: I hate revising.

That said, I think I’m doing okay this time? I am exhausted and frustrated and I keep finding really stupid mistakes and I can’t make up my mind about certain details, but…I like the shape the story is taking? Though good freaking lord, will I be so happy when I finally get to the midpoint in the book where I had everything mostly figured out and only need to correct minor continuity changes and typos.

And add Feelings.

That part is probably not going to get easier.

I’m moving along at a decent clip, if not a great one–about one chapter per week. There was a lot of overtime at my job in May, which puts me blessedly ahead financially *knocks on wood* but kind of killed me creatively. I am still recovering from the exhaustion. I know this because I started another side story idea, and have written almost two chapters of it. -_-; That’s bad because it’s literally all spoilers for some important backstory and therefore not something anyone, even my beta reader, can read for a long damn time. I have managed to persuade myself it is okay to spend time on this because it’s bonus material for a future Patreon or whatever thing. Really I should be finishing the first chapter of the second/third book (still haven’t made up my mind on this point) if I’m going to be writing new material, but eh.

Anyway! My agenda today:

1: Clean my frickin house. After spending several weeks in thrall to borderline depressive anxiety episode, my home is a disaster. I hit a wall Monday, hard. Got home from work and spent nearly the entire day in bed because I just could not make myself get up. I felt marginally better Tuesday, but still too tired. But today, I really need to straighten things up.

2: Do that massive reread of the rough draft I’ve been putting off. It started because of the overtime thing, but then it was just because I landed head first in the revising of the first few chapters, and that was involved let me tell you, what with all the new scenes and trying to figure out how to describe the magic stuff more accurately and changing my mind about every tiny detail because who are you talking to? Me, duh.

3: Kidding, I’m not going to have time for anything else, did I tell you how long this book is? It’s frickin long. I had to do a reread of the first four chapters before sending Ch4 to my dear beta reader which took a good two hours. Four chapters. Two hours. I am too long winded. I have accepted this about myself.

Hopefully everyone else will too.

It’s a rough draft!

I have finished the rough draft of my third novel! I am extremely tired now, because this baby clocks in at nearly 265 thousand words! I started this particular book in 2013, as a self-indulgent fantasy romance idea while I was struggling with my previous project, the sadly neglected Firecat. I wrote about ten thousand words before leaving off, but last summer, I was looking though the random files back up to my phone and found it, and thought, “hey, this ain’t half bad, why’d I stop?” And then started writing again.

I have never written so intensely in my life. I used to write at a pace of about 300-500 words a day, and not every day, or even particularly regularly. That was mostly due to problems with anxiety and depression, which made it hard to focus and harder to like anything I produced. But I’ve gotten better about this stuff in the last year, and I guess that lit a spark, because my daily average word count is much closer to 900 words a day, and lately I’m having days where I break 1,500 (on a work day!), or up in the 2-3 thousand on my days off.

Anyway, the book is done, and it is a BEAST. I intended this book originally as a one-shot romance thing, to see if I could write one. It’s not a genre that gets a lot of play from me, since I never really felt it much? But realizing my instinctive rejection of the trappings of romance were a direct result of being almost entirely asexual/aromantic and unable to express this fact for the first 28 years of my life because the vocabulary just wasn’t there really opened me up to the enjoyment of a really good ship, which is…weird, when I stop to think about it sometimes, but whatever?

*shrugs*

So that was the original intention, anyway. Somehow along the way it turned into an epic fantasy in an mid-industrial magic setting? I got really into the setting and the magic and the worldbuilding, and it just sort of happened that way, and the one-shot idea just kept getting longer because I can never seem to be able to gauge exactly how long it’s going to take me to get from point A to point B when I’m writing, and now it’s going to be a trilogy, or possibly a quartet (is that the right word? I have no idea what the term for a four-book series is) because at this point I am seriously considering chopping the first book in half. I won’t know for sure until I’ve done a full read through and fixed the first half (needs a lot of worldbuilding and magic system detailing added) and fixing up the side plot, which I didn’t think up until almost two thirds through the book because I did the thing I always do and got WAY too attached to one of the side characters and had to expand the scope of his story in the book. *BIG sigh*

I love to make things hard on myself, don’t I. But I’m much more satisfied with this idea than the original one. Mostly because it is chock full of my own preferences: Multiple asexual/aromantic relationships! Magical bonding practices! Characters being snarky at each other but also Talking about their Feelings a lot! Epic levels of angst! A protagonist who is going to get called a Mary Sue by SO MANY PEOPLE–I can’t wait. There also ended up being a bunch of kids in this book and I am just as surprised as you are by this fact? Like, I guess I ought to have expected that when I made the setting a school?

*epic shrug*

Okay, so my goal is to be done revising the first book by the end of summer! Maybe sooner if I do end up making it into two books? Regardless, I’m hoping to release the first book early next year. There is a website! There is…nothing there yet! But it exists!

I am crossing my fingers really hard because historically, my record of revising things is 0/2. But I have a really good feeling about this one!

Notes on my other projects! I am planning to start writing the sp/ace romance soon too. I don’t know if I’ll be able to work on both projects at once, and my current project will have to take priority, but I want to try. Comics…are on the back burner for now. We are getting into the busy time of year at work and I just don’t have the energy for art things right now. At some point I am going to seriously consider tightening my belt and getting a part time job so I’ll have time to be more creative, now that I’m not a hyper-nervous, depressed wreck of a human being. I still need to save more money before I can consider that though. Fortunately a side effect of spending all my time writing is that I have no time to go out and spend money anymore, so…soon? ha ha…

Took a writing break

Wednesday because I just got off a three day long depressive anxiety episode thing. Could not concentrate on anything to save my life. I was not allowed to write anything before work. I cleaned my kitchen instead, and it felt good, because it really, really needed it.

It was a quiet day at work, surprising for a Wednesday–usually that’s the day everyone is grumpy, or running around like the proverbial headless chicken. I broke my break to jot down a few lines between customers, and ended up thinking about the meeting story of two characters who are only referenced in the book, one of whom is already dead before the story starts (not a spoiler, the main character finds this out very early in the first chapter) and the other of whom does not show up in person until the third book.

And now I have to write this story. -_-; (Eventually. Not now. Even if I wrote it now, I wouldn’t be able to release it any time soon because it wouldn’t make much sense outside the context of the novels.)

BUT…I, uh…may have already jotted down some sections of dialogue? And made up some cultural details to work into the story, since it takes place mostly in a different country than the book…and decided some backstory stuff for both the characters that I hadn’t bothered to think up yet? Oops.

*bangs head against keyboard*

How did what was supposed to be a one-off story idea turn into this giant, epic thing with half a dozen spin off stories? No, don’t answer that, I suspect it has something to do with the fact that I can’t help overthinking everything.

At some point…

…during a particularly tiring day, you just have to accept that you are not going to be able to get anything done and take a little break from being creative. So I guess I’ll be spending the rest of my night straightening up my room. My desk…is a terrible mess.

messy desk covered with laundry that needs to be put away, books, papers, art supplies, junk food...

Yeah, I’m a slob. Sorry.

It’s because I’ve been crunching my current WIP, tentatively titled A Flower With Thorns, an industrial magic epic fantasy novel that is topping out at nearly 250k words so far. More than twice the number I was expecting…that’s what happens when your one-off fantasy romance idea absorbs the plot of your old epic fantasy series that you never did finish…oops.

So, that’s about a chapter and a half from being done? In the rough draft at least. I still have to go back and add side plot/character sections to the first half of the book, and fix the vague worldbuilding and magic system stuff.

Other stuff on my To Do List:

Think up a name for the indie publishing company that I’m going to self pub this thing under. I’m debating on whether to reuse my old creative business name (Cyborg Butterfly, for which I already own the domain) or think up a new one.

Do my taxes. It’s April, I’M RUNNING OUT OF TIME. *panicked flailing*

Do some frickin art. I wanted to practice drawing more this year, and even started a comic project, which was stalled out by a fierce lump of anxiety/depression in Jan-Feb, and by the time I got out from under that, my brain had been completely devoured by the changes to the novel.

Compose a rough outline for the asexual cooking romance. I have accumulated several recipes, but the male lead needs a name, and I need to do some research about life in a space-faring society. It’s set in the Space Tangerines timeline, so the worldbuilding isn’t a problem, just the sciencey details, which matter a bit more when it’s a text story instead of a comic.

P.S. I did not clean off my desk…I took too long writing this blog post…