Vulnerability

Being a creative person and blogging, both require a certain amount of openness and vulnerability. If you ask any of the people I have dated in the past, you would quickly find out that those are not things that come easily to me.

I struggle.

There’s a fine line between being truly one’s self with whole and open recklessness, and being a genuine and honest person. I am comfortable saying I am an honest person. I know I mean what I say, and I take others at their word.

I am terrified of being vulnerable. I have been hurt so much, that openness feels like asking to be traumatized. And I’m full up on trauma tyvm.

What happens then, is that something will happen, I’ll take time to process it and withdraw. Then something else happens and I’m already withdrawn. Which means I’m hurting again, but now I’m also very much alone.

In my life, the escalation is fast, and dramatic.

After the fourth or fifth trauma, I’m devastated, alone, out of options, and putting any energy into artistic things – stuff that makes life worth living – is impossible. More than impossible. It’s a distant joke.

Creating is one of the most important things in my life. When I can’t focus on it, when my thoughts are a desperate handful of soggy crackers, it’s like I’ve lost myself. I don’t know how to get back from here, but I know I will. I always do.

I will always carry these burdens. This most recent trauma, will be with me forever. A very deep scar across my heart. It has taken my faith in inherant goodness, a piece of my identity, a part of my fragile joy, and a slice of my light. I’m still working through how I move forward from it.

I need to create. Even when my well is dry. Because it’s usually barren.

Progress is progress

I had two short story anthologies I was working on this past month.

The first one, I totally blew. I thought I would have an easier time working on it than I did and the whole thing sort of fell apart. That’s okay, I realized it wasn’t working for me early on and moved to the second.

That one took off splendidly. I was drawn in quickly and my MC asserted her voice in that way that lets me know we’ll make it through. That isn’t to say it still wasn’t hard – it was. I think I’m still so rusty, that everything is difficult.

I put in the work though and we’re on the second round of edits. I’m feeling pretty good about it and plan to start shopping around once I’m finished.

It’s good to have something that feels like a complete thought. Even when I’m also certain that it’s terrible. Oh hell, it’s terrible, isn’t it? Crap. Well, I’ll keep working on it.

-R

More TI work

I’ve got another feedback post up on the Tickled Ink blog. It’s a longer one but I found it quite engaging! Check it out and let me know what you think.

-R/AC

The Publishing Cycle

Last week I wrote a little piece over on the TI blog about the sad news regarding Less Than Three Press. The loss of this publisher has been felt deeply by myself, and many of my friends.

LT3 filled an important role in romance publishing. They actively supported marginalized voices, and treated their writers well. It was wonderful to have a mid sized publisher like them around, especially for new and emerging writers.

I have one title with LT3. It’s old enough now that I’m not entirely sure that I’ll re-release it. I haven’t decided. I photographed my own cover for the novella, so I’d still have that! The perfectionist in me wants to go back over the story and polish things up. I feel so much more confident about my writing these days, and I’m sure the piece could use some work.

At least two other authors I know have opted to not re-release their work that was with LT3, primarily for the same reason. They’re older works and perhaps not as reflective of their author’s current work. I get it.

There are a few uncomfortable realities that go along with this. The first is that as of now, both publishers I’ve worked with have closed. It’s a worrying pattern within small and mid range publishers. What will we have when none of these can survive? Will it only be the big publishers and self pub, with nothing in between? That’s quite worrisome.

The other is simply that it reminds me how long its been since I’ve published anything. It’s been years. I’m not a fan. I’ve spoken with a few friends and my current goal is to have another novel finished by the end of the year so I can start shopping it around to publishers.

I don’t know what I’m doing here

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about ‘careers’ and identity. We’ve all been told for most of our lives that work and identity are essentially synonyms. It’s evident in how we talk about careers. We ask children, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Which is very different from, “What kind of work would you like to do?”

For most of my life, I didn’t think I attached much of my identity to my job. After all, it was just a job. I worked hard, did excellent work, and remained employed, but at the end of the day, it wasn’t who I was as a person, it was just what I did.

Now that I can’t do it anymore, I’ve realized how wrong I was.

I took pride in my work. The quality of it, the hours I would devote to getting things done right, I wanted respect and acknowledgement from my peers. As the industry changed, I changed along with it. I had to adjust to new metrics of success, and I worked at them until I achieved them.

I never got the things I really wanted. I think I became bogged down in being a productive drone. After all, that used to be a respectable quality. I thought service and devotion to an industry would get me there.

It didn’t.

Now I have to change my paradigm again, and find myself without any sort of map.

People ask professional athletes and others who aim high, about their backup plans. We need to start thinking about those things for everyone. No matter what kind of work you do, regardless of industry.

We’re presented with a narrative about automation replacing human workers in production jobs, but that’s not the only place that happens. As I was explaining to someone exactly what I used to do ten years ago, I realized I had been replaced by a combination of a machine, apathy, and transferring the burden of quality on to the customer. Over the years I’ve worked in the arts, several jobs I’ve had have been replaced by machines.

My body is failing me. I know, it happens to all of us. For me, it has happened at an intense speed, in ways I never could have imagined, and targeting things that are most important to me.

I don’t know what I ‘do’ anymore, which has left me questioning who I am. This isn’t another instance of technology or priorities changing how I approach the industry within which I work, it’s starting over. I don’t have a backup plan, I didn’t think I needed one.

More Feedback Friday in July

I’ve done a few more feedback posts on the joint blog I participate in. Today’s post is located here! You can find them all over on the Tickled Ink blog.

It’s slow

Sometimes it’s slow. Right now, it’s slow. It’s hard to be okay with things not going how we want.

I have so many projects I’m excited about, but I can’t seem to get them together. It’s a struggle.

I suppose all there is to do is keep pushing forward.

Or not

Another FbF up on TI

The group blog I participate in has a new post up from me. Hooray!

It’s another Feedback Friday up on the Tickled Ink blog. (See, that’s what all those abbreviations mean!) This time, the word prompt was “Widdershins” and the author really knocked it out of the park. The piece is so fun, I highly recommend you go check it out.

Widdershins on TickledInkBlog