Taking a break from Esthree Postbuild

Christmas break! Christmas break!

I’m on Christmas break from my day job!

Holy moly, I’ve been looking forward to this break for a long time. The thought of a solid fortnight of writing time has given me life.

And now that it’s here, I’m just dead. The last week of work wiped me out, mentally and physically.

Sunday

I tried to get some words out yesterday, but my wrists were in agony so I took a break.

Actually, I discovered the third season of 12 Monkeys on Amazon Prime — I’d only seen the first two on Netflix — and I… kinda marathoned the whole thing in one sitting.

Damnit, it’s an awesome show! It’s not the kind of time-travel I’m interested in writing, but damnit it’s the kind of show I could watch forever.

Monday

Today, physically, I feel great. Mentally, though, nothing’s happening.

I’m feeling a lot. Mostly, I’m feeling terrified. Terrified that I’m not sure I’m capable of telling a story. Terrified that I’m wiped out all the time. Just… all-around terrified.

It’s taken me all day to get something like a thousand words out for Esthree Postbuild vs the Void Rock. It’s a tough third act. It needs to be rooted in scientific accuracy, while leaning on the magical abilities I’ve established earlier to allow for some suspension of the laws of physics.

On top of that, I’m paranoid that Esthree is swinging between “needs the obvious explained to her” while also “can do everything by herself.” I’m trying to keep Bolide in the story, but after establishing her scientific background, she’s only a glorified dock worker in the finale.

I’ve got fixes for all that in my head, but there’s a wall between my brain and my fingers, and it’s got “you suck” scrawled on it. So, I’ve spent most of today keeping busy with other bits and pieces, and not pushing my writing career along.

I don’t want to repeat last year’s Christmas break. I had a plan to work on two projects: a Star Trek episode plot generator — just a bit of fun, with Star Trek: Discovery on the horizon — and work on Closed for the Winter — the science-fiction end-of-the-world-ish novel I’ve been chipping away at for three years now.

The plan was to work on both. I ended up just working on the plot generator. And that’s so, so stupid. See, it’s “safe”. It’s what I know. It’s my bread and butter. And I know I can’t fail, if I do what I’m good at.

But when I went back to my day-job after two weeks off, I felt like the worst kind of shit because I hadn’t moved forward at all. I’d only tread water.

I need to finish a fucking story

I’m holding two core beliefs right now:

  • Core belief #1: Literally the only thing preventing me from succeeding is a lack of self-confidence in my writing.
  • Core belief #2: The best way for me to build up some self-confidence is to finish a fucking story and get it out into the world.

So, here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to put Esthree Postbuild vs the Void Rock on hold for the moment, and I’m going to work on a short story instead.

Actually, I’m going to write and submit a short story to Otter Libris for their MCSI: Magical Crime Scene Investigation anthology. I’ve got five weeks to write 3,000-10,000 words, which ought to be very doable even at my recent godawful velocity.

So… I know my plans change month-on-month, but I figure it’s better to be changing course than to have no course at all. I feel like the worst kind of bullshit writer, but I ain’t quitting.

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