It’s been over five months since the last Club 83 book was released. I never intended to have this long of a gap between releases. Not only is it bad for income when you’re hoping to go back to full time writing, but I know how annoying it is for readers to have to wait.
To all of you who are patiently waiting, thank you for being understanding and I’m sorry I haven’t been able to deliver yet.
The truth is, there’s been a whole heaping pile of life this year. Around the time I was writing Show Me, Daddy, I started therapy. I went on medication for my anxiety and depression. Basically, I had decided it was time to get my life in order.
What I didn’t realize was how much those actions were going to impact my writing. I knew meds were going to affect me. For years, I put my writing above my mental health because the last time I was on them, the voices in my head went quiet. While I was grateful to not have the worry-wart and the defeatist as constant companions, you don’t get to pick and choose what calms in your mind. So, I (unwisely, don’t do what I did) went off the meds. I thought I would be able to get through, and hey, at least I wouldn’t have the inability to write as one more huge thing to worry about.
I was wrong. So damn wrong. But, I went on that way for a few years. Until I couldn’t. Spoiler alert: you also can’t write if you’re so drained from life that you’re sleeping every minute you can, and eventually the voice telling you you’re a sham overrides everything else.
So, on a Sunday afternoon when I was barely functioning, I picked up my phone. I was in my bedroom, shut out from the world by black-out curtains, and I knew something had to change. I hadn’t been out of my bedroom since I’d gotten home from work on Saturday and only had the energy to listen to audiobooks. Even picking up my Kindle to read was too much effort.
First, I pulled up the app on my phone to request an appointment with my doctor. No matter what, I needed to get back on meds. Monday morning, I received a call that they could get me in that day.
Second, I went to the LGBT Center’s website and started looking for a therapist that took my insurance. I found one, and made that appointment from my phone as well. By Wednesday afternoon, I was still drowning but felt like there was some relief in the future.
Slowly but surely, I started feeling better. I could function. But I couldn’t write. I re-read the start of Show Me and hated it. Hated it. I was certain I’d screwed it all up, and my now functioning brain knew so much better than I did what I should do for the story. So I started over. Fifty thousand words scrapped. That hurt, not going to lie.
Unfortunately for me, the characters didn’t agree. They were cool with exactly one change I’d made. This led to a back and forth, me trying to tell the story the way I saw it and them insisting I was wrong. This lasted for about a hundred thousand agonizing words.
And then I realized I was trying to tell two stories at once. So I had to find a place to split the manuscript into two stories so both could get the attention they deserved.
But was that what I wanted to do?
Oh hell, send this shit to the editor and let her help me decide. Nothing was getting done while I was bogged down by ongoing life (little things like navigating the waters of transition, loss of an income in the house, the start of high school for one kid and a rough start to the year for the other) and insecurity.
I’m happy to report I have the first round of edits back. As I thought, it wasn’t my best work, and I’m lucky enough to have an editor who will leave comments like “I’m going to stop here because you’re going to fix this and I could be editing things you’ll delete.” I’m working through those edits now.
Once it’s back in her hands, I will continue working to finish the second book for Jordan, Eli, and Doug. Jordan and Eli both have very different needs, and I wanted to tell both of their stories, along with the three of them as a triad. But I refuse to have a long gap between these two releases.
I can’t regret this gap. Too many times, authors (myself included) get caught up in trying to keep readers happy. That’s not a bad thing. We want nothing more than to put out stories people want to read. Unfortunately, we let ourselves believe that if we jump off the hamster wheel for even a week, everything we’ve built is going to fall apart.
Thank you to every single person who has reminded me that’s not the case. I’m hoping to have Show Me, Daddy out by early December with Help Me, Sir shortly after.