Embracing Quitting

No one is every any good at anything until they practice, yet I’m the worst sort of drill sergeant in my own head, screaming at me, calling me a maggot, because I wasn’t perfect the first time — or because I THOUGHT about quitting.

Gods know how I ever got to a point where I not only finished but published two novels. I think I have, entirely, my outside support system to thank for that.

2013-Participant-Vertical-BannerI’m a perfectionist. Type A personality. I don’t quit things. I finish them, and they’re always perfect. If they’re not I need to take anti-anxiety meds and hide in my closet.

Very rarely this can be a positive thing — makes me get things done right the first time — but mostly it’s the fucking worst. I mean, generally this attitude makes me unable to deal with failure of any sort, which basically makes me unable to function because being human means failing at something on almost a daily basis. No one is every any good at anything until they practice, yet I’m the worst sort of drill sergeant in my own head, screaming at me, calling me a maggot, because I wasn’t perfect the first time — or because I THOUGHT about quitting.

Gods know how I ever got to a point where I not only finished but published two novels. I think I have, entirely, my outside support system to thank for that.

This year I signed up for Nanowrimo. Again. I do it every year, it seems (except 2010 — can’t remember why not, now, but likely I was just under unholy amounts of stress and made the smart decision) — Nanowrimo is like a drug I cannot resist. Its siren call urges me on to the greatest heights of success…or the lowest depths of failure.

Often I beat myself up for not finishing Nano. Even last year, when I reached 60,000 words two weeks before the end of November — I was upset because I hadn’t actually finished the story, which was what I had set out to do. Give me a chance and I’ll always find a way to be hard on myself.

Which is silly — a year later and that book, the one I started for Nano 2012, is published. Obviously I’m not a failure. My brain is a liar.

So this year I decided I wanted not only to write my ID — that is, write whatever the hell I wanted and not worry about story mechanics or whether my main character was too Mary Sueish or not — but also publish as I finished chapters. I felt it would give me…some sort of accountability, if only to myself.

I then decided to pants writing a story set in a world that needed extensive worldbuilding. Not my best decision.

At the beginning of November I was still deceiving myself into thinking I could do this, even without any portable writing tool — my laptop is on the fritz and experiments with the iPad have revealed it’s quite impossible to use it to write away from home. At least until Scrivener has an app for it.

And then came the editing and formatting delays with Stranger Skies, which I’ve mentioned here before. And I got so caught up with the work of publishing that I had to put writing aside.

I stressed about this for a while. How could I not? I was failing again.

And then at some point the stress just…melted away. The stress regarding Nano, at least. I got to the end of the formatting and editing work and…just never got back to Nano.

It’s not that I’m dissatisfied with what I’ve written so far; far from it. I think I have the beginnings of a good story there. I just don’t have the energy to write in the constraints of Nano this year. And, honestly, I should really be focusing on some WiPs before I go starting new projects to get halfway through before dropping.

So I’m embracing quitting this year. I’m not winning Nano; I’m not even going to up my word count any higher than where it is — a piddly 3,763. I’m letting it sit and I’m going to be okay with that.

Even if I need a little help from my good friend chocolate.

Bellica’s new cover

So, I released a cover a while back that was still tugging at me, saying “No, no, I need more, preciousssssss.”  (Yeah, I don’t just have characters telling me what to do — I have covers as well.)

I realized it was missing green. I’d always envisioned Bellica as a green covered book, and then I designed this cover with no green on it (aside from some really dark shades of it in the picture on the front). Either I was high, or I was just so eager to get a cover out I didn’t take my time with it.

Now I have. And I have a new cover to show for it. Really, the same cover, just with some green. Behold:

This is just the front of the book. The black band that is behind the picture continues around the spine to the back cover, where it forms the background for the…synopsis. I think that’s what the thing on the back of the book is called.

Info on the picture: my model, Dana Kagis, is playing Yarrow, the main character. She stands resolute, her hand on her sword. We can’t see her eyes, but we know they are looking off into the distance, fixed on a future she may not wish for. The light through the trees suggests twilight — a liminal space, where anything might happen. She is on the threshold — after this moment, everything changes.

I’m pretty excited. I have just under 200 people requesting the book on its giveaway on GoodReads. By the 10th I should have the layout all done. And I’ve just discovered a really easy way to create eBooks! No more futzing around with the devil that is InDesign (ID is awesome for design for anything but eBooks — then it’s like living on the Hellmouth) — I can do eBooks directly from Scrivener. And they look pretty damn good, if I am careful with the formatting.

Now. Back to planning for November. I’ve got an outline for my NaNo novel — will wonders never cease for this hardcore pantser?