The Creatives’ Guide to Living With Bipolar Disorder: Why I Canceled my Kickstarter

Screenshot 2016-08-02 17.22.38

I didn’t start out today intending to cancel my Kickstarter for One in Blue, The Other Green. It just kinda happened. I wrote a brief blog for my backers but I wanted to talk about it a little bit more here, on my personal space.

First off, physically I’m okay, mentally I’m wavering but I’m neither manic nor depressed, I’m just trying to pick up the pieces of my life and putting them back together. I’m not well, I know this, but it’s not like previous episodes. Mostly it’s anxiety (which I recognise as a withdrawal system from my medication), the weird weather makes it worse as does stress.

I realised this morning, I need to take the pressure off. No self-enforced deadlines, no unrealistic expectations. I spent the last two Kickstarters, though successful, going over budget something which as been worth the expensive but something I’ve also had to absorb. It’s going to be May/June before my the combination of that and my personal debt has been paid off.

Fortunately, I still have excellent credit and all the cards seem to be 40 months of 0%APR at just the right limits. I just sorted out the second half of my debt and thanks to a little adult advice from other people older than me (no one ever taught me about how to use credit card sensibly), I’ll save around £600 in interest alone whilst also being able to easily snowball the debt. The important thing is: I got myself into this and I know I can get myself out.

That’s assuming I don’t have any more manic periods.

But even if I do, I’m trying to wean myself off relying on plastic and working out how much I realistically need. This means, perhaps, taking a month or two more to pay off the debt but allowing me to live off of cash (I try to live off £70 a week but it’s looking like, realistically, I need at least £100 to break my credit card habit). My main credit card remains there (now clear and in credit for the first time in two and a half years) as an emergency option (and is tied to my phone for specific stores so I don’t have to actually have it on me, which makes it easier).

I’ve discovered the trick with credit cards is just to not have them available. The ones with my debt on them aren’t maxed out but they do stay, unused, in a secret spot. They’re out of my line of sight which means it’s easy to forget about them (I use the same trick to keep an emergency note on my person). Plus the aspie in me really does enjoy putting money on the cards and watching the balance go down, it’s my favourite part of getting my benefits in.

I’ve tried to be more organised financially over the last couple of months; all my household bills are automated and I’ve just changed my media consumption for Spotify and Netflix so these are paid with money on my Paypal account (from Patreon) rather than automatically going on cards. Those are the only things I really enjoy and music makes me a happy author. Having those two things really does help distract me and keep me writing. I need background noise to write, you see, and music/movies on demand is a dream come true.

And that, folks, is what I want, though, right now: to write. To focus on stories and not have the pressure of publishing/editing hanging over me (which it will, assuming the project had funded, which was looking unlikely).

To focus on stories and not have the pressure of publishing/editing hanging over me (which it will, assuming the project had funded, which was looking unlikely). Instead I’m asking people to consider my Patreon instead, to help me finance writing and research. The publishing, that can wait until I’ve sorted myself out because I really do need to be in a good mental place to be able to withstand editing.

I’m delicate … to the point where I’ve actually asked my crit group if I can take myself out of the rotation for a bit because, while well meaning, their comments on my stories will make me so much worse. Plus I’m totally out of writing short story mode (and will amend my Patreon tiers accordingly, when I get a second). I feel like a glass with water in it being dropped to the floor, from the wrong height I will shatter. This is part of my illness and will pass but until it does, I need to protect myself in any way I can. This includes sending out stories because rejection is, similarly, over-personalised when it’s actually not that at all.

I just can’t face it, any of it.

I’m coming up to the end of almost a year of therapy, realising I could do with another two or three in order to put myself back together. I’m about to start CBT but that’ll be ten hours maximum and will hopefully help me deal with the low moods/pesky anxiety. The worst part is I have to ring my GP tomorrow to get my valium sorted because I’ve had so many anxiety attacks in the last month. I get 28 tablets … that’s fourteen days’ worth IF I take them (10mg works for me). I always feel, despite valium being the one drug I don’t have a dependancy on, that ringing up and asking for a prescription somehow makes me a drug addict whereas, in reality, I simply don’t want to run out (which I know is actually smart, adult behaviour).

I’m aware of the anxiety, painfully so. I’ve been waiting for something to come in the post which has been stressing me out (because I must have said item and feel like I have to wait for the postman). Each day it doesn’t turn up, each day I find myself at home waiting for the delivery only to be disappointed, it doesn’t help. I also know the meds help but taking them, it’s a battle all of it’s own, even though I use them sparingly. Panic attacks are not fun and, for me, I don’t hyperventilate, I just clam up and my flight instinct takes over.

I hate it when it does that but then my brain, thanks to the PTSD, is now wired that way.

The other problem is anxiety stops me writing. I want to do it, would rather curl up at home with Netflix on and my manuscript open, than go to a movie. Yet, because I’m anxious, I find myself unable to write. To open and close the file, to write part of a scene and panic about whether I should wait for the postman or just get the bus because I don’t want to be alone in my own skin.

At the same time my memory makes it hard for me to remember details and obsessing over those, over not making mistakes (despite this being a draft one project and so required) isn’t helping me. I know I should write everything down as I world build but I don’t want to, I want to tell the story and so it’s balancing those out. I’d like to hire an assistant but, again, that’s just not financially possible (and I’m not good at delegating).

So, before I start publishing again, I need to sort myself out. That’s the priority: self-care. I’m trying to eat at least one proper meal a day (something filling and healthy), I’m snacking on a lot of carrots and doing exercise. I’m being diligent with my expenses but also understanding sometimes it’s worth paying more for convenience, especially when you’re all out of spoons.

Right now, I need to just take some time, chill out and look after myself first. I’ve spent so much of my life being altruistic, being around for everyone else that I’ve never been good at recognising that sometimes it’s me who needs a shoulder to cry on or a dog to hug (I’m hugging every dog I meet at this point).

That’s why I cancelled my Kickstarter but I don’t regret it, there’s no shame in it. Sometimes you just have to prioritise and this is definately one of those times.

Please follow and like us:
error

One in Blue, the Other Green: Kickstarter Plans

© Scarlett Rugers
© Scarlett Rugers

With shipments of Beyond the Stars Beneath the Sea and A Star Filled Sea hopefully going out this week, I’m calling both Kickstarters to a close. This means I can finally sit back and take a moment to celebrate production, the beauty of the print copies and the art. The fact my spare room is now a place to sleep and not stash boxes of books and rolls of brown packing paper.

Most of the time I do my Kickstarters while manic. This isn’t great from an organisational point of view and mania tends to break any ability (which isn’t much to start with) I have with basic mathematics. As maths goes, next to PE, it was possibly my worst subject and I freely admit it. I’ve worked out I’m going to need about £2250 to get the project done. This is before any art and breaks down like this:

Screenshot 2016-06-12 18.24.21

I did have one plan which occurred to me, not just as a smart bonus but also as a cheap one. I could, quite easily, bundle my Zoe story Sweetness in Sorrow, at the back of OiB, tOG. The two stories intersect, with each protagonist appearing in the other’s tale, plus Sweetness has already been edited and published as part of BTSBTS. That means, aside from making the print copy a tiny bit heavier, there are no extra costs involved aside from the cost of the physical copies, which is something I can budget for.

The added bonus is people get an extra story and I can use it as the kick-off point for the relaunched Kickstarter for A World of Strange New Things (of which Sweetness is the first part). It’ll be easy enough to add in a custom Kickstarter link and time the relaunch to coincide with the physical release.

 © Scarlett Rugers
© Scarlett Rugers

My current task is, of course, to offically being my two active Kickstarters to a conclusion. This is, however, a given as I’m this close to shipping out. I’ve labelled all the labels, asked those who haven’t given me their addresses to do so. There will be, perhaps, one or two people who never get in touch. That makes me sad, especially as my autism means I like to make sure people get what what they pay for.

But there we go. I’ve done my best.

OiB, tOG is my nerxt choice for crowdfunding because it’s short and self-contained. It’s also the prequel to the final book in the Changing of the Sun trilogy and helps open up the modern period of the Ashteraiverse. It’s ultimately the story of two sisters and the problem with prophecy; as Harry Potter and Cersei Lannister learned, the moment you find yourself embroiled in one, it’s like being tied up in knots. The trick isn’t to escape, however, it’s took look for wriggle room.

Elyn is an old soul who remembers. That’s her gift. It’s not going to make her life easier, especially when her mother, Dene, the Mother of Visions, foresaw her wearing the blue of the Aian Order. Her twin sister, Kana, wearing the green of Ishvei’s priests. Of course, all her elder sibling wants is her ‘rightful’ place and the power it brings. Elyn, on the other hand, will become Regent of the Grear Kishai but she would rather run to Earth than live anywhere near Kana.

Along the way, Elyn will carve a life for herself. She will love, have a daughter and become the leader of a city’s alien population. But there will also come a day when she will have to look her sister in the eye and deal with their mother’s prophecy.

OiB, tOG is about 76k, so let’s say 80k once I’ve finished doing revisions. The novel itself is complete and will need editing, it’s something to think about Kickstarting, probably around August. This means I can hopefully have it done and with my backers by November.

This gives me plenty of time to redo the Kickstarter project page, do a video and what not. I’d love to get it done in time for a pre-Winter Kickstarter for World, even if it doesn’t start being serialised until January. At least I now have a plan for the second half of the year.

Please follow and like us:
error