Deadline Burnout

An interesting thing happened along my journey to publishing SIGNS OF ATTRACTION: I burnt myself out. More specifically: I chased deadlines for six months straight. Most self-imposed while waiting for my actual deadlines to come in. I could call this writer burnout or first book burnout. Instead, this is deadline burnout.

I’m the type of person who likes to arrive early, and that’s how I handled my deadlines. I’m also the type of person who prefers to finish one project before jumping to the next. This is the crux of my mistake.

A querying writer is in control of his or her timing and destiny. Deadlines are self-imposed and can be broken with limited consequences. This was what I was used to. So when my editor told me I’d have edits coming “soon” and I was in the middle of drafting a new shiny, I panicked. I rushed forward, pushing out the draft so that I’d be ready in time.

Then I sat there, twiddled my thumbs, and…picked up something else to work on while I waited. Something else that I felt the need to rush through so I wouldn’t have to put it down unfinished.

Let me spoil a secret: there will be interruptions, there will be the need to step aside from something in the middle of drafting or editing, this is life in writer land. This is what I hadn’t learned six months ago.

This is what I paid for.

Add in my personal life, assisting with contests, and having lovely CP novels to read, and I’m still not sure where my head’s at. I hit a wall at one point and did absolutely nothing for my own writing. I read a few books, worked on my CP stuff, and read a few more books.

Then, my new shiny started whispering to me. New characters requesting I tell their story. I know this shiny will be picked up and put down many times throughout its creation. But I also know there is nothing better than being in the middle of creating a story.

Burnout or not, I’m a writer. I’ve learned my lesson and I’ll do things differently next time. Namely, the only deadline I’ll adhere to are the ones that aren’t mine. Mine are made to be broken.

Why We Write

This past week has been amazing, with SIGNS OF ATTRACTION releasing. I want to take a moment to thank all of you who purchased a copy, left a review, shared the release, or just jumped up and down with me. You’ve made this a truly wonderful experience.

But all those high moments can’t last long. Soon everything begins to settle down. And I had a moment. Where people were reading my book. Where readers were enjoying MY book. And the very first thing to come to mind?

I want to do this again.

I want to create something as powerful as SIGNS OF ATTRACTION is. I want to keep writing, I want to keep sharing. Yes, it would be wonderful to support myself and my family through my writing career.

But writing is about writing. It’s about having these characters, these stories, and creating them. It’s about words and emotions on the page.

That’s what I want to keep doing. And I have been, but it’s been a long six months. I’m not going to lie, I burnt myself out a bit (more on that later). But now I’m fired up. Now I’m ready to dive back in. After months of a general stressed out “blah” feeling, it’s wonderful to have this drive, this energy, to do more.

First, a well deserved break. And with any luck these new characters will stop talking just long enough for me to completely recharge. Because I’ve got plans for them, and they may be talking now, but they won’t like me very much in a few weeks.

Release Week for SIGNS OF ATTRACTION!

I can’t believe release week is here! Hard to image that a year ago I had no clue this was coming my way. Writing can be a draining career at times. It’s filled with lows and highs and stress. But it’s also filled with amazing moments.

Like this week.

I’ve been asked what this experience has been liked for me, and the only way to explain it properly is with gifs.

It’s a lot of this:

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With spurts of this:

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Then right back to this:

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And mostly, this:

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All those crazy emotions have been more than worth it, resulting in this swoon worthy cover:

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Many of you have held my hand and cheered me on. Writing may be a solo activity, but it’s strengthened and cherished from the community. To thank you all for your support, here’s a little preview:

 

The minute the professor opened his mouth, I knew it would be a long semester. The muffled sound struck a vein deep inside my skull, vibrating tension destined to trigger one of my frequent headaches. I slid my hand under my long brown hair, scratched my cheek as a decoy, and then ran my finger over the microphone of one hearing aid. Static rang loud and clear, confirming my suspicions. My hearing aids were fine.

The professor was the problem.

His booming voice ricocheted an accent off the walls of the small classroom. An accent I identified as . . . not from around here. Dr. Ashen’s bushy mustache covered his top lip. Students shifted. Pages turned. Pens moved.

I flicked my pen against a random page of my thick book. Words spilled from his bottom lip, and I couldn’t understand one fucking sound. Survival skill 101 of having a hearing loss: blend in. I’d grown skilled at blending, almost mastering the task of invisibility. No cloak required. Take that, Harry Potter.

I always, always, always heard my teachers. Until now.

Big Fuck-Off Mustache + My Ears = Not Happening.

Dr. Ashen glared my way. He tapped his textbook and went right on speaking.

I couldn’t see his book; tapping it didn’t help. Moron. I rolled my eyes and landed on my neighbor’s book. I scanned the words, hoping something, anything, would match. Nothing did. What a waste of a class. I shoved my book and slouched in my seat. No way could I keep up. No chance in hell.

With a sigh, I focused on two women standing by the dry-erase board, both dressed in black, heads close as they chatted. They looked much too old to be students, but considering this was an undergrad/grad class, anything was possible. Perhaps they were assistants to Dr. Ashen. They looked to be following him about as much as I was, but that didn’t mean they weren’t his assistants. They could’ve heard his spiel one too many times before. I wished I’d heard him at least once.

One of the women wore the coolest glasses with tiny gemstones in the corners. If I ever needed glasses, I wanted those. Chic Glasses Lady glanced at the clock and said something to the other, who had long brown hair in perfect ringlets. If my hair had curls . . . I shouldn’t be shopping for fashion styles in my linguistics class. They moved to get their bags as the door opened.

You know those corny movies where the love interest walks in and a halo of light flashes behind ? Yeah, that happened. Not because this guy was hot, which he was, but because the faulty hall light had been flickering since before I walked into the room. His chestnut hair—the kind that flopped over his forehead and covered his strong jaw in two to three weeks’ worth of growth—complemented his rich brown eyes and dark olive skin, which was either a tan or damn good genetics.

Not that I paid much attention. I was just bored.

And warm. Was it warm in here? I repositioned my hair, thankful it not only covered my aids but also the sudden burning of my ears.

 

Want more? Be sure to grab your copy from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and more!

 

Vlog: SIGNS OF ATTRACTION Inspirations

You’ll notice something different in this vlog: I’m not speaking. I’m using ASL only. If you don’t understand ASL, click the CC button (can be found on the lower right hand part of the screen) for captions. Yes, it’s a little awkward, but it’s how I and others with a hearing loss watch videos, television, movies, etc. It’s why I’ve taken the time to caption all my vlogs.

As SIGNS OF ATTRACTION releases next week, this is my last prepared vlog. If you want to see more from me, let me know! Make a comment and give me ideas for future vlogs.

If you haven’t pre-ordered your copy, click here for options!

Breaking Down Generalized Assumptions About Hearing Loss

With a week until SIGNS OF ATTRACTION releases (insert me dancing around and breathing into a paper bag) I’ve begun to notice a few interesting things about writing about hearing loss, namely something I’ve known my whole life.

Hearing loss is one of those things that people think they know about, but in reality they know the generalized incorrect information that floats around. Part of the reason why I write what I write, beyond utilizing my own ears and life experiences.

So, let me break some of it down for you:

  • I do not use hearing impaired in my novel, except in reference to negativity. Because hearing impaired, for those of us in the Deaf Community, is a negative term. It is not a term that encompasses all types of hearing loss. It’s negative. I am not impaired, I am not less then, I am different.
  • On the flip, some people (and some other countries) with a hearing loss do consider themselves hearing impaired. That’s their term and they are free to use whatever they want to self-identify. If you do not have a hearing loss, please refrain from using this term unless someone with a hearing loss uses it first.
  • Hard of hearing vs deaf: A person who is hard of hearing has some usable hearing and usually benefits from hearing aids and is able to communicate to some extent with the hearing world. A person who is deaf has no usable hearing, and while they may get some environmental sounds, are not able to communicate easily.
  • Deaf vs deaf (as well as Hard of Hearing vs hard of hearing): Capitalization is a cultural indicator. I am Hard of Hearing, because it is a part of my identity, but I was born hard of hearing, because this is my disability. You’ll notice in my book that Carli and Reed use these terms differently because of where they each are with their own identities.
  • Hearing aids, as I’ve mentioned in my vlog, are not corrective tools. They amplify sounds, make things louder. They don’t make me hearing, and they don’t make Carli hearing. The worse a hearing loss is, the more distorted the sound and less voice recognition is received. I don’t listen for comprehension with my deaf ear, there are certain sounds I can’t hear, even with hearing aids.
  • ASL is a full language. While some people can write in ASL, most ASL users use English for writing and reading. ASL does have a different grammar structure than English, it’s not Signed English (which is another debate I could go into, but it has nothing to do with my novel).

And that’s it for now! I may make another post later on, but until then, pre-order my book, there’s lots of goodies in there about hearing loss, and some amazing characters to meet!