As you can see, I’ve brought back What’s Up Wednesday. I know some of you were disappointed when I decided to discontinue it, so I’ve come up with a compromise. As much as I’d like to post an update every Wednesday, the fact of the matter is, my life just isn’t that interesting. As a matter of fact, most weeks, I could just post the same half-dozen sentences and be done with it. On that note, I’ve decided to start posting updates every two to four weeks. That should give me enough material for a reasonable post. If something really exciting happens, I might to a special edition.
Anyway, on to the update.
If you follow my YouTube channel, and you really should, https://www.youtube.com/justinmkellywriter you’ll already know some of this.
In case you haven’t, here goes.
The end of last year really kind of sucked. I started November with the intention of participating in NaNoWriMo. I did reasonably well the first couple of days. Then I had my first slip. Something came up, causing me to miss a couple of days. No big deal. Instead of having to do 1,667 words a day, I would have to up it to 1,729. I even had a really good day the next day and almost caught back up. Then I had another bad day, then another, then another. You see where this is going. The worst part is, the more days I fell behind, the more that daily requirement grew. In my mind’s eye, I could see it towering over me, threatening to crush me. Before long, I could see hairline cracks in the base that grew wider day by day. Even worse, the further I fell behind, the less I found myself able to write. Of course, this is a very flowery way of saying that my failure to keep up with the daily word-count was severely triggering my anxiety. Finally, I had no other choice but to drop out of NaNo for my own mental health. Unfortunately, by this point it was too late. I spent the rest of the month absolutely hating myself.
We’d planned to visit my brother and his wife in Texas for Thanksgiving. It had been my plan to still spend some time writing every day. I even brought along my travel laptop for that purpose. Unfortunately, having already decided I was a failure, it never made it out of my backpack. Don’t get me wrong. I had a lot of fun while we were down in Texas, but deep down, I spent the whole time feeling like a fraud and a failure.
Upon returning home, Shannon discovered that her father had passed away while we were gone. Out of respect for her, I won’t give any details. I only tell you this because it severely effected us. I honestly hadn’t given much thought into how much goes into making final arrangements for a loved one. I kept having conflicting thoughts. On the one hand, It’s terrible that the grieving have to deal with so many practical things that they don’t really have time to mourn. On the other, it might be a blessing in disguise that it gives them something to take their minds off of it while the wound is still fresh, letting their loss sink in before they have time to really deal with things. I don’t know. What do you think?
That, of course, brings us to the Christmas season. I did my best to go through the motions, but try as I might, I just couldn’t get into the spirit. I usually try to do most of my shopping online. Once I feel comfortable with the gifts I have for everyone, I like to take one tour of the mall (a place I normally avoid like the plague) to see if I can find any last minute gifts for anyone on my list. Since I’m pretty much done, I don’t feel any pressure, and if someone wants to fight over anything, I can just let them have it. My little mall adventure usually allows me to really get into the spirit as I listen to the Christmas music over the P.A. system and look at all the cool little holiday displays. This year, I even tried to do a fun little follow me around video through the mall. Unfortunately, as you can see on the video, I started off in a bad mood which only got worse as I tried to force the holiday spirit.
It was only then that I realized what had happened. My anxiety over everything had progressed to a bout of full blown depression. I used to deal with depression a lot, but it’s been quite a while since I’ve had an attack, especially one this severe. The good thing is, once I properly identified it, I was able to use a few tricks to pull me out of it and on the 23rd, I woke up and I was all elves and reindeer. Christmas eve and Christmas day were a lot of fun. I especially loved watching everyone open the gifts I’d gotten them. I think most of them were a hit.
The week between Christmas and New Year was pretty uneventful. While I usually scoff at resolutions, I decided this was as good a time as any to make some changes in my life. I attempted to do a live video on New Year’s day where I made a symbolic fresh start by cleaning out my desk drawer on camera in preparation for all the time I’m going to be spending in the office this year. Unfortunately, thanks to a crappy connection that day, the video turned out very choppy and grainy. Still, I left it up on my channel in the spirit of “There’s nowhere to go but up.”
Since the video is kind of hard to watch and I also forgot to list a few of them in the video. I’ll list my goals for the year here.
First, and most importantly, write every single day. I’m not going to impose word counts on myself for fear of triggering another anxiety attack, but I’ve got to at least sit down and write something on a daily basis.
Finish at least one of my novels in progress. In July, I’m taking another trip to NYC for Thrillerfest and Pitchfest and I’ve absolutely got to have something to show potential agents and publishers.
Put out at least two new installments of The Children Of Pyrelia series.
Self-publish an anthology of short stories and flash fiction. Most of the Flash Fiction will be pulled from Flash Fiction Friday.
Try to publish a new Flash Fiction Friday post every week. This last week or so, I’ve been brainstorming story ideas like crazy so I never find myself without a story to write.
Start making videos in which I read one of my story and post them once a week.
Weekly YouTube videos about different aspects of the writer’s life in general. Some of these may just be about the rest of my life as well. Riding my motorcycles, hiking, fishing, etc.
Learning to lock myself away in my office to work even when I’d rather be spending time in the living room with Shannon.
Doing whatever it takes to get me out of my night job at the motel. Preferably transitioning to being a full-time writer, even if I have to start writing something other than fiction to make ends meet. This one was driven home just last night when a drunken guest tried to attack me. Luckily, I made it clear that I wasn’t afraid of him and he backed off, but it could have easily turned out very different.
Heavily marketing myself and doing whatever I can to get more readers/followers both on here and YouTube.
Starting a monthly newsletter and getting people to subscribe to it. If you’re interested, please go to my main page and scroll to the bottom to subscribe. www.justinmkelly.com
Figuring out Patreon and praying to the gods for patrons willing to help me achieve my dreams of being a full-time writer. https://www.patreon.com/justinmkellywriter
And finally, the old standby. I’ve got to start taking better care of myself. I used to want to get in better shape to look better. Now I just don’t want to die young.
I may have forgotten a few, but you get the idea. It’s time to start taking my career seriously if I ever want to be a success.
Anyway, I guess that’s about it for this installment. I’ll see you in a few weeks to let you know how the resolutions are going. Now I’d better finish publishing this thing while it’s still Wednesday.
As always, don’t forget to stalk me online.
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And, of course, please buy my debut short story, Blood Moon