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Beta Readers

Well I did it. I wrote a book about a month ago with the help of Camp NaNo and I just finished typing up the corrections I had from editing. And I sent my book off to three beta readers. I’m just trying to be patient while I wait for them to receive the file and then read it. Just so curious as to what they will think.

Something else I have gotten into thinking about is setting a more rigid writing schedule and adding goals. You see basically I don’t have a writing schedule which is why I don’t have a whole lot of books published. Part of it is a confidence thing too. So I’m reading at http://www.magnoliamedianetwork.com/use-smart-goals-to-get-your-book-done/

So I’m not setting goals just yet. I want to read more at this latest website and maybe check out a few others. Just thinking about setting goals for writing more has me nervous. You’re probably wondering why and I’m not sure. I want to write more on my next book but I don’t have a story about it yet. I guess I’m waiting on feedback for my first book back to see what I should do.

Do you set goals to help you overcome procrastination? What do you do to keep yourself writing? I’d love to hear from you so please leave comments or write to me at jisoucie@hotmail.com.

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General Updates, Memoir, Mental health, Sackets Saga Book 1, Writing Updates

Update

Lately, I have been working on Sackets Harbor Saga Book 1. I don’t have a title for the book yet, but I know it will come.

The story I was working on about my mental health really turned out to be article length after I scrapped most of the idea I had. So no book there like I was hoping.

But I am happy to be working on Book 1 in a series. This is based in historical Sackets Harbor, NY. I went to school there and know the history pretty well so thought I would write a story based in that area but in a different time period. So that is what I have been working on as I can. I have been struggling emotionally for several days and just started a new medication. I only hope it helps and that I’ll be able to do more writing in the morning.

What have you been working on lately? Making any progress?

Please let me know in the comments.

Creativity

STOP! Let Creativity In

I have been having an awful time getting creative and so I did some searches on You Tube and around the net about letting creativity in. Here is one article I came across. WARNING: The author swears several times. Hopefully you can overlook that. http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2012/10/02/25-ways-to-get-your-creative-groove-back-as-a-writer/

He has some good points in there and some things I already do. But something I’ve realized is that I have been struggling with anxiety when it comes to writing. I haven’t understood why when I used to love writing so much. Just at some point there was anxiety, or maybe the anxiety just happened to sneak it’s way in just as I was writing. Because there are points during the day I do just fine writing and then later in the day I get anxious and then I struggle to think straight and need a break, maybe even a nap to “reset” my brain.

You see, I get up at 5:30 in the morning…or rather that’s when my alarm goes off. I wake up anywhere between 2AM – 4AM and I usually take a nap when I put my son down for his name between noon and 1PM. But when I’m hypomanic forget it, I can’t sleep. I make it to dinner but around 6-7PM I’m yawning and can barely stay awake. Yes, I’m in bed that early. I miss out on the evening with my family, but I’m hoping another trip to my doctor’s office I can get something to help me sleep. That would help.

Something I have to realize as well is that I have fibromyalgia on top of having a mental illness so I also have to deal with fibro fog. Here are some websites I’ve visited:
http://www.cfidsselfhelp.org/library/lifting-fog-treating-cognitive-problems

https://www.webmd.com/fibromyalgia/guide/fibromyalgia-and-fatigue#1

So I have been learning to do meditation before I sit down to write. I also pray as my faith is deeply rooted in who I am. While I’m writing I also remind myself that I’m writing for the FUN of it and not to worry about the publishing aspects yet.
A very important thing I am learning is to write when there isn’t a lot going on, no kids screaming for me, chores are done or can wait, and the best times for me are in the morning. So figuring out a schedule and meditating have really helped get me into a relaxed state and my creativity has been so much better for it.

Stress and really pushing myself to work as fast as I could in the short few hours I have to write just put too much stress on me as well as gave me anxiety and I mentally shut down. I wasn’t able to get anything done.

What do you do when you find you’re struggling with your creativity?

Writers With Depression

Writers With Depression: Yes, I’m One of Them

It has been a few months since I have posted anything. I try not to get down on myself for not being able to keep up with this blog, with my writing, or just life in general. You see, I suffer from major depressive disorder, borderline personality disorder, and general anxiety disorder. It’s been difficult for me to write every day. I’m just getting back into it and I’m working on a book about my experience with depression and anxiety.

It has been years since I’ve been where I am now. I have tried so many medications and been hospitalized multiple times. All of which never really helped me. So ECT, or shock therapy was suggested so I tried that but had to stop because it was causing issues with my memory. I did start to feel better after the treatment so I was bummed thinking ECT was it. That there was nothing more and I was just going to have to live with severe depression somehow. I didn’t want to remain in the dark pit where I was thinking suicidal and homicidal thoughts that I struggled to control. I started cutting myself which is something I have never done before. I now have scars on my left arm that I am not proud of.

But then ketamine treatments were suggested. “Why not? I don’t have anything to lose.” I didn’t feel I did. I’ve tried everything else and I wanted to get better for my family. I wanted to enjoy them. I wanted to know what it was like to enjoy time with them, especially my two kids.

So I went in to have the ketamine treatment which is given through IV. It takes forty minutes for the total infusion and wow! I understand why people like this stuff. It made me feel like my body was numb to the point I couldn’t feel myself breathe or feel my lips move when I talked. I saw things that were quite psychedelic and everything I heard was distorted. This was my first “trip”. And to think I would have to go through more of these treatments as there are four treatments to start with.  But each time I went the side effects lessened. AND…guess what? I started to feel better and my in laws said they finally got to know who their son married after twelve years of my being in a depression. I had energy and was thinking clearly and yes, I was enjoying life and wow! I knew what it was like to actually enjoy everything I was doing.

With ketamine treatments I can have them every three months. But at one month out from my last treatment, I noticed I started to feel down more and more often. The ketamines were not last three months. I was sinking again. I was so scared but I kept my faith and prayed a lot. Not to mention cried a lot when I prayed. I just did not want to go back down into a dark depressive whole.

But on January 15, 2018 I started my second round of ketamine infusions.  This time around it’s going to be different. I’m going to get two treatments, then wait two weeks; have two more treatments, wait two weeks, and then have the last two treatments and then wait three months. By doing this the doctor is hoping the ketamines will last longer. But at my next appointment which is coming up on the 31st, I have to have a meeting with the doctor as she wants to know how well the ketamines are working. To be honest I can’t imagine not having the ketamines. I think it would give me wicked anxiety if she stopped the treatments to try something else. I don’t think that is going to happen so I’m going to just not think about that. lol.

Seriously though. This is what I have been going through and I have been trying to find my creativity throughout this whole thing. I think I’m just so down on myself for having a mental illness and what I have to keep going through and what I’m putting my family through that I just shut everything else off, like my creativity. So now I am working on getting that back. My current project is a book about my experiences with mental health and the experimental treatments. I have been struggling with even getting the first chapter done. But I’m not going to stop. I have to keep going. I don’t like quitting things.

If you have a mental illness and are working on a book, are you struggling as I am? Or is your writing going okay?

 

Mental Illness and Creativity

Mental Illness & Creativity

Some people think that those with mental illness have this great ability to be creative. Well, I am someone with a mental illness and I can tell you I actually have a hard time being creative. It’s like in my depressed moods all I want to do is stare at a wall or sleep. The last thing I want to do is try to write a story whether fiction or nonfiction. I just lay on the couch having no energy and no motivation.

When I’m hypomanic my mind is so scattered, going from one idea to the next. Whatever I’d write probably wouldn’t make much sense, especially since I don’t sleep much. But this is just me.

I swear having a mental illness makes it harder for me to think, to bring my creativity out. I don’t know that having a mental illness can actually make it harder to be creative. This is just my own person thought because I know I love to write but lately have been having such a hard time getting into my creative flow.

Do any of you notice that having a mental illness makes it harder to be creative? What do you think about my statement?

Feel free to leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.

Writing Challenge, Writing Updates

Writing for Kids

Okay. So I have been told time and again that I should write children’s stories.

There’s just one problem. I haven’t been reading children’s books to know what’s out there even how to go about writing one.

So if you read children’s stories from like grade 5 or 6 on  up to young adult please leave the name of the author or authors you most enjoy and I’ll be happy to check them out.

I’m very excited to be venturing into this area of writing so I can’t wait to hear from you! Feel free to leave a comment or send an email to jisoucie@hotmail.com

Let me know where your emailing from. I’m curious to see where in the world my readers are located.

So send me your requests today! I can’t wait!

Mental health, Writing Updates

Writing and Depression

I haven’t been writing for a few days. I must admit that depression has rolled in and I don’t feel like doing anything. I struggle to think straight or care about anything. I’m really indifferent, or numb to what goes on around me, or what I do during the day. I could stare at a wall or just sleep all day and it wouldn’t matter to me.

But there is a part of me that is still thinking about writing. Even thought during a depression I struggle to physically write, my mind is still working on projects, or trying to at least. This is when my depression hits its deeper levels.

There are times I’m depressed but not deeply, so I can still function enough to write something. Those are the days I go easy on myself when I do decide to write and just try to get something down. I don’t force myself to do a lot because I know it won’t take much to make my depression worse.

Writing and depression…how do I make it work? Well, it’s tough. When depression is bad and I am so exhausted I just sleep or stare at the TV I don’t bother to write on those days. I have to wait for the depression to abate a little to a point where I have more energy and more clarity of though and then I sit myself down at the computer and type out a blog post, or try something that isn’t so labor intensive. Then on days where I’m feeling really good, I’ll dive right into my latest project. It’s about working with my body and its illness and trying to make things work. So I have to really be receptive to how I feel, which I’ve been told that I am anyway so it works out.

If you have any questions for me, feel free to ask. I’m happy to hear from my readers. I hope you have a wonderful day.

highly sensitive person, Secret Anguish

Mental Health and Being a Highly Sensitive Person

As you all know I am back working on my book Secret Anguish which details my story of having mental illness. Well, what I forgot to tell you was that it also mentions that I am a highly sensitive person. And because I’m an HSP, I had to stop and research the symptoms of being and HSP again because it had been so long since I had done so. Well, I was reminded that HSPs are more emotional people and react more to situations and to interaction with others than those who aren’t HSPs.

This made me think, “Could being and HSP also have some bearing on my mental illness? Like could being so easily overstimulated make me feel anxious? Can it make me just want to crawl into bed and hide under the covers mimicking depression? Can it exhaust me and wear me down so that I feel depressed? Is the reason for my anxiety just depression and anxiety stemming from being an HSP?”

The answer to the last question is “no”. It’s not just being an HSP that has me feeling depressed or anxious. It may have some contributing factor, but I was born into a household with a very moody parent where I couldn’t do things right no matter how hard I tried. I was always criticized and the things I did well were never rewarded. I became so afraid of my father’s moodiness (including anger), that I was afraid to breathe around him because if he heard me breathe then he might remember I was in the room with him and then he might start unleashing his anger again.

Now, something I do remember reading about being an HSP is that, having gone through trauma like I did with my dad being the way he was, that you can become an HSP because of that trauma. However, I do remember having some traits of being and HSP as a child anyway, so maybe I was just born with it. Either way, whether I was born with the HSP trait or developed them, doesn’t matter. The end result is that I am and HSP now and that does have some contribution to my mental health.

I am a mom of two, a housewife, and we have one chinchilla, one chihuahua, and three parakeets. The noise of everything gets overwhelming, I get anxious and several times a day I have to flee into my room with the curtains drawn to rest. I also struggle to get out of bed because bed is comfy and quiet. If I get out of bed, I will be subject to all the noise and chaos of life again.

So now I have a decision to make. Do I include being an HSP into Secret Anguish or do I create a whole new book?

What would you like to see? Would you like to see the HSP trait as a book on it’s own, or included with Secret Anguish? Please leave your comments below. I’d love to hear from you.

Also, if you’re an HSP and have mental health issues like I do, I’d love to hear from you too! What do you find is the most difficult for you to deal with every day with being an HSP and how does it affect your mental health?

Reflections of the Heart, Secret Anguish

And Around We Go!

Just last week I wrote a post about shutting down work on my second book Secret Anguish. Well, there have been a change of plans, which I didn’t foresee.

Just yesterday morning I heard back from a literary agent I contacted just last month, and they want to see the first three chapters and a synopsis for Reflections of the Heart (my first book). So what does this have to do with Secret Anguish? Well, I kind of mentioned that I was working on a second book in my query letter, so now I’m like, “Well, what if they want to see work on the second book too?”

And I kept praying about Secret Anguish and if God really wants me to work on this book or not. I keep feeling a draw to write it no matter how difficult it may be emotionally. (I’ll still have to keep a close eye on my mental health.) And I have a LOT of work to do on it. I’m still in the phase of gathering my sources.

So this whole literary agent contacting me asking to see more of one book, has really motivated me to move forward with another book.

We never know just how things are going to turn out when we have several projects going. It’s just amazing how God can turn things around just when you think you’re done with a project, he says, “No, you’re not finished. I need you to work on this and finish it.”

So here I go. I’ve sent off the email to the literary agent with what she’s asked to see. And I’m back hard at work, on Secret Anguish.

I hear my son in his room. He’s up so I must go for now.

Take care and God bless!

Secret Anguish

Shutting Down “Secret Anguish”

This has been a long arduous task for me to work on a mental health book on and off for over the last couple of years. For many days now I have worked on my book and almost every evening I have been dealing with intense emotions of anxiety, anger, depression, irritability. I have been in tears and curling up in my bed most every night just trying to get this book written. I’ve wanted to share my story thinking it would help other people but…

I must confess that I have decided to give up writing this book. It is overwhelming me and bringing up such intense emotions my therapist has suggested I stop writing so I don’t make my mental health worse.

I’m sorry to all those who were expecting to following me on this journey through writing my story and then buying the book.

May God bless you all as you go through your own mental health journey.