life, Uncategorized, writing

Recap and look forward

This has been a Year.

I’ve seen it capitalized all over the place – people from across the world have been having a hard time of it, and it was no different for me. It’s been almost four months since we moved cities, which was a total upheaval but has given me a lot of time to reflect and grow. Growing can be painful, but I really believe it’s worthwhile. And I think in the last few months, in particular, I’ve come a long way.

I was watching a friends video the other day (FB Live, have you tried it? I think if I ever did a live thing my kids would totally video bomb me lol), and she was talking about what her word for the year might be in 2017. It got me reflecting on what my word of the year has been in recent history, and while I haven’t always ‘set’ them purposefully, they have been there.

They go something like this ‘Survival’ or ‘Balance’. ‘Not falling apart’ could probably make it to the list too. Because on reflection, I’ve had a few hard years. In 2014 I finished my studies and published my first book. At that point, I was struggling hard, I just didn’t know it yet. One of the topics of my study ripped me apart and I’d spent months spiraling that, and I determined that in 2015 I would put myself back together again, in some fashion. I decided to give antidepressants a shot, and while they helped somewhat, it was a lot of ups and downs, side effects, and eventually feeling incredibly numb.

I didn’t write a lot of new stuff in 2015, though I published several things that had been waiting. Towards the end of 2015 I was toying with the idea of coming off my meds, and I did that and felt a huge sense of relief. I could actually FEEL again, and that was amazing. I’ve not doubted that decision for a moment since, and despite all the turmoil this year has brought me, I’m feeling better than I have in a long time. I am strong. And I have bad days, but I get through those, much like most people do. Life is full of ups and downs.

2016 was a light year for writing too. Very light. I did a good chunk of editing, worked for others, but always put aside my own work.

Anyway, this is all a roundabout way of saying that my writing has not been a priority for a long time. I’ve been dealing with so many real life issues that there wasn’t room for that creativity and it was much easier to do things for other people. But I’m ready now.

And my word for 2017 is going to be FOCUS. Because it’s time. It’s time I actually gave this a real chance, time I made my writing a priority. Time to stop putting everyone else’s work ahead of my own. This both terrifies and excites me, because if I actually try, then there is always the chance I can fail, and failing sucks. But I’d rather try and know than just keep putting it on the backburner.

2017 will be a year of words. A year of saying no to the things I don’t really want to do but maybe feel like I should. Of saying YES to my own worlds.

What are you saying yes to in 2017?

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April, change, Uncategorized

Long time no post…

Hey! So, it’s April! The season is changing – nights getting cooler, mornings as well. I love it 🙂 Things have been ticking along here, and I have been focusing on finding some kind of balance, and adjusting back to ‘normal’.

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Home School camp

As some of you might know, I’ve been dropping doses of my anti-depressants for a bit now, and am finally off them! YAY! It’s been a little over a week, and I think the side effects (the really bad ones) are starting to abate. Well, I hope so. Being that it can take quite some time to fully readjust, and the last time I did this I was in my late teens and no doubt just went cold turkey, I have nothing to compare it to. If I have learned nothing else from all this, it’s that everyone is different.

And I am different to how I was a year ago. In that time I have done a lot of learning. While the medication I was on might not have been the best one for me, and while it ultimately began to make things worse rather than better, I still think it was worthwhile. It gave me the space I needed to think things through, it meant that when I was feeling better I could work on some of the stuff I needed to, and when I was coming off them, allowed me to see that actually, anxiety is the real problem, and depression a side effect of long-term anxiety.

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Early morning walk, sans kids

Am I still anxious? I think I’m anxious about anxiety – worried that now that I am off them I might slide back into the black hole, that things might start to build up on me again. And I’m okay with that. I don’t feel anxious about everything all the time, and that’s good. I’ve been able to develop some strategies for keeping myself balanced, and while that is hard, it is so worthwhile (I’ll post more on that another time!)

More importantly, I feel creative again. It’s a huge relief to find my way into some writing, to have the drive once more to revise stuff, and want to put it out there. It seems counter-intuitive in some regards to think that while I was medicated – not wallowing in misery, not constantly anxious, or always on a rollercoaster of intense highs and lows – I found creating so hard and lacked any motivation.

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More bush walking!

I’m pleased to be free of that. I feel like I can soar again. Like I can handle what life throws at me, while also tapping into a full range of emotions. I feel more hopeful than I have in a long time, and I don’t feel depressed! I’m making positive changes, and I know that every day is a blessing.

Uncategorized

Nothing quite like it

I’ve been submitting stories to publishers/zines/etc for awhile now, and have become an old hand at it – finding a market no longer takes me days, and putting together the emails takes far less time too. Every market is different, but I know enough about what’s expected that I no longer make rookie mistakes (and it was only ONE time that I forgot to attach the MS 😉 lol).

A lot of my submissions this year have been a case of rinse and repeat – sending out stories that have had previous rejections, trying to find the right home for them.

During October I had the pleasure of sending something new into the world. A virgin MS. Unsullied by rejection, full of hope and wonder. After putting together the email and hitting send I had the most amazing rush. I was filled with a sense of joy and of possibility – the potential that the MS held was limitless. OMG who knew? Maybe they would say yes, and wouldn’t that be exciting? It’s been awhile since I’ve felt that, and I had forgotten just how amazing it is. I think it would probably slot in just under an acceptance as my favourite part of the submission process.

I enjoy sending my stories out, but something new? That’s a ticket to a head rush. There is no negativity attached to the story, no feelings of insecurity and worry, just pure exhilaration at having hit ‘send’.

It makes me want to write more, so that I can send more virgin MS’s into the world. Sure, they won’t all get accepted, but if I don’t keep writing new stories, I can’t capture that feeling again. Now that’s a good incentive!

Back to work I go 😉