It Starts Here

back-1432137-639x852The journey starts here.

But I think “journey” is the wrong word because it sounds pleasant–all path through the autumn woods, yoga and protein shakes, essential oils and leggings. It was nothing like that. It was a battle–no–multiple battles. It was a war.

I’ve been kind of flailing through space here on my blog. I wanted it to be mostly about writing but in truth it has simply become a catch-all for any thoughts I can manage to get through a keyboard.  I’ve been wanting to give it a niche. Especially since I have vowed to keep all my new creative work to myself in an effort to traditionally publish.

Two weeks ago I was finally given a diagnosis for the chronic pain I had been dealing with for two years. This was the battle. If you’ve never been your own medical advocate, let me tell you how exhausting it is, how hopeless it feels. You bounce from PCP (primary care physician), to specialist, to alternative practitioner looking mostly for relief but also answers. They believe you a little, or not at all. Maybe they believe you fully but their hands are tied by licenses and degrees.

There’s nothing wrong with you.
Then why couldn’t I get out of bed?
Aren’t you glad?
Look, I’m happy that my blood is negative and that my organs function properly but there’s something wrong with me. And that’s ok. Ok? I’ve had “something wrong” with me for fifteen years now. But this is different. Help, please.

I battled my way to a diagnosis. I slashed and stabbed and bloodied many doctors’ offices as well as my own life. I have fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue syndrome/chronic pain disorder. My central nervous system is all screwed up with pain and pain signals. Finally: answers.

But I had only won one battle. There are many more to come. And there have already been others. This war didn’t start two years ago but fifteen. And it didn’t start in my muscles, my joints, nor my skin. It started in my head.

My senior year of high school I was diagnosed with social and general anxiety disorders. Four years earlier, I had experienced my first major depressive episode. In college, I spun through the whirlwind of hypomania. I had been self-harming for years by then. It wasn’t until grad school that any of these other issues were addressed. I had to completely combust first.  And, even then, it wasn’t until after I graduated that someone seemed to have a clue and the medications finally started working a little. I had been on so many. I had gained 80 pounds. I was merely surviving. I was bipolar (II). I had PTSD. I still had anxiety disorders. I was severely depressed for five long years.

The hardest battles are the ones you fight with yourself while laying in a dark room, staring at the wall.

Should I be writing about this? I’m already in enough pain daily. Should I be ripping open my soul and letting it bleed all over the internet? You know, nothing ever truly disappears on the internet. There are still people out there who don’t believe in any of my diagnoses (lol, ok, just go ahead and stick your fingers in your ears and sing “la, la, la”). There are people out there who think I’m a drug addict looking for a fix. There are people out there who think I’m just a lazy cow.

And that’s why I have decided to lend my voice to the other brave voices screaming to be heard. My blog, my little pocket of the internet, is now being dedicated to sharing my past and future experiences of being a writer with chronic illness.

(And book reviews.)

Querying Insecurities

wolf-1336213_1280My husband recently got some sort of fire under his ass to put some fire under my ass to seek an agent for the novel I had previously self-published. Honestly, it made me feel some spark of hope and delight. It’s amazing what just someone believing in you can do for your confidence. And, suffering from some severe anxiety of rejection (and actual anxiety disorders) I do need someone to push me most days. I was appreciative–I am appreciative of his sudden desire to force me to write a query letter.

It’s been about a week of vague day-dreaming about getting published and now today I have realized that this isn’t quite an option. For that project. Problem number one is that it was self-published, which is generally considered “published” period. So while I felt my heart trip a little in excitement to have found that there were places where my little work might fit without an agent, my heart instantly fell as I realized I had already ruined my chances with basically everywhere by putting my work up on CreateSpace. Problem two is the length of “With Teeth.” It’s short. It’s only novella length. I’ve seen some mentions of the style as making a comeback but I’m not hopeful. I’m especially not hopeful for a supernatural YA, previously self-published novella.

I think it has a lost of potential. I think it is very marketable in the current reading climate. I think it needs an editor’s firm hand. I’m just not confident that anyone will be willing to give it a chance seeing the above obstacles.

Am I sabotaging myself? Should I write a query letter and throw it into the abyss to learn to swim on its own despite my reservations. Despite what I know/have read on the industry? Is this just my anxiety talking?

Books Are Important

Books Are Important

book-1558780-640x480This week I was given a new lease on motivation for writing.

A friend shared this article on Upworthy and because it was about Harry Potter, I read it. I cried. I never cry at articles or movies or commercials. The article is about two parent’s trying to survive their premature daughter’s stay in the NICU. The father started reading Harry Potter to her and her vitals improved so they didn’t stop. The mother talks about how the book series saved them, saved her daughter, saved her family. It’s more than wizards and witches. It’s a story about good triumphing over evil and about the real magic in the world.

I know re-reading the series helped me through a difficult several months of depression.

The article filled my chest with hope and purpose. Because books are important.

The above article was a really dramatic example of this.  Books can save lives. They can soothe depression. They can motivate. They can teach. Most importantly, at the smallest level, they change people’s lives.

Just think about the novel you are working on right now. Your words will be important to someone someday. If we are honest here, they will more than likely not save an infant’s life in the NICU but you never know who needs your words. Who needs your lessons. Who needs to feel less alone. And it doesn’t matter if what they need is underneath a thick layer of gore or sex. What you are writing does matter and it will matter.

Carry on,

Check in for March

I forgot to check in on the first of April to discuss my progress on my 2017 writing goals.

reading: Finished Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson and started the blog post to review it.  Started and made significant progress with our next Book Club read: The Light Between Oceans.

poetry: Fiddled with previous two poems, one of which is still unfinished. Started a third poem which is mostly scraps for now.

short fiction: Ha.

the novel: word count 5157. That’s less than a thousand word progress which is SUPER PATHETIC.

I also think that last month was when I started my instagram for this blog. I had decided to lock my personal and I didn’t want to cut off my potential audience who could find me through tags. So I’m @_thewordywolf over there. I’m hoping it will drive traffic and link me with a community.

2017 Goals Month 2 Check In

February went by really fast for me. I hope your Valentine’s Day was great, or if that isn’t your thing, I hope you have plenty of love in your life.

If you have just tuned in, my resolutions for this year were just to read and write more and in order to keep myself accountable and visualize my progress, I’m doing these check-ins.

So reading: Actually I’m pretty much sucking at reading this year so far. I didn’t finish the book club novel. To be fair, I found it a little boring. And my concentration suffers from pain flairs which I haven’t talked about here yet. I’m setting An Ember In The Ashes aside and hoping that our next read is more my speed.

Writing I have split up into two categories poetry/short fiction and my novel.

I still have not managed any short fiction. But I did edit and improve a previous written poem that I had published on my last blog. It’s a new piece now. I have also been working on one of the poems I had started last month but I still am not satisfied with calling it finished.

My novel. I don’t think I wrote my current word count for last month so I’ll start today. I’d like to see how I’m doing on average.

current word count: 4,575

That’s still pretty pathetic considering how long urban fantasy usually is.

Ugh.

2017 Goals: January Check-in

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So I expanded upon my New Year’s “resolutions”  by getting slightly more specific. I’m apart of a community of writers who are encouraging each other by offering a 100 Rejections in a Year Challenge. I think the basis of which is to just get your material out there as well as offer solidarity because we all get rejected. I wanted to participate but I realized that I have no material. None. So, I have expanded upon my goals and have made 2017 the year of content creation while 2018 will be the year of submissions.

So how am I doing this first month?

I’ve written one and 3/4 of two poems that I am pretty happy with. The one still needs an ending. I also am allowing myself to edit throughout the year as poetry is a constant process of nit picking to me. Anyway, with two poems a month, I would end up with approximately 24 pieces to submit and that honestly seems like a good chunk of material.

I’d like to have six short works ready as well but those seem harder for me lately. I don’t even have the spark of an idea to work from. I’m hoping my increase in writing in general will generate some inspiration. So this one is kind of a fail for this month.

And now we come to my novel. Last week, I had several days of frustration and melancholy because I looked at my word count. It was sad, folks. I admit to being a slow writer but this made me feel defeated. I have since devised a simple plan of action. I’m dragging my laptop everywhere. And I mean everywhere. At the time of writing this post, day one of my venture has proved fruitful. Go me.

Everything Else is Just a Hobby

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Photo I took of my dog. It’s relevant. I promise.

Guys, I keep doing it to myself.

I keep feeling ambitious. I will be working on an artistic project that perhaps I haven’t picked up in awhile, and I will be so pleased by the fruits of my labor that I think I can turn it into some sort of business. I start to make moves toward setting up a brand on social media and then I realize that I am in over my head.

It’s too much. It’s just too much.

I am mothering a toddler (and two dogs, and a husband). I take care of the house which is generally covered in animal hair and hair dye (plus our dishwasher just broke). I am trying to have a social life and maintain some local friendships while sitting on the board of our mommy club. I am taking care of some very close friendships that are long distance. I would like to finish reading a book or two someday. And I am writing. I’m writing a novel, blogging, and attempting to generate a clump of poems and short fiction. I also have to remember to eat, move my body, and pee.

Sometimes, in my free time, I like to pick up other artistic pursuits. I’ve been creative all my life and have acquired various skills and interests along the way. Painting, equine art, crafting, photography…I actually seem to be good at all of it. It’s nice to take a brain break. It’s feels amazing to finish a project and have something tangible to gaze at. So then I start thinking that I should set myself up in some way to make money off these things.

And ain’t nobody got time for that. Especially me.

I have such little free time. We all have such little time on Earth, really. While I think it’s fine and healthy to have a lot of hobbies, they have to stay just that. If I strive to finish my novel; if i strive to be published then I have to focus. Writing is my passion. Writing is where I wish to find success. So I have to let it consume me.