An Auspicious Start: NaNo 2016

I approach every NaNo season with a mix of excitement and apprehension. This year, those feelings are even more so. My last book, The Blood Contract, was released November of 2014. In the two years since, I’ve written a total of three chapters, if that. I have no great excuse for my absence from writing. I believe in part I’ve been in a quasi state of mourning, lamenting the loss of my daughter who was moved across the state after my divorce 3 years ago. I dealt with the situation the best I could on my own and, failing that, I turned to drugs. No, not the good kind that may have actually helped, but rather the prescription sort my counselor and I thought might get me through. Whatever good they did me, they also served to wholly seal off my creative thoughts. I spent many months unable to write a paragraph or a verse. Not to make it sound overly melodramatic, but losing my creative mind felt like losing a good portion of myself. I decided I would rather deal with the panic attacks and mental fatigue than lose myself again.

It took months and no small amount of effort but I managed to regain who I was. It came about first in songs, as a lyric would pop into my head, accompanied by a melody. Before long, I had recorded my first song in months and had many more verses and tunes at the ready. Working on my books took a little longer. A song is nice because on a good night, I can spend a few hours and have something tangible I can listen to. It may simply be a draft, but it’s something I can enjoy. Books are longer, more time-consuming and in some ways, have less of a reward. I reread my stories because I’m editing or rewriting them. Not, generally, because I intend to enjoy them over and over, unlike my songs.

But the music served as inspired lubrication for my mind and soon, I found myself mentally prepared to write. Any quiet moment (and some not so quiet), plots and characters and dialogue and scenes churned away in the back of my mind, puzzling out dilemmas, interacting in ways I hadn’t before considered. It was the way my brain typically worked, the way it had always functioned for as long as I can remember. It felt like home again.

Though my mind was willing, time was not so giving. During the sabbatical I had taken for my mental well-being, I had shifted jobs. Though this came with some advantages and seemed to me to be the next logical step forward, it was also burdened with one huge caveat: no more lunch time. Ergo, no more time to write at work.

I tried to write at home but found myself too easily distracted. It’s hard to focus on plots when a cat is crawling all over me and when my guitar is sitting there, just begging to be played. I considered writing at work after I was done for the night, but often my days were 10-12 hours long, and I found I just didn’t have the desire after staring at a computer screen all day.

I say all this because it is the past. I am determined now to get my life back in hand. There are so many ways I’ve let it slip away from me, but writing is something I can not and will not sacrifice. I wrote long before I ever decided to publish, and if I was forbidden from publishing ever again, I would continue to write. It is the steam I vent to keep the pressure within me from building, the spark of sanity that sends the dark creatures within me scurrying.

With that in mind, I decided NaNo 2016 would serve as my rebirth.

For those of you not familiar with the idea, NaNoWriMo is a sort of self-imposed contest writers take in an attempt to finish 50,000 words during the month of November. It has to be a new book, one that hasn’t been worked on previously, though the author is allowed to sketch out plotlines and characters ahead of time. I’ve participated since 2010 and have only passed it once. In 2012, with World of Shadows, the third book in the Unseen Things series. Then, it was known as a trilogy and when I published the second book, The Shadow Within, I was sure the third was soon to follow. In the four years since, I have rewritten several chapters of the book and split it into two.

For the past two years, I’ve had all but the last few chapters written in World of Shadows. I apologize to those who have been waiting for it. I decided to focus on AfterLife, the fifth Only Human on the Block book after the release of The Blood Contract, because I was on a roll and the ideas were coming hot and heavy. But then the mental funk hit and… well, I’ve already explained that in detail. Suffice it to say, the last two years have not been among my best.

I wrestled with the thought of which book to work on for NaNo this year. I even made a list of potential titles, listing the pros and cons of each. In the end, the answer seemed obvious. The book to bring me back into writing, back to NaNo, should be the follow-up to the one I went out on. Even though I haven’t yet finished the last few chapters of World of Shadows, I know and have known exactly how it will end. And the fourth book comes with a substantial time jump and a POV shift (each of the books in the series have been from a different POV), which was the reason I wanted to split the third book into two in the first place. So I came to find myself typing the words TWIN SHADOWS BY S.L. MADDEN to begin my foray into NaNodom.

Or rather, I would have, except my computer booted up with a blue screen of death. I fired up the laptop while I ran a restore on my desktop. Ultimately, it worked and my PC was usable (meanwhile, the laptop was still loading Windows…sigh), but by then, I was out of time and had to get ready for work. Not the best first day of NaNo.

Between home and work, however, I came to a decision I had been mulling over for awhile. I decided to take a lunch break.

I’d considered it before but told myself I’m already working long enough hours. Why prolong them? Yet giving myself an hour to write not only helped me accomplish my daily word count (well, close enough), it helped give my brain a little breather. It’s too early to tell if it’ll help long-term, but short-term, I’m willing to give it a try. As a result, I have 1482 words written. And I feel great.

I’m going to finish NaNo this year. I’m going to finish World of Shadows and finally publish it alongside Twin Shadows. And I’m going to complete AfterLife (I haven’t forgotten that book, I promise!). I suppose it could be argued the 1200 or so words I typed here would have been better spent working on the book, but I’m not sure how often I’ll be able to blog. I’ve been out of touch in more ways than one, so I wanted to reach out once more before I immerse myself back into writing.

As always, thanks for reading (and for your patience),

 

S.L. Madden

Five Years Ago

My Facebook memories page reminded me that five years ago today, I published The Four-Year-Old Guardian. It, along with Ascension, marked my foray into the world of self-publishing. It was a huge step forward for me, what I felt was the next logical step after being in writing groups since high school and putting my works out there on sites such as Authonomy.

For those of you who follow this blog, it’s no secret I haven’t been quite as prolific of late. My last book, The Blood Contract, came out at the end of 2014. I wrote a little last year but it was nowhere near my usual output. This was due to a combination of personal issues, misguided attempts to medicate and a shift in my schedule. I spent last year losing myself as a writer and I’ve spent 2016 so far trying to rediscover myself.

I can’t say I’ve been resoundingly successful but I do feel like I’ve rekindled (no pun intended) the writer’s spark within me. Though I’m far from ready to release my next book, I have been making progress. By my estimates, I’m currently a third of the way through AfterLife, the fifth and final book in the Only Human on the Block series (though I should point out here it is also a gateway book to a connected trilogy. I mention it because when I brought that up to my mother the other day, she seemed surprised by that fact). I haven’t been writing as much as I had in the past, but when I do sit down and focus, I’m rather proud of what I’m producing.

On the other hand, I’m in limbo on The Shadow Without or World of Shadows or whatever I end up calling it. I’ve been a few chapters away from finishing the rough draft for… well, when I first wrote it, I was inspired by the Obama/Romney campaign. So closing on four years. Damn.

I must admit, it’s gone through a lot of tweaks in that time. I changed it from third-person originally to first (don’t ask what I was thinking initially). I also took what was going to be one big book and separated it into two smaller books. As a result, my original ending doesn’t quite work, fails to have the impact I want it to have. I’m not sure why I’ve been struggling so much to end that third book. I have a pretty firm idea of how I want it to end. I just… haven’t.

That’ll change this year though. I’m determined to release whatever this book will be called in 2016, and if not AfterLife, I’ll get a good chunk of it done for a 2017 release. I owe it to my fans and, frankly, to myself. Five years ago I took my first steps in this journey. I may have wandered off the path for awhile, but it’s time I get back to it.

Still, even despite my prolonged absence, I’ve managed in the space of five years to produce The Four-Year-Old Guardian, Bravaado/Dramatique, Together Alone, The Blood Contract, The Shadow Walker, The Shadow Within, and Ascension. Seven books I’m rather proud of, in addition to a smattering of other stories I’ve started. I’m looking forward to seeing what I can put out in the next five years.

As always, thanks for reading (and for the support),

S.L. Madden

PS. In celebration of this five-year landmark, I’ll have the ebook of The Four-Year-Old Guardian available through Amazon for free starting tomorrow, 7/30 through Monday, 8/1.

 

 

 

 

Live Again

143 days.

According to my counter, that’s how long it’s been since my last blog post. When I said I was throwing in the white towel for NaNo, I never intended for it to mean I was quitting altogether. Unfortunately, over those 143 days, I’ve come close several times.

Due to circumstances I don’t want to get into (nor bore you with the details), I started taking Prozac last October. While I found it helped (somewhat) with my issues, it has the side effect of completely repressing my creativity. It wasn’t just that I didn’t feel inspired. My entire process for writing and creating music ground to a halt. Typically I have a story or song constantly in motion in the back of my mind, sorting out details, dialog, plots, etc. It makes it easy for me to write rather quickly because I’ve devoted a lot of time to writing it in my mind first.

When I threw in the towel, it was with the realization my creative juices we’re currently dried up. I hoped by alleviating the pressure of finishing NaNo, I would be able to get back into the swing of things. That never happened.

At the same time I started medicating, my shift at work changed. Previously, I used my lunch hour to write. It’s where the vast majority of my writing took place. My set up at home isn’t very conducive to writing. If any of you have a cat who likes to jump on you while you’re on the computer, I think you’ll understand. I have four cats (don’t judge me).

Between my brain no longer cooperating and losing my environment for writing, I found myself, for the first time in as long as I can remember, unable to output creatively. Even writing songs became a chore and nothing came out remotely like I wanted them. I started to question all the time and energy o had out into these endeavors and contemplated a life where I wasn’t a writer who liked to dabble on the guitar from time to time.

A few months ago, I decided to change the meds I was on. I contemplated getting off them entirely (in addition to the creativity issues, I also had some physical side effects I’d rather not get into here *ahem*), but ultimately decided I’d try something else. The new drug (jealous, Huey Lewis and/or The News?) worked wonders. Within a week or so, I’d written my first new song in months. And it didn’t totally suck!

On Leap Day, I worked on AfterLife (Only Human on the Block V) for the first time in months and months. It was Nick’s birthday, after all. The day after Leap Day, I realized the logical hole I’d written myself in and knew I had to redo that chapter. But the important thing is, my brain was back to figuring that stuff out!

I still haven’t worked out all the details on how I’m going to manage my writing time, but I’m optimistic I’ll figure it out soon. In the meantime, my brain has been working in full effect. I even figured out a death scene for a character I knew was going to die, but I hadn’t quite worked out how. In addition, I’ve been able to work on a few new songs and I’m determined to have a little album completed by August (just for me. Nowhere near being a professional musician).

For those of you who have been waiting for news, I appreciate your patience. 2015 was the first year since I started publishing that I failed to release a book. Now we’re four months into 2016 and I’m just starting to get my mojo back. Still, I’m confident I’ll have The Shadow Without (Unseen Things III) out this year. And if I don’t finish AfterLife, I should have it almost completed.

Hopefully in time to start and conquer NaNo in November.

Thanks for reading,

S.L. Madden

Pushing Through

After months of struggling to move forward with The Shadow Without (years if I’m counting when I finished the first rough draft), I have finally done it. The scene I’ve been stuck on is done and I am moving on!

At this time, the book is about 75K words, which is right in line with the rest of the series. Since this book has two POV characters instead of one, I think it’ll end up being a bit longer once I flesh it out more. Now that the dreaded chapter is out of the way, I only have a few more chapters to work on and then to completely rewrite the ending.

I wish I was reporting on this at the beginning of the year instead of north of the halfway point, but I think I’m still on track to release this book before the end of the year.

And then it’s onto finishing AfterLife.

Thanks for reading!

S.L. Madden

Catching Up

Hello, old friends. Old as in we’ve been friends for a while. I’m not making any kind of commentary about your ages. After all, none of us have ever been this old before. Nor shall we ever be this young again.

I know it’s been a long time since I last posted anything here, so it would stand to reason I might have some grand announcement to make, such as I finished AfterLife and The Shadow Without and they will both be available soon!

Well….

I haven’t been quite as productive as I would have liked. After going back and forth between which of my next two books to focus on, I ultimately decided on The Shadow Without (The Shadow Within came out nearly two years ago, whereas The Blood Contract came out just last November). I sent the first 12 chapters to a dedicated reader who I trust to go over (hi, Mom!) and I’ve nearly powered through the chapters I’ve been meaning to add since finishing the rough draft for NaNo in 2013. After this, I just have to rewrite the end and tweak the remaining chapters. It won’t be terribly soon but I remain optimistic it will be out before the end of the year.

I haven’t touched AfterLife since I decided to focus on The Shadow Without. Fortunately, I had a pretty good run on it before I decided to switch gears. If I had to guess, I’d say the rough draft is maybe 20-25% done. Though it’s unlikely I’ll finish it this year, I’m going to give it my all after The Shadow Without is published (and once I’m done with my NaNo book). So if I can’t get it out by the end of the year, 2016 is pretty much a guarantee.

Of course, I haven’t been totally screwing around these last few months. I recently went through and helped to edit one of my mom’s upcoming books (that would be Swagon Drorn by Mickee Madden). I’ve also been kind of sort of working on a bit of a concept album (still very much in the rudimentary stages). I’m also about halfway through a short erotica story I intend to expand into a series. Plus life and junk.

To sum it up: I’m still alive, I’m still working and I’m still as slow as ever. As they say, good things come to those who wait. And I do know I’ve left you all waiting.

Thanks for reading,

S.L. Madden

Epiphanies In B

I’ve often said it’s impossible for me to get bored. While the advent of the smart phone (and my subsequent loss when I don’t have mine) might disagree, I truly believe I could go for days, weeks, maybe even months with no other distractions other than the machinations of my brain.

The reason being it’s constantly working, devoting an impressive amount of my mental resources toward working on stories (or songs, when I’m in that particular mood). As a result, I sometimes find inspiration comes at the oddest of times. Sometimes it’s the drive from home when a certain song comes on that makes me recreate scene (or create them spontaneously) based upon the feelings it invokes. All too often back in the day, it happened during school, when I was supposed to paying attention. Many plot lines and song lyrics originated while my teachers desperately sought to fill my young head with knowledge.

A particular source of inspiration is the bathroom.

Perhaps it’s the fact I’m relegated to a simple sitting position, transforming my usually kinetic body into one of rest. Maybe it’s the drive to put my mind in another place while my body fulfills its biological destiny. Either way, I have had many breakthroughs while trapped atop that porcelain prison.

And so it was a few days ago when I nearly shot to my feet and cried out, “Eureka!” Fortunately, I relegated myself to a simple fist pump and a whispered, “Yes!” (I was in a public bathroom, after all).

I finished the rough draft of  The Shadow Without (I think that’s what I’m calling it this week) a few years back for NaNo and I’ve been trying to get back to it ever since. After completing The Shadow Within in 2013, I was determined the sequel would be out in short order. Here I am, 1.5 years later, and I’m still struggling to finish the final rough draft. I know what needs to happen, where it’s all headed, but I’ve found myself…blocked. Yes, I’ll use that word, even though I like to think myself immune from the dreaded writer’s block (or at the very least, I always have another project to work on if I find myself stuck).

The funny thing is, the epiphany that came to me was not for The Shadow Without, but rather, the final book in the series, Twin Shadows. Again, I know where that book is going, how it starts and, roughly, how it ends. But there were pieces of the puzzle missing, things I knew I’d need to figure out eventually.

And there, in that stall, I figured them out.

Well, some of them anyway.

Interestingly enough, I hadn’t been concerned about those pieces. My mental resources have been slaving away on AfterLife and, to a lesser extent, The Shadow Without.

Or so I thought.

Somehow, this piece of the puzzle made itself known, and suddenly, a lot of other pieces made sense. So much so, I had to wonder if I hadn’t thought of it before and forgotten, while subconsciously arranging the story to still accommodate it. And then, completely unexpected to me, pieces of The Shadow Without started falling into place, pieces I had no idea were missing. It seems my blockage stemmed from events so far in the future, I hadn’t given them much thought (although clearly my brain was).

Now that they’re cleared up, however, the ideas are flowing fast and furious.

I love writing.

As always, thanks for reading!

S.L. Madden

PS. I sincerely apologize for writing a blog post about sitting on the toilet and using phrasing such as “blockage” and “flowing fast and furious”.

Choose Your Own Adventure

As of yesterday, I have crossed the 30K word threshold on AfterLife. I realize that is still well shy of the 50K goal I was shooting for in November for NaNo, but it’s still nice to see some forward momentum on the series. Fortunately, the pieces have been falling into place rather well, even as new parts of the puzzle present themselves. At this rate, I feel fairly comfortable saying I’ll be able to wrap up this book–and this series–exactly the way I intended.

But while progress is being made on AfterLife, the other iron I currently have in the fire has been largely ignored. When I published The Shadow Within back in August of 2013 (has it really been that long?) I promised the follow-up book would be coming soon. In fact, November of that year, I passed the NaNo finish line with that very book. And then…nothing.

I promise I haven’t forgotten about it. Technically I have a finished rough draft of about 70K words (average for that particular series). I started going back through it immediately after completing it and found a lot of changes to be made. For starters, the first handful of chapters were written in a third instead of first person (don’t ask what I was thinking of there). At some point, I realized the book was going to be split into two, so I had some difficulty setting that into motion. I also found some of the scenes needed to be fleshed out considerably, including developing some of the ancillary characters a bit more. All par for the course when working off a rough draft.

But then I started adding new scenes and tweaking old ones, and I never really did like the end I had written. Knowing the editing was going to take more time than I first expected, I turned my attention to finishing up and releasing Together Alone, which was published in December of 2013 (busy year for me, I guess).

I fully intended to devote all my energy into World of Shadows at that point. It became the book I brought to my critique group and progress on it was going well…until I hit another wall.

I don’t believe in writer’s block. Okay, I acknowledge it can exist, but there are far too many ideas, plots and characters bouncing around in this noggin to get stuck in any one place for too long. But when trying to insert a particular chapter, stuck is exactly where I found myself. I’m not sure if it’s because I’d allowed too much time to pass and was having difficulty realigning with the characters or if the knowledge I had to completely rewrite the next chapter, but I found myself unable to proceed.

Deciding I needed a little break, I started working on The Blood Contract, thinking I wouldn’t get very far with it before returning back to finish up World of Shadows, which I was now playing around with calling The Shadow Without. I found myself in a groove and The Blood Contract was released in November of 2014.

Of course, I told myself at the time I would get back to finishing up The Shadow Without.

So here I am, nearly four months later, and all of my attention has been focused on finishing up AfterLife. As I said earlier, work on it is coming along nicely, if not as quickly as I would like. But the fact The Shadow Without is still sitting there unfinished gnaws at me. I just have to finish that troublesome chapter, rewrite the next and rework the end. Shouldn’t take me too long. I have little doubt I’ll be able to get it out in 2015 if I give it all of my attention.

But work on AfterLife is flowing so well….

My point after all this meandering is I leave the decision to you, my loyal readers. Would you rather I work on AfterLife or The Shadow Without? Are you eager to reach the end of the Only Human on the Block series or are you reluctant to say goodbye to those characters (though it may not exactly be the end for every character….)? Or are you tired of waiting to see just wait the Uracai have in store for humankind?

Thanks for reading!

S.L. Madden

Failures And Silver Linings

How best to follow up a blog post boldly declaring I was going to hunker down and write, write, write this year, while maintaining better communication in the process? If you’re me, you wait several weeks to update your blog with an apology for having written very little!

I have a pocket full of excuses I can use to explain myself. My usual routine of writing on my lunch break has been disrupted because I’ve been covering somebody else’s shift. I haven’t been writing at home because my work space is a mess and needs to be organized. Even then, my cat loves it a little too much when I’m on my computer, and goes out of her way to make sure I accomplish as little as possible.

I’m sure I could generate a few more excuses, but that’s all they really are. Truth is, as much as I enjoy writing, sometimes I need a little break from it. Even that isn’t entirely true, as I’m technically always writing. My mind never stops working on the story, even when my fingers are on hiatus. And to be honest, this break has helped me fill in some of the gaps of the story, the how’s and why’s that take me from Point A to Point Z.

When I first started writing, I used to make plot outlines detailing each chapter. Despite that, I found the characters had a way of deviating from my plans and taking off on their own. This was problematic when I had the story so structured I hadn’t allowed for much wiggle room.

These days, I come up with the overall plot and characters then give myself certain waypoints in the storyline. For instance, I could have written the end of the Only Human on the Block series nine years ago when I first started coming up with the plot. I’d even be willing to say it’ll likely be word for word with my original imagining. But a lot of the events and characters leading up to all of this have shifted and changed over the years. Even now, so close to the end, I find the characters and world drawing me in directions I didn’t anticipate. Just in the past week, pieces of the puzzle mentally popped into place for me, bringing new insight as to just why some of the characters are going to do what I know needs to be done.

I prefer this method of writing over the more rigid style I tried earlier in my career, but it does have its drawbacks. I had a decent idea of what I wanted to do with The Shadow Walker (although I admit parts of that book took me by surprise) when I started, but the sequel, The Shadow Within, was written in an almost NaNo like fashion. I had a few vague scenes in mind and I just went for it.

The same holds true for the third book (tentatively titled The Shadow Without) but it’s not working to my advantage. The main structure of the book has been completed for some time now but there are still some missing puzzle pieces I’m not completely sure how to handle. And that could be because I only have a rough idea of what the fourth and final book will be, with no clear end in mind. I like flying by the seat of my pants when I write, but I think I could use a tad more structure when working on that series. As a result, I’ve been putting off finishing it up, even though I am technically far closer to completely the third book than I am AfterLife.

So what’s the point of this post? One, I wanted to let you know I still live. Hopefully I’ve accomplished that and this doesn’t read like I’m one of the undead. Two, I wanted to publicly flog myself for failing to meet my 50K per week pledge, while also reassuring my loyal readers I haven’t forgotten you.

Thanks for reading!

S.L. Madden

2015 – My Resolve for Resolution

Typically I don’t do the whole New Year’s Resolution thing. Instead of using a fairly arbitrary date as a springboard for change, I try to keep myself in a rather liquid state. If I notice I’m developing/resorting back to bad habits, I try to conquer them there and then. Life is too short, after all, to put off til next year that which I can change right now.

Only, I haven’t exactly been doing a bang-up job of changing. I haven’t even been adapting well to the changes going on around me. Perhaps I’m at an age where my stick is firmly rooted in the mud. Maybe I’ve settled into a sense of what is right and wrong, and can no longer see/think past my narrow viewpoint. Maybe those damn kids need to cut their hair and stay off my lawn!

I thought it would be good this year to use the New Year as an opportunity to realign my thinking and set myself back on my intended path.

Resolution #1: No Time Like The Present

Procrastination has long been a friend of mine. It was there for me during school for every pre-final cram session. It rears its head still every time my car is due for an oil change. And of course, it inspires me to write about my resolutions three days into the new year.

No more.

Yes, I have a chaotic (some might say artistic…my regards to those fine folks) mind, but technology is such we can temper those urgings. If I have to set a reminder on my phone for events throughout the entire year, so be it.

I just need to get around to setting them up.

Resolution #2: Be A Writer!

I started self-publishing in June of 2011. In the 3.5 years since then, I’ve put out seven books spanning two series and a stand-alone (at least until I get around to writing those sequels).

Not to shabby for a guy who works 40+ hours per week. But it could be so much more.

During this last NaNoWriMo, I wrote 25K words of my new novel, AfterLife. Well short of my 50K goal, but it was a tremendous start. And I truly only focused on it for a short period of time. Most of my writing energy went into publishing The Blood Contract.

I’m setting myself a goal of 5,000 words per week for this entire year. Again, it’s not nearly as lofty as NaNo calls for, but I believe it’s 100% doable (after all, the secret to successful goals is to make them realistic). This should allow me to produce a rough draft every six months or better. Then, while working on editing, I’ll continue with my 5,000 word goal on my next project.

I’m proud of what I’ve been able to achieve but I have so many other stories waiting to be told. I’m at a point where if I retired from my day job to focus solely on writing, I wouldn’t be scrambling for a new story idea for years to come.

Resolution #3: Communication

Whether it’s updating all of you through this blog or finding the perfect words to articulate to my wife how I’m feeling, I’ve come to realize communication isn’t my strong point. It’s not that I don’t want it to be. I’m a strange mix of an introverted-extrovert, someone you could work with for years and barely get to know, yet when I open up, I do so fully. I tend to eschew societal lines in a willingness to talk about most anything and everything. Especially if I think it’s funny.

I find most everything funny.

I can’t promise to change the core of who I am and suddenly be everyone’s friend, but I’m resolving to open myself up to the world a bit. To not be so afraid to make a comment in mixed company or to joke when there’s more people in the room than is my official level of comfort (seems to be three at this point in my life).

I also resolve to write in this blog more often. Not every day, but no more lapses of a month or more. This thing is supposed to be my microphone, my way of broadcasting without the fear of my social anxiety robbing me of all coherent thought. It’s the written word–my comfort zone–and I need to embrace it more often.

Which somewhat leads into…

Resolution #4: I Won’t Be Afraid of Success

Seems a silly resolution, doesn’t it? What’s the point of doing something if you don’t want to succeed at it? Yet, I constantly find with writing, I’ve given myself a way out.

“All I ever wanted was to get my books out to people.”

That’s been my mantra the past few years, and while it’s true, it’s not enough. Early on when publishing, I kept up on current trends, applied strategies on how to be successful at this whole writing thing.

Then I stopped.

I don’t exactly recall when it happened, but I started focusing solely on putting the books out. No marketing strategy. No author interviews. No giveaways. I just blog about my progress every now and then, perhaps a tweet or two and, oh, did you happen to notice I out out a book last week? Well, I’m off to the next one.

It’s no wonder my first few books were the only ones to really receive any reviews.

Even recently, I was part of an amazing sale put together by a great writer. What did I do to promote it? A single blog post. That’s it. Not only did I fail myself, I failed the other writers who were participating.

No more.

I suppose this harkens back to Resolution #1 in a way, but it’s more than procrastination. I feel a tangible sense of dread whenever it comes to promoting myself, like there’s a part of me who just doesn’t think I deserve to be successful.

I’m ignoring that part of me from now on.

If you made it this far, thanks for indulging me. If not, well you’re not reading this but anyway but I’m sure you have it your best.

As a little post-Resolution list Resolution, I resolve to never wrote a post this long on my phone ever again, starting to get the crab hand.

Thanks for reading and have a great 2015!

S.L. Madden

A New Look

In all of my excitement over NaNo/finishing up The Blood Contract (with a steady dose of boo-hooing about my hip), I forgot to mention my blog has a new look. Though it’s not technically writery, I liked the clean lines and look of it. Let me know what you think. Did you like the old look better? Would you prefer something that looked more geared toward writing?

While I’m at it, I should add I’m at 3593 words so far. That’s an average of 598 words per day, vs the target of 1667.  Gulp! Still, it’s early enough, I remain confident I’ll be able to catch up. Besides, I’m almost done with the first chapter and that’s something I wouldn’t be able to claim a week ago.

Thanks for reading,

S.L. Madden