It’s been a long time since I’ve done one of these catch up and evaluate posts.
The 2016 Nascar season came and went and I barely said a word about it.
The 2016 College Football Season came and went and I didn’t say anything about it, either. There are still bowl games and playoffs and the championship to go, so who knows, I might give a rundown of the games.
The point is, I’ve been relatively quiet about things I love, about passion, about writing, about anything and everything.
It’s 14 days until Christmas and I have yet to put up a tree, add lights outside, or bake ANYTHING! Y’all know when I’m not baking that something isn’t right.
I’ve been battling severe depression for about 7 months now. I usually come out of it at the end of summer as I’ve discussed before. This year, that didn’t happen. It hasn’t gotten worse, but it certainly hasn’t gotten better. However, my hermit status is NOT in jeopardy. I’m trying to manage it on my own. I talk to friends, I take walks, I listen to music, I sleep. So far, nothing has really helped me get up the hill.
The spouse started working from home full time in September.
One thing as a hermit and a depressed person and an introvert and as well, me… is alone time. Is time I don’t have to think about anyone else. That went out the window when he started working from home. He no longer has a desk or space at the office, so going back is not going to happen. We’re still working things out, or trying, and the adjustment has been one that I’m not making as well as he is and I’m not sure how it’s going to work out in the long run.
I haven’t been reading. Nothing catches my eye. Nothing captures my attention. I get to page 5 or 10 and put it down. This has happened with historical romance, contemporary, paranormal, dark, bdsm, m/m… whatever the genre, I’m not finding anything to hold me or interest me in the slightest.
And finally, my writing… I have been working. I have been revising books and finishing some that I’d started. I’ll have a release uploading tomorrow and one that I’ll upload the week of Christmas. I’ll have more information on that second release soon. I have a full plate of new books, revised books, and I need to finish that books for 2017. I have all my books back from Ellora’s Cave and I have had them taken down from most places. Google Books is being a pain in the ass still and EC isn’t bothering to help.
I don’t have the re-release schedule figured out yet, but I’m working on it.
Every year, the last five years or so, I start out thinking that year will be different. So far, that hasn’t been the case. Every year either stagnates further, or gets a little harder.
I’m looking at 2017 as either a breakthrough year, or the one that reaffirms that it’s time for me to do something else.
I don’t know if I should be saying brace yourselves for impact, or grab the nearest bottle of the hard stuff and just sit back and watch it all burn to hell.
We’ll find out together.
It’s the last Sunday in January. I’ve been sick. I’ve finished a book that tore my heart out. I’ve walked the equivalent of a 5K and a 10K. I’ve made some decisions and loose plans for my writing this year. I’ve gone to a concert. Read a couple of books. Started a writing weekend thing called 10K Weekends For Writers. I blogged most days. Watched the Rolex24 with my son. Mourned for a few beloved one of a kind men who were totally out of this world entertainers.
All in all, it wasn’t a bad month. I woke up every day. I laughed a lot. I cried a lot. And I still haven’t gotten the hang of writing in my planner every day/week. I’ll get better at it.
The other day I wrote a post about the new book I wrote, Break Me. I love that book. I mean, I really love that book. And if no one else does, that’s okay. I wrote what I wanted to write. I put my heart and soul into it when I hadn’t put my heart and soul into writing in a really long time.
And it felt incredible. Scary as shit. But incredible.
It’s not selling all that great. Maybe if I’d put a different name on the cover it would have, but then, it wouldn’t be my story. Lissa Matthews is me and I’m Lissa Matthews. There’s a reason I chose this name as my pen name and there are reasons I stick with it. I can be stubborn and that’s not always a good thing in this business.
But, with a new year, we’re often open to change, but when it gets hard, we quickly do a 180 and go back to the way we were, to the things we were trying to change in the first place. And the sad thing is, we usually know we’re going to do it, too. I know I’ve wanted to do it. I’ve wanted to go back to the before instead of sticking it out to see the after. Not this year. This year I’m bound (don’t I wish) and determined to see it through, to make the changes I want and stick with them, to try and fail and try and fail and try again. To not give the hell up, but to press the fuck forward.
I’m looking deeper, challenging myself to stay the course when I think going back would be easier. It’s always easier when it’s routine, when we know the outcome already. What’s hard is the unknown. If this, then…? We don’t know the Then… I want to find out.
So, if you’re reading this and you see me start reverting back to the old me, not taking chances with my writing, not saying Fuck You to the things and people that don’t serve a purpose in the grand scheme, you have permission to call me out. In public, or in our cases, on social media and remind me of this.
I have a voice and I damn well intend to use it.
And now, it’s on to February… What does the month of Love have in store for us?
I am in super deadline mode. It’s great and it sucks all at once…
This week we saw the loss of so many people and it’s heartbreaking. Many to cancer. #fuckcancer
I’ve tried to add content to the blog every day. It’s a struggle, but I’m also enjoying the challenge that it is. I’m going to have a guest blogger from time to time on Friday’s. Sometimes to talk about books. Other times to talk about whatever. Next week, my friend Pauline Allan will be guesting and talking about the taboo nature of her new book, In His Bed. I can’t wait. The cover is phenomenal and I know the story will be, too.
And in February, Delilah Devlin will be on the blog, talking about craft therapy and the link to her writing and creativity. I am beside myself with excitement. I mean, truly… Delilah Devlin. She’s a hero of mine in this business and I simply adore the way she’s built her business. No ads. No gimmicks. While others are marketing 24/7 and spending thousands in Facebook ads, Delilah is doing her thing, her way. A lot of hard work and it’s all about the books and a steady stream of them.She’s fearless in what she writes, doing whatever she wants.
She’s organized. She teaches workshops. She edits. She’s always doing. And she truly is a hero of mine. She’s one the sweetest, most open women I have ever met. She will sit with you, talk writing, talk whatever with you, and she gives her whole attention.
She’s not trying to keep up with anyone or copy anyone. She’s her own person, strong and incredible. There are few people in this business I would emulate… And she’s at the top of the list.
And in all this, I’ve been watching how other authors conduct their business online. Tons of giveaways, tons of always in your face ads, very strategic planning, drama, always a lot of If you’re not doing it my way, you’re doing it wrong’ along with ‘If you are doing it my way and you’re not seeing my results, you’re doing it wrong’. There is no one right way in this business. Intense business plans. Even more intense marketing plans. And while I understand both are important, the books, always the books, should command the MOST attention from us as authors.
I’ve learned a lot the last year or so and there’s so much more to learn, but one thing, y’all… I don’t want to be a sleazy salesperson. And if it ever comes across that way, someone slap me. I want to write excellent books and put them out. I want to spread the word in a way that is right for me, not the rest of the universe.
And to be truthful, it’s been nice talking to y’all again. Just getting stuff out of my head, sharing things with you, opening up again and feeling lighter… Y’all are awesome.
I have coffee and writing to get to. Have a great day!
It’s been a good week. Sorta. I wake up every morning so, that’s something to be thankful for, yes? Yes.
I’ve blogged daily, which is something I’d set out to do. I’m keeping a planner. Two actually. One is yearly. And the other is quarterly. I loved the idea of quarterly planners, breaking my year up into smaller visual pieces and had to give it a try.
I joined in #fitreaders to do 5K or 10K each month, but really I do more than that and it’s a good thing. I do 5K or 10K several times a week. Or, I’m starting to do so. I’m not looking for weight loss (though my doctor would love it if I did.). I’m looking for better fitness on the inside.
I started a thing (that’s also still in infancy and full of need to be tweaked here and there) called #10KWeekendsForWriters. I want to write more and always do better when I have an end goal or a deadline looming. So, I thought this would be a good thing, going back to when I first started writing. The first weekend of it ends tonight at 10pm and while I won’t make it to the 10K, I’ll have made a HUGE dent in the current book I’m writing and needing to finish like yesterday.
I accomplished some things. But still, not enough of what is necessary each week. I’m working on trying NOT to stress too much. To read more. To think and plan and figure out when I’m most productive as a writer. Ever since my son started back to public school in October of last year, I’ve been floundering on the writing front. I’m a night writer. (No. Jokes.) I always have been really. Yes, I can write during the day sometimes, but it’s never consistent. I write at night after everyone goes to bed or goes to their rooms, when the dishes are done and the house is quiet. There are minimal distractions and minimal noise I can make. It’s always been perfect.
I kind of got into the habit of creativity at night when I was in college. The guy I had the biggest crush on, who had a crush on me but would never admit it, would show up at my house at 11pm. We’d talk while he was waiting for a practice room at the university to come available. He was a French horn player and he’d practice from midnight to three or four in the morning. He said it was when he felt most alive, most in tune with the music. I understood that perfectly. I sometimes did the same thing.
Night has always been my friend and while we home schooled, I could work at whatever hours I wanted. But with public school hours, I can’t. I’m up at 5:30am and in bed by 11. The hours I’m used to writing, I’m now using for sleep and my mind, my creative mind, hasn’t figured out how to make the transition. I sit sometimes and simply stare at the screen because the words are just not there. But at 2am I’ll wake up and the words are ready to pour through and I’m just so dead tired, I’ve created at night for so many years. I’m not sure how to switch. I’m even sure I can.
This has been a struggle. We’ll see what I come up with and how I’m able to adjust. I don’t have a choice but to adjust, I just have to figure out how and in what ways.
And, that’s about where I am right now. I have more writing to do, some errands to do, a book to finish reading, and more coffee to brew… Y’all have a great Sunday.
I’ve been busy this week taking care of a sick family. I’m behind on writing, though with Evernote, I’m not as behind as much as I would be without it, and I’m trying to keep up with social media (read that as engage on Facebook with readers, Twitter is lost to me, and I have been very lax in my Pinning). I have also spent an inordinate amount of time going through stock photos because the Lone Star Sweets series is getting a new look. Again. (more…)