I’m writing this post on July 1st, the day before my 28th birthday.
And I’m trying to figure out what I’ve achieved with my life.
I don’t often share a lot about myself – not the stuff that really matters, anyway – due to a combination of it being hard to talk about things, and the paranoia of someone from my meatspace life (ie, work people) seeing it (no matter how unlikely that is) and being able to judge me IRL.
As far as the people at work are concerned, I’m as normal as they are – stressed, obviously (but so are a lot of people), but they don’t know I have panic attacks on a neverending basis (bathrooms are like oubliettes, they feel like the safest place in the world), freak out and can’t function (just an unproductive day, but I got the important things done), or why I’ll just shut down when someone jokes about killing themselves.
Some of this comes through in my writing – and quite well, if I believe people – and if you’re of a similar mind, you’ll recognise a certain veracity about some elements of Stef’s crazy or some scenes.
Stef’s a different kind of crazy to me – I always worry that when I talk about this, people will think she’s a self-insert Mary-Sue whatever – but my crazy still impedes my life in a lot of…really quite detrimental ways.
I’ve got to maintain a career, which is often truly hard, so that…yanno, I can cover the cost of living, and maybemaybemaybe try to get a little bit ahead in the world. (Yeah, that’s not working out so well so far). And this does suck a lot out of me – when I have a stressful time at work, my creative output basically drops to zilch. (And a lot of this year has been stressful, which is why you haven’t gotten much from me).
My commute isn’t insane, but I’m going to be trying to use it to write. I used to do that all the time, but when the stress gets bad, I usually end up just stare out the window, trying to convince myself it’s a good idea to continue to pretend to be a functional person.
I’m also basically a constant ball of anxiety. This can also freeze my output, because I go through fairly regular cycles of “omfg I’m totally shit, why am I even bothering?”. And I get hyper-jealous and frozen because of other people’s success – every time I see a book come out that claims to be a different kind of UF, I wonder why I should even keep going.
So while I do have logic to help me combat this, it gets hard sometimes. A lot of times.
So I reach every birthday pretty much feeling as though I’ve achieved nothing. That I’ve done nothing of value. That I am nothing.
I see people my age who have sold a hundred thousand books, or can write full time, or have houses and cars and babies, and compare it with all of the nothing I’ve achieved. I weigh myself against my peers and find myself wanting.
And I really do understand a lot of why I haven’t achieved anything.
Web fic isn’t the most popular of mediums, so you’re already on the backfoot compared to webcomics and podcasts. I have an irregular update schedule, which puts people off. I’m not writing the usual kind of stuff, so it makes it hard to market. (“Just read it, you’ll love it” doesn’t always work. Or “…I can’t really explain it, but it’ll hook you” makes it sound like a drug).
I’ve lost swaths of readers by killing Stef the first time, and by doing the initial rewrite (when I went from 1.0 to 2.0 and took all old content down), and others just didn’t want to stick around and read a rewrite, vehemently demanding new content and for me to “rewrite on my own time”. >_>
3.0 took even longer – I had a couple of false starts (remember when I initially put them under “Once More with Cookies? No? See. :/).
I’m happy with MF3.0 – I understand the criticisms it gets, but at the same time, a lot of those come under “things I didn’t really want to do with the story”. It has its flaws, but I’m happy to leave it rest and just improve from there.
I’ve spoken at length about the problems with MH3.0/4.0, and I really don’t think I need to say anymore. We’ve got a new path, it’s going well, and I hope it won’t take as long as MF3.0 to do.
I put up my first books for sale last year – I did serialise Mirrorfall – it was something I went back and forth on, but I thought it was worth doing: it gave me the impetus to get stuff out initially. I will not be serialising Mirrorheart, I’ll just release the full novel when it’s done.
How you can help: If you reviews MF on the episodes, could you please review the novel, and if you haven’t reviewed, this is your chance.
Serials are working for some people, and whilst serialising on the site here appears to work for us, I don’t think it’s the way forward on Amazon.
I haven’t sold a million copies yet, or even a thousand. And whilst this does play into my jealousy of other people and proof against myself that I’m shit, it’s one of the places where I can truly take refuge in logic. Some single books take off, but there’s more than enough data and anecdotes that show that series books take off more than single books – so I’m not going to entirely give up until I have like four or five books for sale.
This is also why I haven’t done too much advertising – I’ll start in earnest with that when I’ve got at least MH out.
It’s still in my five-year plan to be supporting myself full time or part time by my writing – I’m not sure how it’ll go, but it’s something to aim for.
So all this ramble brings me back to the other point of this post, the plan moving forward.
Mirrorheart – rewrite is in progress. I need to get the cover finished out with the artist, but it’s on track. I want to get it completed this year.
Mirrorshades – I want to get this done this year as well. I’ll be able to reuse a bunch of what I did with MH3.0, but it’s a fairly straightforward process. There isn’t a lot I want to change. Science, torture, Russia, then the new third dealing with the fallout of Russia. It’s going to be so much fun (I use the word, er, loosely) – Curt is going to have so much turmoil after what he did. It’s going to be good to write (and hopefully good to read).
[I may or may not include the armless-Curt Christmas special in MS, or as a novella follow up, but it needs to included somewhere visible, due to how important it is].
Nature of Nurture – I was actually running through this yesterday to see what I need to do with it. It’s almost done, it needs one chapter to finish out “present” sections, and another chapter or two to deal with little!Stef, then it’ll be ready for editing and covers.
I want all this dealt with by the end of the year.
Next year we’ll be working on new GE – however that turns out (part of me want to do three Mags books – a little Maggie, a teenage Mags and Magnolia as she gets recruited) to round out her backstory.
…then we’ll get to the massive task of rewriting Oubliette. Which is going to be a lot of fun. Also, as I’ve said, at least three books (Carol, Petersen, Phoenixes – with the possibility of the phoenix section being split into two books).
So that’s my ramble.
Here’s to a more productive year.
A rough view of the future is:
Nature of Nurture
Possible Mags trilogy
Oubliette – split
NEW – sexy science romp. I want this to go in before Blue Dust in the rewrite, due to a change that’s going to happen in it.
Make Believe (this may change – or get written in the background – this is the young!Stef novel with Hook and Peter).
And then…other stuff.
We’re going to be officially bringing Shade and Vincent into canon at some point in the near future, and Shade and I have a book planned to write together (…it’s so insane I can’t begin to describe it. Madchester, the Liars and the Agency are involved and that’s all I can say.)
The summation of all this is basically: my crazy isn’t going away, but neither am I. I want to be writing this series for decades to come. There’s so much I want to do with the Agency, so many stories I want to tell, and so many Courts I want to explore.
It’s a big, wide, cookie-filled world and we’ve barely scratched the surface.