It has been well over a year since I’ve been on this blog. I honestly did not think I was going to come back to it, not because I grew bored of it but because having a career is more time-consuming than school ever was. However, my book’s recent ranking (When Stars Die), the best it’s ever been (yeah, it’s free, but only because of the second book) was the kick in the pants I needed to get back to planning the third book–plus, this blog is still receiving views, so I’d be stupid to keep ignoring it.
Another reason why I wanted to drop my author platform entirely is because I also have a fitness platform. If you’re interested, you can find it here. I hadn’t the slightest clue how I was supposed to juggle both, but now I’ve accepted that this blog is enough and that I’ll simply pay for promotions so that way I’m not spending unnecessary time on social media trying to get my book noticed.
At this stage in my life, it’s just not feasible to devote even a slight ounce of my energy to social media. This blog will do just fine. I’m working almost 30 hours a week training clients and creating programs at my gym, like nutrition coaching; I’m back in school with the hope of getting into a physical therapy assistant program (so I’m actually devoting a lot of time to studying); doing continuing education for personal trainers; and trying to find time to do mindless activities, like watching anime.
I’m at a point in my life where sleeping in is a delicious luxury and sometimes waking up at 3:30 AM is slightly obscene but not nerve-wracking. I wouldn’t change things at all, but I’ll detail my journey later because it’s a good story of perseverance, and this blog has never been strictly about my books or even writing anyway.
The plan is to blog twice a week though I haven’t decided what days I’d like to do just yet. Expect two next week though.
I might be blogging every day. Since this blog is about mental illness and the GSM community, I figure all of my posts will fit with mental illness.
I don’t have the heart to work on content edits for The Stars Are Infinite. I don’t know why. The only reason I was able to even finish TSAI during a depressive episode last year is because geography was the most boring class I’ve ever taken, and I would have rather been doing anything else than stewing in my depressive thoughts. But TSAI just doesn’t resonate with what I’m feeling right now. Yes it’s a dark book. Yes one of the characters does struggle with an undiagnosed mental illness. However, that character is not my POV character. My POV character doesn’t struggle with mental illness. She fights against dark thoughts. She’s a fighter in general with a strong sense of justice. I can’t relate to that right now.
I can’t feel bad about not doing content edits. After all, Libba Bray often misses deadlines because of her depression, yet she still has her literary agent and still gets published. She struggles with writing because of her depression. She can’t seem to get things right because of her depression. I just hope that those who have read When Stars Die know these things about me. I hope they’ll forgive me for the publication of the sequel having to be delayed. I feel like the best thing for me to do is to start revisions on The Glorious In-Between, as a lot of the content in the book resonates with me. I feel like I’ll be able to do well with the revisions due to my current feelings.
Even so, it sucks that I feel like I have this inability to work on TSAI. I wanted the book to come out at the end of this year, but I have no clue how possible that is. I can’t say it’s impossible to work on TSAI; it’s just hard. Maybe I can try tomorrow. Maybe all I need is encouragement from someone, from somewhere. Maybe all I need is someone to tell me that I can do it. I have all the edits I need to make before me, all the comments to guide me in making this book better. I just have to do them. That’s all.
It’s so, so, so difficult though, when all I want to do is stay in the comfort of my bed and do things that require nothing from my mind.
Robin Williams’ death allowed me to write the ending to The Glorious In-Between. I desperately needed those feelings in order to understand how my character is supposed to feel at the end–as it pertains to who she is, of course. Even though I’ve struggled with depression on and off for two years, it’s not always easy to grab on to those feelings during stable moments.
Writing in this blog is comforting for me. I have people on Tumblr encouraging me to get well. I’m still writing posts that will help them. I’m still writing promotional posts on Tumblr every so often. I’m building my Twitter platform by finding the right people. I’m still trying to build my e-mail list. Those things don’t take as much energy as writing does, even though for many authors it does.
I want to work on The Glorious In-Between. My depressive feelings are right for it. I hope Mariah Wilson reads this so that way I know what I should do. I don’t know what the right thing to do is as far as my writing concerns. TSAI is supposed to be my priority. I know this. I’m on page 167 out of 365, and all of that occurred within 3.5 days. Perhaps I should get back to it, but the last five chapters really took brain power to edit. I have a feeling content edits are going to get more difficult.
Is there anyone who can guide me in the right direction?
Let me preface this by saying this is not a departure from my blog. Oh, certainly not. I am still trying to figure out how to build a following without busting my butt off by commenting on a million other blogs, friending those blogs, with the hopes that they follow me back, even though I understand they have no obligation to do so. I shouldn’t have to do that to build a following, because many successful blogs don’t have to. Having a lot of followers means nothing if I’m not having any interaction. But that is neither here nor there.
I call myself The Dancing Writer for a reason, and I think it’s time to talk about ballet, which I don’t do often enough to keep up with the title of The Dancing Writer. I’ve complained about it a little on Facebook and Twitter, if any of you have seen, which, I’ll take the blame for, was very unprofessional of me, but in the heat of the moment, you tend to do things you wouldn’t normally do, and lashing out is one of my faults. I rarely get angry, but when I do, I go from 0-180, which usually ends up in crying that lasts for a few hours. I do get upset, but that upset rarely leads to anger. In this case, I was immediately angry and was considering switching schools the moment I found my name.
To remain as sensitive as possible about the topic, I am not going to bash my previous school. It was a very good school. It was very fun. The teachers were great. I made some good friends there, and I have many positive memories. Being able to participate in The Roar of Love (2013) was one such fond memory I had. However, it is a recreational school, one that places priorities on company members over non-company members, which I don’t think is fair, as not every dancer there can afford the time nor money to be a company member, but it’s probably how the school earns its money to stay afloat–through sponsors and what not. And that school deserves to stay open because it has won many awards for a reason. But it might have been the wrong school for me all along, and I didn’t realize that until this year. I was blind because I started out with private lessons there with a wonderful woman named Rebecca, who made me want to start taking classes there. She was the only reason I did. She’s gone now, but I persisted in spite of her absence, because I was already used to the atmosphere and greatly adored the girls.
I never considered myself a role model to them. I didn’t sign up to be a role model. I signed up to dance. I think once I established myself as equals to them, and took them on as friends, that role model idea went out the window. And I wanted to be equal to them. I didn’t want any special treatment for being the only adult consistently taking classes and being serious about the art form. I also didn’t want the pressure of being a role model put on me. Sure, I could dish out advice to them with situations I’ve been in when I was their age, but really being able to talk to these girls and getting to know them made me realize that it’s possible to be 23 and still be able to relate to girls who are in their late or early teens. I had one who was pretty much a younger sister to me, because she did look up to me and sought me out for advice. However, she left for pretty much the same reason I did, which I will mention soon, and I miss her terribly. Otherwise, the other girls were my friends. Plain and simple. I interacted with them the way I interacted with my friends my age (albeit, I toned down the jokes and language), but I still acted plain silly with them, just as I would with friends of my age–even ones much older than I.
Even so, this year’s casting made me realize I wasn’t going to get any better, not just in casting, but in terms of skill. I have improved as a dancer, but I attribute that largely to the performance experience I had in Roar because it better taught me how to memorize longer combinations without stopping in the middle of one to remember what the next move was. However, without that performance experience, I don’t think I would have gained that betterment in my dance skills. The roles weren’t complicated, but they developed the memorization part of my brain, which I didn’t have when starting the school. They also developed that part of my brain where I didn’t need to think about what move came next. The moves were already in my muscles, so there was no need to think about them. I just did them.
Now it’s time to get down to the part that broke my heart. Last year I did not expect to be cast into Roar at all because of my status as an adult, and I was okay with that. I had no reason to expect it, so I had no expectations. However, when I received casting and decided to peruse it out of curiosity to see who received what role, I was surprised to find my name on there four times in three different roles: Flower Fairy, Spring Maiden, and Wind–2 casts. Because of last year’s casting in Roar, I felt this year I had every right to expect I was going to be in Roar–otherwise, it would have been plain cruel to not cast me. I was really banking on getting more challenging roles this year that would better me as a dancer. I could come away and say, ‘Yep! I did that role. I was able to do it, and now I’m confident I can improve as a dancer.’ That didn’t happen at all. I put so much hope and heart into casting and was on pins and needles, as was every girl at the school, about the casting. Ballet is as much of a passion as writing is, even though I have no plans to go pro.
When the cast list appeared in my Gmail, my heart jumped in my chest. However, when I perused the list for my name, I saw it only once. In cast two, as Spring Maiden, which I did last year. At the time the role was slightly challenging because it was probably a 4-5 minute piece and I hadn’t fully memorized it until the last two rehearsals, but I expected something more and didn’t get it.
At first I was angry, because I realized less-experienced girls, both on and off pointe, were getting the roles people at my level usually receive–so I wasn’t the only one upset about casting. All the girls at my level had been shortchanged (except for one), for one reason or another. But I won’t go into detail about that. All I can say is that the school probably depends a lot on sponsorships, and in order to keep those sponsors happy, they have to ensure that their children are happy at the school, lest they lose their sponsors, which are often the ones most active in the school. Casting is a HUGE deal at that school, as these girls are in 4 performances a year, and if they’re losing dancers because of casting, they could lose sponsors as well. So it’s no surprise; however, it’s very upsetting for someone such as me, who devoted two years to the school, was always able to afford tuition, who mostly attended dance classes regularly, and was very serious while in class. I especially worked hard this year, not only for myself, but to ensure I would receive a good role in Roar that would make me into a much better dancer, as I believe the girls are as good as they are because of the performances.
Some tried to persuade me not to quit, as there was always next year, but, not only did I know I was never going to get anything better, I also knew I didn’t want to stick around for another year to wind up in disappointment–again. I take ballet seriously, and I want to have fun with it, so I knew the passion for that school died when the casting came out.
I am not perfect, I still slightly struggle, but I have taken the highest level there, and I was surprised with my ability to keep up. I think I should have been struggling, but I didn’t. Even boys they pulled from an art school because they are in desperate need of boys, who had been with the school for not even two years and had never taken ballet prior to this school, were keeping up with the highest-level class. Granted, their technique isn’t strong, but they were able to keep up with the exercises. So I knew the challenge did not lie in the classes themselves, but in the performances.
So after realizing this, I had broken down in tears and could not be consoled for a few hours. I knew I was never going to get anything challenging beyond Spring Maiden, so to speak, because as the girls that move up in level and more join the company, I knew I was going to be slipped into whatever was left. Being in Roar is a privilege, and not a right, and I was made an exception when I was cast for Roar, but, even now that I have cooled off, I don’t think I should have been expected to be grateful to be cast at all, not when the prior year was better, especially considering I didn’t dance that much in the fall because of depression and hospitalizations. This year, I did dance more, so I was flummoxed. Even worse, I was not given a role en pointe, which would have deprived me of pointe work for three months. That is not a good thing for someone as serious as me who wants to improve.
As bittersweet as it is, I am moving on to another school, one that is a professional and not a performance-based one. At this school, if any of the girls are chosen to participate in The Nutcracker, rehearsal time is outside of class, and so does not eat up class time. Also, they only use certain girls–or boys–when they can’t fill all slots in their professional performance of The Nutcracker, so I won’t have to have any expectations. They also do demonstrations at the end of the year, but this is more for the parents. I don’t think I’d be allowed to be in one, but I wouldn’t be getting anything out of it anyway because I am the one who will be paying the school, so I know I am getting a good dance education and don’t need to prove it to anyone like the kids will have to for their parents. The point is that I can still participate in these demo rehearsals that are actual exercises done in class–not variations of ballet performances. This isn’t to say anything bad about my old school. This is just the reality. My old school may have never been a right fit for me from the beginning, but just because it isn’t a right fit for me, doesn’t mean it won’t be a right fit for someone else. In fact, many adults who really want to do ballet often retreat to the new school I’m going to so they can learn ballet in a more serious environment without being an exception to anything. My old school has an adult class, but it is purely recreational, purely for fun.
I am both nervous and excited. I am nervous because they have a set repertoire of exercises they do every day, so I’ll have some catching up to do. And I am excited because I know this school will help me bring out my full potential as a dancer. I probably should have gone there to begin with. After all, I did an intensive there. Even so, another reason I didn’t go to the school was because during that intensive, fibromyalgia really affected by legs horribly, and I attributed it to the intensity of the work, which is not found at my old school. However, I have learned that it is my ballet tights that aggravate my fibromyalgia, so I simply need to roll them up to my knees, and I am usually okay. I will also let the teacher know about my chronic pain condition. It has not really affected by ballet as of late, but I will be attending, twice a week, classes that are 2 1/2 hours long, so I do expect my fibro to pop up a little bit more. (Of course, my former rhume told me that without ballet, my fibro would be much worse, so you have to outweigh the benefits with the consequences. My fibro is really mild compared to a lot of cases, but I am also very limber.)
Hello, everyone! I am currently seeking out guest bloggers to blog over anything and everything that they want. Even if you have already been a guest blogger, you can guest blog again. I am not putting a limit on how many guest bloggers I want. It’s just that I have become so busy with When Stars Die stuff that I have even needed to promote Mariah Wilson from beta reader to assistant–well, she’s been an assistant for a while now, but she’s even more assistant-y now.
If you want to guest blog, either leave a comment (and I will get to you) or e-mail me at email@example.com.
Blogging everyday has been smooth sailing for me, but now it’s time for me to start evolving this blog so that every post I do is geared toward you guys as readers. This means that instead of blogging several times a day or even once everyday, I’m going to start blogging every other day in order to concentrate my efforts elsewhere–which I’m sure you guys obviously understand. I’m going to keep you updated too on what my posts are going to be about. For example, Friday’s post, which will be released in the afternoon, is going to be about My Writing Sin: Parents. While I love my own parents, I’m not wild about writing parents in general, so I usually find clever ways to ax parents from the picture.
When Stars Die is still in the works, so there isn’t a whole lot to update on this. But I will say with much excitement that it is getting a new cover makeover from the lovely Sarah at Sprinkles On Top Studios. I desperately wish I could give you guys even a smidgen of the design of this new cover, but I can say it will feature Amelia on the front. So that is in the works, and it will be wonderful and awesome and I am super, super excited for the finished product.
Also, I am working on something super cool that I will be giving away during a cover release party I plan to have whenever I get the okay from the publisher to release the cover of the book. It will actually be a mix between Stolentime and When Stars Die, but it’ll make perfect sense once you see what I’m giving away.
Last, here is a teaser from Stolentime. A little bit of background: This is from chapter one and Gene is undergoing some pretty severe psychosis, as well as struggling with suicidal ideation.
“Are you going to kill me? You should. I can’t hold on anymore.” I grab the deadbolt, trying to turn it with shaking hands while keeping my other hand against the door to muffle the sound. “I don’t know if I should be let out of here, you know? There’s no telling what I’ll do.” The deadbolt comes free. “But I don’t really care.”
The shadow doesn’t waver, and I laugh on the inside. “Of course you have nothing to say to this. You’re not real anyway.”
I undo the chain. My hands won’t stop shaking, even as one grips the knob, ready to turn. I look at the shadow one last time. His dagger is still by his side. He doesn’t intend to use it. He never intends to use it. No matter how much I wish he would, I can never wish hard enough for him to become so real that he can take me from my own mind.
No one can save me from this rotting brain.
As I open the door, the shadow vanishes into the darkness of the living room. The street stands wide and open for me, the summer night coaxing me outside. I put one foot outside and realize that I don’t have to turn back. I take another step. Both feet are outside.
I look behind me, into the house. Mom and Dad will miss me, I know. They’ll miss me a lot, but this isn’t about them. This is about me coming undone and knowing I can’t be fixed and tired of knowing I can’t be fixed but still being forced to get fixed anyway. You can’t glue a knickknack back together and expect it to be whole again when pieces are still missing.
I turn back to the street, and I see something, a tiny golden light that floats in the air at the end of the block. I’ll follow that, and wherever it takes me, I don’t care. I only care about getting out of my own mind.
I earned the Sunshine Award from Writer Block! Follow her blog! She offers fantastic writing advice, from creating stellar characters to creating stellar plots.
As with the previous award, I will choose three people at the end of this week.
Last, I wanted to let you guys all know that Shannon Thompson’s book, Minutes Before Sunset, is out! Buy it here. Paperback will be coming out shortly! You can also buy it for the Nook and most e-readers/e-reading apps.
Now that I’m back from a social media break, I really am curious about what you guys would be interested in seeing more of on this blog. We all blog for a reason, and we all read blog posts for a reason, and I would just love to know what you guys seriously want to see.
Here is some of what I have planned:
Posts about my book
I would love if you guys could add to the list, or give me some ideas for the things I already have listed. Would you guys like me to start doing videos? I have no idea what videos I could do, but I’d be willing to try. Would you guys like to see tips? You know, stuff like that.
It’s not easy blogging every day because one’s treasure chest of ideas must be limitless. Once my contract manager and I start diving into When Stars Die, I may not even be able to blog every day, but for now, I’d love to build up the content of my website for you to enjoy. In any case, I look forward to your suggestions in the comments below!
I don’t really like to spend blog time giving advice because advice can often be subjective, but I’ve noticed fellow bloggers out in the blogosphere struggling to receive more followers or struggling to receive quality followers who leave meaningful comments that allow a discussion to commence. Especially as writers it’s important we have quality followers because those are potential customers for our books. Here are some tips that might help:
1. Sell yourself first. I know I am more interested in you as a person than I am in your product, whatever that may be. I want to read about your life as it relates to your writing, or even just your writing in general. I am a very people person and just find people in general interesting. But you’ll attract more people to your blog with blog posts that aren’t trying to sell your product (and this includes excerpts of stories because we want to know the person’s life first before being interested in the story because it’s like, really, why should I stop and read your story on the internet when there are all these other blogs to read?).
2. Go to your audience. Don’t expect them to come to you. Your audience does want to know that you have a vested interest in them as people. They expect quality comments from you, intelligent discussion, as it were. Even if you tag all your posts and write hundreds of posts, that isn’t going to increase your following any more because people are going to wonder why they should care when you don’t take the time to care about them.
3. As stated above, when you engage in someone on their blog, make the comment about them, not you. Do not write the comment with the expectation that the person will follow back. Remember this person poured his/her heart into the post, and you want to acknowledge that with a strong comment that can start a good conversation.
4. Write strong posts yourself. Try to be original. I hate writerly advice posts. There are so many out there and it is all so subjective. I ignore those ones. My favorite writerly posts are from people who clearly love their craft and love to write about their struggles to publication, or their struggles with writing in general, or their triumphs, or even their experiences with the writing world. I love those kind.
5. Try to keep your posts short. If you’re going to make them longer than 500 words, start breaking them up with interesting pictures to re-claim your audience’s attention. Blogging is not article writing. Blogs are meant to be kept short and interesting.
6. Keep producing quality content and keep engaging your audience.
Hopefully some of these tips will help strengthen your blog so that you have awesome followers that you engage with and who engage with you. I know I appreciate all my followers!