Spring in My Step

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Hello everybody! It’s springtime here in NY!

I have been gone for quite a few months. Just work and things. Kinda haven’t felt the very best in terms of being confident about my writing, either.

It seems now is a perfect time to write, read, and talk about writing with what’s going on in the world. How are you all doing with COVID-19 and being isolated? M and I have been doing well; we are watching lots of old movies and going for walks. I thought this would be a great time for me to break my writer’s block, but I haven’t done that as of yet, and we’re starting week 7. I have been reading, though, which I’m happy about.

I used to have my nose stuck in a book all the time growing up. I kinda stopped reading as I got older. Now I’ve gotten back into it. I’m glad. I love reading. I’ve gone through 4 or 5 books so far. Right now, I’m currently reading Raven Black by Ann Cleeves. It’s a mystery thriller. I’m liking mysteries right now.

I was scrolling through Facebook last week and I came across a competition that the Writer’s Digest is holding. It is the Writers Digest Self-Published Book Awards. I caught it just in time; the deadline for submitting work is May 1. It’s an expensive entry fee, but I talked to M and we decided I should go for it! So I sent in The Underground Dogs. I’m not holding my breath, but I’m hoping for honorable mention!

Speaking of The Underground Dogs, sales have been okay. It seems they’ve slowed down. I thought they might pick up due to everyone being stuck at home. I might have to change my ad strategy. It’s a double-edged sword; I hate having to pay for ads because it gets expensive, but it’s the only way to get people to find my book on Amazon. So far, 12 people have reviewed it and I have a 4.5 star rating. If you haven’t checked it out yet, I encourage you to go get it. Its dystopian fascist themes are reminiscent of what’s going on in today’s world. It has some thrills and humor, too. I am sure you’d all enjoy it!

I also discovered people are rating and talking about The Underground Dogs on goodreads. I had no idea! It has a 4.33 rating on there! And there are 8 people who are currently reading it or want to read it. How amazing is that? It made my day! I feel somewhat ignorant and naive I completely overlooked goodreads. It seems like readers very much like that site to talk about and rate books. I will have to make an author profile over there. If you have a goodreads account and have read The Underground Dogs, please consider rating and reviewing it there! I’d be very appreciative.

So, because of those things (Writer’s Digest competition and ratings), I feel more motivated to work on my novels and start writing again. My psych and M have been telling me to “just do it” and write something. It is much easier said than done, of course. I am really going to try though. I have set myself a somewhat lofty goal: I want to self-publish (with Amazon) 4 more books before I am 40. Without telling you how old I am, know this is doable, but ambitious. BUT! This also means I have to move my butt, stop feeling sorry for myself, and actually WRITE! I am hoping to do so ASAP.

I am also thinking about adding a section to my website here about self-publishing. I am thinking of putting together some FAQs and How To’s. There is so much information out there and I figured out a lot of stuff for myself. I think I’ll put together tips and tricks in one spot to help others that have no idea where to go.

Well, that’s what is going on with me. Let me know what you all have been up to!

-JCDK

Failure

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So it’s NANOWRIMO…. Every year I have the best intention to write every day and complete a lot of writing work. And every year I fail horribly.

I tried really hard this year but as each day went by, this giant wall just hit me. I can’t write. I haven’t been able to write for a long time. It seems like it’s been this way since I finished The Underground Dogs.

I thought I broke the block the other day when I came up with a new plot for one of the novels I have going on. It doesn’t seem like it, though. I still can’t seem to write anything of the story.

I can’t seem to write anything at all.

I don’t know why, really. I think some of it is that I feel disappointed that The Underground Dogs isn’t selling as much as I hoped it would, so I have this feeling of “What’s the point of writing anything if no one is going to read it?” Another part of me just always thinks my stuff is crap, and then yet another part of me is so let down at the fact I’m a tiny drop in an ocean of other “writers” trying to get their words out there. (I wonder how many of them are really storytellers though?)

I just don’t know what to do. I just hope I can force myself to sit down and write something soon. It’s making me very sad and I think it’s just making my depression worse and worse…..

Flying High

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Hey weberverse,

I’ve got some good news. My short science-fiction-western story, “The Bounty Hunter,” is going to be published in the April-ish edition of the sci-fi magazine, Bewildering Stories. How cool is that!? I’m very excited. I’ve sent some other pieces out, too, and I’ve received one “no,” but am still waiting on others.

Also some cool news. M is going to be designing the covers for my short story collection and The Novel That Will Get Me Published. So once he does that, I am going to self-publish them with Amazon. I’m thinking that’s another spring release. I’m not sure which one I’ll release first…

I’m also on new medicine and it’s working really well and I feel great. 🙂 In general, I feel really uplifted, positive, determined, grounded, and mindful. I know a lot of it is probably the medicine, but I also hope some of it is how much work I’ve been putting into fighting myself and trying hard to practice mindfulness. I’m also proud of myself for sending stories out and working to get my stuff published. Hurray for hard work and positivity!

Up, up, and away!

Weighing on Me

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Howdy, folks,

Today I’m going to change gears a little bit. My topic is about body self-image and body dysmorphic disorder.

I have very poor self-esteem as far as my body image goes. For some background, I weighed between 110-120 pounds for the majority of my teenage and adult life. I’m a small girl, so this has always been average for me and my personal age and height. Ever since I developed depression and anxiety, and was put on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety, I’ve gained a lot of weight. You might be aware that SSRI’s and anti-psychotic medications are known to be weight-gaining so this is not uncommon. For someone that has always been small, though, this has been very hard for me to overcome/accept. I weighed myself this week and the number scared and depressed me. I’m extremely upset, folks.

I tell you all this to tell you that it is hard to live with the two sides of depression and anxiety. On the one hand, you want to feel better and, along with therapy, medication helps you feel better. But then you have the side-effects from the medication; one of them certainly being weight-gain. What’s the toss-up? Sometimes side-effects just makes you feel more depressed, and then you’re not confident at all.

Sometimes that translates into my writing. If I’m “this fat and ugly,” then I probably really am “this bad” of a writer.

Get what I’m saying?

Well, the good news is that I’m trying to be positive and not think that way.

I’m going to speak with my psych(ologist) about my body-image problems on Wednesday; I’m hoping he’ll have some grains of wisdom for me, or at least just be a lending ear. Maybe he’ll have some advice.

I’ve been talking with M (my husband), too, and he’s going to help me with a new exercise and diet regimen. Since I saw that new number on the scale, I’m more determined than ever to lose weight. I’m cutting out 90% of my alcohol intake, drinking more water daily, exercising daily for 30 minutes, and eating less carbs and more veggies and good grains. (No more of my beloved messy-but-oh-so-yummy veggie burger wraps or tator-tot poutine at the pub down the street! LE SIGH!)

This is my plan and I am excited to start it.

If any of you are feeling down about yourselves, this is something that I have been telling myself: If you don’t like something about yourself, you have the power to change it. Whether that’s weight problems, seeking help for depression, or reaching out for extra help because you’re failing math: you can change what you don’t like.

I know it sounds simple and in reality, it can be hard, but I encourage you to try. You can do it. We can do it.

Stay cool, kids.