How Addictive is Seroquel? My Story

By E.L. Farris and Jenn McRae

My body was twitching. “It’s bigger than me,” I murmured to my business partner.

“What’s bigger than you?” She sounded calm, but concerned. El_aviator

I shook my head at the phone, and promised to explain later. The thing was, I had no words. How do you tell your business partner–how do you admit to your business partner–that you OD’d on this shit just a day ago, and now your mind, your body, your hands . . . are craving something? I didn’t want to admit it, because if I did, she’d–they’d–take it from me.

I was twitching from the effects of the drug. I came out of my sleepy state to look on the bedside table and realize I didn’t have any more dope. My brain started to scream, where is it, gimme!

I stumbled to the bathroom and there on the counter was the bottle with my fix. Thank God. I shouldn’t . . . fuck. I’m not . . . and I really wasn’t going to . .  . I put it in my mouth and felt the instant of relief. Not worrying about how I would be later, what my family would think or how it all would play out, I went back to bed to ride the ride.

This was me . . . after almost two years of sobriety from drugs and alcohol. I worked my recovery–hard. I did all the steps. Told all my friends about my problem. Wrote about it. Indeed, not only did I get clean–I came clean.

How could someone so dedicated, so committed to her recovery get back on the stuff? Well, I’ll tell you. Its name is SEROQUEL and it is prescribed every day and it is

As addictive as heroin.

Don’t believe me? Don’t ask your psychiatrist. When I asked mine about it, she asked me if I was “really just addicted to chaos.” Don’t ask the drug companies. They only submit the “independent tests” that support the safety and efficacy of their products. Don’t ask the FDA, because they’re always the last to find out a drug is dangerous; after all, it takes individuals like me who are willing to tell their stories to make the FDA pay attention. Or their families, after the drug takes their loved one away from them.  And if I’d stayed on Seroquel for even another week, that could have been me, riding away in a puff of exhaust and an ambulance.

I’m one of the lucky ones. See, I do and did work the steps. I called my business partner back. I called my therapist. I gave my husband the bottle. I cried, “Please, help me; help me get my mind back.”

But before that?

I was staring at my bathroom mirror, mindlessly swallowing a drug that I did not want. That was me, a week ago . . . a mother of three; a published author; and yes . . . a sufferer of bipolar disorder. The myths and stigmas that encircle mental illness are far-reaching and widespread, but I refuse to be silenced by any of this.

I take care of myself. Therapy. Meds. EMDR. I trust my therapist. I trust my psychiatrist. I remind them constantly that I am an addict. An over-sensitive, over-achieving, monkey-chatterer addict. They cannot, and should not, under any circumstances, give me any type of medication that has ANY addictive properties.JennRanes

We agreed on this.

And yet despite all of this, for a few days, I teetered between staying clean and falling, hard, back into hell. Did I relapse? Oh hell no. It was like someone poured grain alcohol into my coffee. Maybe I took a few more sips than I needed. But I worked the steps. I worked it hard. And now, 48 hours Seroquel-free, I think I’m going to be all right.

But many other Seroquel users may not be. I write, we write, this story for them. For them, for their psychiatrists, for their therapists, for their family members, and for anyone else who listens to his or her doctors.

Seroquel is a serious drug. Please help us get the word out–from two addicts who think we all have too much to lose.

LINKS:

http://www.mindfreedom.org/kb/psychiatric-drugs/antipsychotics/seroqueladdiction See EMIL R. PINTA, M.D.Source: American Journal of Psychiatry 164:174

http://seroqueladdiction.com/seroquel-addiction

To read more of E.L. Farris on addiction, please see: www.amazon.com/Run-Novel-Sally-Lane-Brookman-ebook/dp/B00FQMTRQA/


Paul Hollis’ The Hollow Man: a Benchmark for Thrillers, Belongs on Big Screen

I don’t care for most thrillers because within the genre, plot tends to drive characterization, and I prefer the reverse. I read books to find characters who seem as real as anyone I might see in real life. Fast-paced thrillers often seem one or two-dimensional to me. In HOLLOW MAN, however, Paul Hollis manages to create not just one, but several real people. The characters in this character-driven thriller are as real, as compelling, as three-dimensional as any I’ve come across in real life. And this is the mark of a great book.

Hollow Man by Paul HollisHollis is a very visual writer. I could see the countryside unfurling from the train window. I could picture the blood spurting from one of the many villain’s carotid arteries. I could picture the ghost, a murdered little girl, translucent, yet lucent (for real, Hollis uses this word), forlornly gazing into a camera, or into the main character’s eyes.

Speaking of cameras, HOLLOW MAN belongs on the big screen. I’m hoping that Hollis ships this novel to either Indie filmmakers or perhaps to the titans in Hollywood. I predict that if this is adapted for film, it will be a mega hit.

What audience will enjoy HOLLOW MAN? Fans of literary fiction will appreciate the craftsmanship. Male readers will love the pacing, the action, and the likable lead. History buffs will appreciate the early 1970′s time period, which almost amounts to a separate character in itself. Former intelligence officers will likely chuckle about the author’s take on the spy world. Anyone with a pulse will enjoy reading HOLLOW MAN.

I highly recommend this book. I received a free copy of HOLLOW MAN from the author in exchange for an honest review.

E.L. Farris
AIA Reviewer


Spirituality and Sexuality: How Rape Fantasies Hurt Abuse Survivors

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I read an interesting article yesterday, written by August McLaughlin, about how rape fantasies can help women heal. Initially, I felt this heaviness in my heart when I read just the phrase “rape fantasies,” but I tried to read and learn, which I often do when I read one of August’s posts. As August explains:

“Fantasies allow us to experience the outer limits of our imaginations safely, with no risk–and for some people, that includes fantasies of coerced sex,” writes Michael Castleman, MA, author of All About Sex.

August cites five reasons women fantasize about rape:

The thrill of desire.
Permission to experience pleasure first, without worrying about performance.
Permission to be sexual.
Societal teachings.
Adrenaline boosts.

August then explains that Dr. Laura Berman on her Showtime TV series Sexual Healing says the following:

The fact is a lot of women who have been through sexual trauma . . . have rape fantasies, submission fantasies…because it’s sort of a way to work through it . . . It’s kind of taking what was out of your control and putting it in control.

What I think is missing from this discussion is the all-important question of how fantasizing about rape can affect a women’s spirit, or soul. After all, we humans are not mere physical beings. We are of God, from God. And we have a mind; we have a body. But most of all, we have an eternal spirit that never dies.

The standard by which I measure whether sex is good or bad for us is in part whether it feels safe and good, and in part whether it helps our souls heal from whatever wounds life has inflicted on us. Again, we are not just a mind and a body. We’re a mind, a body, and most important, a soul.

Mere physical responses to stimuli involve just biology. As many rape and incest survivors will tell you, their damn bodies let them down. Or as Sally Lane Brookman cries out in anguish in I Run, when admitting how she was turned on just talking about her brother raping her:

I feel turned on. That’s how I feel, and I’m pissed off feeling it. “Fuck biology.” I laugh and try to soften my anger, and then I wish I would stop doing that. “I know it sounds childish, but I hate it. I hate that my body fails me like this.”

She explains again that it is just biology, but I’m not taking it in. I don’t, I can’t really hear her. There’s too much shame. I feel confused. And ashamed. I don’t want to be there. I don’t want to be here. I want to escape.

Our bodies and minds fail us in so many ways. Indeed, when I write about rape and incest, I often feel turned on. This is actually why I started drinking again while writing Ripple. I’d write the pervert’s scenes, feel this physical response, and feel this deep, awful shame. Alcohol numbed this.

My body and my mind have let me down sexually in so many ways. August asks the reader if she has experience rape fantasies. In my case, hell yes. For a good part of my life, I could only get off if I was being the dirty girl, the slut, talking dirty, wanting to “fuck” rather than make love. And the only way I could fuck or make love was when I was buzzed or high.

Whoa. Right? Does this sound healthy?El_aviator

I can tell you, quite simply, this mentality did not help me heal; indeed, it retarded, or stunted my healing. Being only able to perform when you feel like a whore is not a good thing. It’s just not.

Now, I am a big advocate of sexual freedom. I think God gave us sex as an extra awesome gift. For real. But there are good orgasms and bad orgasms. Good orgasms uplift you. Bad orgasms make you bow your head in shame, or discomfort, or just relief that you got off and can release your physical tension.

A word about my own healing. Through hard work in therapy and spiritual study, I no longer reenact the whore-virgin dichotomy in bed. I don’t have to feel slutty to get off. I don’t have to subjugate myself to the man I’m with; I don’t need to replay my sexual abuse over and over in some misguided attempt to make sense of it. And my bedroom is no longer a shackle. But the key to my newfound freedom from my past is letting go of being a victim, either in life, or in fantasy. At least in the bedroom, I am free of my past.

And for that, I’m truly grateful.


Are Furloughed Workers Lazy, Unnecessary and Unimportant?

As y’all know, I love our conversations.  I have been surprised, however, by how hostile some have been with regard to the partial Government shutdown and furlough.
On responses at my site and others, a few themes have arisen regarding the furloughed employees that are just not true.  Usually these themes accompany an ad-hominem attack on a previous commenter.
One of my favorite sayings is that we are all entitled to our own opinions, not our own facts.  Here are what I see as two of the most egregious examples of demonstrably false statements–mythology of the furlough–that appear in comments to furlough articles.

Myth # 1:  Furloughed employees are not doing important work.cropped-BlondeSally.Avatar4.jpg
This myth is a pumped-up spin on the old stereotype of the Government employee as a feckless clock-watcher.   You have probably heard it in the form of a comment that reads:  “if the Government does not need them [the furloughed workers] why are we paying them?”
Like that lazy government employee stereotype, assuming people on furlough are not doing necessary work is ignorant, uninformed and just plain wrong. Furloughed employees often have policy and oversight responsibilities; for example, take a look at Federal agency shutdown plans to see who is not in the office this week.  Among the furloughed, you will find contracting officers–the employees who award Federal contracts.

Those employees sign the contracts that support the national economy – lest we forget which entity purchases more goods and services than any other.  Even with the Department of Defense back at work, the economy will presumably suffer with most Government spending on hold.  For sure, many problems the furloughed employees would address will not be addressed as a result of the shutdown. A veritable army of GS-14s and 15s watch over how our money is spent, design safeguards to protect our money, and perform similarly important functions . . . and this army has been idled.  If you know a Federal employee on furlough, try asking him or her what work is not getting done. I bet you’ll be surprised.

Myth # 2:  Furloughed employees are enjoying a vacation.
The furlough is not a vacation.  On every one of our vacations, my husband will generally spend around an hour each day working. He can’t just ignore his duties even when we’re at the beach. He has to get online and address small problems to keep them from becoming big ones; he has to check the pulse of whatever is happening to make sure he can seamlessly transition back to the job he loves when he gets back to the office. And I want to underscore, friends, that he loves his job, which centers on serving the public welfare. His work breaks do not interrupt our vacation (he is the only early riser in our crew and our vacations always include downtime), but we all know he needs to stay on top of what is happening at the office.  And he’s not alone in the dedication he shows to his job. The vast majority of the Federal employees I know work every bit as hard as private sector employees. And in the case of attorneys like my husband, for half the pay.
During the furlough my husband is not checking his e-mail, telephone messages or doing anything else directly related to his work.  I can tell it bothers him.  The Federal employees are not enjoying a vacation. He can’t take care of his duties, and no one else is, either. People depend on him. Businesses depend on him. And he cannot help them. I think it’s driving him slightly crazy. In fact, I know it is, because he’s reorganizing the family library according to the dictates of the Library of Congress Catalog. I know he’s not the only Federal employee who’s worrying about the work he or she should be getting done, but cannot, during the shutdown.

How about it?  Are some of you furloughed Government employees?  If so, I would love to hear what you would be doing if the Government were funded.

Have you heard any other ridiculous statements related to the shutdown?


Two Friends, five kids on a Concall

My Bad Doggy Productions partner Stephanie Saye just wrote this hilarious piece about what a typical conference call between us sounds like. © 2013 Stephanie Saye
El: *answers phone* Hey.farrisandsaye3-300x227
Stephanie: Hey. Can you give me the login info for the Web site?

El: You lost it again? *kids screaming in background* WOULD YOU GUYS BE QUIET! I’M ON THE PHONE! Hey, how far have you read on my book?

Stephanie: I dunno, chapter 13 or something? *kid repeating “mommy, mommy” in background* I didn’t have much time over the weekend. Luke, mommy is working, I’ll be done in a few minutes. No, no … please put that down. That’s mommy’s stapler. GIVE IT TO ME BEFORE YOU STAPLE YOUR EYE!

El: *sighs* So … this whole not working on the weekend thing, is that gonna be like a regular thing for you? *more screaming* DAMMIT! I’M ON THE PHONE … WORKING!

Stephanie: Dude, I have no doors on my office. *cat wails in background* I can’t do shit when my family’s at home.

El: What author doesn’t have doors on her office? BEN, GET DOWN FROM THERE NOW! Oh my God, is your cat dying?

Stephanie: *more wailing* Nah, she’s just hungry. JESUS CHRIST TYRA, WOULD YOU GIVE ME A FREAKIN’ BREAK? Okay, so where were we?

El: I was just about to ask you about the logo …

Stephanie: *kid crying in background* Oh hold on a second. IAN, IS YOU BROTHER HURT? Great. He’s hurt. El, lemme call you back.

And you wonder how we ever get stuff done? ~S © 2013 Stephanie Saye and E.L. Farris

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The really neat thing about these concalls, besides the friendship and the laughs? With Stephanie Saye and Christina Frey’s help, I’m happy to announce that I will be releasing I Run within the next 24 hours. I have a final cover, and there’s a long, messed-up story behind that, but that’s for another day, when we’ve all imbibed our coffee. We’re just conducting some final proofs and hopefully, tomorrow (happy sob) I Run will be out! Thank you all so much for your friendship and support; thank you for sharing my joy, my weird humor, and my deep thoughts about God, children, running, and sundry other random topics. Thanks for laughing at my jokes, and thanks for giving me cyber-hugs when I’m crying. Just . . . thanks. Here’s the cover for I Run: A Novel. Special thanks to Christina Frey of Page Two Editing and Stephanie Saye for all your awesome help.


Dear Congress: Please Take my Husband Back

Dear Congress:

Re:  Please Take My Husband Back

On behalf of all the wives of federal workers, I wanted to thank you for sending my husband home to me. I’ve loved having him around. Really, it’s been great . . . but—would you please TAKE HIM BACK NOW?

Here’s why you gotta take him back:

1. His furlough beard is itchy when he kisses me.

2. His quiet creeping around the kitchen is making me nervous. His incessant opening of the fridge is making me nervous. I wish he would go and get groceries. “I can’t; the commissary’s closed, too.” Shit.

3. He has reorganized all the CDs and left a stack of at least 100 of them next to my laptop, and won’t leave my study until he downloads all of them to the cloud.

 4. He has thrown out at least 500 hangers, which was great, but he also threw out my children’s School Picture Forms, and I got a hysterical, slightly accusatory call from our fifth grader this morning. “Mom? Um. Where’s my picture order form?”

 5. He’s making me look really bad in front of the other soccer moms. My kids actually have their hair brushed when they show up at the bus stop in the morning; they’re not wearing flip-flops; and no one has worn sweats or frayed t-shirts all week.

6. Is it really necessary to store 50 bottles of water in the basement? Like really necessary? Just checking.

7. C-Span. Nuff said.

8. He keeps walking past the stack of bills on the counter, sighing so heavily, I can picture Al Gore during a presidential debate.

9. He’s caught enough fish to feed the family for the rest of the year, and there’s no more room in the freezer to store it, so now we’re eating it every night for dinner and have I mentioned I hate fish?

10. He’s redesigned the family escape plan at least ten times, and now he’s making us stop, drop, and roll several times a day.

11.  Every time I go to get my nails or my hair done, he gets this look on his face, like, “What the hell do you do with all your free time, anyway?”

12.  Fox News. CNN. And more bloody C-Span.1374806_626495280714167_505490152_n

13. No, we don’t need to build traps to catch all the squirrels in the back yard, and no, we really shouldn’t buy the boys BB Guns for target practice. No. No, no, no!

14. No, I’m not hungry for lunch right now.

15.  My daughter can now burp the entire alphabet.

16. My husband has spread enough insecticide to kill entire universes of ant colonies, and now I’m worrying about the neighbor’s dog.

17. Speaking of the neighbor’s dog, I found three bark arrestor collars on the side counter. We do NOT own a dog.

18. Last night, before I got into bed, my husband was holding his iPad watching baby videos. And when I started to undress, he said something about trying for a fourth. “Trying for a fourth what, exactly,” I almost screamed, before I cuddled up against his itchy furlough beard.

19.  C-Span. Again.

20.  He keeps editing my work. He is editing MY WORK.

 

Dear Congress, I’m hoping you can understand just how badly you need to take my husband, our husbands, back.  Before we deliver them to the hallowed grounds of the nation’s . . . oh whatever. Sorry. The phone’s ringing again. It’s a Republican politician calling for the fifth time this week. I gotta take this call.

 

Respectfully Yours,

 

A Soccer Mom in the Suburbs of Northern Virginia


Congress: Can You Hear Me Now

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I just got a phone call from some Republican running for political office here in Northern Virginia. They call my husband and me because we vote red most years. Yeah, stupid us, right? Anyway, I almost picked up the phone and started screaming, “I’m mad and I’m not gonna take it . . .” but I thought better of it.

Upon further reflection, maybe I need to hit the caller ID button and return that phone call. Fuckers. Really. Forgive my language. But I’m really angry tonight. I’m a little bit angry at myself, and a lot more angry at the folks we voted for. Sure, I voted some of them into office. But my party has now put my awesome, hardworking, proud to serve and all of that family out of work.

I am so irked I could spit. You know what I say? They really want to say the government is unnecessary? Then shut the whole thing down. Military? Shut it down. FBI? Shut it down. Counter-terrorism unit? Shut it down.

Something explodes somewhere? Oops. No emergency workers. Need to visit someone you love somewhere? Oops, we sent the air traffic controllers home. There are no planes flying the friendly skies tonight.

You need more government handouts? Nope. You’re relying on your social security check? Oops. Defunded. Forget about welfare. Too bad you need food stamps. You’re injured? Oops. Medicare just went kaput.

You know what? If government doesn’t matter, then just shut it all down. You get my point, right? Or if you’re a crazy anarchist, you’re nodding, and howling, “Right on El!!! WAHOO!!”

The government either matters or it doesn’t. If you really think it doesn’t matter, dear Congress, then shut the whole thing down. Then clean up the mess you’ve created. Do your own dirty work–even for just a day. Take responsibility for tearing out the walls that bind our collective welfare together. 800px-United_States_Capitol_west_front_edit2

I’ve heard some folks argue, “Stop paying Congress. That will solve the problem.” You know what? They don’t care. Most of them are rich. They won’t miss a measly paycheck or two. But you know what? My family will. Oh, we’re not going to lose our home. Nor is my friend Joanne. But we’re scared. We don’t know when we will receive our next paycheck. And it’s not like we’re raking in money. A federal government salary is solid, but it won’t make anyone rich.

I don’t work for the government. But my husband does. And he has no opinion on this issue. I do, however, and I speak on behalf of the more than eight hundred thousand men and women who comprise the federal government’s work force. I’m too mad to be eloquent, but I need to say my piece tonight.

Dear Republicans in Congress:  It’s been said that the power to tax is the power to destroy. It’s a power you’re supposed to use wisely, with great care, respect, and prudence. You’re not supposed to use it to further your own ends, or advance your partisan beliefs. 

Job One, Republican friends, is to keep the lights on and the electricity running. Now, you refuse to do either. You’re not building. You’re destroying. You claim to be protecting the country, but all you’re doing is breaking stuff. 

You’re not keeping the lights on and the electricity running. You won’t, unless the Democrats agree to your terms. You know what this amounts to? It’s blackmail. You’re basically blackmailing the country. And this is a sick misuse of your power over the nation’s purse strings. ObamaCare may be a piece of controversial legislation, our nation’s elected representatives rightfully, duly, voted for it. When challenged judicially, the Highest Court of the Land ruled in favor of its constitutionality.

The Democrats followed all of the procedures, obeyed all of the rules, and now all we’re asking is for you to do the same. You lost–we lost–fair and square.

But now, you want to break the rules–the same rules that all of us live by. When we lose, we shake hands and move on. And for more than two hundred years, that’s how our country operated: you fight your ass off, lose, shake hands, and get back to work.

The rest of the country has moved on. We might not love the health care bill, but we’re making do with it. We’re doing the best we can. We’re compromising and working shit out. And all we want is for you to keep the lights on. Please don’t make us go home to a much too quiet house on a darkened street.

We the People deserve better.

 


Up All Night and Missing Electrons

I stayed up all night last night, or almost all night. I tried to stop working at 4 a.m., but the document I left on the big iMac followed me around as I tried to nod off. I had taken on this project pro bono, as we used to say in law firms, for a friend of mine who paid all this money to get her book edited, and the editor had left the formatting in complete, total, disarray. So I’d offered to help, knowing it would take at least a few hours. And once I got into it time lost meaning. I couldn’t, wouldn’t stop working. It’s always like that when I take on technical work, or mechanical jobs, like formatting a Word doc.

            So I lay there, cuddled up against William, and I tried to absorb myself into his calm, steady heartbeat. I wanted to slow down, and rest, just like he was. But . . .

What if I moved the stuff from the front, like the Acknowledgments, the Dedication, and the infernal Table of Contents, to the back of the book? That would solve my pagination problems. Maybe T_____ won’t mind. I really should move the TOC. I should get up and move it now. No. No. I shouldn’t do that.

 

I close my eyes, and the words from her book run across my mind’s eye, kind of like a newsreel. I can slow it down if I try really hard. But nothing’s moving slow right now. Hell. I can’t slow it down, so I just let the pages race past me. Sometimes I spot a misspelled word, or what would my editor call it? A predicate? A fucking predicate? Damnit, predicates are about as interesting as gerunds. I don’t like them either. I wonder what page she is on, or was on, when she went to bed. At what? Midnight?vbsd0157_ntsc

            Man, I should just get out of bed and fix it. But what if I have a seizure? My synapses are bugging out right now. Like, zing. Ping. It’s like my head is filled with some of Jim’s missing electrons. Carbon’s missing four electrons. Sodium has one extra. And one you combine that with chlorine, which has one extra electron, they get stable.

            “Oh,” I’d cracked to Jim, “So that’s why they call it table salt. Because the salt is stable.”

            He’d laughed out loud at my first and only chemistry joke.

           


Self-Publishing: Hyperventilating, Sardines and Kimchi

One of my closest friends wrote me a note last night. “El. I’m almost hyperventilating. About self-publishing. And marketing. And promoting. And layout. And . . .”

Well. It was a long list of stuff. And what she actually wrote is a lot different than that, but I write fiction, so I get to change stuff around a lot. I smiled when I read this, because I get it. I’ve felt the same way so many times, as I sat in front of my computer contemplating all the things I had to do, at that exact moment, when all I wanted to do was to write.

So what do you do when you’re feeling overwhelmed about the whole icky, impossible, terribly awful self-publishing process?

Well, as an athlete, I learned how to focus on the basics. So if my swing was messed up, or my jump shot kept clanging off the back of the rim, I’d run through a checklist. As far as hitting a ball coming at me at 60 miles an hour from 45 feet away, I’d make sure my elbow was up, my shoulders were way back, hands nice and low, and I’d see the ball right when it left the mound and try to watch it all the way to the barrel of the bat. In basketball, I’d focus on elbows in, back straight, and that gorgeous wrist flick on my follow-through.

In self-publishing, whenever I feel overwhelmed, I refocus on the basics as well. Am I hitting my daily word count of 1,000 words? Am I working my social media contacts in a personal, helpful and awesome way? In other words, really talking to people and making myself useful?

Am I building my newsletter subscriber base? Is it time to price pulse, or drop down to 99 cents and contact advertising sites like EReader News, Bookblast, Free Booksy, and a few others? Am I on track for my release date, and is there anything I can do between now and then to get better prepared?

When I played ball and was in a hitting, shooting or (gah!) pitching slump, I practiced extra hard, stopped worrying about outcomes like shooting percentages, games won or lost, and ERA. Instead, I put in the extra time, and kept it simple. Elbows, follow-through, release point, and number of shots taken or pitches thrown during each practice session. I focused on the things I could control, and ignored everyone and everything else.

When my sales drop, or my Facebook page interaction numbers tail off, I stop looking at the results. I pay attention to the things that really matter. Is the dialogue in chapter six of Wave realistic? Did I nail the roller derby action sequence? Is this scene a funny and helpful resting spot for the reader, or I am being self-indulgent again?

And when I can’t focus on any of these things because my worries paralyze me, I stop away from the computer, and I do something different. Like complain about how nasty my husband’s kimchi and sardines smells. Or I grab a football and ask my daughter to play catch with me.

Basics. I get back to basics.


Self-Publishing: Hyperventilating, Sardines and Kimchi

One of my closest friends wrote me a note last night. “El. I’m almost hyperventilating. About self-publishing. And marketing. And promoting. And layout. And . . .”

Well. It was a long list of stuff. And what she actually wrote is a lot different than that, but I write fiction, so I get to change stuff around a lot.  I smiled when I read this, because I get it. I’ve felt the same way so many times, as I sat in front of my computer contemplating all the things I had to do, at that exact moment, when all I wanted to do was to write.

So what do you do when you’re feeling overwhelmed about the whole icky, impossible, terribly awful self-publishing process?

Well, as an athlete, I learned how to focus on the basics. So if my swing was messed up, or my jump shot kept clanging off the back of the rim, I’d run through a checklist. As far as hitting a ball coming at me at 60 miles an hour from 45 feet away, I’d make sure my elbow was up, my shoulders were way back, hands nice and low, and I’d see the ball right when it left the mound and try to watch it all the way to the barrel of the bat. In basketball, I’d focus on elbows in, back straight, and that gorgeous wrist flick on my follow-through.

In self-publishing, whenever I feel overwhelmed, I refocus on the basics as well. Am I hitting my daily word count of 1,000 words? Am I working my social media contacts in a personal, helpful and awesome way? In other words, really talking to people and making myself useful?

Am I building my newsletter subscriber base? Is it time to price pulse, or drop down to 99 cents and contact advertising sites like EReader News, Bookblast, Free Booksy, and a few others? Am I on track for my release date, and is there anything I can do between now and then to get better prepared?

When I played ball and was in a hitting, shooting or (gah!) pitching slump, I practiced extra hard, stopped worrying about outcomes like shooting percentages, games won or lost, and ERA. Instead, I put in the extra time, and kept it simple. Elbows, follow-through, release point, and number of shots taken or pitches thrown during each practice session. I focused on the things I could control, and ignored everyone and everything else.

When my sales drop, or my Facebook page interaction numbers tail off, I stop looking at the results. I pay attention to the things that really matter. Is the dialogue in chapter six of Wave realistic? Did I nail the roller derby action sequence? Is this scene a funny and helpful resting spot for the reader, or I am being self-indulgent again?

And when I can’t focus on any of these things because my worries paralyze me, I stop away from the computer, and I do something different. Like complain about how nasty my husband’s kimchi and sardines smells. Or I grab a football and ask my daughter to play catch with me.

Basics.  I get back to basics.

 


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