Tag Archives: fighting the darkness

Straight up info on depression and how it affects my life.

#ROW80 Check-in 5/6/15

I’ve been taking a break from writing, but I’m starting to feel the urge again, which is great.

What isn’t great is my eye. It’s been hurting badly all week, and I just found out that the special eye institute I was hoping to get into doesn’t think they can help me. 😦 With them out of the running, I literally have no one else to go to. (Unless I want to get third opinions, which the lady at the institute suggested but…I am SO done with testing and crap. I dunno. Maybe I’ll change my mind.)

So I’ve been in a bit of a funk about this, and feeling terrible. Granted, it could be worse, right? But it feels so unsurmountable — trying to work, trying to write, trying to live — and, well, I’m letting myself feel bad. For a bit. Then, well…I’ll get back to business. I always do. 😀

I had an idea about Flamebound, my paranormal romance novella that I’d like to expand into a novel. So that’s happening along with all the other whisperings of my muse.

This Sunday I plan on working on Survivor. I may try to slip some Fireborn words in sometime, but no pressure.

Our weather over here’s been rainy, but it has started to get nicer. I’m hoping for a nice weekend for camping (next week! So close!).

How’s everyone doing this week?

Survivor: An Interview with Amber

Amber is the main character, and Survivor is the story. I’m having trouble with the first two scenes. So, I interviewed Amber. Found out some interesting things. (I do this occasionally when I’m stuck. It works wonders.)

So here’s the interview, as it came from my fingertips. You might get a kick out of it.

NOTE: A is Amber, blank is me.

Why are you being so difficult?

A: I’m not being difficult. You’re being difficult.

How so?

A: You won’t write. You’re confused. You can’t be confused with this.

Okay, why do you think that?

A: How long have you worked on this book? 11 years? You should know it. Really know it. And me.

I really don’t know you. Not as you are now. Time has passed between then and now.

A: I’m the same girl you sat down with back in 2004. I haven’t changed.

But your beginning feels wrong. Why?

A: Distance? You’re more sensitive now? Less sensitive? I dunno. You’re different.

I’ve grown as a writer, for sure.

A: Have you grown out of this book?


A: Okay, then. Let’s work together to solve this.

Okay, let’s do that.

A: I still think my beginning is powerful. All you got to do is fix it so [redacted for spoilers]. Maybe cut away from me screaming incoherently and to me in the hospital, looking at my face in the mirror and horrified at the bandages.

I could see you horrified, yeah.

A: I won’t look like her anymore.

No, you won’t.

A: And I will be…freaked out, I think. I mean, I was manic in scene 1, I was in an almost fatal car crash in scene 2, so I’m a little bit whacked out. Play with that. Bring in the Guardian.

Isn’t it too soon?

A: No, because I need stuff to pile up. It needs to build until I crack.

So I’m torturing you.

A: Bingo. And we know how much you love that.

I do, yeah. But why can’t we keep it the same?

A: The same isn’t working. Your brain is telling you that. Hell, your muse is telling you. You couldn’t even look at it yesterday, you were so confused. And that kinda sucks. I need my story told.

I need to tell your story. I need it out of my head and into the world.

A: Yes, so let’s take care of this problem and move the freak on, okay?

Okay. We will do that.

So…got some ideas. Also, just before doing this freewrite, I did a different one on why I was stuck. I discovered that because I’ve been getting feedback on everything, my muse is a bit beat up. (And I need that feedback, so this isn’t a complaint, honestly!) She’s feeling cagey about just writing and getting words down, and screwing up the story. So I need to step away from that — at least, when writing — and see if I can just write and not worry about anything else.

Things creep in, you know? Bills. Work. Eye pain. The upcoming release. What people will say. Hell, what they won’t say. I need to let it all GO, right here, right now.

And just write.

#ROW80 Check-in 1/18/15

Here we are for another check-in.  I’m making slow progress on Fireborn.  It’s not moving as fast as I want it to, but it’s moving and that’s the important part.  Up to almost 6k.

On the Survivor front, I did poke at Survivor last Sunday and Monday, which was good.  I read the first 3 chapters and the revised first scene I wrote back in 2007ish, I believe.  I think this is my longest-running book ever.  The read through kind of depressed me because it was so bad.  Granted, the first 9 chapters or so were written in 2004, and the rest was written in 2007 and 2009, respectively.  I’m assuming those parts are better, but it was just painful to read.  So today I’m going to see what I can do besides mope. 😦

(For context, I started writing seriously in 2001 but didn’t really get into it until 2003.  I began Survivor in 2004 for a writing class, and wrote it on Sundays, while I worked on other projects on the other days.  I stopped writing it in 2005 to work on my second longest-running book, Pirouette, and didn’t pick Survivor up again till 2007, when I took a short hiatus from Pirouette. Started working on Pirouette’s second draft until 2008-2009, when I finally finished Survivor.  I looked at it briefly a few years ago when I was considering working on it again and made a master file with every single plot thread in one document.  I also made some decisions on what plot lines to cut.  There are just too many.  So…that’s where I’m at.)

Okay, return of the stats!

Project: Fireborn
Words written: 5,872 words
Words remaining: 9,128 words
What’s happening: Leliel and Rick are investigating stuffs
What’s next: Another murder/suicide

Project: Survivor
Work done to date: Read through first three chapters and alternate first scene

Feeling: Depressed and stressed.
Eye report: Horrendous for the past 2 days, but not bad at the moment
Back report: Twinge-y
Chocolate consumption: Surprisingly, not a whole lot.  Although I can’t resist my Oreo balls or the WW chocolate/caramel thingies.  Or M&Ms. *shifty look*

#ROW80 Check-in 9/10/14 – Still busy and eating chocolate

Here I am, I have returned! I’ve been busy with camping trips and the Grave Touched Rewrite. And PT. And…vacation!

Yep, last week was my second vacation from work, 6 days of bliss. Hubby and I went camping (no surprise there!) where we had the most beautiful view of the lake from our campsite (the beach was literally steps away…and at night? The sunsets? I was in photographer’s heaven!) and where our little camper weathered a HUGE, crazy storm (winds 40 mph) and didn’t have a single leak! It was a lot of fun, a lot of excitement, and a lot of relaxation. Something I needed desperately.

The Grave Touched Rewrite is up to 89k (!). I’m still boggled by this. I did write a bit on vacation because, you know, deadlines and momentum. I also finished the edit of Changeling and sent that off.

So the plan is to try to finish Grave Touched by the end of the month, giving me three months to revise. Crossing fingers. I need a minimum of two months, so I can go over, but I really want that extra month!

Another thing I’ve been giving a lot of thought to is…what’s next? I definitely need a break from the Fey Touched world and a writing break in general, but after that…may work on Soulfire or one of my other revisions. It’s kinda up in the air right now, but I am pondering it.

I also have decided to reopen my darkroom. I’ve had it since 1999 and at one time, worked in there for three to four hours at least 3x a week. Once I got married to my ex, naturally my work output went way down, even though I continued to do photo shoots. When I came back home, I putzed with it a bit, but I was beginning to feel the effects of my age — in my back, particularly. The smell of the chemicals began to bother me when they never did. And the stamina required to stand for 3-4 hours at a time was just not there.

I’d basically given up on it. Whenever I’d think about reopening it, I always thought, well, I can’t stand, I’ll need to replace all my chemicals, I’ll need to set aside the time, blah blah blah. All excuses. My first love, and real passion, is traditional black and white photography. I probably sound like an old-timer, but that’s where my roots are (my grandfather was a darkroom photographer and I didn’t find out about it until I was in school studying it!) and where my soul feels most nourished. I love digital, but there’s nothing like b&w. I’m sorry, but to me, b&w is where the magic happens. I’ve missed it SO much that I regularly have dreams about it. I want to watch the picture emerge from a blank piece of photo paper. I want to spend time with each negative and figure out the best possible exposure time. I want to tone my images again. But most of all, I want to experiment with infrared photography, which is what led to all of this. I did some back in school and it was beautiful (everything glows, green plants and people’s skin is white, contrast is…out of this world) and I tried it again but didn’t have any good results. Tried a pseudo-infrared film but didn’t like it much, either. Then that perfect film was discontinued! Another thing I gave up on (it’s also wickedly hard to use, expose, and develop. But SO worth it). So anyway, a few weeks ago, I said, “Eff it. I’ve wanted to do this forever, obviously things have changed drastically, and I’ll need to put a ton of work into it (oh yeah, another thing — my darkroom area needs to be cleaned, organized, and thoroughly dusted — right now it’s a mess) but wait a sec. I don’t have to spend hours in there. I can buy chemicals little by little. I can still do everything. Just differently.” So, that’s what I’m doing. I’m going to give this a try. I’ve set a goal for myself. By my birthday in March, I want to have a significant portion of the work done to reopen the darkroom. I won’t buy chemicals until I’m ready to start and I’ll have time to get my 35mm automatic camera fixed (for infrared, it’s manual all the way — it’s been decades since I’ve used a manual camera! Looking forward to it!). I also will have enough time to attack it at my own pace.

Time is slipping by. This year is almost over, and it has flown by. I don’t want to go through the rest of my life wondering what beautiful images I could have made if only I’d taken the time to try darkroom again. I miss it, and it needs to be a part of my life again.

So…there’s that.

Okay, stats!

Words rewritten since last check-in: 7,650 (total so far: 35,561 words and I made my second goal!)
Words remaining: 0
What’s happening: The MCs are doing a ritual to ward off possessions
What’s next: MC is going to be very…lost
Eye report: Not too bad, even with a storm today
Back report: A bit better, but progress has been very slow
Chocolate consumption since last check-in: Well…a whole lotta chocolate. Too much to list. 😉

Year of No Fear – 2014 Manifesto – February Progress Report

February was a rough month for me. I spent most of it sick. I was hit by bronchitis right after my fall at work, and then once I started feeling better, I got hit with a severe cold. So most of what I wanted to accomplish did not happen.

Hubby and I didn’t ice skate — we still have plans to do more as soon as things calm down.

The Grave Touched Rewrite is going slowly. Still making progress. I’ve spent a lot of time fighting my muse on it so it hasn’t been fun. But I think I’ll be able to continue regardless. I also wanted to start poking at Survivor, another book needing revision. I have a rough plan for that, but I still need to go into the mammoth file and figure some stuff out (1,000+ pages! Yikes!). I was all set to do that when an idea to resurrect my 2009 NaNoWriMo novel Soulfire hit me like lightning. And, naturally, the muse is gung-ho, so I might try to squeeze some work in between stuff. A few hundred words a day won’t hurt, will it? (Don’t answer that.) Ahem. So I still want to work on revisions, but I’m getting sidetracked. Ugh.

Photography! I gots plans for that! I’m starting a Photo-A-Day thing for March. I did it way back in, I wanna say, 2010 in February, and kept it going into March. But then I got sick (see a pattern here?) and stopped altogether. I’d like to do it again to get into the mode of shooting again. I haven’t done any Serious Business photography in forever, and I’m feeling slightly intimated by the idea. So, dipping my toes in. (I also am considering re-opening my darkroom, but I need to get my 35mm automatic camera fixed. Also have a plan for that).

Been thinking more and more about poetry, even joined a few groups. Just need to write some.

Also worked on my erotica idea. Nowhere near time to write it, though. Needs to simmer.

I’m also actively working on dieting — but not the deprivation kind. I’m definitely watching what I’m eating, and decreasing my portion sizes. I still snack occasionally, but I’m trying to be more aware of what and how much of it I’m putting into my mouth. I’ve lost 2.5 pounds. Hopefully I can continue.

Trying to be more optimistic and such, but sometimes the depression gets to me. That’s the honest truth. But I am trying to be more aware of that, too, and counteracting it with positive thoughts and doing things that make me happy.

So I’m making slow progress. I’m hoping to ramp up my efforts this month.

#ROW80 Check-in Twelve and a Half

….because I hate the number thirteen.

I’m doing okay. Feeling better every day, but day job + getting over illness = extreme fatigue. It’s frustrating because I want to do All The Things but can’t. Hopefully, I’ll get some of that energy back (I actually am tired 24/7 from the fibro, but I usually try to work through it).

I’ve made some progress on Grave Touched, a new scene. I also had an idea for how to format my novel-in-12-pieces, Survivor. I love this novel SO much, but haven’t been ready to tackle it and untangle the mess (long story short: I went linear, which is my usual method, for 9 chapters. I got stuck and started several new plot threads, all in separate documents, without any regard to how they fit together. I finally finished the rough draft in 2009 — I’d started it in 2004 — but it’s been languishing. Le sigh). So I think there’s a glimmer of hope here, so I will see what I can do. Not adding it to my ROW80 goal though — too much pressure.

On to the stats!

Running total: 22,522 words
Words remaining: 12,478 words (getting closer!)
Body count: Everyone’s good. For now.
Feeling: Okay. Not 100% but not a big ball of fail which is how I’ve been feeling for the past few days (it’s day job related). Currently getting over it.
Eye report: Pretty good. Twinge-y but tolerable.

There’s a witty title here, I swear!

It’s been awhile since I posted, and I thought I’d post an update.

Four months ago, I started having excruciating pain in my left eye.  I thought, oh, I must have hurt it somehow (which I have done before), so I went to my eye doc who proclaimed my eye totally healthy but sent me to a specialist just in case.  The specialist proclaimed it fine, but wanted to run some tests.  All came back normal.

At this point, I’d stopped writing because of the pain.  I had the Grave Touched revision due on April 1st, and on March 3rd, two days into my preliminary read-through, I determined that I wasn’t going to be able to finish in time.  Without pain, revision is tough.  With pain?  Impossible.  So I had to tell my TDP people that I wasn’t able to make my deadline and I would be giving up my August 1st release slot.

So, Grave Touched has been tentatively slotted in for 2014.  That damn near broke my heart, but there comes a time when I have to think of the greater good — and my future as a writer.  Plus, I wouldn’t have been able to turn in my best work.  I knew that.  So I opted to let it go.  It created a hole in the publishing schedule which we are trying to fill, and although they have been super supportive, I still feel like I screwed everything up.  But! Health first.  I tend to forget these things.

So I started wondering if I had one of those ongoing migraines, as I suffer from migraines and have had week-long migraines before.  I decided to see my neurologist about it.  He ordered an MRI of my brain but ruled out a migraine.  When the MRI came back with something on it, he ordered a second one to check it out.  Turns out it was a glitch in the Matrix and nothing to be concerned about.

I’m still in pain, and we’re working on getting a diagnosis.  Meanwhile, I’ve finally got some medication to help with the pain.  Nothing would work before.  But this stuff I’ve got is very helpful.

Not writing was tough, and it was making me nuts.  I blogged about that here and here.

In the second half of May, I decided that if I didn’t write, I’d go insane, so I decided to set a super-low goal and try to meet it, but no pressure.  That worked so well that I wish I would have thought of it sooner.  I’ve been working on Darklight, the book I set aside to write Fey Touched.  I also took a free class on flash fiction and have been working on a little flash anthology to offer for free.  Turns out, I really like it because it’s so short and easy — nothing huge like a novel, you know?  And it’s so much fun!  So stay tuned for that!

Now I’m looking at working on the Grave Touched revision.  I started reading over my notes and have been slowly re-introducing myself to the world and the book itself.  It’s not going to be easy, but I want this book finished and out there so I have to put in the work.  I believe I’m capable of that, just a bit slower than I used to be.  In some ways, it feels as if I’m starting over from scratch. 

It’s been rough, especially since I have a day job and no painkillers would touch this.  I have a very high-stress, complicated job.  Luckily, my bosses and co-workers have been very supportive.  The meds I have now make me loopy and dizzy so I’ll just have to suck it up during the day.  But hey, it’s not like I don’t know how that feels.  I’ve learned quite a bit about strength and perseverance.  I have an extremely high threshold for pain, and this is about at my limit of what I can handle.  I hope my neurologist comes up with an answer soon.  And maybe even a solution.

I am no stranger to this process.  Ten years ago, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia after looking for an answer for a year.  I saw a ton of specialists and had test after test after test.  It wasn’t pleasant, but it lead to an answer, so it was worth it.  This, too, will be.  I just need to believe that it’s going to happen. (If you feel inclined, check out my chapbook, Life as a Moving Target, for the whole story).

So things are moving along, albeit slowly.  I’m happy to be writing again and producing and living my life the only way I can.  More to come.  This story is not over yet!

Also, just a friendly reminder: Turtleduck Press is seeking new members!  You must have a polished sci-fi/fantasy manuscript ready.  It’s fun, it’s unique, and you’d get to join a bunch of cool people who want to shake things up in the world of publishing. 

Stay tuned for updates.


Things are finally rolling along with writing.  I floundered and flailed a lot, and got hit with an idea that grabbed me by the throat and wouldn’t let go.  It’s actually the project formally known as Surrender, which was originally The Sacrifice, my first finished novel evah written in November for NanoWriMo.  My first time.  Ah, the memories.

So now it’s a science fantasy that basically has the Fey rooted in science, not myth.  Sound interesting?  It’s a million shades of cool, and I’ve been majorly jazzed.  I am beginning to enjoy writing again.  I still feel the need to rewrite stuff, but so far, I’m winning the argument.  First draft, baby.  Rewrites will come.

I’m hoping — if my wrists hold — to get a good chunk of this done by the end of the year.  I’m most likely going to publish it with Turtleduck Press, and my deadline is April 1st.  Kind of scary, but good practice, too.  So, this is my unoffical NanoWriMo novel.  It’s called Fey Touched.  The name Surrender didn’t fit as well as Fey Touched did.  I’m hoping to make this into a series.

Darklight has been put aside.  I thought I could do both, but I really work better with one project.  I need to get immersed into the story, and I can’t do that if I’m thinking about another story.

I’m still going to try to work on the Alpha Female revision as planned, after my words are done for the day.  I still believe in it and think I could make it so much better. I’d love to be able to submit it soon.

As for Pirouette, it’s with critiquers.  Until I get more feedback, I can’t make any decisions on whether or not to work on it more.  I’m guessing yes, but we will see.

I’m also writing more poetry for Turtleduck Press.  It’s been eye-opening so far.  I seem to have changed a bit, and I hope for the best.

What else?  Something huge recently happened that shook things up at home.  For awhile I couldn’t write, but now I’m finding it a comfort.  And that’s a good thing.

Oh yeah — I guest blogged on my friend Ana Ramsey’s blog.  I talked about my crazy muse and I.  Go read it.  It’s cool.  Linky: http://anaquana.wordpress.com/2011/10/27/guest-post-5-erin-kendall-surviving-my-muse/ .


Perfect is the enemy of the good.

This is one of Holly Lisle’s concepts in her How to Think Sideways class.  Something I seem to have forgotten in my quest to get published.

Lately I’ve been feeling out of sorts and frustrated with my writing.  Darklight has been stalled, the poems I wrote for Turtleduck Press were like pulling teeth, and every time I sat down to write I was paralyzed by the fear that whatever I write won’t be good enough.  That anything I wrote would be crap and no one would want to publish any of it.  That everyone else would be successful but I wouldn’t be because my writing sucked and wasn’t publishable.

Talk about a head case.  I started thinking more positively, that no, my stuff didn’t suck and yes, I would be published someday, and that was that.  And I remembered how I used to write when I first started 10 years ago (!)  : I wrote with joy.  I didn’t worry about anything on the page.  I kept moving forward.  I didn’t analyze anything to death and I rarely, if ever, rewrote anything during drafting.  But as time went on, this perfectionism crept in through the cracks.  It was insidious.  Just a “that first scene isn’t right.  Maybe you should rewrite it?”  became “wow, that whole first chapter sucks.  Let’s start again.  And again. And again.”  And this is why Darklight‘s first two chapters have been rewritten no less than 5 times.  Head. Desk.

I worried too much about making it perfect — the mood, the hook, the main character — and I completely derailed myself.  I’m not even supposed to rewrite while drafting.  It used to be an ironclad rule.  Now it’s more of an afterthought.

So I decided to bring the love back.  I will write and not worry about anything anymore.  I’ll let the story unfold the way it’s going to unfold, and I will follow my muse.  NO REWRITES.  I can make notes.  But that’s it.

And I will continue to work at getting published.  I’ll edit and revise and rewrite when it’s time.

And lastly, I won’t ever tell myself that I’m not good enough, because I AM.  And I know that deep down.  Sometimes it gets lost in the daily shuffle.  No more.

As Holly Lisle says, write with joy.

This is tough.

I’m writing poetry again, and it’s like a half-remembered dream.  It disappears when I get too close to it.

Why am I torturing myself so?

Well, Turtleduck Press is putting together a winter-themed anthology, and since I can’t write a short story, it was suggested I write poetry.

Easy, right?

Oh sure, I can wax poetic on love, winter, Christmas.  But for it to sing, to move me, not so much.  I tried a new form, too, called the rondeau.  It’s French, and it involves repetition in a certain pattern.  I love poems with repetition and have been successful with both sestinas and pantoums.  And I’m normally very edgy about formal poetry, but this speaks to me.

Oh my goodness.  I feel like a novice poet — as if the past 15 years of poems haven’t been written.  I feel like a stranger in my skin.  What the heck happened?

I suspect I’m out of practice.  And writing to a theme is really tough.  I keep trying to write sad love poems.  And the Christmas poem I wrote was also sad.  I’m not sure that’s going to work.

But, gonna keep poking at it.  Maybe something will come.