Blog Post #29: Facing Burnout while Writing Submissions and Entering Short Stories for Cash in between Writing/Editing Novels

When I began this blog my goal was always to “soft publish” my short stories here and then submit them for publication before compiling them into a short story compilation. Finding where to submit, how to submit, and when not to submit has become a whirlwind of quick learning. Keeping my muse from burning out has also become quite burdensome.

Submissions is a new realm. When I was in community college there were student journals and papers that were published where students could submit work. My best friend got a work of hers published in it while she was pursuing her AA in English. At the time I was working full time and burning myself out, causing myself to lose financial aid and nix my ability to continue college at that school. Bummer. Due to that burn out I never got the chance to attempt to write anything, let alone submit it.

Currently (but not in the future), my short story titled Dejavu is on this blog in five parts. I will be taking these down soon to polish it up and submit it for publication to Silver Blade Magazine. Fingers crossed, I will get chosen and receive a small cash prize. In the works I just plotted a new short story I will be posting, in parts, on this blog titled Nightshade’s Fate, a retelling of the story of Persephone, the Goddess of the Underworld and the night Hades takes her away. I will be submitting this to Quill & Crow Publishing for their The Damned and the Divine submission call. I’m extremely excited to write this short story.

However, I also feel the siren call of burn out on the horizon. I just finished the first draft of Silver Blood in September, then I finished Dejavu, a short story I started two years ago (and something that had been on my mind for two freaking years!). Now I’m jumping into a new short story. Short stories are, admittedly and obviously, easier than full novels. Short stories can move faster where a full book requires more pacing. Short stories are where clever prose matters most, where every word counts in a tale.

Short stories, like novels, are still work, nonetheless.

My next steps with Silver Blood are to add a B plot to thicken the word count and add more to the world. I’ve wanted to step away from the manuscript for a few weeks to a month (or two, even), so I can come back with fresh eyes and fresh ideas. The short stories I’ve been writing are entirely different than the storyline of Silver Blood, so I’m hoping not to succumb to burnout for too long.

Even if I do burn out, I’ll still be here to tell you about it. Not every part of writing is easy, and now that I’ve been pursuing writing stories as a part-time job to full-time hobby, I recognize that burnouts are cyclical, not a reflection of my inability to become a great writer who has an awesome following. My burnout does not reflect my inability to write well, or to craft stories. My burnout is just a result of pushing myself hard, and when I let my mind rest I allow myself the space to let my muse ponder and give me some ideas.

See you all next week! I will be starting Nightshade’s Fate Wednesday morning!


Blog Post #22: Under Pressure

Caught between plans and executions. Also details about my current manuscript.

I’ve been re-reading Jewel Allen’s Rapid Release (attempted to link below) and it’s been inspiring, yet intimidating.

In the writing-craft book, Allen explains how she pens 50,000 words in the span of a week, allowing her to push out romance books on a monthly basis. She writes escapism romance, a niche that is both in demand and fairly simple to write (in terms of research, concepts, etc). She explains how marketing plans will still need to be devised by authors as rapid releasing is only one marketing strategy.

If I were to say my goal, it would be to take dark fantasy/sci fi romance and mimic what Allen is doing with escapism romance. I want to launch long series consisting of books which are about 70,000 words. I am not able to write 50,000 words in a month yet, but on my current manuscript Silver Blood I’ve written over 17,000 words in August alone. That manuscript is at just over 40,000 now.

17,000 isn’t enough, though. Even with this last remaining week in August I’ll need to push myself to write as much as possible to finish my draft before September.

Silver Blood, the working title of my current manuscript, is about a new kind of vampire. Today I will, hopefully, be powering through 5k words to finish the final chapter. Then the rest of the week I will add additional content needed to calm the fast pace of the story in its rawest form. It is a fantasy concept based on an old roleplaying forum board my best friend and I made back in 2002 on a website called which doesn’t exist anymore. (Back in the heyday of free website hosting for no explicable reason, where I, and many other people, cut teeth on HTML.)

Ultimately, my end of year goal is to:
1) Finish Silver Blood first draft and editing
2) Finish Americana Wasted first draft and editing
3) Finish Americana Wasted 2 first draft and editing
4) Finish Dark Requiem editing

Successfully completing these goals will give me four completed books and set me up with 2 continuing dark fiction series and 1 stand alone series of horror/thriller books which will be released annually in October.

I forgot to mention, I have another manuscript I wrote in the summer of last year. It’s a fantasy about a demon hunter who’s possessed by a grim reaper in exchange for help in executing revenge against the entity that killed his family. It is VERY rough, and at this point I’m holding back on it because this character is going to tie into Silver Blood, just not yet. In my mind they are two protagonists, and their story will begin with Silver Blood and end with the other series. They just haven’t met yet.

That’s about it for today. I have more thoughts about potentially having a second pen name for straight up feel good romances that write easy and sell easier. I just don’t know when I’ll have time for that. If I can juggle two writing projects at once, though them being entirely different (outside of the romance subplot) may actually allow me to pursue something like that. And then, what kind of romances? Contemporary? Regency? Western? Historical? All of them?

I don’t have a real job anymore, so how much can I write until I burn out?

Also, enjoy the rebrand. This blog is gonna be looking different as I decide how to design it. I need to figure out how to get dark fantasy romance across in my site design. So for now you’re getting Mucha flowers!

Jewel Allen’s Rapid Release:

(I tried to link the book from amazon but wordpress blocked it so…. search it on Amazon, it’s definitely worth a read if you’re looking into self-publishing.)

Blog Post #21: I’m Back

Hey, it’s been a while. A lot has happened. A lot is still happening.

I haven’t returned to work; at this time I am a homemaker and an avid gardener.

My husband and I were working on creating a family. That didn’t go as planned, and unfortunately I was diagnosed with a disease affecting my endocrine system which will require surgery. That surgery is being held up by genetic testing which I can’t get into any earlier than November. I was pregnant the very end of last year, and unfortunately I lost that baby.

When I lost that baby, I lost a very real piece of myself. I lost my ability to be carefree and believe that everything was going to work out. I spiraled into a deep depression, of which I’ve crawled out only recently. Even typing this out now I’m still reduced to a mess of tears; it’s just that I can pull myself back together in a matter of minutes rather than experiencing a revolving panic attack.

That depression had completely wiped my creativity. My muse wasn’t gone, she was just drowning in sorrow with me. Everything felt like it was halted: my dreams of being a mother and my dreams of being an independent author.

Time doesn’t heal, it just numbs, and as of now I’m numb enough to return back to what I was doing before.

I’m currently working on my fourth manuscript, a fantasy romance. I was hesitant to write romance, I am not a rom-com type of gal. I always preferred dramas, horrors, or suspense to romance. However, almost every story has a romance component to it, and I decided that I needed to strengthen my skills. It doesn’t hurt that romance sells the best as well.

The post-apocalypse western is still happening, it’s just that two years later I realize that I need to pull the story down the middle and make two books by changing the climax and making large fundamental changes to the world. Less sci-fi, more western.

The horror story that I believe I had mentioned is also still happening. I just need to revisit the manuscript and polish it up. It is coherent, I just remember feeling as if the story wasn’t actually fleshed out the entire way.

Oh, yeah. I also earned a certification in copywriting from Poynter University. It felt really good to earn that cert.

My big goal is still to stash back 12 books to publish my first year, I’m just now playing with the idea of having two pen names: one for dark/fantasy/horror novels and the other for historical/western/contemporary romance.

I will be consistent. I know that was the mantra of my previous posts but I’m serious. I’m beginning to write a lot faster and I need to amass an audience before I can publish. I need to have people ready to review!

Thank you anyone still here. I did not forget about you. The pangs of guilt from leaving you hanging the last 2.5 years was not lost on me, and I hope that you all made it out of the pandemic.

Blog Post #14: Attempting a 10K Day at Home because your Week at Work was Hell!

Hey! It’s half way through Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) and I am not half way through my manuscript, heh…

I’m not too far behind, sitting at 18,966 words out of 50K, but this week was hell, as many can relate, when tasks come ahead to quick deadlines and documents required re-editing, the sort of stuff that makes an already busy administrative assistant want to rip their hair out.

Needless to say, when I got home every night I made dinner (if we were lucky) and sat on the couch, enjoying some wine and playing through Outer Worlds. I was zapped mentally, and thus creatively, and the thought of attempting to sit down in my off time and write any words was unbearable, so I didn’t.

Even thought it put me a little back, I decided to give myself the room the relax because I know if pushed myself to write I was going to hate it and it would ruin any future motivation I would’ve hoped to have. It’s depressing, but it’s not something I can’t achieve (or at least get close to achieving).

Today I’m doing a feat that only a few have been able, I’m attempting a 10K day to make up for my lost time and (hopefully) getting ahead. Mr. Frost is busy in his workshop today, giving me the alone time I need to write in between cleaning sections of the house. Because none of that shit got done this week either and I don’t have a dishwasher. 

This 10K attempt today is a loose goal, however, I’ll be happy with any words on the page because I haven’t written in four days, but this would be the first time I’ve ever written 10K words in one sitting. I’ve heard that some writers can write 5-10K words a day on average, and this would definitely be a game changer in terms of independent book publishing potential.

Just wanted to give you guys and update today! I’m roughly 1/3rd of the way through this manuscript, which is what I was expecting, I’m estimating this first draft to reach somewhere around 60-70k, with my editing adding an additional 20-30k.  This won’t be a long book, but I think it will be a good debut, and a good first book to a series of seven.

I’m already brewing the second book in this seven part series, (which won’t be a direct sequel, this is going to a be loosely tied series based on an underlying themes resonating between each of them. Each individual story will resolve with those specific characters (though other encounters and events will clearly tie them together for perceptive readers).

I also have a new story idea entirely, a two-part series (a retelling of a specific series of classics) about a very important and often ignored global issue set in a psychological horror-scape. I’ll have to do a significant amount of research about the topic in order to give an accurate portrayal of the victims, a voice to the voiceless in many ways, but I feel like the background of these classics in particular, juxtaposed to the issue at hand, I think most people will be able to pick up on the issue/themes, but I’ll have to do a really good job of portraying the events in a dream-like dark fantasy horror setting, combining the symbolism of the character’s surroundings and story events to the emotional trauma they are experiencing in the real world.  I don’t really know when I’ll be working on these stories, even if I brainstorm/plot/write my first series’ books each in 60 days, I still won’t be touching the new series until next year. It feels good to have a plan though, something that I can keep thinking about.

I’ve been practicing brainstorming these new ideas while writing this manuscript, before I just ignored them, hoping to finish my current project before starting the next, but it never really works like that, it’s important to have one project that you put most of your writing into, but jotting ideas is something that needs to be done at all times to catch your best ideas, and it’s been easier than I had anticipated at first.

So that’s an update to where I’ve been the last two weeks, I’m still loving my current manuscript, and I’m excited to get into writing it.  The chapters I’m beginning with aren’t my favorite, but I’m reminding myself that I’m in the muddy-middle, getting bogged down happens to everyone.

Blog Post #2: How to Balance High Expectations for Yourself and Maintain Your Own Mental Sanity

Having high expectations to meet long term goals is something that runs in the blood, and brains, of type A personalities, but how do we learn to appropriately adjust our ambitions when repetitive failures of goals discourage us from chasing our dreams?

I’ve been trying to write the first draft of the first book in a very large dystopian saga since the middle of 2014. The idea has been brewing in my mind, and in the beginning it spawned binders full of brainstorming notes and a few short stories, scenes written mostly to test myself and see if I still had some writing talent left. My brain never shook the idea after five years though, and the wait finally paid off when I had a clear revelation of how to solve a plot issue, which propelled me back into the prospect of writing not only a novel, but an octet. (On the way to work, of course, when I couldn’t write anything down, so I had to repeat the newly formed plot points over and over again until I got to work and was able to jot them down in a four dollar notebook I had purchased to catch these shocks of inspiration).

When I finally began to sit down and write out the first few chapters in the beginning weeks of 2019, I had the entire first book roughly outlined (my outlining consists of bullet-pointing the plot beats and general happenings for each chapter, and then I “pants” everything else.), and the first few chapters came really easy. I figured that I would be able to breeze through all of the chapters as fast as I had the first ones, but I was so fucking wrong, and I laugh at myself now in between kicks. Now that I’m reaching the very beginning of the midpoint and the start of the real twits which correspond between multiple streams of story running congruently, I’m realizing that writing these later chapters, and subsequent books, will take much longer than I had anticipated.

In response, I can feel myself stressing out from not meeting my goals, and I’m left reconsidering my marketing plan and timelines again, something that I’ve already done before, which only bubbles my newly brewed cauldron of discouragement.

However, I have to remember that I am the one who set these standards, and therefore, I can change them. This entire process is in my hands, and I am dictating the timing and schedule of my own writing and publication. I have to remember to be forgiving to myself for not reaching unattainable goals and striving for perfection when it doesn’t exist, I have to remind myself that the only standard that exists is a fixed point where I will diminish my returns and waste hours because I’ve stressed myself out beyond the ability to be productive.

I am not pursuing a book deal, I am pursuing self-publishing and launching a publishing house for myself and other aspiring authors to publish their works internationally. I can do this in my own time, I can write and re-write, and re-write some more, until I polish these books to the best that I can get them. My current (tentative) date for publishing my first book is April 24th, 2020, and I shouldn’t beat myself up if even this date, so far off in the future, is changed as well. Everyone completes their book in their own time, and good things are worth waiting for.

So artists, please remember to be forgiving of yourself when you don’t reach the goals you demand, to be a friend to yourself instead of a tyrant. Remember to check in with yourself, asking if you’re being too hard with your standards, or if you’re stressed from something else and it’s taking energy away from your creative process. Do not put so much emphasis and stress on your art to the point that it loses the luster you loved it for in the first place.