Cleaning house

I had a little flare-up last week.

For anyone who doesn’t know, I get occasional bouts of depression. Sometimes they’re cyclical 🦈 sometimes they’re seasonal 🥶 sometimes they hit when I’m sick 🤧 and sometimes they just hit.

It’s fine, I’ve had it for years (possibly long before I got a proper diagnosis) and know how to manage it. I’ve been on and off meds, I mind my nutrition and activity levels. Depression never goes away completely—it’s more like a radio that plays softly in the background most of the time, but sometimes goes all the way up to eleven. But I’ve learned to use the ups and downs as part of my guidance system.

I think I’ve been off for a while, though. Maybe for a few weeks… or more? I hit a huge low over the weekend.

To be honest, I would have just put it down to plain old busy-ness and thought nothing of it, but what tipped me off was receiving an email I’d been waiting on for months. When it came in, instead of being excited, I felt nervous, scared and instantly drained.

That’s not right at all.

So, I looked at other areas of my life—sports, gym, martial arts, language learning, blogging, texting (yeah, look, I love this, okay?), going out and seeing my friends. I’d been flagging on all of them, and yet I’m actually quite passionate about them. I mean, yes, I’m categorically an introvert and do withdraw from time to time, but not like this.

Sarah Smith’s article on taking pride in her work as a romance author really spoke to me. It’s what prompted me most recently to look at my approach to well, everything. With Marie Kondo all the rage right now, I’ve also been reminiscing about how KonMari changed my life back in 2015. Cleaning house forced me to let go of things that were bogging me down, got me out of a career I’d fallen out of love with, and got me back into writing.

There’s a lot to be said for tidying up—in a physical sense as well as in a scheduling/mental/psychological way. It could be that it eliminates the impact of physical clutter on our ability to focus (even though mess can stimulate creativity). But with more abstract stuff like writing projects and social media feeds, maybe it’s reducing the ‘attention residue’ that subtracts from our cognitive capacity.

I don’t know how I lost focus so badly. It may even have started last year. Maybe I felt the pressure to publish and started hoarding projects. Maybe 2018’s sudden random stress points (death & illness in the family, impromptu travel, getting sick from travelling) got me all razzed up and I acted on impulse to my own detriment, slowly and insidiously.

Wanna know how bad it got? My head’s been so full and fuzzy that I didn’t catch how dubcon one of my scenes was until after it went out to beta. I mean, I was aware there’d be implications if the context wasn’t written properly, but I thought I had it covered. Nope! In the universe of awkward, writing accidental dubcon into a redemption story is turtles all the way down.

On a sunny Saturday in a quiet Leederville café, I sipped strawberry tea and took stock. Somehow, I’d managed to accumulate seven writing projects on my radar:

  • The Dragon’s Den
  • Sunset on a Distant World
  • A Touch of Holly (working title)
  • Tropical Nights (working title)
  • April Showers (working title)
  • The Trip (working title)
  • Under the Boab (working title)

So, uh… yeah nah. Even if I was the kind of author to hire ghostwriters, this would be way too much to manage. Plus now that It Starts With A Kiss is going into edit with Kyanite, imma have my hands busy with that manuscript too. Then there’s my overstuffed inbox full of new subscriptions, old notifications, and the personal emails I really look forward to but take ages to reply to because I feel so overwhelmed by input. Agh!!

I’m cleaning house.

Over the weekend, I cut right back on my current projects. Camp NaNoWriMo starts in April and my book launches in September. I’m all The Dragon’s Den and It Starts With A Kiss for the foreseeable future.

This site has also had a makeover—something that’s been ticking away in the back of my mind for a while. Done and dusted now. I hope you like it!

This morning, I’m sorting out my inbox over a spot of tea and breakfast. Then I’m going to sit in the park for a bit and think about writing.

Have a lovely day, everyone. If you’re in need of a fresh start, may this week present you with an opportunity to get one. Take care. x

4 thoughts on “Cleaning house

  1. JL, thank you for sharing this. I’m SO sorry you’ve been having a rough go of things, but honestly? It sounds like you’re kicking ass right now. Well f*cking done, you badass goddess you! Setbacks, obstacles, hiccups, whatever you want to call them, never ever stop coming. But that’s okay. As long as you keep trying, keep plugging away–keep writing–you’ll always come out on top.

    A few things:

    1. I absolutely cannot wait for your book to come out. You will absolutely slay edits, I have zero doubt.
    Also, I love that you love texting! So do I and I’m SO happy to find someone who considers this a worthy hobby too 🙂

    2. Thank you for mentioning my article. You have no idea what it means to know that anything I wrote caught your attention. Seriously. My heart is bursting right now

    3. Thank the good lord for that period of reflection that compelled you to pick up writing again. Because I can’t imagine a world without your poetic, life-changing books and stories

    4. I wrote a scene in an early version of FAKER that read like domestic violence. I had no idea it even came off that way until it was pointed out to me by my agent of all people. I don’t mention that to compare or one-up or anything like that, but to say that I think sometimes stuff plays out differently in our heads. Sometimes you have to write it down and show it to someone else to see if it works. And if it doesn’t work, that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with us. It just shows the importance of beta reading and feedback. It’s all part of the writing process.

    5. OMFG that wombat riding a turtle gif is the most damn adorable thing I’ve ever seen. Thank you for sharing it!

    6. You freaking rock. Seriously. Can’t wait for more of your words ❤


    1. Thank you so much, Sarah 💖💖💖 I laughed out loud at #4. That’s amazing hahaha!! You’re so right, but omg that cringe feeling… There’s nothing like it (except drunk texting the wrong person late at night). And please don’t ever feel like you’re being one-uppy. I love comparing notes. Thank you for reading and commenting, hon. Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

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