This week’s song is reserved for a certain couple in my Elder series you have met separately, but not as a couple, two people who have a special place in my heart and I cannot wait to share with you:

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So, as most my followers saw, I took last week off. Sort of. I really didn’t take the whole week off. I only took off two days. I may not have been updating, but I was definitely working and what I was working on was final checks for “I Accidentally Summoned A Demon”. This week is the week the book goes to the printer, gets approved, and then I’ll get mailed author proofs *cue panic*. For this final check of editing, I’ve enlisted the help of my honey who is reading the manuscript for the first time. He doesn’t read my writing, rarely ever has, but when I mentioned I wished I had one more pair of eyes to look at it and check for errors or typos before I sent it off, he volunteered and said he was glad I brought it up since he was trying to figure out how to ask if he could read it. You know, since it’s being freaking published and all, he decided it’s about time he reads it. A fun part I wasn’t expecting? He’s leaving hilarious annotations (it’s a copy I’ve written on as well, just paper not a book yet) and I intend to share those all with you over my newsletter and social media as soon as he’s done.

Now, I’ve been working on publishing and updating and social media marketing all at once, so why did I need a break all the sudden? Personal life can be a bitch, and so can burnout. I got a little burned out, and when life happened on top of that, it only made the pile feel insurmountable. Publishing is a lot of work in general, but self-publishing is killer. Trying to keep up with that, my day job, my life, and updating three books at once kind of reached an overload point. Knowing my tendencies toward depression, I took a step back before I fell into a black pit I couldn’t crawl out of. And it was nice. Not nearly as restful as I hoped since I still worked almost the whole time, but at least I only had the publishing part of things to worry about instead of all of it. That being said, change is coming for my updates. Which is why I wanted to discuss passion.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a little overly passionate about things. Blame the neurodiverse in me. My levels of passion border on obsession.

Okay, let’s be honest, I am obsessive. Very. Clinically diagnosed obsessive. Once I fall in love with something, I love it with my whole heart, and I love it forever. Writing was my first intense passion, and I imagine it will be my last someday. I’d call it a hyper-fixation but I think it’s a bit more than that, because I often hear my other neurodiverse friends say a hyper-fixation only lasts so long. Writing has been going strong in my life for over two decades now, which makes me think it’s definitely more than obsession, passion, or fixation. It’s part of me. It’s who I am. Ink runs more readily through my veins than blood does, and it always has.

No days go by that I don’t write something. I may not always physically put it in a notebook, or a word doc, but there’s always something. A quick note in my phone, or a scene I replay in my head a million times then save the song that went with it so I can recapture the moment inspiration hit. A lot of my writing happens in my head long before it ever hits a physical thing other people can read. Before fingers touch keys or pen touches paper, I’ve spent at least an hour just thinking about what’s going to happen. I go into that scene, feel the feelings my characters do, take in the surrounding they’re in until it feels like I’m actually there. Character development is one of my favorite parts of any book. For me, a setting can be terrible but if the character is real and raw, it doesn’t matter. The setting could not exist but as long as the character was someone worth investing in, nothing else mattered. Now, of course I love and appreciate a good setting and everything else that comes together to make an incredible book, but for me, characters have always held more importance than anything else in the story. I get to know my characters on a deep and personal level, and I don’t put them on paper until I feel I know them in and out. The rest falls in place after, but characters are key for me. This is why when people ask me for specific stories on side characters, all I can tell you is I’ll try. I say try because I won’t write something that’s not from the soul. It’s not authentic, and it won’t come out authentic.

I say all of that to put simply: I’m passionate about my work. Deeply, obsessively, possibly unhealthily, passionate about my writing. The only moments in my life I haven’t been passionate, or haven’t wanted to write, have only been times life has been incredibly overwhelming. When I reach a point at which a passion as deeply rooted as mine in writing is, that I no longer look forward to or it now feels like a chore, I know something’s not right. And when something’s not right, the quality and depth of my writing suffers.

Now, let’s talk a little about being neurodiverse. My brain and my body do not communicate well. They just don’t. They never have. What does that mean? Well it can mean relatively harmless things like not knowing when I need things. I mean simple things like the bathroom. 90% of the time, I don’t know I need the bathroom until I’m about to burst. And it’s the same as everything else. I don’t know I’m thirsty until I’m dehydrated, I don’t know I’m hungry until I’m lightheaded, and I don’t know I’m tired until my body essentially forces me to stop with a specific headache that says I’ve been going too long. It might sound silly to you, but to me it’s normal (albeit frustrating sometimes). To my honey, it’s normal. Unless I set an alarm to remind myself to do these basic necessities, there’s a high chance I won’t do any of them until honey reminds me (the “are you hungry?” “I don’t know” “Okay, well, I am, and that probably means you should be since the last time you ate was with me” conversation happens daily).

All this to say, I don’t know I’m burned out until I’m fucking burned out. I do have ways to deal with the lack of communication going on between my needs and my brain (a water bottle that lights up to tell me it’s time to take a drink, alarms to remind me it’s time to eat, etc) but they’re not always fool proof. In this case, my alarm to tell me I was burned out was when I sat down to write something I’d been excited to write and instead of it flowing, I aggressively did not want to do it and felt more like “ugh, no”. For me to feel that way about my favorite thing in the world? Yeah, that’s a red flag. So I started thinking about the millions of things I had going on just related to writing, not even anything else, and it’s kind of a lot. I love what I do, but it has gotten a lot more intensive adding publishing to the process. That and, honestly, personal life has been rough. I’m working through a lot, but that on top of an already big pile of stuff really snuffs out passion.

Passion is important for all art, at least for me it is. If I don’t feel passionate, my characters won’t. Their moments won’t be as real and raw, their struggles won’t be as relatable. A lack of passion isn’t a good breeding ground for art, so I took the week off (sort of) and found that even just after three days of only worrying about the publishing part was enough to get my spark back. The two days I actually did really take off and didn’t work at all, just hung out with my honey, cooked and gamed together, played with the dogs, those two days especially boosted my passion and creativity again. So much, my phone is overloaded with notes I’ve made for my upcoming books. Turns out passion only works out when it has air to breathe, so giving it air to breathe made a huge difference.

While I wish I could shell out content all the time, I can’t. It takes time, and it requires breaks for it to be real and quality. Because I’m passionate about my work, I don’t want it out there until it’s real and has quality. Sometimes, that means I need a little more time. And that’s okay, because I think that while we all want our favorite books, series, TV shows, movies, to be released right away because we just can’t wait, I think what’s more important is that what does come out is good. Would you rather have your favorite books turned into movie adaptations and they all came out in one year so you didn’t have to wait, but the fast timeline meant the quality sucked and didn’t do your favorite characters justice, or would you rather have a movie released once a year (ish) but it was a damn good movie and damn good adaptation? I’d personally rather wait, and so would my passion. I don’t want to write for you when it’s being forced out, I want it when it’ll be at its best and it’s only at its best when the passion is still there.

Sometimes breaks are important and necessary. I’m definitely guilty of never knowing when I need a break (thanks brain, thanks for not letting me know until I’ve reached a breaking point), but I think a lot of us are. Maybe not specifically to writing or art, but how many times have you just gone gone gone and didn’t stop until you were forced to? I’d wager those moments where you had to stop weren’t pleasant ones. Things just pile up more and more and then you wonder how the pile got so high, you know? I think all of us struggle to remember to take breaks even in simple daily things. So, if you’ve waited for a sign to tell you you need a break, I’m your sign. Take a break. Breathe. No matter how important what you’re doing is, what’s more important is your ability to continue on and you can’t if you burn yourself out. Be kind to yourself, listen to your needs, because no one will ever know what you need more than you do.

That being said, I’ve gotta go. I have some writing to do, book launch week plans (omg, guys, I have tons of ideas to make it a lot of fun and I can’t wait to share), some emailing with my publishing team, some last run throughs of the manuscript to check for errors (eeek, at this point, there’s been at least five pairs of eyes on it all trying to make absolute certain no errors slip through, so cross your fingers I’ve taken enough precautions 🤞). Before the end of this week, I will be submitting the final manuscript of IASAD for printing. Then, hopefully by no later than early November, I should have an actual copy in my hands.

Stand by for freak out (in a good way). Take care and be kind to yourselves, my loves

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