Well, I say that, but June is going to be a hellish month for me, so maybe that’s just faux positivity on my part. I’ve got two back-to-back conventions—in fact, when this blog posts I’ll be at Colossalcon in Sandusky—and the chances of me getting much rest until they’re over with is… very low. Very, very, very low. Because of that I’ve got some announcements to make that will impact my posting schedule for at least June, maybe even into July. Let’s talk about it and get down to the nitty gritty, shall we?
So. Back-to-back conventions. It’s going to be a lot, but I hope I’ll be able to see at least some of you between Colossalcon and Jafax. If not, then maybe I’ll see you at Indy PopCon in August as that’s the latest convention I’ve gotten into. Check out my Events tab for more information on that and keep an eye out for information on Youmacon as well. The application process is underway for that and I’m hopeful I’ll know whether or not I got in before we hit July. If I don’t make it through the jury, never fear. I do intend on bringing my stuff regardless in order to try snagging a table at the convention itself. Cross your fingers either way!
The first chapter of Aubade has dropped on Patreon. This is our new serialized novel over there and it’s got some beautiful artwork accompanying it. Check it out if you haven’t yet! I’m really excited to begin showing off this story and I think it’ll be a very good experience for everyone involved. Unfortunately, it’ll be a bit of a wait until chapter two comes. I’m sorry about that even as I get ahead of myself on why that is. Just… yeah. Sorry. I know I shouldn’t even feel this bad about something like this, but I’ve got to say it anyway.
Now, onto the topic of this blog post: burn out.
Yep, you heard me. I said above that I had announcements that will impact my posting schedule, and that was me burying the lede, more or less. I’m burnt out. I hate saying it. I hate typing it. I hate reading it as I look at this paragraph, but hating it doesn’t help make it any less true. To be honest, even writing this blog post is taking something from me beyond what I feel capable of giving right now, but I’d be doing everyone a disservice if I didn’t explain myself a little before pulling the plug on a lot of projects for the sake of preserving my sanity.
For obvious reasons, this blog post will be short this month. Next month’s post may be short as well, if I wind up doing a blog for July at all. I… really don’t know what the future looks like just yet. But again, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me try to explain what’s happening and why.
I’ve been working at a pace that a lot of people close to me have called unsustainable for a while now. I do not take vacations. I rarely take weekends off. I have a pretty unhealthy relationship to my work and a work ethic that doesn’t do me many favors in the long term. Sure, I have output, but there’s a cost to that, and I think I’ve finally hit the wall that forces me to acknowledge that I can’t keep going like this. I’m not just tired physically, but mentally and creatively as well. I’ve noticed a dip in my quality that I really can’t stomach seeing.
This isn’t writer’s block. I know what writer’s block feels like, and this isn’t that. I don’t know how to explain it to people who aren’t in my head and aware of how I create. When I look at a blank page I can see the words I want to write appear behind my eyes. There’s… an internal monologue, of a sort, that pulls the words from my brain and deposits them onto the page. It sounds the same as my normal thoughts, so please try to imagine how… disquieting it feels for me when I look at a page nowadays and hear nothing. I see nothing. The voice that’s been with me for over a decade has gone silent and trying to write without that feels… empty.
Like I’m tapped out. Depleted. Wrung dry.
I’ve seen this coming for a while. I’ve just been determined to ignore it. For a time, I managed to keep it at bay by finding external inspiration that jump-started me over any humps, but that doesn’t seem to be working now. Even if I could keep that up, it’s not sustainable, not consistent, and it gets painful to force things that don’t come naturally to me these days. I’m tired of forcing it. I think I’ve been tired of forcing things for a very long time now.
So… all of that is to say that I’m pausing my Patreon starting today, May 31st. Current patrons shouldn’t be charged going into June—shouldn’t. I’ve never done this before, but I think it shouldn’t. If it does… I’ll figure out something to make up for that.
I’m sorry to hit pause right as a new story has begun serializing and when so many other things are so close to completion, but I’ve been scraping the bottom of a barrel to the point that I no longer bring up anything of substance. All I’m doing is thinning the bottom of the barrel, and something had to give. I don’t know how long I’ll be going on hiatus. My desire is to give myself a month to decompress and refill my creativity wells, but given this has been building up for years, I don’t know if that’s long enough to fix what’s going on in my brain.
Please don’t think that this is me quitting writing or anything like that. I’m not. I have far too many stories left to tell to throw in the towel now. This is just a break from the monthly requirements that have been taxing me the most lately and preventing me from having breathing space to experience things that might give me the inspiration I’ve been lacking for a while now. I will definitely be back before October—we are doing this Novella Event, no matter what—but beyond that… I can’t say anything definitive.
So… Yeah. I’m sorry this is kind of sucky news. It sucks for me, too, and it took me a lot of restless nights to come to terms with the fact that this needs to happen before I do myself more damage than I’ve already done by trying to force water from a spring that’s already run dry.
I hope that you’ll bear with me as I work towards resting and reconnecting with the old muses and what not. I honestly don’t intend to stop working completely while I’m gone—I’m going to probably switch focus to editing my backlog of drafts—so publications at large won’t be impacted by this break. I may even do some fanfiction writing again if I feel the urge. If that happens, I’ll be pretty happy. If it doesn’t, then I’ll just save my energy and rest up for when I’m better.
I don’t have any author questions for this month. It felt kinda pointless to ask for them this time when I knew this was how the blog was going to go. If I could ask you guys something in turn, though, it’d be to take the time to leave a nice review on amazon/goodreads if you haven’t yet. I’m going to have to make up some of the money I’d normally get via Patreon while I’m on hiatus, and reviews are the best way to boost book sales short of you Bigolas Dickolas-ing them (seriously, how was that a thing XD). I do try to read the reviews and comments and such when I’m feeling up to it.
Knowing people care about what I’m doing always makes these struggles feel more meaningful. While I write because I’ve got a story I want to tell, I also write because I want to make others happy. It can be like writing into the void a lot of the time. Getting feedback or praise is difficult when social media is a largely consumption-based experience, but knowing that I’ve actually created something that’s resonated with another human being… That’s a large reason why I do it at all.
So, consider sending a kind word my way—hell, towards any writer or artist you love. This is a universal experience and not just limited to me.
Thanks for understanding, and thanks for enough of you sticking with me long enough that I needed to make a public announcement about something like this to begin with. I’m going to come back stronger after this, far more feral, and determined to write things that will blow your dicks clean off. That’s a promise.
Until next time,