Why I Don’t Feel Guilty About Not Writing

Why I Don’t Feel Guilty About Not Writing

BOOK UPDATE: I’m going to hold off on When Stars Die either until I feel comfortable during this summer term since it is supposed to be really difficult and where my cohort really hits the ground running, or right after when hopefully I will be completely, 100% comfortable with the physical therapy program. I just don’t want to add in trying to get a book ready for publication into the mix because I actually am having a very difficult time even re-outlining the third book. I have the time, but the problem is that I am so mentally drained that all I want to do is decompress and remove myself from anything stimulating. ADHD medication can only do so much, but I very much am neurodivergent when it comes to how often I need to decompress to prevent burnout and in turn succeed at my classes.

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Some writers believe you need to write a little bit every day, even if it’s just 100 words. Those writers neither understand that not everyone has the same 24 hours in a day nor do they understand that not everyone has the same mental faculties.

I wrote a whole novel last summer. I haven’t really written anything since, and I don’t feel bad for it. Do I miss it? Absolutely! I would love to get back to revisions on the novel I did last summer, but physical therapy school has to take priority. It’s a doctorate and as such demands an incredible amount of discipline and mental energy that no one who has ever done a doctorate will understand. Frankly, writing a novel cannot compare because with writing a novel, you are doing it because you want to, 100%. You might not like every part of the process, but you are doing it knowing you have all the time in the world. Earning a doctorate means taking a few classes you may not enjoy, doing assignments you may absolutely despise, enduring practicals that are emotionally taxing and intensely stressful because you can’t get anything less than a B, studying things you find mind-numbingly dull but are necessary to progress in your degree, prepping for back-to-back exams, and bearing the weight of knowing that as each term progresses, it only gets harder, and as such you don’t want to slip up and fail and have to redo a class, putting you behind–and then, of course, let’s not forget clinicals and the looming boards in order to be licensed as a physical therapist. Oh, you also don’t have all the time in the world because you’re only allowed to fail so many times before you’re kicked out. At least with writing a novel, you can mess up an infinite number of times.

The stress is just different.

I also have ADHD. That adds another layer of what I’m able to tolerate. People with ADHD don’t have as high of a stress threshold as those without, so decompressing is absolutely crucial for us. We burnout more easily than neurotypicals do.

When I am done with hours of studying, I am mentally drained. I don’t want to do anything that requires mental effort, which is why I play video games and watch TV in my spare time. That is how I decompress. I read books as well and have taken up painting again. Even my job is an escape because it doesn’t require much mental effort. However much I love writing, writing a novel is mentally taxing and requires mental effort I do not have and cannot force. I don’t care what that one author said about how if we only wrote when we wanted to, we never would. That, frankly, is absolute bullshit. When I outline the third novel of The Stars Trilogy, I want to be at my semi-best so that this outline is something I can actually work with. I’ve already outlined the novel once, after all, and I want to change it entirely. If I tried to outline after I just got done studying for pathophysiology, it would be half-hearted, rushed, and garbage, to be frank. I even had a hard time fitting in a workout I was so drained.

Perhaps once I get more comfortable with school in general, with the idea that I can pass all of my classes without failing, I can begin to compartmentalize my days more and squeeze in writing before my brain has lost all of its energy. For now, I am fine with the idea I may not pick up the proverbial pen again until I graduate.

Writing Goals for 2021

Writing Goals for 2021

This is not a New Year’s Resolution for writers. I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions for anything. These are simply things I hope to achieve by the end of this year, because I have dogged determination to be a writer/author despite being in physical therapy school. I pretty much could not balance a single thing, which is why WHEN STARS DIE has been on a bit of pause with my publisher. In any case, here are my plans:

  1. Have WHEN STARS DIE released. I don’t know how possible this is, not because I can’t manage it, but because I don’t know what the publishing schedule is like for this year for my publisher. Perhaps a more realistic goal would be to nail down a publication date. Once that’s nailed down, the true work begins, and I’ll have no choice but to get my writing chops in gear.
  2. Finish THE STARS ARE INFINITE copy edits. I lost a thumb drive over a year ago that contained the original, final manuscript from my last publisher. Thinking it’d be in my gmail, I started looking through everything mentioning TSAI, but unfortunately I could not find the final Word document manuscript that I sent off. However, I did find one containing copy edits, and I’ve been going through that and making the appropriate changes as well as changes that tighten the manuscript more, ones that did not exist in the published version. I’m actually almost done with this, so this is entirely feasible.
  3. Start re-outlining ALL STARS ALIGN. Originally Amelia from WHEN STARS DIE was going to be the main character for the final book in THE STARS TRILOGY, but I did write out an entire draft using her perspective, and she could not resonate with me the way she did the first time I introduced her in WSD. I felt her story had already been told, and that story is over with. There is nothing more to be said about her. In fact, her fixation is with her younger brother, Nathaniel, and it’s hard to create a story from that, even though I do give her a critical role that only she can play in ASA. Nathaniel, on the other hand, was introduced in WSD, played a major role in TSAI, and his perspective has not been told yet. The stakes are so much higher for him because of his love for Alice, the MC from TSAI. So I aim to re-do the outline with his perspective and change the story entirely. I hope by doing this, it’ll reinvigorate my passion for this trilogy.
  4. Start writing ALL STARS ALIGN. I hope to finish the outline before the year is out so that way I can get started on the first draft of ASA. After all, TSAI is ready for submission once WSD is out in the world again, so, if possible, I’d like to have ASA ready for the same once TSAI is back out in the world.

So what will I do after my trilogy? Well, I’ve already outlined the beginning of either a duology or trilogy that I hope my current publisher will be interested in later down the road. I have borrowed from the magical girl genre popularized in Japan (America does have its own magical girl genre, though it’s not explicitly called that). Obviously it’s going to have to make sense within the context of a novel because magical girl transformations only make sense in visual formats. I also have a contemporary LGBTQ+ novel that I started five years ago that I may try to seek an agent for–or just stick with the house I’m with. I’m not quite sure how I feel about traditional publishing anymore, but I’m sure I’ll figure something out once the time comes.