RSS

Tag Archives: anxiety

Author Status 5 – This Is Going To Take A While

So… once again I have missed most of a month (again due to back problems) and my last few posts haven’t exactly been up to the standard I used to hold myself to.

There have been so many things this year that I started but never managed to finish (I have a half-made patreon account and a microphone sitting in the cupboard waiting for me to get on with youtube), and so many other things I have to do (like my day job, which has upped the number of responsibilities I have, and this blog which I am starting to hate). I’m not getting anything done.

This hasn’t been a good year for my writing. My writing advice book is barely selling and I have c.40 copies sitting in a box – quietly mocking me for having hope. I haven’t been able to get any of my other projects to work. Sometimes I feel like my muse has died from grief. Somewhere between me and my next publication – be it a book or just a good blog post – are the spectres of my greatest fears Mdm. Mediocrity and General Failure. I can’t see them and I reach out to work and then there they are, staring at me. To get past them to my muse I have to look them in the eyes, have to believe they won’t – can’t – touch me and walk past, but I can’t. I can’t stand to look at them, because I’m afraid of what I’ll see. I’m afraid that if I look up, the monsters staring back at me will be the monster in my bathroom mirror. A reflection of truth – and truth is a monster. No one wants to have to face what they really are.

All that being said, this was meant to be an update on how my next project is going.  It’s not. It SHOULD have been a fairly simple project, as it was a re-write of a fanfic I once wrote – which was 99.99% original material and characters as it focused on the mostly glossed over part of a character’s backstory, some sixty years before the canon, and only had four canon characters in a cast of thirty+ OCs (of whom three were bit-parts or one-off names in canon and only one canon character was important in the canon). It’s being difficult. I’m not sure if that’s because I feel like I’ve already told this story or because I’m terrified that my next book will go down as unnoticed as my first. I keep telling myself that it’s stupid to be afraid it will go unnoticed, because two of my fanfics were recommended on their respective canon’s TVTropes fanfic recs pages, and I’m cannibalising (you’ll get the joke later) parts of Schaduw Wereld (the bits which aren’t canon, the other canon, or Norse Mythology – the bits I invented) to patch the holes left in Little Differences by the removal of the 0.01% canon that it contained in fanfic form.

I took down my fanfics before publishing Help! My Story Has the Mary-Sue Disease because I wanted to be as legally in the clear as possible and I didn’t want to leave any plot twists open for discovery for those who hadn’t already read Little Differences and/or Schaduw Wereld. When I took them down I contacted all their fans I could and offered to send them a copy, provided they did not put the stories up or share them around (private use only). I also said I hoped to publish the re-write (or Ascended Fanfic as TVTropes calls it) in late 2017. That isn’t going to happen. It’ll be something like mid-2018 at the earliest (and, in my defence, Differences was 200K words long).

But if you were looking forward to a rewrite, don’t despair, eventually I’ll blindfold myself long enough to get past the monsters in the mirror.

Advertisements
 
2 Comments

Posted by on August 2, 2017 in On L.C. Morgenstern's Work

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Project Status 8 – Everybody Limbo

Sorry for the lack of articulate and clever prose this time, everyone. I’m just too tired and too stressed for my usual level of quality.

The book is out on Kindle. It WAS out on Createspace/Amazon in print, but when I tried to fix an error in the description it accidentally put it back through the review process. It’ll probably come out again in a few days. Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for Ingramspark to finish its review/pre-media process for the print book – during which time the ebook also cannot be adjusted – and then I need to fix the prices. For some reason the cover image is currently listed as not available, which is another headache. And once it’s all over I don’t even know how to find it in the estores of Ingram’s distribution partners, assuming that all books Ingram publishes do go into their distribution partner’s estores (which I’m not even sure about).

So many things have gone wrong, been delayed, et cetera, that I’m stressed up to my gills and haven’t slept properly in at least a week. (And, apparently, was too busy to notice the sudden development of gills on my person.)

I just want it to be over. But even once it is up I still have to market it and do the legal deposit and and and and… I’m in limbo. The book’s in limbo. It’s like a ridiculous dance party ducking under unexpected bars of difficulty and stomping all over my hopes. Everybody limbo!

UPDATE: Apparently no one in my family told the relatives in the UK that I’d published. That means that the whole one sale I’ve made was not, as I’d assumed, just a relative being nice. If it was one of you readers/followers who bought it: Thank you, I hope you enjoy it. If it wasn’t one of you readers/followers who bought it: That’s amazing because that would mean someone completely unaware of my existence found it and bought it. In that case, I thank you for reading my blog regardless of whether or not you care about the whole yet-another-blogger-being-crazy-enough-to-try-publishing bit.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 26, 2017 in On L.C. Morgenstern's Work

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Author Status 2 – Destructive Distractions

So.

I’ve gone through the proof for my first book, the final cover has been decided and paid for (although the final print cover is waiting on the final formatting). I’m going to publish it within this month. I should be worrying about how it’ll be received.

I’m not. I’m too distracted by other things.

Ars Gratia Artis. L’art Pour L’art.

I’ve always preferred art for the sake of art, although I have always understood that for some artists art is for the sake of social change – warnings, improvements, commentary, etc. Nevertheless, when something in the world sufficiently bothers me I think about writing something to try to stop things from getting worse. The political situation on the other side of the world, in another country to which mine in no way belongs, in another hemisphere, upsets me. I want to write to warn those who do not see danger coming that actually the time to act was months ago, when they merrily sped through the DANGER END OF ROAD signs, but that they might stop complete disaster if they hit the breaks before they reach the actual edge of the cliff …instead of in a few years when they’ve plunged over and into the abyss while wailing that no one warned them this could happen. I want to warn them, even though they have not listened to any previous warnings, if for no other reason that then I can wash my hands of it and say that I tried. It’s not my country, though, so it is not my moral obligation to fix the mess they made.

Thinking about it makes me sick. It gives me nightmares. It brings my mind constantly back to the book in my house which lists all those from a single city, including a whole branch of my ancestors’ family, who did not come back from the camps alive. It reminds me that political prisoners and those who spoke out were the first to be dragged away, and that the world’s main resources for social networking and self-publishing are all trapped in the Silicon Valley – so how long before someone who writes something warning of the dangers gets a target painted on their back?

I have health issues, anxiety mostly. Thinking about politics makes it worse. It keeps me from sleeping and it distracts me from what I want to write about. Do I have a moral obligation to write about it – at the cost of my own health, in a best-case scenario? I don’t think so. I am not the only person in the world who can stand up and do something, and it is not my country. I am not obliged to bail them out at the cost of my own health. Could I write a terrifying tale warning them of things to come if they don’t stop hiding their heads in the sand? Certainly. Would they heed the warning? No. They haven’t heeded anyone else’s so far, so why would a quiet voice from the other side of the world change anything?

The part of me that gets angry – the sense of justice, I suppose – wants to fight, both the political problems and the copyright issues that come from fanfiction (trying to get it justified as “Transformative” so you don’t have to ask permission to write it is basically trying to ignore the author’s right to be recognised as the author, which means recognising their right to control their work).

The part of me that is my pitiful sense of self-preservation argues that I am literally (and I do mean that in the correct sense of the word) making myself ill from anger and I cannot actually change anything anyway, no matter how hard I try. If there comes a day when the fight is something directly related to you, it argues, then fight. For now concentrate on your health and on becoming a successful writer. If nothing else, one day if you have to drag them to court to keep control of your copyrighted material (which isn’t even written and published yet), you can slap the damn transformative works organisation people with the bill for all the anti-anxiety meds you had to take to be able to write while worrying about them possibly succeeding in their hopes of using ‘transformative’ to take control of copyright away from writers (it doesn’t matter if they’re not officially doing that, making fanfiction transformative as a loophole will have the same effect down the line – too many fans on their archive already don’t understand why they shouldn’t make money off copyrighted material and some even link their funding accounts to their fanfiction profiles). “No negative effects on the copyright holder’s ability to make art and money” my arse.

The part of me that is disgusted with humanity in general looks at all the warnings in politics and the arrogance of fan writers who want to make it impossible for artists to say “Don’t make adaptations of my work without my permission” and it says “Just let them get themselves killed. They had warnings. They ignored them. It’s on them now.

The part of me which grieves for humanity and the suffering current events are causing is making it impossible to write for my next project or research for the one after that. I can’t concentrate to write.

The part of me that’s currently keeping me from complete insomnia and regular panic attacks has been hiding out in Glen Cook’s books. That’s also slowing down my writing, but unlike AO3 and politics, it isn’t making me cry and forcing me to take valerian and other such things so that my chest muscles will unclench and I can breathe. I need to get more Garrett, P.I. and Black Company books, The Tower of Fear just isn’t impressing me. It’s nice to see non-Medieval-European fantasy for a change, though, I’d started to think fantasy in non-western settings was a myth.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 2, 2017 in On L.C. Morgenstern's Work

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Author Status 1 – Pressure to Produce

In this modern, social media obsessed world, beginning authors are constantly warned that they absolutely must have social media – which they must keep constantly updated – in order to get noticed and Make It.

Have a twitter. Have a facebook. Have a blog. Have a goodreads. Have a youtube channel. Have a website. Have a, have a, have a, have a, have a. Update, update, update, update, update. Write, write, write, write, write – but never on your projects, because you always have to be on your social media. You will gain readers, publicity and network by constantly being on social media, the advice goes, even though you are aimlessly shouting into nothingness and ignored by the world because you don’t have a social base to read all the things you write about on your social media. The advice always ignores the possibility that you – as a writer, all too often naturally tech-bane and hermit-like – won’t be able to gain a following because you have no following to start with. Somehow, magically, if you keep chattering into nothingness instead of writing, you will magically gain a following. Somehow. That’s always how the advice goes – step 1: make social media, step 3: make it in writing by telling your social media base about when your next book is coming out. The unspecified “They” of popular wisdom don’t even realise they’re missing step two.

Worry is not conducive to writing. To any truly creative process. Yet the popular wisdom is always the same: post regularly and often, and slowly go mad from the anxiety of trying to get the impossible goals of each day met so that you “stay relevant” – even if you never managed to be relevant in the first place. You can never have the peace of mind to write, really write, because you constantly stress that you have to come up with something for your next blog post or you’re behind schedule.

It crushes your heart from beneath your rib cage – squeezing and squeezing, day after day, enough to hurt but not to kill – until slowly all the joy and creativity have been pressed out, because in the shrivelled little heart that’s left when worry loosens its grip, there is no more room.

Come up with an intelligent topic. Write a little essay/blog. Hope desperately that the universe will, for a change, send some tiny acknowledgement that you exist. That the space you think you occupy is not vacant. That someone, somewhere, noticed you. That you are at least made of cellophane, rather than being so non-existent that even cellophane cannot notice you. That there are 7.4 billion people in the world and surely, surely, one of them will notice. Just for an instant. Will confirm that you are there. That you can be heard. But it never happens. And week after week you stress and stress because you worry you’ll disappoint someone if you are late to post – even as you know that it is impossible because there is no one to disappoint – and you’ll miss out on the chance to not be alone anymore. If you are truly alone. Can something that doesn’t exist be alone?

Stress and stress, on and on, worrying about making sure you get something up regularly, so that you can stay relevant (something that has never been relevant and has never existed cannot stay relevant, but the anxiety that you might fail – or disappoint – remains all the same, crushing from the inside out. Always the inquiry of why giving up is not an option is beaten down with the all powerful chant of Have to. Have to stay relevant. Have to have a blog. Have to tweet. Have to goodreads. Have to, have to, have to, have to.

Eventually the nails of anxiety’s crushing hand have dug in so deeply that crushing, stabbing pain beneath the ribs – pain from the inside out, attacking from where you are supposed to be safe – is a constant companion. You get used to it, but you never get numb to it. The anxiety makes it hurt too much to write, and every day that goes by without writing anxiety digs its claws in deeper, and the hurt becomes greater as creativity bleeds out uselessly from the shrivelling, aching organ. Even when you manage to keep tabs on everything you go unnoticed, as if you were never there, and each day nothing is achieved you have failed. Indeed, you have failed before you have even begun.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 22, 2016 in On L.C. Morgenstern's Work

 

Tags: , , , ,