The Doldrums

boredom, resolutions, writing, adrift, doldrums

I've been watching a lot of TV shows set on ships.  Black Sails and Outlander, namely.  It's a safe bet to assume that some "maritime" content is about to appear in my writing.  In addition to inspiration, I've discovered the meaning behind "the doldrums."   I've always known that it meant "down in the dumps", so to speak, but learning of its nautical origin gave it new life.

 While not such a threat to most modern vessels, it was the worst possible thing to encounter (short of vicious storms) for ships with sails.  This is a condition where wind is nonexistent.  If you're at port when it happens, or within range of land that you could effectively row to or hope to drift toward, then no problem.  If you're in the middle of the ocean, you're basically praying for the wind to return before you die of starvation or dehydration.

My own doldrums are not so life threatening, but they are similar to a ship adrift, waiting for something to happen.

When I was working on Stolen, I spent hours upon hours writing, editing, rewriting, tweaking, refining, and reading.  Time not spent dedicated to words were in Photoshop creating a cover...and then another cover, I'm still not happy with the cover, okay?

Now that it's been released, I'm a little lost.  There are the obvious things that need to be done. I'm sure I'll never run out of them. I should be marketing, writing queries, requesting reviews, and oh yeah, writing another book. (More on that later.)  I've done a fair amount of all of these things, but I'm still adrift in a sea of uncertainty.  Waiting for the wind to pick up and something, ANYTHING to happen.

The fault is mine. I know that.  With enough determination, I'm sure I could force things into motion. Except book sales - I can't for the life of me cause any of those to happen.  But the desire's not there.  I told myself that I wouldn't let this post become one where I offered up a trove of excuses and tried to earn sympathy.  So I'm allowing myself one paragraph to place blame on outside forces that have pushed me, albeit gently, into this rut.  Ready?  Here goes:

My cat died.  My entire family got the flu, and I nursed them back to health. The holidays et al kicked my butt.  I moved my computer into the nook that adjoins our family room so that I could simultaneously work and watch my kids.  (Hahahaha.)  I had a hard time recovering from some bad reviews because I can't separate criticism of my work from my value as a person.  My son's been out of school for two weeks and is determined to destroy everything we own as a means of keeping himself occupied. Lackluster reading choices have failed to provide literary inspiration.  My brain frequently tries to self-destruct and has been pleasantly reminding me that I'm not exactly gaining any traction in the writing world.

Okay, I think that's it. Thank you for bearing with me as I got that out.  Ready for some positives now, or as I like to call it:  What are we gonna do to get out of this slump?  (I'll organize these better so that you might actually read them.)

-Paintings.  I used to like painting enough that I took the time to get a degree in it.  What do I do with this expensive, hard earned, officially official skill?  Usually nothing.  Paint and kids don't mix, and since mine tend to be all over me all the time, I told myself I was minimizing destruction and frustration by hanging up my art career.    After spending too much time trying to Photoshop a cover for Stolen that I didn't despise, I mused that it would be easier if I painted one.  It's not easier, and I won't be doing that (probably), but I had another idea.  Character portraits. Watercolor character portraits. I'm working on one now and will post soon.

-Books.  After I get through my list of obligatory reads (only 2 more to go!), I'm going to take a hard look at my TBR list and actually attempt to read some of the more enticing ones.  The great thing about reading for pleasure is that you don't have to finish the book if you don't like it.  Okay, so I'll probably still finish the book, but having options is always good thing.

-Wattpad.  While I have at least three ideas for full length novels, I've yet to gain any momentum that will push me toward actually finishing them.  For one reason or another, I've been constantly thrust back into refining Stolen.  (For example, I forgot to put page numbers in my paperback draft.  Brilliant mind at work here, ya'll.)  So I've lived in the Arcadian world longer than I intended, and as a result, have spawned some ideas for stories starring other characters.  Rather than fight it, I've decided to write some short stories for these guys and post them on Wattpad. Eventually I'd like to publish them as a collection and put it on Amazon for a bargain basement price. For now, I'm going the Wattpad direction in hopes of drawing attention to Stolen and grabbing some free feedback while I'm at it.

-Connections. This is the hardest one for me, being that my extreme introversion cries out in pain at the thought of interacting with another human not in my immediate family.  It's no secret that you won't get very far in the literary world if no one knows who you are.  You need people - editors, beta readers, cover designers, advance readers, friends - to get anywhere. So that's what I'm going to do. I'm gonna make friends.  Don't laugh.  I'm starting small through social media.  I'll hopefully work my way up to something meaningful, but I know I won't get anywhere if I don't start making some kind of effort.

The first step to putting these ideas into motion is to actually do some of them.  Considering that I sat on this blog post for days before posting doesn't speak well of my prospects for accomplishing more difficult goals in the near future.  Still, I'm committed to seeing these things through.

ocean, still waters, sky, watercolor, painting


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