New Year’s, Writing, Deadlines, and Depression

So it’s New Year’s Eve Eve, and we’re about to enter 2014. In itself, that means little to me. I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions, because I think that change can come at any time of year. I don’t expect 2014 to be all that different from 2013. I will still be in college, still be working, and still be writing. I plan to get Manifestation released during 2014, but I don’t consider that to be a New Year’s Resolution since I’ve been working towards that goal for quite some time now.

So the New Year itself won’t mean much of anything to me, other than writing a 4 instead of a 3 at the end of the date when I write my rent check. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t have some changes to discuss. I just don’t link those changes to the date.

First there’s the progress on my writing. I only have 6 1/2 chapters left to revise in Manifestation to finish Draft Three. With luck, I’ll actually have those done by the end of the week. As I mentioned before, I have until January 15th to get Manifestation out to critique partners in order to get through Draft Four by my March 6th deadline. It looks like I’m going to be ahead of schedule. Which is good, because it’ll give me more leeway in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, I’m also struggling with the holiday season. I have episodic depression mixed with occasional episodes of manic rage. This tends to follow a pattern. Something will set me off, like, say, people posting anti-gay, anti-race, or anti-sex comments on Twitter, and I’ll fly off the handle, yell at people, go on a blocking spree, etc. Then I’ll sink into a depression where I dwell on everything I’ve done and said for the last seven years and how I think people will judge me for my behavior. Then I’ll come out of it and be high on life for awhile, rinse, repeat, etc etc.

The reason I bring this up is because it’s worth discussing how such emotional issues affect my writing. For example, I’m on a low-swing right now, and my work has suffered. I was doing GREAT Friday and Saturday. Here’s a picture of my writing calendar to demonstrate:

This is a mix of writing Book 4 and revising Book 1
This is a mix of writing 7000 words on Book 4 and revising 8 chapters on Book 1.

 

Then on Sunday I started to slump. So here’s what I did Sunday and Monday:

That's 1000 words written, yesterday's blog post (which was really Pam's story so it barely counts), and a critique I wrote for someone else.
That’s 1000 words written, yesterday’s blog post (which was really Pam’s story so it barely counts), and a critique I wrote for someone else.

I’ve done next to nothing for two days. Just thinking about doing anything was tough. Half the reason I’m writing this blog post is with the hope that getting into the “writing groove” will help launch me into revisions afterwards. I get another sticker for writing this blog post, which puts me at 4 stickers in two days (the one at the bottom doesn’t count; it’s the “inevitable sticker” (don’t ask)). BUT if I finish revising Manifestation today I get SEVEN more stickers. SEVEN.

This is why this calendar is so important. I can look over the month of December and see when I worked and when I didn’t. I see two completely blank days on December 8th and 9th, which were horrible days for me. I see a whole swarm of stickers from the 15th to the 21st when I was in the zone finishing up Collapse.

I’ll also soon be getting the cover art made for Manifestation. Assuming she’s available, I plan to hire Ravven, the wonderful artist who did the cover for Radiance to do the novel’s cover as well. I have the money set aside after my Kickstarter drive, so I’m good to go. I’ll post updates and previews of the cover once that happens.

I think that’s it for now. Which means I get a sticker.

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18 thoughts on “New Year’s, Writing, Deadlines, and Depression”

  1. Jason, thanks for your honest in this post. I, too, battle depression. And I, too, find little significance in taking one calendar off the wall and putting up another.

    What a great idea to put stickers on a calendar for tracking one’s progress! I think I’ll start that come January. And, no, that’s not a resolution. šŸ™‚ Just something I’m going to incorporate into my writing habits next month. šŸ™‚

    It’s also interesting that through visual of stickers, you are starting to see patterns between your work and your mental health patterns.

    1. The sticker thing is one of the most effective tools I’ve found for this sort of thing. I actually got the idea from Victoria Schwab who posted about it on her blog.

      I only just noticed the pattern being formed today, when I was sitting here moping and looked at my calendar and noticed that the gaps in my stickers line up with days I was feeling depressed. I should keep more deliberate track of this.

  2. Great post, man. It’s so funny what little tricks help keep us going.

    RE; Depression. I’m never really sure what to say about it- it’s never been anything I’ve dealt with to the extent so many people do, but it’s really inspirational to see what you (and others) do in spite of it. I get petulant about the supidest shit, and then I read a post like this and admire your strength. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks. It’s something I’ve been dealing with for awhile. My experiences with therapy have been . . . less than satisfying, and I’ve been too disillusioned to seek a new therapist yet. But I manage.

  3. December’s an awful month for me, too, and I have so much work to do. The good news for the both of us is that it always passes and thus far we’ve always gotten through it. Just a few more days and then there’s a brand new month with no mistakes, no rages, no nothing ahead. Godspeed, rock star.

    1. No mistakes, no rages ahead?

      O.o

      I don’t think I can promise that!

      (Unless someone gets me on some prescription medication.)

      The good part is also that I’m off school until Jan 21st. So I’ve got time to (hopefully) relax and get caught up on things.

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