My Plan for 2017: Be Like D

No seriously. Look at him, this is the most chilled out, ‘I don’t give a fuck’ cat on the planet. He’s the world’s best feline role model, even if he’s bitey.

For my health, I need to chill out. I’ve spent 2016 taking on too much, pushing myself too far. It’s not that bad; I got off with a micro, stress-induced manic phase and one hard-core suicidal one, coupled with time of the month crashing (thanks, body). That’s light considering the Five Manic Episodes of 2015.

But it doesn’t mean I can do that shit again.

2017 is going to be about self-care, about being a little selfish. I need to get my triggers and IBS under control, as well as focusing on snowballing my way out of debt. Plus 2016 was a shit year (bar like two things) and needs to burn and the earth salted. I don’t know if next year is going to be better but I need to take it out.

Writing-wise, my aim is to quietly potter on whatever calls my attention. I will still try and submit short stories (I have enough for a collection at this point and sending them out is easy enough that I can do it in my sleep thanks to the Grinder). I’m also aiming to get some work done on longer projects before doing a full rebrand once I have the money in 2018, republishing all my books under the Asha Bardon byline.

But as for publishing and, especially, editing. No. I haven’t got the energy to go through the process, much less the crowdfunding side of things. I’ve got to learn that saying I’ll do something doesn’t bind me into actually doing it and things will get in the way which will always call issues.

I need space to breathe, space to write without expectation. That’s what 2017 is about.

On a personal front, I’m coping pretty well. I’m adulting, though I hate it, and surviving without bipolar medication. The trick is staying calm, monitoring my moods and using the 30-day waiting period before purchases, big or small. It’s still a fine line and I don’t know when the next obsession or manic phase will strike. That scares me.

I’m still worried about Class and New Dog but it’s on the backburner. I don’t need to worry about that right this second. New Dog will come when she’s ready and I’m very used to waiting. For now, all I can do is enjoy the end of year peace, the chance to reflect. Gods know I have a heap of things to look forward to in the coming months.

It’s hard, though. My brain is stuck in ‘what awful thing is next’ mode. It’s a bit like flight mode except it’s more about anxiety than instinct. I have an amazing therapist whose helping and I’m finding that if I can avoid things which trigger me then I’m much more able to cope. I spent the rest of my time reading up on living with various conditions, coping with narcissistic people (avoidance/NC works for me).

Some things are unavoidable but Habitica gives me bonus points for those.

I’m lucky in that I have people around me who are amazing, a core group who are my chosen family. Ironically, it’s taken the last year for me to realise who that actually involves. Some of my oldest friends are no longer friends because their worldviews differed so much with mine, and my needs, that it turned nasty. I don’t need people who spew poison or try to control me in my life, especially not when I’m trying to dig myself out of a hole I’ve created.

The important people, they’ve been at my side all the long and I can’t thank them enough for it.

So yeah, the next twelve months are about me. I’m actually looking forward to it as my main focus has been ‘I need to be x in case y or z calls’. The trick is shifting my focus to ‘I’m going to x because I want to, meeting up with an alphabet of people is a bonus’. I need to teach myself that it’s okay if I want dinner or see a movie, I don’t need other people unless we make a date. I need to live my life for me, not for anyone else, even though all the people in my life are awesome enough to get that I’m stupidly altruistic and don’t abuse that.

At the same time I like my routine, it keeps me from descending into slobbery and I’m proud of that. I don’t want to be the stereotypical ‘on benefits’ person who sleeps into midday and, besides, productivity is my friend. Early mornings mean peace and quiet and I value that a lot, just as I do the odd quiet day at home with a queue of movies lined up.

So wish me luck as we finally see the back of 2016 and begin a new, fresh, year. I’m looking forward to it already.

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The Art of Rejectomancy

 

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When I first started thinking about submitting to pro markets (aka sci fi and fantasy magazines), my friend Shannon recommended I record the data in Duotrope (and, when it when paid-for, she directed me to The Submission Grinder, which does much the same and is free). Rejectomancy was a term I first came across when I joined the Codex writers’ forum, though the leader of our crit group, Frances, likens rejections to a perverse but logical RPG that she calls CentiBrads where you level up and get bonus points when you hit fifty or one hundred of the little buggers.

At first I didn’t get why but, now, at the end of my first six months of actually submitting stuff I totally get why. Half the time I can’t remember where I submit stories so I rely on the Grinder to tell me. That’s what my main page looks like; a list of markets, stories and how they fared and money made. It’s not actually 100% accurate as both my recent sales have been to non-listed markets (and there’s the rub; to log the data, the market has to be listed and Future Chronicles aren’t).

I have maybe a dozen nearly done/final revision stories. I estimate a month of work will see me with a nice pile to submit to places. The odd might not be in my favour but I’m still determined to try, even if all I get are form/personal rejections. At the same time I have final edits on A Star Filled Sea to finish for my Kickstarter backers. I can easily balance out the work but once I get this production line on short stories up and running, it should make my life easier.

I got a rejection yesterday which is fine because two of my friends didn’t and I’m starting to review the idea of a rejection as a positive; a chance to revise/tighten a story or just submit to a new market. My crit group reminds me, quite realistically, that just because Market A subjected Story B then it doesn’t mean the story is flawed, just that the editor at Market A didn’t think it fit them. That’s fine, not every pair of trousers or shoes fits you, sometimes you have to get to the fourth pair.

I need a Post It with that scribbled on it, it’s a surprisingly hard thing to remember. And very important.

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