• Farewell 2020

    Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

    For the last few days, many people have expressed their thoughts about 2020. Most of them were reflections of lessons learned, experiences gained and being grateful for what they have.

    But really, 2020 just needs a good roasting, left in the oven, forgotten, and shot with a rocket launcher. Pronto.

    2020 was more of a mental pickaxe to my brain. The constant social media and bad news binges, the absolute dread of what would happen but never did in my circles, and the constant false starts on just about everything. I’ve journaled about it and not looking forward to reading those entries at all. The journal just spews black ichor when seen through a filter.

    The greatest of all mental anguish was waiting. Waiting for 2020 to be over with. Like just… doing nothing but rap my fingers against the table, watching the clock and date change each day, having some of the worst brain fog not only on my writing but my adulting life. Everything frozen. Holding my breath for good news, any news, to surface that is safe enough to get behind. Emphasis on “safe.” Hell, anxiety attacks were a norm in the summer.

    However, there were pieces of good news I’ll keep: a new president with experience for next year, a very rough draft of Ghost Factor, and my little brother got engaged (wedding is next fall I heard).

    We all need normalcy right now.

    2021 is shaping up to be a year of healing and recovery, whether or not it’ll be that way. When vaccinations are in full swing, things will slowly get back to normal. I’m looking forward to traveling again, a lot more than before.

    But most of all, shutting up all the bad chatter I habitually gobbled up since 2020 started.

    Happy New Year. May 2020 burn in Hell.

  • Finally

    Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

    It’s done.

    After eight mentally exhausting years of loss, gains, ups and downs, and sheer doubt in myself and my skills, Mana Pool – The Ghost Factor’s ROUGH draft is finished.

    flips table

    screams into the day

    Twenty-eight chapters. More than the first book. But the word count can put people off. Why is it so low compared to Mana Pool’s combined 120,000-ish word count, you ask? As I said, it’s a rough draft, not the final. The draft has full narrative chapters and scenes, but the rest has bullet point plot lines, dialogue, and narrative clips I could only write down in my jagged mental state. The dialogue is so broken every character sounds the same. Character motivations are broken; no reason why they do what they do from the plot. The first-person POV switch method from the first book is back, so I need to balance out to narrative. In some cases, the characters are complete idiots with raging temper tantrums. If this was a Nanowrimo novel, I cheated and dishonored myself with just bullet points.

    And I’m okay with that.

    This is the rough draft. Not the first, second, or even the final. Nothing in the world is written as the final draft unless it’s a quick tweet or half-assing an essay for school twenty-four hours before its due.

    looks at the mirror

    I’m not a professional writer. Still an amateur and still learning the craft, the business, and myself.

    These eight years writing that draft was like stainless steel nails (outside and inside events) against a college chalkboard from the seventies (my mind). There were times I could write, and most I couldn’t. Whether it was losing family members to death, moving to a new town, having my first “real” job sucking my creative energy out, or the constant, anxiety-driven clusterfuck of social media and Cheeto-Dust-Face’s breaking news every day hammered so much uncertainty into my mind, numbness was all I felt. It came down to do my day job, get my paycheck, and panic from uncertainty until sleep. And that is excluding the pandemic and lockdown.

    And then I had a panic attack last summer. It lasted for four hours in the morning. Haven’t had one since, well, eight years ago at the hospital. A hard wake-up call.

    Shoving that aside, the rough draft is in my possession, and for the first time, I feel free. I’m taking a break for a week from any writing. I want to feel normal for once.

    So what’s going to happen when the final draft is complete, or when? Good question.

    Traditional publishing is still out for obvious reasons. Self-publishing the novel like Mana Pool is also out since I have no editor yet. So now it’s back to basics: serializing it.

    I need feedback. Want to know what works in the story and what doesn’t when it’s sent directly to readers. Need that confidence boost and knowledge where I am skill-wise. My idea is to publish a chapter a week on my website, but more places such as Tapas. But when the first chapter drops is still undecided. This is just the beginning of my publishing plan. Need to do the work first.

    But then there’s DeviantART.

    Let’s face it, DeviantART is not for me anymore. It was fun at the beginning. That’s where I built my first audience. Their choices with announcing and forcing the Eclipse UI into everybody’s eyes last spring was terrible. It’s ugly, it doesn’t have all the features I’ve grown used to, and posting stories and journals feels clunky, even for people who don’t know how to use the new formatting tools. PDF uploads are an option, but it collides with the PDF view placement and dark mode when the doc is pure white.

    So, posting the chapters on DeviantART is out. I’m sorry but that’s my choice. It’s a risk to lose that small audience, but not an issue to restart my writing life on new platforms. Maybe try Medium as well, or restart my Patreon. Who knows.

    For now, I’m taking a break from the draft, drink a rum and Coke, hike in the park tomorrow morning, and try to relax for once.

  • A Short Post

    Hello all. Long time not speaking.

    Remember I said 2020 was labeled the year of self-care? How true was that?

    One moment things were looking bright, and the next BOOM, a viral pandemic freezing most of the economy, overwhelming medical centers, and everyone and their grandmother scared of not having enough toilet paper and paper towels. What a crappy way to start the year, right?

    From the day after St. Patrick’s Day, also my mom’s birthday after having dinner at her home, non-essentials closed fast. My little brother, a sound engineer, lost his job after most of the clients canceled their gigs. He was almost ready to work at Coachella. Then a week later, I lost my job due to heavy cuts from the clients. We already had plenty of food and necessities stored. The first few weeks getting other foods was tough, yet strangely, enough fresh fruit and vegetables at the grocery stores.

    And there we were: two brothers, stuck in a condo in the hills, waiting for all this to pass.

    With all that free time on my hand, the chance to write like the wind was there. Progress increased a little honestly and I managed to fix some scenes that I didn’t know that troubled me in Ghost Factor’s plotline. However, I spent more time freaking out over social media and the news than ever. My Pixel phone was attached to my eyeballs eight hours a day. I felt terrible. Each day felt like the day after being laid off, an endless cycle of Deja Vu. On top of not having a long vacation for a year and a half. Not good for sanity’s sake. God, I missed having ramen and pho.

    It took me a long time to take action. I uninstalled all social media apps from my phone, including the websites. But my MacBook still had the bookmarks. The accounts are still active and it’ll be hard for me to delete them in this time of age. What I can do is distance myself from the platforms for a while, especially in the past two weeks. So if I’m not talking or sharing on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, that’s why.

    As of now, the company hired me back. They wanted me back. My skills were needed. I’m on remote status now so I’m working on how to balance that while not letting cabin fever eat me.

    In other good news, I turned 33 last Wednesday. Like a cycle, I went back to Mom’s home with my brother for dinner. A simple one. I enjoyed it. And my favorite hiking place is open. That pic earlier was taken there.

    Sure wish I got more to say than keep a lookout for another post besides my life. Something to tie you guys over while I regain my writing groove. Needed a break from the book anyway.


  • I Had A Post, But Not Today

    Just being honest here.

    I had a short post ready to edit today. But as I re-read the draft, it became more of an incoherent rant of my state of mind. It felt more like me regurgitating what the world has been experiencing in the last few months, and reminding people what is already known is annoying anyway. I had thoughts of the recent NASA/SpaceX Launch America event (nearly broke me down to tears seeing the launch). I had neutral thoughts about the recent violence in my country I’m not comfortable talking about. I was gonna talk about work and what to do this summer. I had thoughts to share my writing accomplishments and issues I found out.

    But not today.

    For now, that draft is going into the trash bin. A bigger, topic-focused post will be shared next Sunday.

    For now, with everything happening, be patient, take a deep breath, and chive on.