I #amwriting a Far Flung novel

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As I posted on my other site, Far Flung is on hiatus for a good reason now.

I’m writing a novel. I’m getting Far Flung on Kindle first, with other formats to follow. This work might just help with the apathy problem I’ve talked about here.  It’s hard work, I’m doing something I love, and I’m working toward a deadline. I’m building on the existing episodes of Far Flung, fleshing out a story that will cover the same events in the serial. And yet, if I do this right, the book will be enjoyable for people who don’t read either of my blogs.

Only a short post today. I’m a tad busy …

 

Online Book Club – Write Reviews for Free Books and Get Paid #amreading #amwriting

Free Books for Reviews – The Online Book Club Review Program

Forums for Book and eBook Lovers

I’ve been a member of the Online Book Club forums, forums.onlinebookclub.org, for several months now, and it’s been a great way to see books I might never otherwise hear about. People in the forums talk about books of all types, but the main focus is on ebooks, especially those released through programs like Kindle Direct Publishing. Online Book Club has a mailing list which features new releases from authors in the forums. Many of these books are offered absolutely free, while others can be read for free with a Kindle Unlimited subscription. All books have been vetted and reviewed by a team of reviewers – and you can join the team!

Reviewers Get Paid, but it’s no day job…

As they say, the main draw for reviewers has always been the exchange of books for reviews. No one goes into this expecting to get rich or anything! As a serious writer, however, I need to read, so this program appeals to me as a way to get some pocket change while I keep up with what independent authors like me are writing. If you are a writer yourself, or you just like to read a lot, this is a chance for you to get a bit of money for something you already do. So if you don’t read very much already – you won’t get much out of this.

As a new reviewer, you can probably expect not to get paid at first. You still get free books, and your review will be featured to members of the forums. By participating in the forums and reviewing as often as you can, you can expect to get better opportunities for reviews as you go. Once you do get paid, you can expect between $5 – $60 per review.

Myself, I only read through 1 or 2 books every month. I listen to many more on audio – I have an hour long drive to work, and I like to use that time, darn it! However, I am reading, and I will use this review program not so much for the money, but for a chance to keep up with current writing trends and to network with other authors.

This program seems worthwhile if you also need motivation to keep reading, or if you already read a lot.

A Thank You for September’s #IWSG

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I’d like to give a quick shout out to the great people who visited and responded to my September Insecure Writer’s Support Group post!

These commentators include:

Jo-Ann Carson, lovindanger.wordpress.com

C.D. Gallant King, cdgallantking.ca

Joylene Nowell Butler, cluculzwriter.blogspot.com

Elsie Amata, mockturtlemusings.com

Victoria Adams, victoriaadams.blogspot.com

Debbie Johansson, debbie-johansson.com

Mandy and Justin, aandj8804.blogspot.com

Diane Weidenbenner, dianeweidenbenner.com

Karen Lynn, reprobatetypewriter.com

 

And of course, a big thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh and all of the IWSG for great work this month.

 

Don’t forget to try your hand at the latest IWSG anthology contest, folks – it looks like a good one!

 

#IWSG September – Writing and Apathy

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For the #IWSG folks visiting today, in my last posts here and here, I talked about apathy as it affects me as a writer.

I’ve been hit by a sort of burnout, and I’m in a position where I want to write, I even know what I want to write, and have a plan laid out, but – no motivation. Poof, gone – the drive to write (or else) isn’t coming.

I wondered in my last post if writers are any more prone to such burnouts than other professions. Well, I don’t think so, necessarily. You hear about teacher burnout all the time, and lots of people quit decent, well-paying jobs because they just can’t take it anymore.

I wrote about the paradoxes of writing that affect me now:

I have to write about other people facing problems and living their lives, but I’m shy and awkward around real people.

I have to get exercise and eat healthy food, both of which are imposing tasks to someone who needs to sit down and write, dammit.

I have to travel, explore new places and see new things to fuel my fiction, but I have a family and a tight budget.

I also saw articles like this:

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It’s clear that there is indeed a big risk of depression among writers, but I’m not so sure it’s clinical depression that I’m feeling. I’ve been depressed before, been on both Prozac and Zoloft. This … doesn’t feel like that. It’s not a crushing despair, it’s more like emotional procrastination. I’m putting it off, I’m pushing it back, and I can’t bring myself to care about writing as much as I did when I started this site.

Can anyone reading this relate?

Do you know this kind of apathy I’m talking about? It shares some symptoms with depression, and could be linked to depression, but it’s not quite as severe – it’s more just loss of emotional investment in writing or other passions.

I’m still exploring this, but will post more this month as I figure out what it is I’m actually dealing with and how I’ll work out some solutions.

 

Writing Past Apathy, Part 2

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Just a quick post today to reaffirm that I am addressing this apathy problem of mine.

Heh, I see the irony in that – one could say I don’t care enough to make a full post…

Here are some of the avenues my questioning mind has taken over the last week:

Are Writers More Likely to Get Burned Out?

You see, I think some writers may be especially prone to anxiety, apathy, or depression because of some basic contradictions that plague our work.

I have to write about other people facing problems and living their lives, but I’m shy and awkward around real people.

I have to get exercise and eat healthy food, both of which are imposing tasks to someone who needs to sit down and write, dammit.

I have to travel, explore new places and see new things to fuel my fiction, but I have a family and a tight budget.

I wonder if some writers give up on their dreams because these contradictions just seem too much.

How Much Does Diet Affect Writing?

This has come into my mind as an important question. I’m pretty sure a writer must be profoundly affected by diet and exercise – there’s a lot of research out there that shows how diet affects cognition. I love junk food (is this a thing with authors?), and the research says fast food and junk food are every bit as bad for the brain as they are for the body. In my case, I’m pretty sure now that junk food makes me more irritable and withdrawn (even on top of my usual introversion), so I’m thinking that my current frustration and burnout has a lot to do with the “fuel” I provide myself with for long writing sessions.

How Does One Keep Writing in a Bad Relationship?

I won’t blame my lack of writing recently on my bad relationship – that makes it sound like I’m not at fault. I’ve fallen into a trap – one I think is the most common trap of all. I like to blame things on my ‘bad relationship’ when there has been so much I’ve done or neglected to do that made this relationship bad. I also won’t blame myself as the sole reason for everything being bad. The growing distance between my wife and I came from things we both did and didn’t do.

While my wife and I work through this, I still need ways to write. There’s a good post here about how to keep blogging when things go to shit, and it looks like a good place to start. I also find myself writing about the problems I have with my wife in a private notebook, and I have to say, just taking constant measure of the problems seems to help a lot.

 

My next post will be the monthly Insecure Writer’s Support Group post for Wednesday, September 7. I think I’ll choose one of the three avenues I’m thinking about here and expand on it. Maybe the IWSG folks will have some thoughts to add, too.

Writing Past Apathy, Part 1

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Apathy, Part 1 – My Attempt to Assess and Understand

It’s a dangerous, comfortable thing. Its danger is in the relief it provides. You weather a storm of emotions, swirling in subconscious corridors, pulling apart the delicate fabric of synapses. Finally, your mind just cannot handle it. Some sort of overload, like a fuse that finally blows in the electrochemical circuitry of the brain and suddenly, the emotions no longer bother you.

Oh, they don’t go away. You should never think an apathetic person doesn’t have feelings; quite the opposite. The feelings simply stop registering. The brain withdraws, refusing to let the emotions cause more pain or stress. But with the stress, willpower, motivation, and the urge to improve can also get washed away in the numbing mental bleach of apathy.

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I find myself at my writer’s desk. The story is within, yet so are many other thoughts, a tangle of threads that seems impossible to unravel. I know what will happen next; I know what I have planned for my characters. Yet I cannot remember why.  My reasons for writing, my motivations, they can’t break through the mess of feelings or the apathy that stands between those feelings and my full awareness of them. A coffee seems good right about now. Maybe a chocolate bar. I wonder what’s happening on Reddit and Twitter now? How about a session of Skyrim or No Man’s Sky? Anything would be better than trying to pry the story out from under the layers of feelings and negative thoughts covering it.

My personal life is a wreck. My schedule has left me little time for a social life. Even when I do meet people, they aren’t my people. The writer’s club I was with now meets on a night I simply can’t get out. Those people were my support, my backup, my reason for writing. It was easy to write when I could meet them every week.

I’ve lost the in-person meetings with that group. With my kids and my wife’s full-time-plus job, it doesn’t seem like I’ll get back together with them regularly anytime soon.

My relationship with my wife is at an all-time-low. We barely talk, and when we do, it’s so that she can complain or lecture me. I know so much is my fault, and that I probably deserve the bad feelings, but it’s so hard to improve when I know exactly what our next conversation will be.

This first post about my apathy problem is my attempt to size it up, look at why I’m burnt out. I think I can sum it up like this: my apathy manifested once my mind couldn’t handle all of the feelings. My writing has suffered because I can’t meet my friends, yes, but there’s another reason I can’t write. Writing requires me to process feelings and experiences, weave them into a narrative. My desire to write is down, because my willingness to confront my feelings is way, way down.

Over the next few Sundays, I will post updates on this apathy. I will look for ways to meet people, ways to boost my writing morale, and ways to confront the relationship problems that are behind the writing problems.

For my readers, I’d appreciate if you share experiences of burnout or apathy, especially as they relate to writing. I’ll read your replies, and work them into the next post.

I appreciate any and all insights. Thank you so much in advance.


Images:

Apathy, sculpture at Canary Warf, photo by Monika Bota, https://www.flickr.com/photos/monikabota/4768246617

The Passion of Creation, painting by Leonid Pasternak – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Leonid_Pasternak_-_The_Passion_of_creation.jpg

Far Flung Chapter 14 is up!

I’ve been trying to keep myself busy while I wait for news on my pending submissions.

I now have Part 14 of my ongoing serial Far Flung available at my other website.

Here you go folks, more science fiction from me:

Click here to read Chapter 14 of Far Flung

Click here to read Chapter 14 of Far Flung!