I’m Not Dead

I KNOW, I know. I fell off the face of the Earth for a while. And I was doing so well, too.

The truth is, I’ve been focusing my time and energy on revisions and self-editing on a book that’s due to my editor January 1, and it hasn’t left a lot of time for making words otherwise.

So here’s a quick update, and I’ll write more once this monster is off my desk:

-I completed the Whole30 program in November. It did wonders for my migraine symptoms (unless some unrelated miracle occurred), but I ran into other problems. Like not eating enough. The medication I’m on kills my appetite, and having to be super careful about what I was eating (and extra time for food planning/prep), having few snack options, and not being able to stomach big meals meant I was probably way under the calorie count my body needs, especially when I’m working my brain so hard. I was exhausted all the time. And three weeks after finishing, I’m STILL exhausted. And my migraines are giving me hell now, of course, because (long story short) I didn’t get to do a careful reintroduction. So I need to take a good, hard look at how I’m going to tackle this one again in the new year. (To be clear: The program was great and totally worthwhile, but my particular situation hindered me a bit. I’ll do a full post on my experiences with Whole30 if anyone is curious.)

-I kind of crashed over the last month. In particular, I had a few bad weeks of depression/anxiety, which is something I usually manage to keep under control. A lot of it had to do with the book I’m working on–deadlines, huge writing challenges, perfectionism, and low energy are a bad combination. It was also looking at my work from a career standpoint (which led to fear of the future), Christmas stress, feeling overwhelmed by life… My point in sharing this being that we all face this stuff sometimes, and if you’re going through it, you’re not alone. We all crash. The important thing is to figure out what happened and dust ourselves off so we can get moving again (and to get help when we need it).

-But in spite of that, I should have this (($#&ing) book ready to go to my editor on time. I’ll share more about it soon, but for now I’m still keeping it under wraps. It’s challenged me in a lot of ways. Not just technically, but in the hits I’ve taken to my confidence and the fights I’ve had with myself over why it’s been so hard. But early responses from readers have been fantastic, and my Big Bad Editor’s only going to make it better. So that’s exciting.

The less-good news is that it’s a duology, so I need to think long and hard about whether I want to release part one too long before part two is going to be ready to go. Big decisions.

-As for my productivity experiment, I’m sticking to a schedule right now where I’m trying to take advantage of my natural energy/focus rhythms, getting most of my work done in the late morning and afternoon. I wish I could say I was still getting up early and enjoying my wonderful quiet time, but my exhaustion is so bad that I’ve been physically unable to get up before I absolutely have to. I’ve also been too tired at night to do much of anything after supper. Here’s hoping a bit of recharging and less deadline stress after Christmas will help me get back into the swing of things.

-And yes, I’m almost ready for Christmas. I dropped the ball on sending cards (I think I mailed five of them), but I’m just going to have to forgive myself for that. And for a lot of other things. I’m doing my best, and that’s all I can reasonably ask of myself.

So there we go. We’re updated.

And just in case I don’t get a chance to come back and say it: Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and all the best to you in the new year!

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About Kate Sparkes

Kate Sparkes was born in Hamilton, Ontario, but now resides in Newfoundland, where she tries not to talk too much about the dragons she sees in the fog. She lives with a Mountie, two kids who take turns playing Jeckyll and Hyde, two cats, an intentional boxer and an accidental chihuahua. She's the author of the bestselling Bound Trilogy (mature YA Fantasy). www.katesparkes.com View all posts by Kate Sparkes

3 responses to “I’m Not Dead

  • Beth Camp

    Dear Kate, Thank you for sharing the story behind the story that tells all writers that we face formidable challenges when our health zaps our stamina and will to write. Persevere! Your stories delight your readers. I especially appreciate your comment about the tension between deadlines and the timing of releases. My books take approximately 3 years to write. No matter what I’ve done about working to improve my writing productivity, it still takes 3 years. But releasing the first two in the same year set high expectations — and a long wait for that third book. May the coming year be good to you and bring health, happiness, and many new readers.

  • kingmidget

    Glad to hear you’re continuing to move forward. It’s a struggle, but there is progress nonetheless.

    Your reference to the duology decision is interesting. I wrote a 30,000 word novella and thought that was it. I’d like to publish it, but then I thought I wouldn’t mind turning it into a trilogy of three similarly length novellas that could be published separately and then together as one book. So, I held off on publishing the first novella because I wanted to make sure I could at least complete the second novella in the series. Which I have not been able to do. So, I haven’t done anything with the first, even thought it could be treated as a stand alone story. Maybe pulling the trigger on publishing that could motivate me to go back to the second novella. Maybe. Maybe not.

    Don’t know if that helps with your duology, but I think that if you’ve completed something that you’re happy with, move it on out and move on to the next.

  • Tom Lowden

    Thanks for the update. Our love is extended to you as are our prayers. Keep up the good fight.

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