A time of reflection

So as most of you know I went quite for all of last month. No working on my novella, short stories, or the sequel to Black Thorn. Not to mention no blog post, Facebook post, okay so I did have some twitter activity, but it was all personal. I needed time to recharge, clear my head, and reflect on what I was doing and where I wanted to go. So what did I learn? Did I have some big breakthrough? Did the entire way I see the world around me change?

No, not really. Part of why I took June off and why I might take it off every year from now on, is because it is the first full month my kids are out of school. My anniversary is also in June and I always take a week off from my day job for that and to be honest, I really needed a break from everything. Before June I hadn’t stopped writing, editing, or brainstorming for over a year. I didn’t take a break when Black Thorn was published. I went straight into outlining and writing Through Mortal Eyes, outlining the sequel to Black Thron, and writing a bunch of short stories. Partly because it’s my way of destressing, but at the same time it adds stress to my life.

I work to a deadline, I set out to have x, y, and z done by said date. I write x amount of short stories in varying gene’s to practice my craft. I plan various blogs which I am very new to, and I continue to promote my past work. I do my own book covers and am continually tweaking them. I am one of those creators who need to create. Yet there comes a time when you get so totally burnt out you don’t want to do anything, even the things you love most. I was crashing around April, yet I didn’t see it. I completely planned to have Through Mortal Eyes out and in print by June, yet as we all know that didn’t happen. I missed all my deadlines, which got me more and more stressed and depressed. I was still receiving emails about spelling and grammar issues with Black Thorn even though I had paid to have a professional editor go through it. I also was getting mixed opinions on the story. I am proud to say that the vast majority liked it and I continue to get comments and emails about it, but with anything, I also got my fair share of criticism and negativity. Eventually, everything came crashing down and I had absolutely no desire to write anything. So I took a break.

The first week of June I was still working my day job, my vacation from that not happening until the following week. So while I worked I came home and did, well nothing and it was fabulous. I mean I watched T.V. and played some console and mobile games. I got my son into Transformers which was awesome. I spent time with my kids, I watched the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit. Went through the classic StarWars movies, played with my dogs, and I went to bed at a normal hour. When I’m writing and “Working” my craft I normally slink into bed between midnight and two AM only to be awakened by my alarm at six-thirty.

The second week my family and I went hiking, a lot, we went fishing, camping, we gardened, we fed our chickens, I worked on some landscaping and some household chores I had been putting off. It was great. I didn’t look at sales, or comments, or reviews, or anything. I would get on my personal facebook, but I stayed well away from the Guardians Facebook page. I slept in (unless we were going fishing.), I cooked for my family, an activity I love so much I took many cooking and baking classes in college. Most of all I didn’t worry about the “deadline”, frankly, I just didn’t care. I felt free. That’s how most of my month went until the last week.

The final couple of days of June I started to get the itch, I was restless and ready to start creating again. I jumped the gun and wrote my previous blog post, I started listening to audiobooks that inspire me and I watched interviews of my favorite authors. Finally, July 1 came and I went all out. I wrote a humorous short story about a crazy IT guy who battles a horde of Zombies to save a small circle of church bakers. It ended up being so much better than I thought, that I might end up putting it online for everyone to see because it’s seriously funny. I also went through and reread all of Through Mortal Eyes to basically weigh judgment on it. I had put in a huge amount of hours and wrote enough that its already considered a novella. After so much effort I didn’t want to let it go, but if I still didn’t love the story I was going to. I am happy to say that I am going to continue the novella and hopefully have it out this year.

After reflecting on everything, I have come up with some goals I’d like to share with you guys. These are all writing-related, so I’ll be leaving out my personal goals, sorry no personal stuff here. First, my ultimate goal is to have twenty books published over the next five years. That’s a huge amount and I am not 100% sure I can do it, but I am going to give it a try. Second, over the next three years, I would like to grow my following with regular blog posts and free content on my website. Third, in the next two years, I would like to have at least five books published. Two of which will be books in the Guardian Chronicles, because I have plans to have that series wrapped up first. Not to say that I won’t revisit the world, but as of now, only four books have been planned. Finally, my fourth and final goal for the coming year is to have Through Mortal Eyes published, The Guardian Chronicles book two published, and a collection of short stories published. This last one might happen or it might not, these are just goals and whether I meet them or not isn’t the end of the world and I will still continue forward creating new stories.

My final thoughts are that even though it goes against most of my morals and ethics, you and by you, I mean me, have to take breaks now and again. I was so engrained to the push through it and keep going mentality that I pushed myself into burnout. Had I stopped and reevaluated things I would have seen what I was doing. It wasn’t fair to me and it wasn’t fair to you guys who have stuck through the last year with me. With that said, I am going to work at a much more easier pace. I still will work to a word count each day, but I am not going to drive myself crazy if I don’t meet it. I am going to try to get blogs, facebook posts, and the like out on a semi-regular basis, but I am not going to kill myself trying. As the old saying goes, what will be, will be. Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read this. If you like what I have written, or if this speaks to you in some way feel free to comment, like, subscribe. Check me out on facebook and twitter. If you purchased a physical copy of my book and happen to come across me one day I’d be honored to sign it. Thank you for reading, because without you I’m just some crazy guy flapping his gums in the void.

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