Change is my favorite word.
I've been seeking it out. I NEED it.
Some of you may have already noticed some of the changes I've made over the past few months... well, they've now been fast-forwarded.
Why the fuck not?
I enjoy the risk much more than the tedium... and certainly more than those stringent patterns and self-deflating habits I've formed out of boredom and depression.
So, as I've often done when things don't work - when life sucks you dry and makes you less of yourself - I'm seeking out change and embracing it.
Change means evolution. You try something new and see if that works better. You experiment. You keep trying until something finally feels right and it moves and sounds and tastes just like everything you wanted... like everything you've been searching for...
I'm starting to wander into vague territory again, so let us be specific:
I've spent 2017 doing a great deal of self-reflection. There were things I'd let slip after having children - parts of myself that I'd neglected - because it really is hard to juggle everything, instead pooling all my energy and resources into caring for my family. These were important things - things that were part of my identity - so much so that my own person-hood began to unravel.
Even 2017 took its toll as my husband suffered a horribly debilitating back injury that threw our lives into chaos for about a third of the year. I dropped everything and took care of him, because he couldn't walk, because he needed me, because he'd do the same in my position, and more than anything because it was horrible to see this strong, physically competent man cut down by such excruciating pain. Pain is something I've come to know quite intimately, particularly during bad migraine cycles (mine can last for several days, sometimes longer *grumbles and shakes her fist in frustration* This blog post was delayed for over two weeks because of one, and I'm still suffering with it as I type this...)
A lot of the changes I've made this year have been to manage and limit the amount of time I'm wasted and laid-low by my angry throbbing cranium.
It has been a weird journey, trying to claw my way back to a place where I make sense. There are things about myself that I've missed, and things I've decided I no longer need or care to waste my time on. There is also the daunting fact that during those years I pretty much isolated myself into a corner, and when I actually do bother looking for assistance I rarely find anyone around to oblige... but we'll get to that bit another day.
I'm reclaiming my work, both physically and creatively.
I started with updating the blurbs and creating new covers for all the current books in The Crow Series, as well as taking them out of Amazon "exclusivity" and releasing them "wide" in all the other major online book retailers. All of those changes have made a slow but positive impact.
That was only the FIRST step. I've wanted to completely revamp the series - inside and out - pretty much since I published Shift (three years ago today, to be exact!) I was testing out Amazon's new pre-order system when I released that one, and had had readers asking for Book #2 for a few months already - so I released it before I felt I was truly finished.
Bleh. That has always kind of bothered me. Like an annoying itch in the back of your head you can't reach - for three fucking years!
The paperbacks still needed an overhaul as well, and an update with the newly-made covers. I wanted to do it RIGHT this time though. I wanted to do the books the way I envisioned them if I were to have complete control over how they got made.... which, OMG I DO!!!
ding ding ding!!!
What the heck is the point of doing it this way if I don't utilize the freedom and power it gives me over the whole process? I'm not selling that many books, so who cares how I do it - other than me?
I decided to remove the old paperbacks, effectively making them "First Edition" and also OUT OF PRINT, (so those rare few of you with signed copies should probably hold onto those for a little while haha!)
It takes a lot to admit when you've been seeping in misery, absorbing it into your skin until you can't separate the stench from your own aroma. I've been in a depression-cycle for most of my life, and sometimes I forget to poke my head back up out of the sand and take stock of the chaos around me...
I don't know what's with all the imagery today. I should probably be writing prose instead of blog posts. *chuckles*
I've realized one of the main sources of my misery is my own work. I constantly feel overwhelmed. I'm never completely satisfied with my books when I release them, and I often feel pressure to "stop stalling because people are asking to read the rest". Guilt usually ends up forcing my hand. Also, my own tendency to churn out one fascinating (and distracting) idea after another doesn't help. It's like shiny-thing meets curious kitten on overload sometimes.
I've been taking baby-steps towards my ultimate goal and now I'm ready to take some giant leaps. So, here's a list of things I've done this year (and maybe neglected to mention) as well as some things I'm currently working on for 2018:
- I took my flailing Patreon down until I feel like running something that time-consuming is worth the effort (or my supporters decide they want it back) *shrug* Right now, time is more valuable to me, because despite "time" being a made up and infuriating concept, the creation of a book eats up a whole fucking lot of it. I swear, I develop a whole new web of wrinkles each time I've finished one...
- I've now also taken down all of the published episodes of "Rapturous Dawn" that I wrote as Wicked Red. I've decided to finish the first season properly before I re-release them (I only published the first 5 of the planned 10 episodes, as my initial migraine-issues manifested while I was working on that particular project.) Who knows... maybe I can reignite interest into my weird little side-project in the coming year? This time when I publish the serial they'll be released on ALL of the online platforms and not stuck in the sinkhole of "Amazon Exclusivity". Hopefully, that will help.
- With the theme of "cleaning up my work" in mind, I've taken it a step further and pulled all my partially posted stories (Firechild and Piper) from Wattpad. This means currently the only books I have up for sale are the ebook versions of Crow, Shift, Release and Curse with the one exception being the on-going Wattpad version of "Songbird of Souls", since that is what I'm currently chronicling on that platform.
I'll be removing the remaining ebooks of the Crow Series in early 2018 when I'm ready to re-release the updated versions. When the Second Editions are published they will finally be in ALL available formats: ebook, paperback, hardcover and audiobook.
And it will be the entire Crow Series - completed - all FIVE. I'm doing this next year in 2018. I'm also picking up freelance writing and editing work on the side while I remake my own books so I'm not freaking out about paying my bills while my books are in transition. Yes, I aim to be busy. I'm taking the work I have and honing it until it is something I can be proud of - something that reflects my intention and vision for the project; something I can feel confident in and want to share with others. That's what I'm working towards.
2018 will mark my fifth year since starting this adventure. I've learned a great deal since publishing my first book in 2014... and even more since publishing my second... and my third... and so on... (to the moon and onward!)
As long as we're always trying - right? Eventually I'll get it, even if it's only to make a whisper in the dark.
Thanks for putting up with another of my rants. Xoxo
Hope you all have a wonderful New Years and I'll see you again soon in 2018!