How to Procrastinate

Working hard or hardly working? HA HA HA HA HA no seriously, I have a problem.

Procrastination doesn’t just come naturally, you know. We have to work hard at it. Really make sure we’re getting everything we can out of the time we waste.

After feeling awful for over two weeks because I haven’t been writing or editing, I finally got down to working on The Jade Star of Athering again today. I thought that working on it would make me feel better — and you know, it has. I’ve worked on it for maybe 20 minutes and written about 150 new words in it. Now I’m feeling “Okay, I worked on this, can I quit and do something else now?” That sort of ‘feeling better’.

Here’s the thing with The Jade Star of Athering. I set myself up for editing failure with it.

My natural writing state is to write a bunch and go back and edit it before moving on. I am an edit-as-I-goer. That was how I did Bellica, and while Bellica took way too much time, its finished first draft was about 10x cleaner than its sequel’s first draft.

I started doing Jade Star that way, too. It is, as I said, my natural state.

But then I published Bellica and became active in online indie author circles and started reading all this advice and…somewhere along the way I internalized the idea that the point was to get it written and edit it later. I’LL FIX IT IN POST, my brain drunkenly screamed as I tried like hell to finish my first drafts. THIS IS A GOOD IDEA, it further said, swigging some vodka (I don’t know where my brain got the vodka) before knocking over a lamp.

This worked out okay for Stranger Skies, which was fully plotted before I wrote it (and therein lies the difference, likely). I say okay, because editing Stranger Skies was still like dragging my carcass through a swamp made of death and tears in a way that editing Bellica wasn’t.

And now editing The Jade Star of Athering is turning out to be even worse.

Part of my issues are related to Fear of the Sequel, yes — I won’t deny that. There lurks a fear in me that I can only do great first books and whatever book is next in the series will fall short. Which is fair, as it’s basically a trope now that Sequels Always Suck, so it makes sense I’d feel that way about my own work (whether or not it’s true). But mostly, the big wall that keeps springing up is the fact that this finished first draft is the messiest pile of crap I have ever produced. And that’s because I absorbed “Don’t get it right, get it written” when I was finishing it.

Look, “Don’t get it right, get it written” is actually great advice for people who are not natural edit-as-we-goers. If you are the type of writer who works better editing after the first draft is done, then yes, absolutely, vomit those words onto the page and make it pretty, make it make sense, later. Do it, because it works for you.

It doesn’t work for me. And that’s a lesson I’ve learned, now, and I won’t repeat this mistake in the future. When I’m finished The Jade Star of Athering — which was supposed to be at the beginning of this month, by the way, and now it’s looking like I’ll have to push the release date — I’ll be working on From the Ashes, the next book in The Borderlands Saga. And I’m going to let my natural inclination to edit as I go take the lead, this time.

How to procrastinate: let writing advice override your natural inclination for editing as you go. Finish a first draft. Try to edit that first draft. Suddenly, everything will look better than editing that thing (including my publishing work, which I usually also try to procrastinate on).

On the plus side of this procrastination business, I’ve gotten some work done on the publishing-other-people’s-stuff side of my life, such as getting Kaimana Wolff‘s new book Broken Sleep done and ready for pre-order (I reviewed the book back in May when I was still working on it; very few changes have been made since then, so the review stands). Shameless plug follows.

BrokenSleepebookcoverfinal400xWhat has happened to Jane?

“All voices sing in unison: get out get out get out escape escape escape…” but violence and death stalk Jane along every bend of every way out….

Can you escape a past you never knew?

Four hardworking professionals live the good life–until one falls into a hole in a Vancouver street. As the world’s colors change, each man grapples with shadows of war as Jane tumbles into the abyss of the Disappeared.

Paul and Zack, thrown together by what may be Jane’s last testament, are hardly excited about cooperating with each other on any issue, least of all on the disappearance, weeks ago, of their mutual friend and her little daughter.

What did Jane expect of them–if anything? What does her story mean–if anything? And what, if anything, should they do about Matt, Jane’s beloved husband, the man each of them suspects?

Caught in an ancient web of caring and enduring, action and restraint, law and healing, Zack and Paul enact the next steps–in Jane’s existence as well as their own.

Available for preorder in ebook and paperback from these locations

Kindle US

Kindle Canada

Barnes & Noble

iTunes

Gumroad

Storenvy

Note, the paperback preorder is only available from our Storenvy store, and not anywhere else. If you buy a paperback copy from Amazon or B&N, you are getting an older copy of the book which is completely different from this version. (Broken Sleep was originally published 9 years ago. That version is out of print, and the book has gone through extensive revisions prior to this version being released. They are basically completely different books.) The paperback of this version will be available via Createspace after the release date of September 23rd.

If you were hoping for an ARC of the book, there’s still time for one. Fill out this form and I’ll send you a copy of the ebook ASAP.

And now, I think I’ve spent enough time procrastinating. I even took a big break from working on this post to update my Facebook page and create a new cover image for it. I work really had at avoiding work, y’all.

Go order Broken Sleep, or request the ARC or something. Make my procrastination worth it! <3

Again I go, into the breach swamp….

-Katje

This Headline Started out Normal, But Then It Became Emotionally Manipulative. You’ll be blown away by the stunningly mundane content.

Just. No. STAHP.

Can we just stop with this trend already? These super annoying emotionally manipulative headlines on every little bit of content out there? Every time I see someone share one I’m about an inch away from unfriending them. Or, possibly, hitting them with a thawed salmon. (Frozen salmon could cause serious injuries; I don’t want to actually injure people, just humiliate them by hitting them with a fish.)

And it sucks, because sometimes I happen upon these things and actually see what they’re about and the content is good! I have a desire to share it! But the headline annoys me so damn much that I refuse to pass on what I’ve just witnessed. Even if it is the most mind blowing thing in the history of stuff that blows minds. (Insert dirty joke here.)

I mean, I get that our headlines have to be enticing, or people will never read the articles to which the headlines are attached. But this new trend of starting out with “This blah de blah de blah, but THEN blah de blah and your MIND will be BLOWN” and you know what, shut up headline, you don’t know me, you don’t know what’ll blow my mind. STOP TELLING ME HOW TO LIVE MY LIFE.

It’s terrible. Just terrible. Whoever came up with it started out with a good idea, but then it got away from them, and now everyone has to deal with mind blowingly mundane content wrapped up with annoying headlines.

STAHP, internet. STAHP.

Small Things

This is meant as sort of a general update on my life.

This is meant as sort of a general update on my life.

Defeat of the depressive episode: I’m apparently in a good place again. I think this was partially brought about by embracing my true self again (and partially because it had been over a month, which is how long the last one lasted after my first Depo shot). That was accomplished thanks to Abby from NCIS. It’s complicated; I don’t know if I can explain it. But it has to do with the fact that I’ve suppressed my goth-ness for years and years, for various reasons, and watching NCIS and Abby kick ass at a respectable job while being totally gothed out has made me feel more confident in being myself again.

Ok maybe it wasn’t that complicated?

Today's look inspired by Abby from NCIS. #ootd

Anyway. I got hair ties and I’ve started doing my hair like Abby’s and wearing more of my black clothes, as well as starting the process of weeding out the things from my closet that I never wear or no longer fit. I’m taking my time with it, because I need to be sure, and because it’ll be a while before I can add any more clothes to my wardrobe.

I’m alive, at any rate, and doing pretty well.

I worked my butt off last week in an effort to put rent together to pay back Mr. Katje for his covering my half. I did it, but I still need to work extra hours this week because I also owe him for internet and cable.

Plan G didn’t come through, so I need to find a way to pay for my meds. (Unless it’s just held up in bureaucracy; whatever the case, I can’t wait any longer for it to come through. I need to find a way to come up with the cash for my anti-depressants.)

I may be looking for a job outside the house soon, to supplement my self-employment income. I don’t know what that will do to my ability to blog on a regular schedule. Probably cut it off at the knees.

I wish I didn’t have to consider this as an option, but the fact is money is tight enough that I might need to work a part-time job on top of my full-time jobs of Publisher and Hausfrau. Who knows when I’ll find time for my full-time job of Writer. #notbitter

Took my first walk in the neighborhood today. Dressed far too warmly for it; thought it was going to be a lot colder. I took some pictures, which you can see at my Flickr photostream. Here’s one of them:

Road subject to flooding.

Road subject to flooding.

Phone-camera photos aren’t the most amazing, but I think I do alright, considering. Eventually I’d like to get a SLR camera, but it’s not exactly in the budget right now.

I wrote an angry rant about tattoos, ageism, and classism. I don’t know if I’ll post it or not. It rambled and seemed incoherent and really just wasn’t my best work. If I manage to revise it to a satisfactory version, I will probably post it.

I applied to grad school. Have some supporting documents to upload still, but the application is complete and paid for. I’ll know in May if I get an interview, and then after that they’ll tell me if I get in or not. I don’t really have any emotions about it at this point and I think that’s a form of self-defense against disappointment. So, more on that as it develops, I guess.

That’s about it. And now I need to get back to work.

-Katje

Minimizing Mental Illness: a message to allies

Having mental illness means you learn to minimize what’s going on with you, or you learn to be alone.

TW: discussion of depression, thoughts of self-harm and suicide

I’ve been in the midst of a severe depressive episode for the past month. I have barely been able to keep house and home together, and not very well at that. Beyond that I’ve had no get up and go to do much of anything else.

I’ve kept my brain and hands busy, for the most part, by watching TV shows, knitting, and playing video games. This is because during this particular depressive episode if I get too much inside my own head, if I’m too still, I start thinking about hurting myself again. I start thinking about all the ways I’m terrible and I deserve this depression, and it becomes a sneaky spiral of doom and death that I get locked in and have a lot of trouble getting out of.

Driving has been the most dangerous activity for me, because I start to think while I’m driving, and I start thinking about what a horrible person I am, and how I should just put everyone else out of their misery by offing myself. Driving is the most “inside my own head” activity in my life, so I’ve been avoiding it as much as I can this month.

This means I’ve mostly been inside the house. I have a lot to do inside the house and I’ve tried to be productive as possible. Of course, because I have impossibly high standards for myself and I am incredibly hard on myself all the time, this has only added to the depression as I’ve been unable to complete as much work as I want to, and that is, my brain tells me, my fault because I am lazy and horrible.

This is a sneaky way the depression and anxiety manifest themselves: make me have impossibly high standards so when I inevitably fail them I can hate myself more. Huzzah! Ale and whores for everyone, except Katje, because screw zir.

I haven’t really been able to talk to people about this, because some of the conversations I’ve had about it have gone like this:

Me: My fish are dead.
Other person: Have you tried feeding them?
Me: They’re dead.
Other person: I’ll help you look for them!
Me: My fish. are. dead.
Other person: Do you know why they’re missing?
Me: Why can’t anyone see how dead these fish are?

(Analogy courtesy Allie Brosh.)

And it becomes exhausting trying to figure out who will see my fish are dead and who won’t, so I just don’t talk about it with anyone. I’m tired of people asking about the reasons behind my depression, as if 20 years of mental illness has a fucking reason. I’m sick. I have a disease. It flares up. There’s no reason except that’s what happens and I’m stuck dealing with it.

Continue reading “Minimizing Mental Illness: a message to allies”

We’re not public property

A quote from Rachele’s amazing rant about the scummy, scamming diet company “Venus Factor.”

Fat women shouldn’t have to be afraid to post their photos on the internet. We are not public property. We shouldn’t have to worry that a diet company is going to use our photo and fat shame to sell their “system” or that forums are going to post disparaging comments alongside our photos. We shouldn’t have to deal with rude trolls sent to our websites to bother us. It isn’t about legalities, copyrights and watermarking, it is the culture of fat hate that encourages and approves it.

-Rachele, Fat Babe Designs

Read the entire story of how her picture was stolen by a scummy, scammy diet company called Venus Factor here.

This type of thing is, sadly, common — women are considered public property on the internet, and especially fat women. We are used as “inspiration” pictures — heads cut off, of course, because heavens forfend we’re treated like actual people — for people wanting to lose weight. We are attacked in large number by misogynistic, fat-hating trolls, because we dared to put pictures of ourselves up without the requisite apologies for even existing. Our pictures are stolen for snake oil salesmen to use in their ads for fake diet companies.

It shouldn’t take mass activism or a social media campaign to get a company to take down stolen pics. One note from the owner of the pics should be enough. But, again — fat women are not considered people. Misogyny + fat hate means we need to go the extra mile just to be treated like human beings — we have to fight for people to give us some common human decency.

Rachele has my unconditional support as she traverses the roads of fighting these guys legally, and if I have any money to spare I will donate some to help pay her legal fees. She is fighting for all of us fatties — especially those of us with a smaller voice, fewer followers — and showing these gross companies that we’re not taking this shit lying down anymore.

I am tired of being treated as less-than human, as public property.

I am Katje. I’m fully human. I am not public property. My body is a dictatorship, and I am its ruler. You do not get to treat me as anything less than a fully sovereign human being.

Ragnarok, day 2

ARISE JORMUNGAND.

Ragnarok, day 2

It is still snowing like whoa over here. Stopped briefly yesterday in the late afternoon/early evening, but when I woke up this morning it was back in full force.

The world is ending covered in water. Fenrir has eaten the sun. ARISE JORMUNGAND.

Anyway. Today is my rest day after surgery — yes, my surgery was Wednesday, but I’ve been busy every day since. Probably been overdoing it a bit. I promised myself I’d spend today resting, possibly sleeping a lot.

I’m still in a considerable amount of pain, though it is nowhere near the amount of pain I was in when the teeth were still occupying my jaws. This pain is a healing pain, and it is annoying and slow to go away, but I can be patient and deal. I am now eating semi-solid foods, like omelettes and quiche and such, which does quite a bit to improve my mood.

Tomorrow I’m planning on posting something very revealing about my childhood/upbringing and being a survivor of abuse. It was an article I found very hard to write; I’ve been sitting on it for a few weeks while I decided if I had the strength to share it. I finally decided I do have the strength to share it, so it will be going up tomorrow.

Please note if the comments turn abusive I will turn them off. I might have the spoons to share my story, but I am not required to weather the sadism of trolls, nor am I required to weather people who will come to the defense of my abuser. (Yes, there are people who defend my abuser(s). Because abusers aren’t abusive to everyone; if they were they would not have any licence to operate, and they do.)

If you find these topics difficult to read about or triggering, you may want to skip reading the blog tomorrow.

Hope everyone has a great end to their weekend, and I’ll see you tomorrow.

-Katje

I might have too many books.

You know it’s bad when you think you have too many books.

I only say that because today was spent cataloguing and packing them. There are a lot.

The book situ when I started this morning.
The book situ when I started this morning.

That picture doesn’t show the coffee table and the couch, but they’ve also got books on them — the coffee table, a lot; the couch, not so much.

By midpoint it looked like this:

bookpacking2You can see my laptop open because of the ongoing cataloguing work. I’ve now got 717 books in my library on LibraryThing (796 in all collections, which includes books I’ve borrowed and still want to read and my wishlist).

The couch is covered in books that have been inputted into my LibraryThing catalogue, the coffee table in stacks of books yet to be put in.

You can’t see the piles I added to the coffee table today, because they’re balanced on the edge behind the four boxes of books.

Note: this does not include all the books that were not on the shelves because I’ve been reading them or they’ve been travelling with me — they will be packed, but not in boxes. Nor does this include my own books, of which I have several copies lying around — they will get their own box.

I just finished about 15 minutes ago, and now the living room looks like this:

bookpacking3

Yeah, I took down all those bookcases. Only one double-stack remains, just off camera. That bookcase contains my notebooks and journals and such on the top, and my late Oma’s books on the bottom. Oma’s books are going into storage — we’re keeping them, because they’re family heirlooms, but neither mom nor I have any room for them in our personal libraries right now.

I think the couch now has more books on it than the coffee table does, which means the more tedious part of my job has been lessened. Packing boxes of books is not, actually, tedious, but adding them to my catalogue is.

You can see my dinner in the last photo. I am eating it right now, at 11pm, because it’s been that sort of day. I’m exhausted and thinking I have too many books.

You know it’s bad when you think you have too many books. (Hint: the correct paradigm is never enough books!)

Tomorrow, up bright and early to pack up the couch-books and input the table-books and then take down the last bookcase.

The Last Bookcase. Sounds like it could be a fantasy/horror novel.

And that’s the sign I should go to bed.

Yeah, I’m going to do that now. See you all tomorrow.

Moving

It is tiring as hell.

So, you are probably aware we’re in the middle of moving.

Of what you may not be aware is that it is tiring as hell.

I woke up this morning feeling like I’d been beaten with sticks, and the feeling didn’t go away. I have accomplished very little today because I’ve just lacked the energy. The spoons. I am very low on spoons.

After getting the keys to our new place I moved in some kitchen boxes and then went and spent the night at Mr. Katje’s house. I was so exhausted yesterday that I didn’t have energy for a real blog post, which is why I showed you a picture of my degree. (It didn’t help that yesterday itself was exhausting both physically and emotionally.)

Now, I’m working on filling the car to the gills so I can make another trip down with stuff. The car has to be that full, because I have to take the long way to our new place to avoid the toll bridge, and I don’t want to make a trip that long for a half-full car. Also, I have to unload in one go, because the trip between Mr. Katje’s place and the new place is far enough that I don’t want to make it twice for one load. (The long way from my place to the new place goes right past Mr. Katje’s place.)

Luckily, we will be getting help for the big stuff — furniture — because we can’t handle it ourselves. The small stuff, however, is all on me (Mr. Katje works full-time during the week; he’ll be able to help on weekends, but I’m still doing the majority of the moving work, especially as most of our stuff is coming from my place).

And I don’t move as fast or with as much energy as I used to.

So it’s slow going, and it’s very tiring, and my blogging may suffer for the next few weeks. I’m sorry about that. I will be keeping to my postaday habit, but those posts may just be photos of things.

It’s all worth it, though. We’re moving into a great place, and we’re going to have a great time living there.

We just need to get through this bit. The boxes and driving and going up and down stairs a lot and arg! bit.

This is why I’m tired today

So many books….

I don’t have the spoons for a proper post. This is why:

This is why I'm tired today. Cataloging and packing books.

I’ve spent most of today cataloguing the books that were on that bookcase into my LibraryThing account and then packing them into boxes, in preparation of eventually moving out of this house. (Eventually = in the next few months.) Books take a long time to pack and they’re something I can pack earlier than other things, so it seemed like a good plan.

But that, combined with lack of sleep, means I’m exhausted. More awake Katje tomorrow, hopefully.