Balance

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If 2018 had a word for me, it would be unbalanced. At least, that’s how the last six months of the year have gone. You know when you set goals/deadlines for yourself, and things start to pile up? And then it’s like a snowball rolling downhill, and you’re the target?

That was me.

So, for obvious reasons, my goal for 2019 is ‘balance’.

Balance in writing. Balance in my personal life. All about balance.

(How many times can I use the word balance in one post?)

My plan is to tackle this issue in a few ways.

I don’t know about other authors, but I struggle with all recommendations for ‘how an author should author.’ All those ‘experts’ who have the latest greatest advice. I think you have to be careful not to fall down every single rabbit hole with them.

And it is SO hard not to.

There’s always the latest greats ‘everyone is signing up for it’ new social media app or site. Mewe anyone?

Here’s the truth we never want to accept. You can’t be on EVERY single site. You can’t follow every piece of advice. You can’t be all things to all people (I think Lincoln said that.)

You just can’t.

There’s only so much of my brain power I can give.

I’m autistic, balance is crucial for me. If I push myself too far, I shut down. It’s horrible for my health to continue pushing and pushing.

That was 2018 for me.

Unhealthy.

So, 2019?

All about that bass…I mean balance.

What’s your word for 2019?

 

Things I loved in 2018

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It’s been a hell of a year, but I thought I’d share a few things that made me happy in 2018.

  • Nailed It! on  Netflix. Best cooking show. Ever. EVER.
  • New Amsterdam
  • JetPens (a new shop I discovered, it’s not new, but new to me)
  • Finishing WIPs
  • Winter Olympics (Adam Rippon and Chloe Kim in particular)
  • Sara Bareilles new song Armor
  • Assassin’s Creed Odyessy

What are some of the things you loved in 2018?

Climbing a Greek God’s Body.

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Video games have always been one of my favourite ways to relax. I tend to become obsessively involved in a game until I’ve completed the story. Often, if it’s an RPG (Role Playing Game), I’ll play through multiple times to explore every aspect, and decision my character can make within the game.

I’ve played many Ubisoft games. I particularly enjoy both their Watch Dogs and Assassin’s Creed series.

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is their latest release, and I’ve played it constantly since the early release came out at the beginning of October.

It’s a stunningly beautiful game.

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I’ve completed the main campaign, playing as Kassandra. I’ll likely do it for a second time as her brother Alexios.

The intrigue, the gameplay, all the side quests, and the massive map.

It’s the Assassin’s Creed I’ve always wanted to play. I’ve played and enjoyed AC III, Black Flag, Rogue, Syndicate, and Origins. None of them perfect. Odyssey for me is right at the top, with Origins a close second. They’ve progressed with both the gameplay and the character interaction.

Is it perfect? Definitely not.

But I’m immensely enjoying playing in a way I haven’t in a while.

To NaNo or Not to NaNo.

The above gif is an accurate demonstration of how I’m feeling–and National Novel Writing Month hasn’t even started yet. The last five years I’ve successfully taken part in NaNoWriMo, though I think one year I didn’t quite hit 50k, but I didn’t finish the story so I consider it a win.

Ivy, Alicia, After the Scrum, The Caretaker, and One Last Heist all started life as NaNoWriMo stories.

Now, I’ll be honest. NaNo makes me lose my mind. At no other time of the year would I even attempt 50k in a month, but it’s a challenge I always find impossible to refuse.

When I started thinking about this year, I’d initially decided not to participate. My deadlines have gotten all messed up and I didn’t know if I’d have a book to work on in November.  My year has been fairly busy with writing a novella trilogy and writing a novel. But for all the chaos, I do genuinely love particpating in NaNo.

I’ll be cheating this year. My novel is going to wind up being around 80 or 90k, so my goal for November is 50k. That’s my NaNo goal, even though technically the story won’t be finished quite yet.

If I hit 50k, I’m considering it a win.

I’ll be exhausted, but a winner.

Are you taking part in NaNo this year?

 

Let Them Eat Cake.

Food.

Glorious food.

My stories always seem to feature a lot of tasty treats.

(Or, in the case of The Caretaker and the upcoming Haka Ever After, ALL THE CHEESE.)

I’ll be perfectly honest, half the time, I wind up making myself hungry and get annoyed because I don’t always have access to some of the foods my characters enjoy. One Last Heist was a prime example. Toshiro and Mack indulge quite a bit in the story. I have to live vicariously through them.

Tragic.

Food adds a layer to stories. And I’ve discovered one person’s weird is another’s delicacy.

As an autistic, the smell, texture, spice levels, and even colour of food can affect whether I’ll be able to eat it. I also tend to have weeks and even months where I’ll eat the same meal over and over and over again, much to my hubby’s dismay. =) It’s something I try to stay cognizant of with my autistic characters.

Toshiro’s sister Charlie enjoys having her eggs in a particular way, especially when made by her brother.

The other side of the food coin is weird–odd–gross foods. And I’ll admit that one person’s weird is another’s delicacy.

Here are some of the foods (I find weird) that I’ve tried over the years:

– Blood Sausage.

Ew. Gross. Don’t.

– Jackfruit

Weird texture. Weird on the outside. Tastes amazing.

– BBQ Stingray

Tried this in Singapore. So good. Silky texture and no odd fishy aftertaste.

– Turtle Soup

This one traumatised me for years. My dad made me try his soup. I was horrified. Also, it was rubbery. But, I had pet turtles, and I had nightmares about eating them. lol

What are the weirdest or most unusual foods/dishes you’ve ever tried?

Do you enjoy learning about foods/dishes in the novels you read?

Puff loves GubGub.

One thing that stood out to me at the RT Convention last year was the number of authors who talked about how their significant others weren’t supportive. Their husbands (or wives or whatever) treated their writing as a hobby. At best, it seemed completely dismissive to me.

It made me appreciate my husband even more. He’s always encouraged me to follow any path or dream I had even the one time I thought I could become a soap mogul. Don’t ask. It didn’t end well. =)

He always takes my copies of my paperbacks and shrink wraps them to make sure they don’t get damaged. He’s so cute. He plans to have a special bookshelf just for my books.

And I think my heart grew three sizes. lol

It’s the little things that always remind me how much I love and appreciate my husband.

Like how he leaves love letters in random spots in my notebooks…address to Puff from GubGub. (Don’t ask.)

We do romance in our own way, but it’s remarkable and special because of it.

 

Once Upon an Indie.

Indie, Hybrid, Traditional.

Sounds more like different types of cars, not authors.

After I finished writing my first full novel, Ivy (a paranormal romance) in 2013, I had no idea what to do next. Submit it to agents? Try to publish it myself? Look for one of the many small publishing companies out there? It was overwhelming.

REALLY overwhelming.

I’d heard a lot of nightmare stories from indie authors about how they’d been royally screwed over by editors, cover artists, publishers, agents.  On the flipside, I’d also heard amazing stories about brilliant companies to work with.

It was hard to know what the right route for me was.

Traditional publishing ended up not being for me. It didn’t feel right. I was already so far outside of my comfort zone with trying to get publishing, I decided not to make it harder on myself.

And to me, that’s the most important part of the journey.

Find what works for you.

It’s your writing path–no one else’s.

As a general rule, I don’t believe in giving author advice. Advice on writing is always best taking with a grain of salt because everyone has their opinions.

And those opinions will quite frequently conflict with another author’s advice.

There are two things I think every indie/hybrid author should know: 1. professional covers are essential. 2. research your editor before hiring them.

I’ve heard so many nightmare stories about authors getting taken by disreputable editors when a little bit of research could’ve saved them a lot of hassle and money. Ask around. Talk to other authors whose work is well edited.

When I started looking around for an editor, I looked at a couple different companies before discovering someone I already knew had started an editing company–Hot Tree Editing. They were brilliant. Worked with me…and were understanding when I didn’t always get things and had questions. (Fun #actuallyautistic fact: I struggle with instructions A LOT.)

It was a no-brainer for me to submit After the Scrum when Becky decided to start Hot Tree Publishing to them. I trusted Hot Tree. And…dealing with everything as an indie was so stressful. Traditional publishing didn’t feel like my path, but the more hybrid route fit me perfectly, mostly because of the incredible women who support me and my writing.

I suppose this long rambling post is mostly to say–write your own way and publish in a way that works for you.

And avoid comparing your path to others.

What about you?

Are you an indie, hybrid, or traditionally published author?