Au Revoir, 2015

I’ve been planning an end of the year post for a while, but after these past few weeks, I really felt like I needed to wrap up what has been one of the most difficult years of my life.

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The first half of 2015 was mentally exhausting. My relationship with my husband was not in the best place (although we were still working at it) and I was overwhelmed by writing and working full time. I wasn’t taking care of myself mentally or physically and it was taking its toll. I was struggling with anxiety and depression and feeling completely overwhelmed and out of control.

When Mr. Vaughn and I split in July, it was the most awful moment of my life.

I wanted to keep working on my marriage, but when that stopped being a possibility I realized I had two options. I could crawl under the covers and give up, or use this as an opportunity to start from scratch.  I chose the latter, and I’m so glad I did.

I quit my day job, moved in with my parents, began seeing a therapist, and starting walking and going to yoga regularly.

I made a plan and I’ve worked really hard at it. Not everything’s gone exactly as planned, of course. My emotional exhaustion made it more difficult for me to write than I expected. Settling into a new house/routine took longer than I hoped. I have a long way to go when it comes to figuring out time management and writing organization.

But I feel good.

I feel mentally solid. There are still rough days, but the worst of it is behind me. I feel healthier and more confident. I’ve lost 35 pounds and increased my balance and flexibility. I’ve gone on a few dates which was weird but good. I’ve spent a lot of time with friends. I’ve realized I actually enjoy going out now that I’m not exhausted and overwhelmed. I released “Connection” in October and “Trust” will be out in late January. I started a facebook group for fans and am putting together a newsletter.

Best of all, I feel like I’m in control of my life again.

A few days ago I met with the soon-to-be ex Mr. Vaughn. It was hard. It was the first time we’d seen each other since I moved out at the end of August. The meeting was sort of spur-of-the-moment. But after talking for about an hour or so, it became very clear that it was something we’d needed to do before we could take that final step. We still love each other. We miss each other a lot. But when it comes right down to it, we aren’t the best people for each other anymore. The thought makes me sad. Letting go and moving on is hard. It hurts so very much. Maybe there was a point somewhere along the way that we could have fixed things. We’ll never really know. But we both know we’re long past that point.  We ended the conversation knowing that when we have the final divorce hearing in a few weeks, it’ll be the right decision.

Best of all, we went out to dinner after. Just as friends. No anger. No tears (although a few threatened and I had to gulp down ice water to steady myself). There are conversational minefields we have to avoid for now. Some things are still too raw. But there was laughter.  And when he hugged me goodbye at the end of the evening it felt good. It felt like the way things were supposed to be. It makes me unbearably sad to know that he’s not going to be my husband anymore. But it feels really good to know that he’ll be my friend.

I’m ready to say goodbye to 2015. Last year, when 2015 started I thought it was going to be a fantastic year. I was wrong. It was hard, painful, and emotionally exhausting. I don’t ever want another year like that again.

But maybe it was exactly what I needed.

So bring on 2016. I’m doing my best to be ready for you, whatever you bring. But could you maybe go a little easy on me? I’m strong. I’m healing. But I’m a little bruised and battered and I sure would appreciate it if you took that into consideration.

Please.


 

Edited because holy typos, Batman.  I don’t know WHAT happened with the weird repeating paragraph. LOL. Sorry about that.

 

No Flash Fic

There was no flash fic for me today, for a number of reasons.

The biggest is that I came down with a nasty cold at the end of last week and am only now feeling semi-human again.  I had planned to spend three solid days writing, but only got a handful of words out.  The most productive thing I did was edit the Motor City Pride pics.  *sighs*

And much like Theo, I’m in a funk.  Mine isn’t a writing funk though.  When I have a chance to write, the words flow quite nicely and I feel good about where my writing career is headed.  But I am depressed. It’s not particularly surprising since RL has become increasingly stressful.  The day job used to be tolerable (if not a dream job) but it’s rapidly becoming an Evil Day Job and that’s causing a lot of problems.  There are other things going on in real life that are equally stressful and frustrating.  Plus, I don’t have a great outlet for dealing with any of it which takes a bad situation and makes it worse.

Lonesome woman on a sea shore.

I’m functional. I can still get out of bed in the mornings, but I am not where I want to be right now.  The interesting thing is, it feels a lot like my depression in high school, which wound up being caused by an undiagnosed thyroid condition. Depression is a symptom of Hypothyroidism.

I was due for my annual checkup anyway, so I scheduled a doctor’s appointment for today. It’s possible that the biggest thing wrong is my thyroid levels. Once I get bloodwork done I’ll have a better idea.  It may be that a minor tweak of my thyroid medication will fix most of it and then I’ll have the energy to fix the rest. *crosses fingers*

Either way it’s something that has to be dealt with.

The good thing about having been depressed before is that I know it will pass eventually.  I may not be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel at the moment, but I know it’s there.


Please visit the flash fic group on Facebook and check out the links to the other authors’ flash fics for this week.  There are some fantastic ones.

I look forward to seeing you next Monday.

No Flash Fic … Again

Unfortunately, I had to skip the flash fic again.  As eager as I was to write this particular prompt I am once again drowning in work.

Long working hours

I keep trying to remind myself that it’s all good stuff.  The Equals novella is at least half done, the spin-off novel is written and Allison did some preliminary beta work on it.  It’s in relatively good shape and just needs some tweaking.  The first draft of the 150k + novel I’ve been collaborating with another writer on is finished and will now be split into two books.  We’re painstakingly going through it chapter by chapter to get it ready.  And the novel I thought was a complete, utter mess is back from another beta and needs far less work than I expected.

But it’s no surprise I’m overwhelmed right now, huh?  I look at that list and think “holy shit, I did all that??”.  I’m trying to balance the overwhelming urge to either panic and/or take a nap, and the pressure to work myself into exhaustion to get it all done NOW.

Allison, darling friend and beta that she is, promised to keep me on track so I work on them in order without killing myself in the process.  (Seriously, this woman should be getting paid an assistant’s salary) And I emailed my boss this morning to see if I could take a few days off in the next couple of weeks.  Whether I get them or not remains to be seen.  The schedule is out and I have no idea if I’ll be able to find any coverage for my shifts.  But just sending the email makes me feel a bit more in control so that’s something positive.

So, cross your fingers for me, because I really want to finish these stories and get them out to you.  Preferably without losing my mind.

Excitement and Anxiety

I’d originally written this blog post about a week out from the start of GRL and my trip to Chicago.  Well, I kept forgetting to post it, and when I finally did go to post it, I couldn’t find it anywhere.  *sighs*  That tells you exactly where my brain’s been all week.

So here we go.  Take two.

When I signed up for the GayRomLit Retreat last winter, I was really excited.  Some time off work, a trip to a city I hadn’t been to in a long time, a chance to meet friends I’ve only talked to online, and an opportunity to learn more about writing and the m/m romance world?  Awesome!

When I decided to take two weeks off work and turn it into an extended vacation that was even better.  I’d get to spend some time with friends outside of the writing world then meet my husband and parents downtown and enjoy the city. Yay, vacation! Even more awesome!

But now, it’s not awesome.  Now it’s just terrifying.  Now it’s like the first day of a new job and school anxiety combined with vacation logistics all rolled into one giant clusterfuck of panic.  I want to curl up in a little ball and cry and have someone pet my hair and tell me it’s going to be okay.  The stupid thing is, I know it will.  I’ve done way crazier shit than this.  At nineteen or so, I hopped on a Greyhound bus with my best friend and we took it from Lansing to Manhattan to meet a couple of guys, one of which I only sort of knew.  About a year later I flew to New York by myself (to see one of those guys who I wound up dating for nearly a year). I’ve gone to Paris twice.  I’ve lived through an apartment fire.

I can handle shit, I know that.  Once I get there I’ll be fine.  The anxiety will ebb away and I’m sure I’ll have a blast.

But right now it doesn’t feel that way.  Right now it’s the kind of anxiety that twists my stomach.  If someone offered me a full refund on the conference I would take it.  If I could back out without losing money and disappointing everyone, I’d jump on it.  If I could quit without feeling like I’d let myself down, I would.  Except, I don’t want to be a person who lets my fears get in the way of awesome things.  I want to be brave and do things that scare me.

So for now it’s just one foot in front of the other as I check things off on my To Do list and try to keep the panic to a dull roar.

I leave tomorrow for Chicago.  It’s about a four hour drive from here.  I’ll head straight for Roger’s Park where my friend lives.  I’ll probably hang out at a coffee shop for a bit while she finishes her work day.  I’ll have a little time to decompress and then we can spend some time together on Tuesday and go to dinner which I am really looking forward to.

GRL starts with a Writer’s Workshop on Wed. and the rest of the retreat is Thursday through Sunday.  Sunday I’ll meet my husband and parents downtown and we’ll stay until the following Friday.  We have plans to go to the museums and aquarium and check out the downtown.  Doesn’t that sound wonderful?

Now if only I could convince my anxious little brain of that.

p.s. Oh, and that cry I needed? I got that.  A friend sent me a really lovely, supportive message just as I was finishing this up and it made me cry.  Just a quick, hard cry but it helped a lot.

I can do this.

The What Ifs


Tomorrow is the big release for Equals, the novella I told you about a month ago.  It took longer to finish than I expected.  The feedback I get from my talented team of pre-readers is something I take very seriously.  When they told me they felt like things were missing, I listened.  When they told me tweaks needed to be made, I agreed.  I took their feedback, read through the story again, and made the changes.  Not every single last one–there are always a few suggestions that I know just don’t feel right for the characters–but I thought them all over thoroughly.  And they were right.  Before, I felt like the story was good.  Now, I feel like it’s great.  Well, at least I did.

In the last few weeks as I put on the final touches, polished the document with my editor, and prepared the book for publishing, my confidence began to waver.  When I thought about the July 11 release date, my stomach knotted.  Had I done everything I could to make it a great story? What if I should have fleshed out this scene more? Cut that one?  What if the character motivation wasn’t strong enough? What if it bored the reader to tears?

The questions multiplied. What if it was just regurgitating the same old story? What if I got it all wrong?  What if everyone finds out I don’t have a clue what I’m doing?

Why the hell am I doing this writing thing anyway?

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Self doubt is horrible.  It’s painful and crippling and as the release creeps closer the worse it gets.  In the past, I knew there was a limited audience for short stories.  My releases were small.  I knew the bulk of my readers were friends, people I already know.  There’s more pressure with a novella.  And I’ve set up a blog tour to promote the story and bring in new readers.  I had a blast preparing for it and I think you’ll love the excerpts and interviews.  But it somehow makes this much more “real”.  Cue the anxiety.

The book is done, the advance review copies are in the hands of the bloggers, and there’s nothing to do but wait.  Tomorrow everything starts rolling and all I can do is hang on. I’ll be posting links to the blog tour and of course I’ll have links to where you can buy the book.  I hope you’ll give the book a chance and that you’ll visit the blogs on the tour. What will I be doing? Well, I’ll be swimming through the what ifs and doing my best to make it through to the other side.