I’ve been quiet lately. Usually when blogs go quiet, first for a few days here, then for a few weeks after an apologetic update, it means they’ve started down an irrevocable road to the dusty, inactive server rooms of purgatory. The number of blogs that are eventually abandoned is staggering – up to 95 percent, some sources claim – and I’d be lying if I said I haven’t contributed to that number three, four, maybe even five times before.
But this is not one of them.
The thing about writer’s blogs is that you only really have three options. One, you document the ups and downs of your process in painful, monotonous detail, and bore everyone to tears. Two, you turn it into an angst-dump for everything but writing, laboring under the mistaken believe that anyone cares about the reasons you’re not working on your magnum opus. Three, you make yourself into a resource by gathering news and information, interviewing authors, writing book reviews, making connections, and generally offering a place for people to get something back from your work.
I’ve done all three to various degrees (I’m doing number two right now), and I’ve learned that the only blogs that even have a chance of surviving the depressing rate of attrition are the ones that tackle option number three and truly take off. I think I’ve had moderate success starting to build a resource for people, and I like doing that.
The problem is that it takes time and investment. Plenty of it. I know this because that’s what I do for my day job, and it’s a lot of work. In the past, I’ve had the luxury of having a few spare minutes in the afternoon and evening to pound out a few hundred words of helpful self-publishing know-how, or brainstorm a short story just to keep my fiction muscles limber as I work on bigger things.
But as most of you know, this has been a hard winter for me. I’ve been sick – and I’ve only recently acknowledged to myself that that’s what has been happening. Sleeping poorly has always just been a fact of my life, and I never considered it anything other than an annoyance that I needed to push past and get over.
Starting in September, for whatever reason, it turned into a full-blown chronic illness that needs medical treatment (on top of all the other conditions that contribute to the problem and are hellishly difficult to manage), and the process of receiving help has been so slow and torturous that I’m still waiting to set up an initial appointment with a second specialist who may be able to help me at some point – if I can get my insurance in order.
The tale is not unique. If it was, I wouldn’t have a day job writing about how to improve patient management in the healthcare system. And my problems aren’t as bad as other people’s problems. I’m generally healthy; I can walk, breathe, see, and hear; I have full use of most of my faculties; I am not suffering with anything that will kill me sooner rather than later. I’m grateful for that.
But it’s hard to be wake up every day so fatigued that my brain doesn’t have a chance in hell to hold back the depression and anxiety constantly waiting to pounce, or so groggy that driving to work becomes impossible, or so shattered and drained that I can’t do anything other than stare at the TV and eat things that are bad for me and cry and wait for the day to be over so maybe I can try again next time to stop wasting precious hours of my life.
So if you want to know why I’ve been quiet, it’s because I am keenly aware that the only things I have to say are gloomy and frustrated, negative and off-putting, and I’d rather go dark than spend time broadcasting the fact that I’m just not feeling well enough to do anything else.
I don’t like making the things that are wrong with me into the central feature of who I am. I don’t go on message boards and hang out with other sleepy people, and I don’t want an Insomniacs Anonymous badge to wear on my lapel so everyone will ask me about it. Sickness is a transient state of being: a separate entity that sometimes latches on to you, and I prefer to remember that instead of making my entire life about one single that’s happening to me.
Luckily, being sick hasn’t entirely stopped me from getting things done. I’m doing very well at my job, because I’m pouring all the energy I have into it. I still go to archery every week, whether I feel too tired or not, because I need to relieve my stress. I’m still working on my fiction, albeit a little slowly.
Dark the Dreamer’s Shadow is a book full of frustrated people facing obstacles much bigger than themselves, and I think that editing it while in such a mood is a benefit rather than otherwise. I’m very nearly done with a major pass at it, and I’m pleased with how it’s coming along. It’s going to be a great book, and since I never heard back from that agent who expressed interest in the first one, I will probably be self-publishing it at some point during this spring or summer.
So there are things to look forward to, and reasons to keep my blog alive. I’m not giving up on self-publishing. I’m not giving up on anything, really. I’ve just got to break this siege before I can attack the next targets I’ve set for myself. I’m going to keep chipping away at everything, because the problems I’m facing are solvable. The time will pass. The appointments will get made. The answers are there.
For those of you who want to stick around, thank you. For those of you who don’t…well, I doubt you’re even reading this right now. But I hope you will all come back for my next book release, whenever that may be, and celebrate the fact that no matter what you’re facing, there’s always a way to get things done.