Category Archives: Depression

Success By Any Other Name

So. I’ve been off Facebook for a while. I’ve been away from here, too, but Facebook has been the big change.

I needed quiet.

It’s not the updates or the friends that I’ve been avoiding, or even the unavoidable drama. It’s about me and my anxiety. My depression. And above all, my creativity.

I’ve been struggling for a long time. As much as I love writing–as much as I NEED writing as a way to connect with the world, figure myself out, and say things I can’t say any other way–the business side of it has never been good for me. Marketing is an anxiety trigger (for reasons I won’t go into here), and when I found myself unable to do it without breaking down in tears I was getting insanely stressed out in a seemingly unending spiral of stress-anxiety-shame-stress-lather-rinse-repeat.

You see, I thought I was a failure if I never got back to the sales numbers and income that I had with my first books, so I kept pushing.

Because here’s you see on social media when you’re an author:

SELL MORE BOOKS! WRITE FASTER OR FANS WILL FORGET YOU EXIST! TAKE UP MORE SHELF SPACE! WRITE WHAT’S POPULAR AND GRAB NEW FANS! MASTER FACEBOOK ADS! HAVE IT ALL BY HITTING A LIST! BUY THIS COURSE! HUSTLE HARDER AND YOU CAN WIN THE GAME!

And I’m not saying those are bad things to want. They’re good things for the right person, and I’m glad there are people out there who can help.

But when I’m on Facebook and it’s all I see, I start to think that that’s the only way to define creative success these days. Amazon followers. Little orange flags. Instagram likes. Facebook comments. Newsletter subscribers. HUSTLE HUSTLE HUSTLE, and there’s something seriously wrong with you if you’d rather not be in the fast lane.

I needed some time off to get myself away from all of that to understand that I’m allowed to define success for myself.

Honestly, I still don’t know what that means. What I have figured out, I think, is that I can’t let writing become a constant source of stress or I’ll lose everything that made me fall in love with it in the first place. I can’t chase goals that will leave me mentally and emotionally exhausted, with nothing left to offer my family and friends at the end of the day. And that’s where I’ve been headed, honestly.

I do know what I want, I think. I want to take my time, writing gorgeous books that I’ve had a chance to fall in love with, exploring every bit of inspiration and insight that I didn’t see until the second (or third, or fifth) draft without worrying that I have to publish NOW to keep the balls in the air. I want to take days off when the sun is shining and the beach or the blueberry patch is calling, or when the kids are sick or have a snow day. I want to read more. Learn more. Be bored more. Explore stories that have no chance of selling but that I want to tell because they inspire me. Blog more, and not just about writing. Take more time to share other people’s ideas and projects and successes and help them achieve the goals that feel right for them.

I can’t do that AND be stressed out about ticking all of the marketing boxes. Some people can do it all. I can’t. And I’m not sure I want to, given what I know of what it costs me and my brain (bless it).

So I’m in the process of choosing new goals. It’s hard. It’s one thing to say that I want my writing to be about creativity rather than fame or finances, but I do tend to compare myself to others and feel like I’m somehow falling behind if I let myself be happy with what I have instead of CHASING THE DREEEEAAAAAMMMMM that it seems I’m supposed to have.

It’s a process, as is everything else in life. Maybe some day I’ll get there.

I’m not giving up on writing or publishing, or even marketing. I’m at the end of a (damn good, if I may say so myself) 7-book series under my pen name and would really like to see those stories connect with readers who will love them. I’d like to keep publishing, which means making money for edits and such, which means selling books.

I think what I’m trying to do, really, is give up on the stress,the time-suck, the HUSTLE, the bitterness, and the expectations of anything other than writing books that I’m proud to call mine.

I’m trying to get back to the pure joy of playing in my sandbox and then showing off what I’ve made in the hope that others will also find pleasure in it.

I’m trying to fall in love again.

We’ll see how it goes.

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Are You Gonna Be My Squirrel?

Yeah. I’m just gonna throw “squirrel” into song titles for this series. I know I said my brain was all full of pigeons in the intro post, but… SQUIRREL.

For anyone jumping in here, I recommend reading that post. But if you don’t have the attention span for that (I hear you), here’s the gist: I have a hard time focusing, but I’ve found some ways of coping with HEY-LOOK-AT-THE-SHINY-THING brain that have allowed me to write and edit books and basically get my life together.

…at least, more than it’s ever been together before. Things like focusing on learning how to put an outfit together or do my makeup properly have never held my attention, and I’m not likely to ever have the extra mental energy I’d need to force it. But basically, I’m cool with where my introverted little life is right now, so I’m sharing.

First thing: Energy and physical health.

UGH, I know, right? Nobody wants to talk about this, but it’s been hugely important to me, and taking care of my physical health has been the foundation of everything else.

And I’m really just talking about one thing: exercise.

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, I know. Hear me out.

I was fairly sedentary for a while. I had two little kids and never found time to get out of the house on my own, and didn’t have a particularly good walking stroller (and we lived on a hill, and whine whine whine). My depression and headaches were bad enough that as soon as my husband was available to watch the kids, I wanted to go to bed, not hit the pavement. I had no energy, so how was I going to spend it on exercise?

I don’t know what made me try. Maybe it was wanting to get down to a lower dose of one of my antidepressants. Maybe it was getting a dog–and not just any dog, but a Boxer. A well-behaved one, but they’re so bouncy and really need daily walks to help them behave (a lesson that relates to me, actually). Maybe I just wanted a better view of the ocean.

In any case, I started walking. When we lived in Nova Scotia, it was down a trail that ran beside the ocean. Sometimes with the family, sometimes with the dog, but I did what I could. When we moved to Newfoundland it was up and down the road. Short walks at first, but the more I moved, the more energy I had to do more. Eventually we were going from one end of town to the other.

Not that impressive if you know how small that town was. But it was progress.

And I started feeling better. Not bouncy energetic. Ever. And even when we briefly took up jogging last fall (doing the C25K program), I never once got that endorphin rush that so many fitness types blather on about all the time. Exercise as its own reward has never made sense to me.

But overall, I felt better. We had to stop running over the summer when it got too hot, and I kind of almost missed it.

Walking gives me mental space to let my thoughts wander. It feels good, even if they never go where I want them to (I’m so jealous of those writers who can work out story problems while they’re walking!). And when we were running and reaching goals, it felt good. It gave me a boost that lasted all day. A gold star in the morning that made me feel capable of MORE all day.

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So happy togetherrrrrr… (and he’s the one who gets distracted by squirrels on walks. Okay, we both do. So cute!)

And I think it does help my mental focus. It’s not perfect. If you want to talk brains, I’d say exercise has done far more for my depression than it has directly for attention issues. Now, that’s nothing to shake a stick at. Motivation and attention seem like abstract concepts when you’re severely depressed, and these things all play off each other.

Baby steps turned into giant steps. A near-crawling pace turned into running (slowish) sprints. One victory led to another. I gained confidence, even if I didn’t lose weight or get an athlete’s physique. I felt stronger. More capable.

More in control.

So exercise is a daily habit for me now, barring heavy rain or blizzards. My mind feels calmer after I’ve expended some physical energy… kind of the same benefit my walking buddy gets from it, I suppose. If we’re walking we’ll do about 4 km, maybe a little less. Running about the same, but obviously it’s a little quicker.

And I’ve kind of promised my husband I’ll go to the gym with him for weights this winter.

WOOOOOO DATE NIGHT! Er, morning.

There are other things. Nutrition would help, but I’m behind there. Cooking isn’t something that holds my interest. My lack of attention means I burn things at least once a week (sometimes myself). And my family… well, they’re picky, and I don’t like cooking multiple meals, so we stick with what works while offering new (healthy) stuff when we can.

And as for supplements: my multivitamin might work, but nothing else has made an appreciable difference in my focus or energy levels. Not expensive combinations of supplements from GNC. Not ginseng or gingko or fish oil (though I still take that last one for other health reasons). But hey, these things are worth trying if you have a deficiency. Maybe just get a second opinion from a doctor or someone else who doesn’t stand to profit from what they sell you.

And meditation. Hmm. I struggle with this. Right now I struggle with it every day, which is an improvement over my previous “eh, I’ll do it tomorrow.” Not once have I reached a mental state I’d call “calm.” My pigeons never stop flapping. But I’m trying to learn to observe them without chasing them, and maybe to choose my focus for a few minutes at a time.

But really, exercise is my big offering here. If I miss that, I get antsy and scattered and even weirder than normal.

As for how I work exercise into my schedule and remember to do it… we’ll get to that on Monday. 🙂

PLEASE COMMENT and let me know whether you’ve found that exercise has made a difference in your energy/focus/whatever, or if you have questions. I’m not an expert in ANYTHING, but I’m pretty familiar with my own experiences. Sort of. Mostly. And I’d love to hear your advice!

 

 


Yep, I’m Still Alive

Is the blog dead because I don’t post, or do I not post because the blog is dead?

Hmmm…

Honestly, I don’t have a lot to post about right now. I’m hard at work on a challenging project that’s kicking my ass, eking out writing time in the mornings when I’m still half-asleep but the house is quiet. I’m struggling though a reading slump and a lot of anxiety and a surprising bout of depression (it sneaks up on you!), and trying to plan our first vacation in three years. For anyone keeping track, this means our first family vacation since I started publishing books, and the first time I’ve taken two weeks away from my writing since well before I got edits back on Bound and morphed into the stressed-out “holy crap I have a job now” writer I am today.*

So this should be interesting. I hope it means I’ll be able to let some ideas flow and take a new approach to problems (and maybe get some brainstorming done on the next part of the story that started with the Bound trilogy), unwind, and enjoy life away from work… but I feel like I’ve forgotten how to do two of those things. So we’ll see. 🙂

In the meantime, I did a short vlog post last week, as it’s hard to do long ones with the kids at home. This one has nothing to do with writing, but does offer my favourite cure for hiccups. Hope it’s helpful to someone. 🙂

*For the record, no, I would not trade it for any other job. I just need to learn how to deal with certain stressors and accept my limitations a bit better. It’ll come.


Victory (again… for now)

I posted this photo on Facebook a few days ago with the caption below, and enough people found it helpful/motivating that I thought I’d share it with you guys.

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I cried a little at the end of our run today. Not because it was hard, but because I realized that I had won again. A lot of you know that I went through another bad round with depression back in the fall/winter, and I’ve been fighting to get out of it using exercise, reading and taking action on self-help stuff (even the silly crap), and weekly self-therapy sessions (don’t laugh). It’s hard work, like dragging my reluctant ass up a steep and muddy slope. But as I collapse here with my running buddy/motivational canine, I feel like I’ve made it back to what passes for normal for me. I broke my reading slump. I have an amazing book coming out in less than 2 months. And I feel good.

Next challenge to add to this one: getting the headaches and brain fog sorted out. I can do this. Baby steps.

So there’s the update for people who have been following along since I started talking about pulling myself out of this pit (here and here). I’m still doing weekly question-and-answer therapy sessions with myself to dig down to the roots of things that are holding me down and trying to drag me back into the pit. Through that I’ve broken my reading slump, changed some of my beliefs, and found a bit of the balance I’m looking for in my life (still a long way to go there). I’m on week four of Couch to 5K (C25K) training, and having that challenge to look forward to/achievement under my belt in the morning/extra exercise is helping a lot with my motivation.

This doesn’t mean my depression is cured. It means that for now, I’m finding ways to change my brain chemistry and thought patterns in ways that allow me to be less anxious, less hopeless, more motivated, and on an upward spiral. Most days are still challenges. There are still triggers that can snap me back into a low mood/closed-off state, but I’m learning to identify and deal with them through changing my perceptions and reactions. (And THAT, my friends, is slow going. But I’ll get there.)

It’s hard work, and I know how fortunate I am to have the time to do it. I’ve been in a lot of different places with my mental health. I’ve been crushed under panic attacks. I’ve been depressed enough that I lacked the motivation to kill myself, but passively wished I was dead. I’ve survived times when none of that responded to medications until I was on high doses of antidepressants that turned me into an emotionless, anhedonic zombie (but hey, they helped me survive). I’ve suffered withdrawal symptoms from coming off of those drugs that were worse than the side-effects. I’ve wanted to exercise and eat better and lacked the time, energy, and resources to do either.

This post isn’t to say “LOOK WHAT I DID, YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO DO IT TOO,” because screw that. This isn’t advice or a how-to, but an encouragement. My path to feeling better is the one that’s working for me right now, and if sharing my journey helps one person decide that it is possible to feel better, that the fight is worth fighting, or that they’re going to speak up about the shit that they’re going through and seek help, my mission will be accomplished. Maybe for you that means speaking to your doctor. Maybe it means admitting to your family that you need help to find time to get ten minutes of walking in. Maybe it means opening up to a friend who’s been there who can tell you that it can and does get better.

If you’re fighting depression (or not fighting it… I’ve been there, too) or any other mental illness, you are not alone. You are not a weirdo. You’re not defective. You are amazingly strong, and the proof of that is the fact that you’re still here. You are not your illness, and YOU are still there under it.

And if you don’t believe that right now, that’s okay, too. I believe it for you.

It’s Mental Health Week. I’m getting loud.

(As for the end of that facebook status, about the headaches and brain fog… CT scan results are in and my doctor asked to see me next week. Fingers crossed.)

*Though it is a cycle. When I took the baby step of walking for 20 minutes a day, I gained the energy to walk for 30. And my mood lifted a little. And I found motivation to make other changes.

 


Adjusting My Sails (Part 1)

back on my feet

 

(Language warning if you need that. *waves to family*)

I got knocked down, guys. Hard. I thought I had depression under control… I forgot that control is shaky at best when dealing with a black dog this big and mean.

Much as I don’t like to talk about it and hard as it is to post about this, I think it’s helpful to do so. I wish I’d known more people with depression when I was first struggling with it. I wish more people I liked or admired or just knew about showed me how they dealt with it, how they live good lives in spite of the fact that this shadow is always hovering over them. I wish I’d had more people to say “Yeah, this thing fuckin’ sucks. This is exactly as hard as it seems, so don’t let anyone minimize your struggle. But you are so much stronger than you think. You will beat this. And then you’ll beat it again. And it will always be worth fighting.”

So here we are, talking about it. I was really low for a while. This is a snapshot of me getting back on my feet, promising to blow shit open and get back in control of my life.

Note: This is how I’m approaching the fight this time around. It’s not advice. It’s not necessarily the best way of fighting, but it’s what’s working for me right now. And if you’re lost in your own Despair right now, this is me saying that you’re not alone. This thing is beatable, and there’s no shame in your struggle. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help or with taking care of yourself.

‘Kay?

‘Kay.

This was my fourth or fifth big battle with depression since I was diagnosed about fifteen years ago, but this round seemed particularly unfair in its origin. It started in November, when a doctor decided to put me on antidepressants to treat my migraines in spite of the fact that I don’t have a great record with the drug he prescribed. It knocked me flat, emotionally speaking, and made my previously non-existent anxiety spike hard. I started getting off the drugs before Christmas, but the damage was done. I was not only down, but stuck.

See, when someone pushes you into a pit, the fact that they’ve stopped pushing doesn’t magically get you back to the surface. And eliminating the trigger, whether it’s chemical or situational, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to bounce right back from depression. Sometimes you do, and that’s wonderful. But not always.

It took two weeks for the pills to turn me into an emotionally-flat-yet-terribly-anxious mix of Eeyore and Piglet. It’s taken me months to get myself back to anything like normal.

Well, you know. Normal for me.

I haven’t been sad. That would require energy. I’ve been… not. I was not myself. I was not enjoying anything. I was not functioning as well as I should have, though I forced myself through editing and a book release during the worst of it. I was not thinking clearly. I was not able to take care of myself. I was just not.

Except for that frigging anxiety. That was a something that was, but that contributed a great deal to the not.

But this wasn’t my first rodeo. Though the trigger might have been a new one for me, I was walking through a dark country I’d seen before. Hell, I have the souvenir t-shirt, and I’m pretty sure my next trip will qualify me for dual citizenship. And I’ve found my way out before. I’ve had help, and I’ve fought hard. I knew I could do it again.

And I am. I’ve waited to post about it, because I didn’t want to bring anyone down (and quite frankly, I didn’t want to worry my mother if she was reading). I’m feeling better. We’re cool. I’m back to the edge of the pit. Dangerously close, but confident enough to turn around and raise my middle fingers to the depths.

So how am I fighting the drag, the lag, the damned inertia of depression? Again, this is not advice for anyone else. This is just me. NEVER TAKE ADVICE FROM ME ON ANYTHING EVER.

I force myself to move. To do something. To roll out of bed. To shower. To make the bed. To cook one good meal. To walk the dog when a nice-ish day presents itself. To stretch for five minutes. To write one blog post (hi, there!) or work for ten minutes. Sometimes one thing is all I can do, but sometimes I get a little momentum that I can use for one more thing. And one more.

I let myself breathe. I extend deadlines when I can so that anxiety has less to scream in my ear about. I let myself bounce from book to book when nothing is grabbing me during reading time, and I refuse to feel guilty when the popular thing I should love doesn’t make me swoon. I refuse to feel guilty about not being up to cooking an amazing supper every night.

I make sure my kids know that I love them, that my mood isn’t their fault, and that it’s totally cool to wear the same shirt three days in a row if someone isn’t 100% on top of the laundry. *cough*

I take days off from social media when it becomes more stressful than relaxing, and I use that time to read or re-focus.

I take my damn vitamins and get as much sun on my skin as I can. Winter in Newfoundland is hard.

And I give myself therapy. Sort of. I ask myself questions, I dig deep, and I figure shit out. It’s hard work. Really hard. But I’m making progress.

This post is already running long, so I’m going to leave it at that for now. Next time, I’ll tell you what I dug up when I asked myself some hard questions.

Yeah, it’s writing-related. And it could change everything for me.

 

(PS: check out the song I referenced at the top. I loves it, I do.)

Part 2 here

 


Writing Process Blog Hop: Evolution

I was tagged by the lovely, talented, blogtastic Melissa Janda (hello!) to participate in the writing process blog hop, where we write a post about our own process, then tag three other writers to participate. I admit, I have declined this one in the past because I worried I wouldn’t find anyone to tag who hadn’t done it yet. Thanks to a group I’m in on Facebook, I’ve met some more authors, and here we are.

YAY!

Interesting note: I picked my topic before I read Melissa’s. I pretty well could have copied and pasted hers for mine… but I won’t. 🙂

 

 MY WRITING PROCESS

I wonder whether I’ll ever get to a place where my process is stable, just a regular thing that happens. So far, it’s been all over the place.

There was the ideas-and-that’s-all phase, when I knew I had just the BEST ideas for books that would totally be best-sellers if only I could find the time to write them. I could daydream with the best of them, playing stories through my mind like movies. I thought I had writing talent (people had said so, hadn’t they?), but with depression and a job and a sleep disorder and… well, I never did it.

That was not a good phase. Sure, the imagination exercise was important, but I wish someone had told me that ideas are a dime a dozen, as common as cliches. It’s what you do with them that matters. And “talent” means absolutely nothing without hard work. I’d say the work is more important. Talent is highly overrated, and none of us are as talented as we think we are.

I kind of want to slap past me sometimes.

Then came the trying-to-get-it-right phase, in which I tried to write stories, but my perfectionism pulled up a chair beside me for every session and whispered horrible things to me. You can read more about that here. Essentially what was happening is that she (don’t ask why my perfectionism is a she) had me convinced that I had to get it right on the first try, or I wasn’t a good writer. There was no room for revision. The thought of someone critiquing my work horrified me. No, it had to be perfect before I showed it to anyone.

Maybe it’s obvious to you what happened, but I’ll say it anyway. I wrote first chapters. I wrote a few short stories. And I gave up when they weren’t perfect. I re-wrote those first chapters until I got sick of the stories or lost hope of ever finishing them. I tossed short stories in a drawer, never to be seen again.

Learning experiences, right?

Then came the children, and more (and worse) depression, and exhaustion like I’d never known before, and the writing stopped. I didn’t write anything for about three years save for fat journals that I’m a little scared to read over now.

Next stage: Salvation.

That might be putting it just a little dramatically, but that’s what it felt like at the time, and still does. I learned that the only way I can finish a book is to just write the damned thing without editing as I go, without second-guessing myself. Momentum is the key, and thanks to NaNoWriMo, I finished writing a novel draft in… seven months.

Okay, it’s not exactly the “novel in a month” that we’re supposed to be aiming for, but I had found a method that worked. I mean, the first draft was shit, but it was something I could work with. I learned that you can’t revise what you haven’t written, and until the story is laid out on paper, I can’t see its flaws.

In the 3.5 years since that first NaNoWriMo, my writing process has evolved in great, confusing leaps. I plan more now, but still need three drafts before I’m comfortable sending a larger, more complex work to readers. Two for a novella, so far. Then more revisions. Then edits.

No, I’m not of the “just throw it out there and see if it sticks, and do better with the next book” school of thought. Only my best work makes it out there, and that’s something that’s not likely to change. So though I’ve learned to tell Perfectionism to shut up during early drafts, she still has work to do around the office.

THE BIG BUMP

A few weeks ago, my process got jostled just a little with the launch of Bound.

I told myself that releasing a book was not a big deal. Well, it was to me, and to my friends and family, and you lovely people who have been waiting for it. But I thought we’d party and go home, and things would be quiet, and I’d get right back to work on the second book. I didn’t have big plans for promotions, didn’t want to pimp this book until I had more to offer.

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Yeah, I got thrown off.

Things went a little better than I’d expected, and I found myself compulsively checking sales and Amazon rankings. I hid under the bed in fear instead of retreating to my editing cave like I should have.

BUT. I do have a deadline now, and I need to get back to work. For anyone interested, here’s what the process for my current WIP looks like:

  • Draft one: November and December 2012 (80K words, just getting the story out)
  • Draft two: November 2013 (find flaws, improve the story)
  • Draft three: July and August 2014 (approximately 105K words. Kick the story up SO MANY NOTCHES*. Rewrite/revise each character’s POV scenes separately to maintain flow and voice. Aren’s up next… Eek!)
  • To readers September 2014
  • Revisions October/November 2014
  • To Editor end of November
  • Edits: January
  • Proofing: Early February

After that, it’s publishing mechanics (formatting, cover art, etc). This is an ideal timeline, of course, and I’m sure something will come up to thwart my best-laid plans. But that’s what the process looks like for me right now.

So there you go. That was… lengthy. But maybe you found something that will inspire or encourage you.

LINKAGE

So now I have the pleasure of introducing you to the three writers I’m tagging for this blog hop. I met these fine humans through the Indie Author Group on Facebook (which is a fabulous resource, and blessedly promo-free). Stop by their blogs, say hello, make a new friend! They’ll be posting their writing process stuff on the 21st, but they all have blogs that are up and running right now.

Sabrina Giles is a Paranormal Romance author (expanding into other genres with her works in progress) who blogs at sabrinagiles.wordpress.com. Her novel Ensuing Darkness is available now at Amazon and Smashwords.

Mariella Hunt blogs at Baiting the Muse Trap (mariellahunt.com). She will be publishing her YA Urban Fantasy novel Dissonance and a collection of short stories this year.

Sabrina McClure is a new, indie author who writes paranormal & mystery novels. She blogs at authorsabrinamcclure.wordpress.com. Her debut novel Hades Sent is available now.

 

 

*This is why I don’t release early drafts. Even if they’re “good enough,” I know that they could by so much better.


It’s Not Paranoia If They Really Are Out To Get You

Remember when I posted pictures of my office that I built out of plastic storage bins and blankets?

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*sigh*

Well, this is my office as of yesterday around lunch time:

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Let’s back up a bit, shall we?

On Sunday, I posted what we’ll call my best-laid plans for getting a certain book ready for publication. I was getting back to my office (which had been too cold to work in since January), I was organized, I had a GAME PLAN.

On Tuesday evening, I went downstairs to work. I was moving the laundry over when I noticed a small pond near the dehumidifier. There was a wee “dangit!” moment when I thought the unit was leaking, but I got to cleaning it up before it could spread.

…and then I noticed a separate pool in the play room.

Half an hour later I was standing in freezing water that covered the toes of my rainboots in low spots, and that was slowly creeping toward MY AREA. It was also encroaching on the space occupied by our brand new, purchased-because-emergency washer and dryer.

What happened in the hours that followed was a frenzy of me following The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy‘s advice: “DON’T PANIC.” Really. If there was any doubt that my depression is improving, this was proof that I really am feeling better. Sure, I freaked out a little, but I delegated everything involving phone calls to AJ* and took over whatever else I could. When we moved beyond Shop-Vac territory, I got to work moving stuff upstairs and above the ever-rising water line. By midnight we had a neighbour’s sump pump going, and the water level seemed to have at least stopped rising.

By morning we were at six inches of water in spots. I FORMULATED A PLAN (come on, I deserve a few caps here), got AJ to help me implement the parts that involved getting the washer, dryer, and freezer up on to plastic bins, delegated more phone calls (to insurance and the landlord-type-people**), and took more stuff out of my office and hauled it upstairs.

Yadda yadda, contractors came late yesterday afternoon, we found out we’re on a septic system (would’ve been good to know) which is having issues with the insane amount of snow that’s melted in the past few days, there are other problems, and it might be three weeks before we can move back into our house. Oh, and insurance won’t cover contents of the basement that we lost.

Um.

So about those best laid plans.

If I were the type who thought in a certain way, I’d say this was a sign I wasn’t meant to get this book out. SOMEONE or SOMETHING in the universe is throwing up roadblocks! It’s not meant to be! I don’t think that way, and I know the timing is coincidental, but it sure feels like that.

If I had another way of thinking, I might decide that if I can just THINK POSITIVELY, all of the problems will go away and the house will be toasty warm and smelling like roses in no time.

I’m taking a slightly different course of thought and action.

I’ve decided that this is the story I’m going to be telling in ten years when people ask about publishing my first book. I’ll be able to laugh about it by then, and I’ll talk about how this was important enough to me that I took my work wherever we went. Right now that’s my in-laws’ house, but in a few days it’ll be on vacation at my parents’ house at the other end of the province, and after that it might be in a hotel 45 minutes away from home. I’ll say that I had to drive the kids back for school every day, but I worked in the school library, the still-kinda-stinky house, wherever (my kingdom for a local coffee shop!).

Stephen King wrote Carrie when he lived in a trailer with two kids and had no money. JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter as a single mother and lost her job somewhere in there. How can I offer my future fans anything less than all of my determination and the hardest work I’ve ever done on anything? Damned if I’m going to say, “Well, things went to shit and I took a few weeks off.”

That’s not to say that I’ll be sticking to my ROW80 goals exactly, because the kids are going to need a lot more hands-on time in the next few weeks, there will be a lot of driving time, and other things are sure to come up (God help us).

The point is, I’m staying thankful (more on that in a later post), and I’m not going to let this stop me.

After all…

plot-twist

 

Oh, but if I’m slow at responding to comments or e-mails, and if I drop out of the A-Z challenge after my scheduled posts dry up, you’ll know why. 😉

 

 

*If I’ve learned anything else from this, it’s the extent of my phobia. RIDICULOUS.

**Our house is owned by the government, who is Andre’s boss. It’s… interesting.

 


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