Friday, March 24, 2017

Update on my Writing

Everything is going well with Flux. I’m still so overjoyed that this is happening! So far we’ve done two rounds of thorough editing and I have a cover too! Can’t wait to share it.

I didn’t have it this easy. I want to remind everyone that this book took years to get published. This is my fifth book, my third YA book. I went through years and years of rejection. Not going to say exactly how many, but enough to make you go bonkers!

But the reason I pushed this book so hard was because I always believed in it. Plus I received a lot of praise during those rejections. I came so close so many times, but it just wouldn’t work out. But deep in my mind, I thought to myself, if I give up on this book, I’m giving up on the rest too. I have four other YA novels that I wrote after this too, and I plan to push those out there in the world eventually.

I did this on my own too, without an agent. There were quite a few publishers interested, but asking for a lot of revisions. Same thing with agents too. I revised this particular story seven different times and it still didn’t work! That’s when I knew to stick to my guns and stop revising for everyone and to just keep pushing it out there.

I submitted to Flux November of last year. The editor asked for the full on the first three chapters, the synopsis and the query of course too. She requested around New Year’s. I sent it to her and she confirmed getting it on New Year’s Eve! How cool was that?

I got her email just days later, on a Wednesday. I saw the email in my inbox and freaked out. I thought if they don’t like it, I’m retiring this thing. Seriously! I felt like I’ve exhausted all places. And Flux only took agented submissions and suddenly one day when I was searching on Google again, I found out they were starting to take submissions from authors directly. So I reread and cleaned it up for the umpteenth time and sent it. A door had opened for me.

But the point I am trying to make is, never give up. Always keep trying, keep sending, keep looking for places and agents to send. I want to stress to look for agents first and if that’s not going how you planned, you can always submit directly to publishers. There are still a lot of great publishers out there, that pay advances and take direct submissions. The key is to search, and to keep searching.

Also another thing that kept me busy was keeping up with the YA market. I would read just about every new blurb of a book possible. And reading YA novels too. Study what is on the market. I’m not saying write to trend, but get a feel of what’s out there and what’s moving.

I still have a long way to go myself. But to all my writing friends struggling with finding an agent and or publisher, persistence is about 97% of what you need. For reputable places to submit your YA novel to, that also pay advances, please peruse my blog of lists of publishers. And good luck to you and keep going!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Living with the Bipolar Disorder: Part 100: Self-talk and ways to cope

My parts are going out of order since it seems fitting that way. I want to touch upon self-talk, what it is and how someone with Bipolar is living with it. Self-talk is your inner voice inside your head that speaks to you, sometimes super loud to the point you’re no longer paying attention in real life, and what’s actually happening around you.

When I talk to myself in my head, sometimes I’m having full blown conversations and it’s hard to concentrate on what I’m really doing, like watching a movie, or reading a book. It’s like having your own audiobook stuck in your head and you don’t have the off button. Even the volume button doesn’t work. Sometimes it seems to get worse as I’m trying to fight it.

I’ll be sitting outside, watching the birds and I’ll create this story in my head, narrating it as I watch the birds perched on the tree, maybe eating at the little birdhouse. It’s nice that my neighbor’s into birds. He has a little sanctuary built up for them.

But during this time, I’m saying I wonder where your nests are. Is it really high up in the trees? I bet they have little eggs too. I’ll watch one swoop down and pick at the ground and pull out a worm when the morning’s damp and the sky is a gray haze. But mind you now, I’ll be narrating it in my head as I’m watching the birds. I can’t just watch the birds. There’s always a story going on there.

Or when I’m stopped at the red light and a young girl is walking across the street. She runs to the bus stop. Here I am sitting there wondering where she’s rushing off too. Is she late for an appointment? Then I’ll think of all these stories until the light turns green and I go.

Or another example. I’m doing my daily walk (try to at least…more like 4 days a week) and I’ll see a stork sign on someone’s lawn, baby girl born into this world, Vivian Lynn, 7 lbs. 2 oz. And by the time I’m at the end of the block, Vivian is already one and is trying to walk. Her mother is sick with postpartum depression and the father is the one taking Vivian around, to the park and things like that.

So, self-talk can be really creative and it truly helps when you’re writing. BUT living with it day to day can be daunting. Worry about things and blowing them way out of proportion. Like if I don’t hear from my son who is away at college. If I haven’t heard from him all day and I’ve texted him and called him, I begin to think horrible thoughts, like someone knocked him over the head somewhere as he was walking and now he woke up tied to a chair in some dark closet where it’s hard to breathe. Now these thoughts are very very difficult to take. These worries are the same as if I haven’t heard from my daughter in a while too. These are just some examples when self-talk is harmful. It puts you in a state of panic. You’re trapped, not being able to function with anything.

But what I’ve learned over the years is that the best way to curb my self-talk never-ending record player in my head, is to write. It has got to be for me the best way to cope with things. My doctor recommended it when I was first diagnosed back in 2004 and I’ve been writing ever since.

I’m also a big fan of walking. And I don’t just mean walking on a treadmill at the gym. I mean walking outside and getting the fresh air, taking in your surroundings. Most of the time I’m walking and talking (out loud sometimes…I’m careful to make sure no one is around, and I talk under my breath, anyway) It’s good to get out of your head that way too. Not always, but usually I feel better, like I got it out of my system.

So writing and walking are my two great coping skills for the Bipolar Disorder. If you suffer from self-talk and sometimes can’t get that voice inside your head to shut off, put it to good use and write your thoughts out. Or walk your thoughts out. I sincerely hope this post will help you. Living with a mental illness doesn’t have to rule your life. Seeing your doctor and staying on your meds is key. And as you stabilize yourself, I hope you’ll use these coping skills along the way. Stay strong. Live well.