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!

I am 40! (Cross-post from tccedwards.com)

I’ve copied this post from my other blog, tccedwards.com.

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I’m 40 today, and I’m feeling pretty okay with it.

I mean, there’s a lot that’s been wrong with my life, but there’s also a lot that’s been right, and I hope both sides have shown up in my writing. My wife and I have serious issues to get through. We agree on our kids, though – our wonderful boys bring joy into our lives, even as we both work harder than ever to provide for them.

This impending birthday is one reason my online story, Far Flung, has been long in getting another update. I’ve been pretty anxious about turning 40, and wondering what exactly it means. I have a career, a family, and kids, but nowhere near as much writing as I wanted to do. There may be some interesting news soon – I’ve been in talks with a potential publisher, describing my plans for a story very different from Far Flung. I can’t say more now, but I’m pretty hopeful something new and different will come of it.

It’s been over a month since I’ve published a Far Flung episode, and it will probably be one more before I really get back to it. I’m looking at an early July release for the next episode – but rest assured, I have drafts for 2 episodes almost ready now, with a 3rd in the works. My goal is to have 1 episode ready and 3 more nearly ready when I post the next part.

The next episode will also start a new act in the overall arc of the story, with the Tereshkova colonists trying to live in the habitat prepared for them by their alien allies. There will be several episodes devoted to life in this temporary colony and the tensions that develop between members of the Tereshkova crew.

It’ll be really fun if something comes of the publishing talks and I work on Far Flung at the same time. Either way, I expect to start a Patreon funding scheme for Far Flung soon – something to help me devote more time to Far Flung, hire editing services, and produce better episodes with material on characters, technology, and other background information.

So that’s what’s going on. Just your friendly neighborhood author keeping busy and having an existential crisis as another decade of life passes!

#IWSG – Delaying one project for another

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I really wanted to get work done on Far Flung in May! That was the plan!

But then a juicy opportunity to write something for a project called Bound came along. I’ve been in talks with two of the people behind Bound, and I’ve been working on a potential story that could use the mobile fiction platform they are developing. The story I’ve been planning out is entirely different from Far Flung, but something that’s been in my head for far longer.

I learned something interesting about myself as a writer – I handle the news that somebody is interested in my writing and wants more almost as poorly as I handle rejection!

After I learned that Bound was interested, I went through weird stages of nervous anticipation, and I had great difficulty reading books or listening to audiobooks. Obsession with planning a good outline and producing something good took over, it was hard to think about anything else. Far Flung got placed firmly on the back burner – I barely even tried to work on it while this exciting new possibility filled my head.

For the Insecure Writer’s Support Group: How well do you handle multiple writing projects? Do you find that one story-in-progress simply takes up too much mental real estate?

As for me, I find out in another week or two what will happen. The idea I was obsessed with for May has been submitted for consideration, and I just have to wait and see what they say. Maybe I can get back to Far Flung for a bit. Maybe I’ll read a book or two. One thing’s for sure – it’ll be a tough wait.

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#amwriting – The Busan Writing Group Releases Convergence

I finished editing and formatting an ebook for the Busan Writing Group!

Last year, the Busan Writing Group released Nothing Too Familiar, an anthology put together from the works of group members.

Convergence is the second anthology from the Busan Writing Group, and includes writers living in Seoul. With me again in this edition are Micheal Geer and Stephan Viau, and we had Amber Corrine, Clare HartwiegSarah E Lakin, Spook Larsen, Caitlin McGrath, Jonathon McMullen, Rachel L McMullen, and Aisling Mooney with us as well.

This time around, the only theme we gave authors was the keyword convergence. These stories were all submitted during workshops with the Busan Writing Group, and feature works from authors in Busan and Seoul. The stories were critiqued and edited by workshop members, and then I compiled them all into both print and ebook versions.

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The ebook is at this Amazon page. All purchases go toward making the Busan Writing Group even better and providing more opportunities for writers in Korea.

STORIES:

– Monochrome by Amber Corrine
Set in an alternate reality where growing up becomes a little bit more “colorful”, a second person narrative about a woman struggling to find out if the world is more than just grey.

– KO·VERGENCE by Caitlin McGrath
One woman grapples with the challenges and expectations of learning a new language, along with her role as a traveler.

– Stepping Into Rivers by Clare Hartwieg
You can’t really go home again, but the people and the way they make you feel stay with you always.

– The Door I Chose by TCC Edwards
One young man’s choice leads him on two divergent realities, yet somehow the two possible paths keep crossing.

– Monday by Spook Larsen
This story is not about Tuesday through Sunday.

– Integral to the Plot by Jonathon McMullen
Two agents find out that truth is very much stranger than fiction. You really can’t make this up.

– My Brother’s Keeper by MA Geer
Sometimes a stranger just wants to chat… sometimes….

– The Plant, Author Unknown
In Korea, the conspiracy theories are true.

– Think About Coffee by Sarah E Lakin
Some people will do anything for a caffeine fix.

– The Landlord by Aisling Mooney
Is this expat teacher going crazy, or is her landlord coming in while she’s away?

– Le Plateau Platonique by SA Viau
Fires never stop the jazz in Montreal, not until one cold winter night.

POEMS:

– Brick Making on Calvary by Rachel L McMullen

– Every Day in ESL by MA Geer

 

 

#IWSG #AtoZChallenge – A follow-up to my 2nd A-to-Z Challenge

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It was an interesting and fun month!

I did an A-to-Z challenge back in 2014 with a fantasy theme. At the time I had a fantasy novel on my mind, but I lacked the drive I needed to really get it finished. I ended up with a blog full of scary fantasy creatures, but no writing to show how I was using them.

This year, I’m happy to say, things were very different. I have Far Flung in the works, a serial science fiction story that I am releasing on my other blog, piece by piece. Less than a week before the A-to-Z challenge was about to start, I realized something. I was too late for the theme reveal, but I could still do it. I could tie in A-to-Z with my serial fiction, and get A-to-Z to help me with research!

I decided to do the A-to-Z Challenge with a sci-fi theme. Will I use all those sci-fi ideas in Far Flung? Probably not. But I’ll use a lot of them. It certainly doesn’t hurt to know that much more about this genre I claim I can write in!

One downside, I suppose, was that I was late posting the latest chapter for Far Flung. I haven’t been super strict about its release schedule (something I need to change about myself) but I still want to get two parts out every month. Now I think I need a break from Far Flung – I’ve been writing it as I go so far, with most of the planning in my head. Not a great way to work, I know, but it’s kept me writing at least. However, I desperately need a buffer of three or four chapters of Far Flung before I post the next one.

That is my key lesson from A-to-Z – the importance of researching and pre-scheduling posts! So I’m taking a month away from posting Far Flung, but that won’t mean I’m not working on it!

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I love what I’ve seen from other A-to-Z folks.

There were a lot of great thoughts on writing over at CR Ward’s Writing Journal, Liz Brownlee wrote poetry every day over at her blog, and Ally Bean made me hungry with humorous posts about food. Of course there were many, many more participants, so be sure to stop by some of their blogs.

Thanks to everyone in both IWSG and the A-to-Z Challenge. You are wonderful communities to share with!

 

 

#AtoZChallenge – Zero-g

Time for Z in my Sci-Fi themed A-to-Z Challenge!

 

Zero gravity, or zero-g, is one of those terms that was used in sci-fi before it was needed in reality.

Arthur C. Clarke wrote about zero “g” in Islands in the Sky in 1952, making it the first time the idea was shortened this way. Many, many authors since have written about the apparent absence of gravity in space, and about people adapting to lower gravity environments like the Moon.
In the real world, the term microgravity is preferred to zero-g because gravity is never really gone. Even if your spaceship is way out beyond the Earth and Moon, there is some small yet measurable force of gravity acting upon you. Astronauts working in orbit around earth experience weightlessness because they are in freefall – they are indeed still affected by Earth’s gravity, but they are also in a vessel that is moving forward. Effectively, they are “falling around” the Earth – the forward motion cancels out the downward motion, and everything inside the ship floats.
Would you like to experience zero-g?

More about zero-g:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro-g_environment

http://www.wordorigins.org/index.php/more/2012/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islands_in_the_Sky