April, challenges, lessons, life, monday check in, Uncategorized

Kill the Hare! I am the Tortoise.

For years I have been running on deadlines, on sleepless nights (child and study induced), on jam-packing my whole life with ALL. THE. THINGS. I studied, I wrote, I raised kids and played the perfect housewife. I raced everywhere, mostly against the clock, and against my emotions.

Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE my life. My husband is my best friend, my kids are fucking epic. We’re incredibly lucky, and I am so blessed to be able to stay home with them. None of that changes that my brain is a bit wonky. I’ve always overcommitted and then burned myself out delivering. I have always taken on more than I can chew in an endless battle to fit more into the day/my life. I’d get so stressed out trying to do all the things that I resorted to binging everything. Work, study, housework even (yes it’s totally possible). I was the Hare, rushing rushing rushing to the finish line. I can go so fast! I can do it all!

Until now.

Just because. Flowers are cool.

I’ve tried many times over the years to stop these self-destructive habits – hell, I do so well juggling all those balls that people just kind of assume I’ve got it all under control most of the time – but I have tried. I learned how to say ‘NO’ more often, I put my own stuff first. I started saying ‘I’d really like to do that, but I need time to think about it before I can give you an answer’. Even then, I would still rush and push myself harder than I could. Well, until I fell apart and just couldn’t any more. And let’s be honest, I did that a bunch of times on a smaller scale over the years. Collapsing into a heap, exhausted, drained, unable to function well.


So in some ways this last round of major depression was a really good thing. I had to stop. I took my meds, and they wiped out my motivation so even though I kind of felt like I should be doing more, I just couldn’t. I could not. Nope. None of it was happening.

I think I really needed the break. All pressure was off, and if I felt tired and unable to do stuff, then I knew it was the meds, and that was a lovely thing to fall back on. Nope. I’ve just gone up a dose and am adjusting. Nope. I’m not quite where I need to be. Nope. Nope. Nope. No, I just can’t right now. I can’t.

And that was good for a bit. It was. And then I recovered, and now I am off them and OH DO I BURN. I want to do all the things. My brain is firing again. It gets excited and goes down rabbit holes and it feels all the wonderful pleasure of the world again. It’s a beautiful thing. The creative drought is over. I’m back, baby!

But the Hare is dead. I know I can take a breath. I know I can say no, and I can consider things, and I can put my needs ahead of others. My brain may be diving off, exploring options, but that incessant need to do ALL. THE. THINGS has dulled somewhat. I’ve got a voice in the back of my head, the ghost of the hare that tells me to run and binge and doitallnownownowNOW.

But I am the tortoise. I’ve looked at my daily habits, I’ve assessed my goals, and I know that burning out isn’t going to get me where I want to be. Since the beginning of the month I have written and revised more of my own work than in the last four months combined. And I’m not even working that hard. I’m writing a little bit. I’m revising a little bit. I’m doing my paid editing gigs a little bit. Each of those three things, every day, and the progress is delicious.

I’ve found a new, far more rewarding addiction. One I’d never thought would ever work for me. It’s called… pacing myself.

WTF. Yes. I’m still getting my head around it myself. But here’s hoping it serves me well for a long time – long live the Tortoise!

monday check in, Uncategorized

Home again home again…

I missed Friday’s post because I was travelling – sorry! But I can report that I was very much in love with my husband, and with Nick Offerman, and driving long distances with no children bickering or asking ‘are we there yet?’, and with child free meals, with Deadpool, and with Wellington. Oh, Wellington.

We had a marvelous wedding anniversary/very late honeymoon (8 years in the making!). First weekend away from the kids in… well, almost a decade. Sheesh, that’s a long time.

Anyway. I have returned. Tired from all the travelling, but refreshed on some other levels, and feeling very much ready to get back to work. My brain is ticking along nicely at the moment (the med drop was a GOOD idea. Happy where I am for now, but will make further adjustments as required), and now all there is to do, is work, and convince my over achieving habits to chill the fuck out and take a backseat while I continue on this path of balance. (Yes, I’m laughing too. Oh, sweet, naive Cassie. When have you ever been able to stay balanced for long?).

I started working on the last book in the Maiden, Mother, Crone series again, and the numbers are ticking up nicely. My progress might be slow, but it is also consistent – which is way better than sporadic. I’m enjoying reconnecting with this character, and seeing how things pan out. And am very much looking forward to getting a first draft all wrapped up because I have oh so many ideas for more things to work on! (one at a time though… steadily, steadily…)

On Friday I shall attempt to bring you something special. See you then!

change, February, lessons, life, monday check in, planning, reading

February, forward

After my last post, I made some changes – the biggest of these was having an action plan. Plans are so very important. They give you steps to follow even when you don’t feel like doing much. They help you feel pro-active and in control. I’m a big fan of plans, and eternally grateful to my good friend Meryl Stenhouse for helping me to come up with this one.

As a result of this plan, I am already seeing an improvement in my mood – see, just having a plan helps! I didn’t even wait til today to get writing! I started on Friday, with just 300 words. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but I can tell you this: I’d rather write even 300 words than nothing. It’s an achievable goal, even on the worst of days, and a jumping off point on the good ones. When I told myself I needed to get back into the habit of writing, I gave myself no goal, and so I flailed. I expected a lot, but never gave myself a chance to work up to it. Not only is 300 words totally doable, but if I can get them done before lunch it means I have heaps of time to get other things done.

post swimModeration. Balance. I’ve struggled with those things so for long, but I think this time I might actually be coming at it the right way. I’m writing. I’m exercising. I’m taking care of myself. I’m reading books. And I’m spending lots of quality time with my family – and not feeling frustrated, because I am actually fitting everything in!

I went to the Dr this morning, and she supports me in reducing my medication. We’re taking it slowly, and I’ll check back in with her in a month to see how I’m doing. I’m not so nervous about it now, because I think this is the right call (and I’m totally okay if it’s not. This is a journey, and I know it takes time and nothing is certain). I feel really good though, and I hope that at some point in the future I won’t need the meds. If I do, that’s fine, but if I don’t, then that’s cool too. I’m glad I tried them out, because they helped me through a rough patch, and helped me to find myself again.

Anyway, this is kind of all over the place, sorry! To sum up, I have a good feeling about February. I’ll be adding a second post to the week, so you can expect a ‘Friday, I’m in love…’ post in a few days time, on, you know, Friday. Looking forward to sharing with you some of the awesome things, which will help keep me feeling grateful 🙂

monday check in, writing

Monday – and I’m done

Well. Today is fairly monumental.

I am officially finished edits on Sun-Touched, and it is off with my proofreader. I’m not even sure how to feel. It’s been such a long time coming and now I am here. At the place where it’s just the final touches – blurb, acknowledgements, dedication and formatting. Oh, and the cover. Which is proving to be more complicated than we thought it would, naturally 😉

Anyway, I’ve been fairly quiet this past few weeks. Littlest was vomiting the other week, and then school went back and things kicked into gear again. We spent the weekend at a marae, and visiting some of my old haunts which was really nice, if a little sad at times. My primary school, which I adored so much, has been completely demolished. The land is there. The trees remain. But all the buildings have been removed, the tennis courts pulled up, and the pool taken out as well. It was so strange to see it that way. Ah well, I will always have my fond memories, and I got to share my favourite climbing tree with my children, which was very special.

PhotoGrid_1437979590844The time off was lovely, and much needed. I enjoyed hanging out with my homeschooling tribe, enjoyed the communal living, the laughs, the tears, the ease of friends and the comfort of knowing we are part of something bigger than ourselves. Knowing there is a safety net for any one of us when needed is pretty awesome. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

There was a lot of colouring, and eating – we even had an epic hangi, nom nom – gathering around a fire, and a really great planning meeting. I’ve returned feeling more whole, if more aware of how lonely and isolating modern life can be at times. It is strange to only have our family here in the house.

So what now? Well, my plans have changed ever so slightly, and I still have work to do. But I am hopeful to be ordering the proof copy of Burn tomorrow (knock on wood), and then Sun-Touched won’t be too far behind. Exciting times! Print! Omg!

monday check in


This week has been… well, ‘a game of two halves’ as captains of sports teams so often say. I spent much of it battling against nerves, and the rest catching up and doing some epic edits. Once I realized that the giant wall I seemed to be bashing my head against was really massive anxiety about handing Sun-Touched over to my editor, I could work on breaking the wall down and getting on with things.

You see, she’s REALLY good. And her opinion matters oodles to me. I am probably more nervous about giving her the book than I am publishing the thing. And yet at the same time, I know she enjoys my writing and it’s actually not HER that I am nervous about, it’s me. I have a lot of self doubt when it comes to my writing and so I’ve managed to convince myself that the novel is going to need a boatload more editing and that there is no possible way I have done a good enough job. And maybe I haven’t – that’s actually not the end of the world. I just go in again and do some more work. I am not afraid of hard work.

But I just so want this novel to be done. It’s the FIRST full novel I’ll release. I LOVE this book. I want it to be good. So I’m nervous. And that’s actually okay too. And once I worked through all of that I could get back to those all important edits.

And I am almost on track. I hand it over later this week and I am confident I’ll get it done in time. Woo! And then I’m going to take a weekend off editing and try to write something short and new – fun times.

I’ve had another distraction this week as well… A friend needed to rehome her adorable kitten and I somehow (still not sure how) got Hubby to agree to let us take her in. I’ve loved this kitten since the moment I saw her, and I know she loves me because she always purrs up a storm. So we picked her up on Tuesday and amazingly she’s slotted into the family with very little difficulty. The cats tolerate her, the kids are in heaven, the dog thinks it’s awesome to have a new animal to play with, and I am one very content writer.


monday check in

Monday – finding my groove

It’s been a good week. I got new boots. New clothes. The sun came out at times. I finished another editing job. Caught up with a writer friend for coffee. And also, got my very belated Mothers Day gift in the post. Hubby was a bit miffed it took so long to get here, but it was TOTALLY worth the wait because I now have a hardback of The Scorpio Races, signed by Maggie Stiefvater. One of my all time FAV books. ❤


She touched this book! ZOMG! 

Anyway… I feel like I’m on top of things at the moment, which is truly strange. The longer I’m on anti-depressants, the more I can see the ways in which I wasn’t okay before. I’ve reached this point where I actually *think* I’m functioning pretty well. I’ve been slowly ticking things off lists, making the house a generally less chaotic place, the dishes are normally done, and there are no longer huge piles of washing either waiting to go in the machine or be put away. It’s kind of nice. I kind of wonder how long I can keep it up for (the old brain says it can’t last forever), or whether this is actually just the new normal. When I have a day where stuff doesn’t get done I have to be gentle and remind myself that even ‘normal’ people have off days, so I am allowed them too. It doesn’t mean I’m about to be devoured by a black hole.

Sun-Touched is coming along nicely. It’s weird to think that this time next week I will be fixing up the final chapters before passing them along to my editor. I’m more nervous about her getting her hands on the book than I am about publishing the thing, because I know she will challenge me to dig deeper and show me places that could do with some enhancing. She is a far harsher critic than your average reader – but then, that IS what you want in an editor.

I’m already looking forward to diving into the next book, and that will come soon enough.

life, monday check in, writing

Monday, Monday

Well, after two weeks of being on track and being awesome, I kind of hit my first big stumbling block. I hit the first new scene write in Sun-Touched, blanked majorly despite having a plan, procrastinated like the pro I am, and ended up doing a whole lot more socializing than anything else.

And that’s okay. Not every week can be a good week. And I’m allowed to have the occasional week where I am slightly less awesome than normal.

I spent a long time trying to get past my block, which, when broken down was really just nerves. I wrote Sun-Touched years ago now, I’m not quite the same writer as I was then (this is a good thing! I try to always be improving). Because we were in and out all week, and the kids were sick etc, I decided to leave it until Sunday when I knew I’d have a couple of hours at the library. I forced myself to knuckle down, and belted out the new scene as well as all the adjustments necessary because of it.

Technically, I am 16 chapters in. Which, technically, is keeping to the ‘five chapters a week’ thing. But I split a few, added this new one, moved some things around a little. I am not sure how many chapters there are going to be by the time I finish, and while 16/28 sounds like I am well over halfway, the page count tells a different story. I’m sitting at 80/185 as at last editing stint (not including however many pages the new scene would have added because I wrote that directly into Scriv instead of Word). So, the new measure is page count, and that might grow too – I’m trying not to stress about those numbers because while they are a good measure of whether I am going to make my deadline or not, they can’t factor in the last minute freak out buzz that will hit me in the next 7-10 days.

You see, I have always been a last minuter. I LOVE/Loathe crunch time. I’m a really great procrastinator and while last year I managed to change my way to some extent, it’s something I am still working on. This whole ‘chip away at things’ business is kind of weird for me. I can see that it’s going to work better, but… yeah. I am still adjusting.

Anyway, I have full intentions of being back on track by the end of the week. This book rocks, and I’m so excited about bringing it to you (even though I am terrified of sending it to my copy-editor because she I am sure she’s going to tell me things I don’t want to hear! lol). We’re working on some mock ups of the cover, which is also pretty exciting. And *squee* in just a few months I’ll have some print copies in hand!!

life, monday check in, writing

Monday again…

Not only is it Monday, but it’s JUNE as well. JUNE! HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE??? I told my husband last night that I was just going to pretend it was still May, but that’s not really going to do me any good. Instead, I am checking on deadlines and working out how much work per day I need to get done in order to meet them.

As I mentioned last week, I am attempting to break things down into smaller chunks in order to not feel so overwhelmed. It’s working. I am still right on track for Sun-Touched. I’ve hit the end of the ‘easy’ revisions and am about to dive into the more complex stuff where things need to be moved and changed and in a few instances, written from scratch. And that’s okay. I feel back in the novel. I am confident that I can do this (and also fairly sure that in a week from now I’ll be feeling a bit more waily and less confident lol).

On top of this, I’ve got some editing work stacking up. It’s a necessary thing (I’m not saying evil, because I actually enjoy it, though while under tight time constraints it does add to the strain) because that work is going to fund my print editions! And I need those print editions for the NZ Independent Book Festival. Much like everything else in my life, there are a series of things that need to happen in order for other things to happen. I am learning to be patient about this. All going well though, I will be ordering my print versions of Burn later this month, which means it’ll also be available that way from Amazon. Woo!

This is a real challenge to my attempt to keep making myself and my writing a priority. Normally I would drop my own editing and focus on everyone elses, so this slower, more methodical, measured way of doing things is a little odd for me. I have to retrain myself to look for the long term benefits, rather than searching for that buzz of rushing towards the end of something, for that quick high of ticking something – anything – off the list. Because the result of that is always that others work gets done and mine does not.

So, it’s a learning curve. I’m happy to be on it.