A Post-November Update (and ruminations on The Future, whatever that is)

Hello, friends!

It feels a bit odd to be back here, actually, writing another happy little post in the happy little WordPress editor (although I hear that might be getting updated to something slightly less happy before too long). As you might remember, I was intending to pretty much take all of November off in order to focus on National Novel Writing Month, a THING whereby one attempts to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

The good news is that I did indeed successfully write 50,000 words in 30 days! Huzzah!

So yes, I done gone and wrote a thang. It doesn’t have a title yet; I don’t fully know what’s going to happen, and I think I’m probably only about halfway through the story. Hopefully I will be able to continue writing it, and to finish it: 50K was tough but fun, and I feel very good about having done it, but I know what I’m like!

The interesting side-effect of writing is that my brain seems to be engaging different bits and getting all creative in ways it’s not done in a while, since I’d not written fiction in some time: I had a bunch of ideas for short stories and things over November, which I didn’t have time to write because I was working on the NaNo project! I’m hoping that I’ll now be able to maintain the momentum and… y’know, continue to write, until both this Untitled November Project and the Short Story Shenanigans are in fact written.

After that, I still need to do version three of the Story Currently Known as Stargirl But Which Will Probably Get A Different Title Pretty Soon.

As ever, if anybody would like to read anything I’ve written, hit me up any time and I’ll gladly share in return for comments as to how it can be made more betterer. I also love reading stuff that other people have written, so I’ll happily do the same for you if you’d like!

Now for the other November stuff. I said I’d been intending to do almost nothing other than NaNo over the month, and that was mostly the case, but in fact a couple of things did end up happening.

I managed to do a quick answer for the Later Levels Question of the Month, which was cool, and there were also a few things published which I’d written in advance but which it was still nice to see coming out over the course of the month: my two contributions to NekoJonez’s Tomb Raider: Writers’ Raid and my entry in Normal Happenings’ The Games That Define Us. Both were awesome to be a part of, genuinely, and I’m really glad that I signed up.

The other interesting thing that happened – and I actually did do this during November – is that I became a contributor for Obilisk Gaming, with my first piece on whether originality is dead being both written and published over the month. So that was also cool!

Now… some stuff.

So here’s the thing. My mental health, generally, is what you might describe as ‘a bit all over the place’. Like, all the time. Writing things helps with that, because I love writing, but… paradoxically, it can also make it worse, for reasons we’ll come to in a minute. Over November I’ve written half a novel and a post that got accepted for a gaming site which… may not be what you might call ‘one of the big ones’, at least not yet, but I still think that’s probably the most notable platform I’ve been published on. Writing those things was great for me, and felt like an accomplishment, but it also reminded me that I’m not a writer.

This is something that just gets in my head from time to time. When I was a kid I imagined that I’d be this amazing, published, award-winning novelist by the time I was about 18 or something. I kind of didn’t really accept that I was gonna have to have, y’know, regular jobs and stuff.

I do now have a regular job, and I actually rather like it most of the time, but I still think that I will probably feel that I’ve not achieved what I wanted to achieve in life until I am in fact making a living from being a writer, whether that’s fiction or in games media or something. Is that realistic? Is it ever going to happen? I’ve no idea. I don’t even know how I would begin to try to get published if I had something that I thought was ready to go, which I don’t.

Maybe this is good and will drive me to work hard, increasing the likelihood that I will actually end up living this dream of mine, but right now it feels as if I’m quite likely to be forever unhappy with whatever job I have (even if it’s a really cool one) because I just won’t be able to accept that it isn’t writing. I’m not sure this is healthy.

Anyway, that’s neither here nor there, but… well, if anyone does happen to know anything about how to get published and stuff, that’d be cool.

In the meantime, the future of this blog is something I’ve been thinking about too. See, I don’t really do reviews as such on here – my moonlighting over at The Well-Red Mage is my outlet for those. And now I’m a contributor to Obilisk, when I come up with ideas for articles that are actually interesting and insightful (which I think does sometimes happen on Overthinker Y, just rarely), they may have to be put towards Obilisk, rather than posted here, so that I can keep being active as part of that team. And with that and the fiction writing that I want to be doing a lot of, it’s kind of hard to think what Overthinker Y is going to be.

The answer, mercifully, is that I think it’ll just carry on being what it is. A mix of personal stuff, terrible jokes, contributions to community events, and the occasional semi-thoughtful ramble about Games And Stuff. Honestly, if it weren’t for the community here I’d probably just give this up entirely at this point, but I don’t think that would be doing myself any favours and it’s brought me into this world of a whole bunch of cool people that I’d really like to continue to be a part of. So… yeah, the plan is that this will stay as it is, perhaps a little less active but hopefully not too much.

Meanwhile, I’ll be doing my best to be OK with whatever life brings, but also trying to figure out how I can do everything I can to try to achieve that dream of being published and making a career from writing. Again, I’ve no idea whether that’s remotely realistic or whether it’s something that is going to be helpful or not to hang onto, but I think that’s the only way to be true to what I want, so there it is.

Final thing: you guys are all awesome and I love every one of you.

9 comments

  1. Mental health is a real pain in the neck, eh? Here you are accomplishing lots of good and awesome things and your brain isn’t having it. I get where you’re coming from and have been through a similar phase with Adventure Rules in the past. For me, the answer turned out to be the acceptance that blogging as a hobby fits perfectly with the way I like to write, so I’m cool with not pushing for those other things. But it sounds like you may need to take time to focus on fulfilling your dream of being paid to write! Whatever happens, you’ve got my support – I enjoyed your Obelisk article and look forward to reading more of your stuff regardless of where I have to go to find it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Somehow I thought you would understand!

    You know… I’m not sure what the answer is. I can think of two options and neither sounds any good:
    Either I accept that writing may never be more than a hobby, in which case I may well – though I know it would be pointless, self-damaging, and against the spirit of why I love it in the first place – just lose motivation to keep doing it.
    Or I keep trying to make something of it, in which case I’ll put more pressure on myself and probably become much more self-critical and anxious at the fear that I’ll have worked only to have failed. Not been good enough or just not got lucky.

    There’s the other thing: I can’t even claim to really know what a career would actually involve, but I imagine a lot of it’s just luck.

    Ughhgh. My brain will be less not OK about this tomorrow, I expect, but it’s something on my mind lately. I feel I need to make a decision about whether I try to pursue this career, and if so then I have a whole lot of stuff I need to figure out in order to get there.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. OH and I’m sorry, I just went on a moan. Thank you so much for always being supportive and a good friend. Whatever I continue to do in terms of writing, I’ll owe at least some of it to you and the rest of the community.

    Like

  4. You know what? (I’m just thinking to myself now. I do that.) It shouldn’t matter. I need to just keep writing all kinds of stuff I love, whether just for fun or whatever – if I’ve not written anything I sure as hell can’t get it published.

    So… whatever happens, I’m just gonna keep having a go at it. Nothing’s ever gonna come of it if I don’t!

    Like

  5. It’s tough. Definitely the sort of thing you want to take a step at a time, and give yourself a chance to sleep on it and work through the details slowly.

    I had a friend when I first started blogging who wrote an excellent article on her own perspective about achieving the goal of professional blogging. Her advice helped me a lot even though it led me effectively in the opposite direction of her (by which I mean NOT pursuing blogging as a career option). I’ll link the article here in case it might be helpful for you too:

    https://mosaicca.blog/2017/01/01/blogging-goals/

    If you ever need a sounding board for this stuff, feel free to reach out!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. (Apologies for the length of this comment in advance)

    I’m sorry to hear that you’re not doing so well at the moment. I hope you know that you have my support even if it doesn’t actually amount to much in a practical sense.

    Everything you’ve said here makes complete sense – your struggle with this is logical. I think that these things can (frustratingly) take a long time and deciding to go down one route or the other doesn’t mean you can’t change your mind later on. I know that isn’t really of any use to you now, but I just mean that you won’t ever necessarily be closing the door on your future options or your dream whichever way you go.

    You mentioned that you’ve had ideas for short stories whilst you’ve been Nano-ing, and I wondered if you’ve ever submitted short stories to literary journals/magazines? I know a couple of people who have done this and whilst you won’t earn a living from it, it is a way in – it builds your portfolio and is achievable in a shorter amount of time compared to submitting a novel.

    Anyway, I should stop trying to give advice on things I don’t know much about! As you’ve said, you put out a lot of really great writing in November. You’re not making a living from it but every single article you write and every single site you get published on is an achievement and it is experience and it builds your credentials as a writer, whether that is a hobbyist writer or a professional one.

    I hope whatever happens that you find a solution that makes you happy and that you continue to love writing whatever form it may take because you are damn good at it x

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks, friend ❤
    Y'know, I already tell myself all the positive stuff you've said here – sometimes it's just a case of believing it more when it comes from someone else! I guess that's the whole thing about mental health and brains doing weird stuff, though: even if you know what makes sense, you sometimes just quite can't… believe it, or feel better about it or whatever.

    Whatever ends up happening, being part of this cool little thing with a bunch of awesome people (yourself included, naturally) has made me happy and will, I hope, continue to do so! So I think I'll be doing my best to count that as a win, no matter what else goes on or doesn't go on.

    Much love!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hey Chris, just read your piece on Originality and thought it was amazing. Mental health is such a tricky issue especially with how intangible it is. What you said about not being a “writer” really stuck with me and I definitely get that a lot. But one of the things I try to remember is that Leonardo DaVinci often didn’t consider himself to be a painter and would sometimes omit that fact when looking for patrons

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks, friend! Since writing this I’ve now got a big plan of what I want to write over 2019 and broken it down into chunks of which projects to work on and how many words each week and all that sort of stuff. Sometimes I have wobbly days where I struggle to work out how it can all be ‘worth it’, but at the moment I think I love it and just doing it is worth it for purely that!

    Liked by 1 person

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