It Hasn’t Sunk In Yet

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted on this blog. That was because of the amount of work I had to get done between June and October, but as of today, my project is officially over. But the book isn’t done yet. I am still processing the end of my project, but I thought it would be good to share some of the things I’ve learned, and give you an update of what’s happening now. Let’s get into it.

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Writing this book is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Dealing with heavy emotions day in and day out wore me down a lot more than I expected and challenged me in ways I never considered. I had to look at my actions, understand why I did what I did, and then create a character who made the same choices based on different experiences. Sorting through my past and having a character grow from it forced me to analyze how I’ve grown from the situation and the book itself. I’m more confident now, and able to talk about what happened in a way that could be helpful, rather than one that’s clogged with emotion. I can now use my experiences to try to help others.

Condensing a book from 500 pages to around 175 is a mammoth task. I am naturally long-winded, and shortening my experiences into a well-paced story for others to read, was hard. I had to dismiss what was meaningful to me and exchange it for what would be helpful for others, turning my experiences into a learning opportunity. Shortening chapters took a lot more time than I expected. I had to adjust to seven-hour workdays, which ended with only a chapter and a half to show for it. It was humbling, and it showed me where I truly am as an author, and where I need to improve. I have a long way to go.

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Keeping myself accountable was a journey in itself. I have a strong work ethic, but, as my deadline approached, I found myself avoiding my work and seeking comfort on the internet instead of buckling down. Not being a procrastinator means I don’t do well with stress, and running out of time makes me want to give up instead of work harder. I didn’t give up, but the work isn’t up to the standard I would like it to be. That taught me that, even though pride in my work is important, sometimes I have to be realistic about what I’m asking of myself, and prepare for that in advance, working harder throughout instead of crushing myself with stress later. To give myself the best chance to succeed, I need to take the time that I need and accept that I’m a bit more human than I would like.

When I started this project, I planned to write, edit, and publish the book in a year. That isn’t what happened. I spent a year writing, editing, and drafting until I produced something I’m mostly happy with.  Next, I plan to have the book edited professionally and then officially published. I’m excited.

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Thank you all for joining me on this journey and showing your support along the way. You’ve all made it so much more bearable and a lot more fun. We still have a ways to go, and I hope you will be encouraged to come along.

Final Tally
Word count: 45,942 words
Chapter count: 27 chapters
Page count: 170 pages
Draft count: 4 drafts
Total hours: 1167 hours 40 minutes worked

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Project Status: My final committee meeting is on the 24th, where I will get feedback from the project. I haven’t decided whether or not to take the extension yet (the book will be published either way.) I am considering returning to the blog, as I figure out my next steps, to talk about things I’ve gone through in the months of silence, but that isn’t confirmed yet. For now, I’m just going to rest. It’s been a long year.

Thank you all,

About The Author…

It’s official, guys; I’m taking a break. This decision has been a long time coming, and I’ve fought hard to avoid it, but I’m at the point where I can no longer ignore the issue. I need to rest. This week’s post is about how I came to this decision, the current state of my brain, and a note about how the break will affect the project. Let’s get into it.

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I’ll start with my head. To say that I’m frazzled is an understatement. Frustration, exhaustion, and stress have become integral to my mindset, paired with the desire to do better and produce more. I feel overwhelmed by editing and the possible need for a new rewrite.  With many valid criticisms leveled at my work, I’ve sought to address them, but in that, I’ve lost sight of my story. My reason for writing this story has shifted, and the foundation is changing, but I’ve been resisting that. I’ve been holding on to everything I’ve done so far, but have become slightly irrational in the process. It feels like there are too many voices (many of which are my own) all clamoring for attention and I can’t focus on anything anymore. It’s too much, and I need to stop.

I’ve talked a lot about rest in my recent posts, but I haven’t done it. I avoided it due to my fear of running out of time, but that isn’t the only reason. My project guidelines mandate a minimum of twenty hours worked per week. I have upheld this standard diligently, but, recently, I have been filling the time with things like writing classes, or working with my cover artist, rather than working on writing. I am fulfilling the time requirements, but no substantial work is getting done. I keep records of my time worked, and over the course of my project, I have accumulated forty-three hours and fifty-two minutes of overtime. That is enough work to justify two weeks off, and it is my goal to enjoy it.

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Taking time off, in this case, requires a giant leap away from the project. I will spend the week doing unrelated things and hopefully have a lot of fun. As a result, there won’t be a blog post next Friday. I am not entirely sure what will be happening the week after that, but I will most likely update you the following week about decisions made and where the project stands. For now, though, I am taking a break.

It’s been a long time coming, but in the end, I acknowledge that I need rest. This project has been mentally and emotionally taxing, and I am no longer operating at the standard that I want. I need to take time to get my head back together and think about nothing but trees and clouds for a while. That will help a lot.

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Thank you for all of your endless encouragement and support. You make my journey better for your presence, and I am glad that I’ve been able to share it with you until

this point.

Project Status: The Vacation Starts Now.

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But For Just One Day

Recently, my project has been a reasonably big source of stress in my life. The October deadline, my slow rewriting pace, and general uncertainty about multiple aspects of the project caused me to hide from my project rather than face it head-on. That’s not good; mainly because this is my dream. So, I will be taking this opportunity to remind myself of some of the good things about my book and the positive effects it has had on my life. Dreams require struggle, but the appreciation of positive elements is equally important.

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I found the most enjoyable part of this project was the writing itself. I’ve always loved  writing free-style and seeing where the story takes me, and the chance to devote hours every day to a single work was an inspiring use of my time and capabilities. The consistency and frequency of the writing quadrupled my productivity compared to anything I’d done previously. Spending time with my characters and watching them become new and engaging people energized me, exciting me to see where they would go. A chance to write and focus on a mainstay passion in my life is a solid source of joy from the project.

In terms of personal growth, my confidence has evolved in spades since I started. Because I lack many of the skills needed to present a book (internal formatting, cover art, marketing, publishing, even editing), I’ve needed to reach out to others for help. I’ve made contacts with artists, designers, other authors and people who work in the mental health field. My ability to talk to strangers has increased tenfold, and the more I explain my project to them, the better I come to understand and appreciate my work. This project has helped me to increase my self-confidence, my willingness to share my work, (a necessary element of authorhood), and my pride in my growing abilities.

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My book has also helped me to understand the circumstances it is based off of better. It’s no secret that my book roughly follows real-life events from my life, and, in part, I chose to write this story to help myself process those events. Though the book depicts different circumstances and even characters to some extent, by talking to the people who are reading through my work, and the people who lived through the situation, I’ve come to understand my role as its storyteller. I am the person who learned the most from what happened because it highlighted where I need to grow as a person. Walking Sam through the events, and forming her thoughts and actions have helped me to understand my thought-process and consider how I could have acted better. Sam behaves as a mirror for me, highlighting the real emotions in the situation and demonstrating human reactions to it, positive and negative. Because of what I learned and how I grew, there is value in me sharing this story.

Throughout the process, there have been good experiences and stressful ones. It can be easy to forget about all of the good things because I feel trapped in the cycle of editing and deadlines. The confidence that I’ve gained, as well as my new understanding of my role in the situation, are worth the price of the work, as is the achievement of my dream. Dreams take effort, but when you’re committed, they end up being worthwhile. That’s what I’m going for.

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Thank you to everyone who has supported my dream and for your endless encouragement.

Project Status: The rewrites continue slowly.