Things have dramatically changed for me here in the last four weeks. As a bit of a recap, I thought I’d share why. In June, I decided that I didn’t want to keep going the way I was, and, as people kept asking, I was going to launch a coaching project. And while there had been a lot of interest in private, in public, people were just…less engaged I guess. And that’s ok – with everything going on in the world, it might not just be the right time for it, but it left me feeling less than stellar, if I am honest.
Tempus and I have been talking for a while now and one of the things I had observed is it’s hard for me to care full time for myself, my daughter and the house and run my business, let alone write, which I’d barely had any time for. Tempus, who is my beloved other half came down with Covid a couple of weeks ago, and as he recovered, one of the things he said to me was that I could consider just stopping for a bit… he’d support my writing.
I run businesses, but I do it to write…
Ultimately, while I run a hosting, coding and formatting service, and planned to teach coaching classes, but I do it all – all of it – in aid of my family, and books. I’ve always thought of myself as an author, though I am really quite good at other stuff, apparently. And I’m very lucky – I get to do a lot of fun stuff. But…
The honest truth of all of this is as my daughter has grown older, although she manages college, there are other things, like me, that she finds very stressful, and unfortunately, as an adult, she is encountering them more and more. I’ve often got to support her, which is absolutely ok, but it has meant that I’ve got less time to do other stuff, and, as I have mental health issues too, something had to give. And it did. Luckily, the ‘give’ was a choice, rather than what I know other people often face, so now, I just…change direction. It’s not as easy as it sounds, and over the coming weeks, I’ll be explaining why.
At the end of the day, I’m lucky
While this isn’t how some people experience this kind of push, I am effectively now a part time looking after the house, and part time writing. Which is both exciting and scary. And I thought I’d be talking to you guys about it as we go, because, quite honestly, I think some of the advice will be useful – I hope – to other people. The next few weeks and months are going to be incredibly exciting for me – and I hope, for you guys following along. It does mean I get less time to play with code and other stuff, but honestly? I’ll happily trade that off, for now, to get to support my daughter, look after our house, and best of all, write. That adventure starts fully on October 1st, though I’ve been doing prep all month for it, around CV19, and other illnesses. ANd I’ve got some interesting stuff to show off, already. That’s coming up on Thursday 😉
As is probably clear, I’m quite the geek. I’ll be talking about how more hobbies cross into geekery in the real world, but I’m a HUGE gaming fan. I’ve spent all of my life, since I was a young child, enjoying fantasy novels and I’ve gamed since I was about 9. From Heroquest, to D&D, I was a huge gamer until I had my children. After I left their father, I joined another gaming club and as I’ve talked about, a bit in ‘A Nanowrimo love story‘, I’m marrying a gamer and we met at a convention.
I thought for this post though, I’d share some of my favourite games, and aa few secrets about stories I’m writing right now. I’ll also share where I’m visiting today on the list for AtoZ (because I published this a bit later than I meant to. (G&H are shared for the visits, so I’ll do five on each, but from here on in, I’ll be doing around ten a day with luck. I hope to visit everyone though!). I’m also going to talk about why gaming seems to be considered a bit of a ‘duality’ even now for those of us that play.
My favourite games…
I gotta be honest, I love all games. I’ve already talked computer for Elden Ring, though I also play others. I’ve got a few games on my phone too, including Hearthstone, and we’re all currently playing our way through Elden Ring bar Artenapan. I’ve got a soft spot for simulation and worldbuilding games too, so I play a lot of things like Kingdoms and Castles, Suviving Mars, Terraforming Mars and the Tropico series, to name a few.
Boardgames and tabletop games feature heavily in my favorite things to do and play too though. Pre-pandemic (which is now over two years ago) we’d started playing Gloomhaven, and we’re hoping to pick that up again soon, but we’ve also got plans to join other people’s games and we’ve spent the last couple of date nights playing Terraforming Mars (the boardgame as well as the computer game), and Wingspan (ditto) and we’re looking forward to having a good explore at the UK Games Expo, later in the year.
And the secret?
I guess the biggest ‘secret’ is one of my main story series’ comes from a character and background I wrote for a game. We stopped less than six months into her story arc, it seemed like a waste, so Shula got set lose on the world. Or, will be. I mentioned her in B for books, but we’re in the process of setting everything up so we can run preorders and more. And on Monday, mine and other indie books (up to 60, the thread was really popular!) should feature in I for Indies 🙂 But Shula and some other characters are either people I’ve played in games or my partner (who is my self-confessed “bad idea bear” ala Avenue Q) has given me. Which is always fun. What I do know is Gaming is another storytelling outlet that I really miss, and I’ll be glad to get back to it fully 🙂
So, I thought for this year’s AtoZ, I’d take it back to basics and talk a little about me, and if I got posts that were the same letter, I’d share them the next day, and maybe even share some of the posts I’m reading throughout the month.
Today, I thought I’d go for a general update. I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to recover from Covid. I say ‘trying’ because it’s been hard work to even get motivated, let alone write and work. But I’ve been thinking, which I tend to do when I’m sick. And enjoying my beautiful four poster bed, which isn’t quite finished yet, but is nevertheless, one of the most gorgeous things I’ve ever agonised over buying.
We’ve been thinking really hard, as a family, about the best ways for all of us to enact self-care. My partner and I have hobbies, such as Ludosport (I’ll explain more at L for Ludosport, or at least, more fully, cause I’ve talked about it before!), and gaming that we take part in, and we’re very careful to try and maintain a good work-life balance, but one of the nicest things about our new bed is I’m happy to just… read for a little while. We’ve got this gorgeous net canopy that looks like clouds.
Every night, we curl up and I read for a bit, but I feel cozy and safe in there, even though it’s basically a big box frame around me. I’ll be adding flowers and lights eventually, but for now, I just like waking up underneath clouds. It’s weird, I know. I’m trying to address my work/life balance too, by not answering messages or emails before 9am or after 10pm unless it’s an emergency, and ignoring requests for work that aren’t completed on the correct places. Slowly, but surely, things are getting easier, but, it’s meant a lot of work on boundaries, and even more time dealing with the fallout, but, it’s just one of those things. Beyond that, today is the first day of #Kaiatus, and my darling boi (eldest) is coming to visit. Life is good, I’m alive, and I’m grateful for it all.
Oh, and it’s the first day of Camp Nanowrimo 2022 (April) edition, and I’m doing International Poetry month over at [email protected] :). I’m working on some of my novellas for Shula for Nano. 🙂
(Don’t Google that, if you plan to watch Loki, the TV series, as the titular character sings it).
I’ve been equal parts restless, equal parts full of wanting to get on with changing things, but not having the energy to do any of it. So, as is my usual tactic, I’m actually travelling today. I’m going home. Tomorrow morning, I’ll be heading to my temple, called Goddess Falls. It’s known as another name in Edinburgh, but I’ll be taking my lightsaber with me in the morning.
Travelling, thinking, going home
We’re hoping that we get to go (so, either this’ll be going out as I’m on the road – in fact, I should be just getting to our end destination), and my tradition is to think and write and make notes, and hope that nothing goes wrong while I’m out of touch. Maybe do a bit of crochet, which I’m teaching myself.
Mostly though, today is a holiday. So Joyous Yule, may the wheel bless you as it turns, if you celebrate. And Merry Christmas/Happy holidays too!
Every week, I talk about putting out books, about editing, but I’ve been slow. Really slow, so I’ll keep trying but honestly? Pressure has never been my friend, but I’ve got to start moving on with my books. So, I’ll be thinking about that too while travelling. We’ve got little TV trays for our knees, so I’ll be travelling with one of them, my diaries, and my surface. Just in case.
Going home though… it is in my bones. I’m a Gaelic gal to the core, to the point that I feel home in my very soul. I bring a little bit of it back every year for my shrine. Today also marks the 25th year of being a standing High Priestess. Solitary, but still… it means this year I think I’ll be talking about my beliefs, my dreams, and what I’m doing it with my books to honour that stuff. But…regardless. I hope your Christmas period is good. I hope you see those you love. I hope you get to spend time with your family. I’ll be taking time out with mine.
When I was discharged from therapy, I knew there were going to be times I went a bit off track. What I didn’t expect was one of the things that I’m enjoying – a lot – was going to be the thing that totally destroyed me this month.
I’m not saying either that it’s actually about the people at the group I’m participating in. In fact, I think they’re making it easier on me, and instead of things being unbearable and stuck, it’s just nightmares and stuff to work through. But being triggered is a really wierd thing.
Mostly because I’ll be realistic about it – there’s no reason to believe that I’ll be beaten to a pulp, just for being me. There’s no reason to believe people will hurt me. It doesn’t change that not only does it happen, but it’s painfully obvious that I’m not going to get over it as easily as I’d like.
Then, there’s the added pressure
I keep saying this, and the more often I say it, it feels like I’m minimizing what is going on, but it often feels like the things that I take on are always looked at to see if they’ll benefit others. I’ve spent the last haze of days talking about various things with various friends, but the overriding sets of conversations have been in three categories. One, insulting, and asking why I’m doing (x). They’re being removed from my life. The second, which is also the least of the interactions I’ve had, have been encouraging. And the third?… It seems to come up more and more, but I’ve spent the last six months or so telling people ‘no’. No to coming with me when I go to projects. No to visiting with us for now. No to introducing people to other people.
The power of ‘and’
I’ve been looking at the fact that I keep saying that ‘they don’t mean to do this.’. I’m telling them no, they’re arguing, they don’t mean it vs, I’m telling them no, they’re arguing, they don’t mean it and it hurts me. The ‘and it hurts me’ is the bit that really gets me though. I’m not sure how to get passed or around that, but I’m thinking about that. And isn’t any more of an excuse than ‘but’. It feels like it, though it’s more about making things sit right with me. Because honestly? My life is about how I survive it. If I need and, but, however, and other mitigations and codicils to forgive people because they don’t see things my way (because maybe, just maybe, I’m wrong). Regardless, sometimes I find it hard. It’s not all bad. The power of and got me to various projects that I’m really loving and starting a new blog, and re-evaluating a lot of the time I’m spending with myself. It does feel very much like advance and retreat though. Two steps forward, four back. And honestly? That’s therapy, I guess?
The power of and got me to continue Ludosport. I’m reactive, on edge and tired and I’m learning a new set of skills.
I’m exhausted every night we train, and I’m losing weight.
There’s a few things I can’t really get my head around, like the fact that I’m having nightmares (triggers, aren’t they … just wonderful), and that’s interfering with my sleep. I don’t blame any of the people training me – in fact, as long as I keep telling myself ‘and it’s ok’, I’ll hopefully learn to sit with the things triggering me.
What was that whoosh? Oh, it was November. Wow, ok. So, here’s the roundup, I guess.
So, normally, the big news in November would be my birthday, or Nanowrimo. But, actually, this year, the big excitement is Ludosport! My beloved and I (yeah, that’d be the guy in ‘a Nanowrimo love story‘) started learning Ludosport, aka Lightsaber duelling. Already though, I know it’s more than that. It’s a whole culture of support, care and honesty, and a really good workout. But it’s accessible too. I’m managing almost as well as the rest of the people training, and that’s even with my numb leg and nerve damage on the left side, it’s been great! I did a trial event in October, and we started in November, just after my birthday. My uniform and lightsaber blade is here, which I shared on my Instagram.
I’m sure I’ll be talking about this a lot more in the next few months, but I’m pretty certain that it’ll mostly be on a new blog, called Run Girl, Run. It’s not *quite* live yet, but I’m going to be talking mental health, recovery, and growing physically and mentally as a person. It’ll be about how I find my feet, how I find my way back into the world, and we may even get to talk about extending our family, though, right now, it’s about making *me* whole. Holistically, I think that’s important, but I also think that it’s equally important to talk about it, and share what I can. Mostly because though we feel like we’re alone, we’re really not.
I completed my 19th Nanowrimo, just shy of 85k. We ran the online only project again this year, at the request of HQ, and my region stepped up. They were awesome. Next year, for my 20th year, I’m looking forward to doing something special.
I’ve got Glass Block and several of my short stories back, so I’ll be working on them, and I’ve got copy and client work coming up, so I’m excited. Plus we’re getting ready for Yule, keeping an eye on the various variants in the UK, and hoping we’re getting to go home.