An Update On Life & My Mental Health

For someone who publishes a post daily, I practically missed the entire month of May. I haven’t even been reading and replying to the comments. I apologize for the silence and lack of content.

The truth is, this post has been coming for the past couple of weeks – I was just having trouble wording what I wanted to say.

A lot happened in the month of May. A lot that affected me in ways I couldn’t even imagine. I will not go into great detail though I will explain a bit so you guys can somewhat understand.

First – I’m okay. Things have been rough, but I’m doing okay. There’s just been so much going on that it’s taken a toll on my mental health and I need to re-evaluate some things in my life.

Second – There are stressors absolutely everywhere. Everything seemed to want to happen all at once. There’s been stuff going on with my friends that I’m trying to support them with but it’s been hard for reasons. My family has had some ups and downs with health issues and the like, but that’s just the circle of life, unfortunately. (And no, no one has passed away, thankfully, but it’s still been tough.) There are also basic stressors that come with the “adult” status and such.

Third – Social media. Social media can be your friend or foe and lately, it’s definitely been an enemy. Something happened about a month ago that affected me deeply. No, I do not know these people personally but I’ve looked up to them as a person and as a creator. Some of the work I do was inspired by them. It turns out they were not the person I thought they were and, after looking up to them for years – I even met this person in real life – it’s a hard pill to swallow.

And, if you know who/what I’m talking about, please do not mention any names or go into detail about it. I will delete any comments about it or turn off comments completely. I’m not writing this to open a can of worms.

It puts things into perspective though. This is something I always knew but it was proven on that day – I have no idea who any of you are. I have more friends through the Internet in various parts of the world than I do in real life, in my hometown. I enjoy these connections and I appreciate each and every one of you.

However, the hate and nasty comments that were spread throughout social media about this incident and the creator really bothered me. These were all people who enjoyed their work and in an instant immediately turned on them, judging and condemning them – a stranger, no less. It bothered me and it still bothers me. It made me wonder why I want my name on the Internet in the first place – what am I doing and why? Lord knows I would never do what they did, but people are mean. They’re harsh and quick to judge.

I’ve grown thick skin over the years and I’m lucky enough that, in the 13 years I’ve been sharing my writing and work online, I’ve never had someone say something mean or hateful to me. To be honest, I got a lot of that in real life at school so being online was my sanctuary. How reversed is that?

This also all happened a week after I released my debut book which, in turn, made me realize something else about myself, my work, and the Internet. This is something I won’t go into detail about, but it’s something I’m trying to figure out. The good news is, I can only go up from here.

Fourth – Speaking of work, that’s been another huge stressor. Mostly because of what I mentioned in the previous paragraph but there are other factors involved that I don’t want to go into detail with for reasons.

I did get a freelance writing job that’s been good. It’s less creative than I would like, but the people are nice, the pay has been the best since any freelance job I’ve ever had, I’ve been learning new things, and it’s been something different. It does take up quite a bit of my time though, which means other things (like my own creative writing) have taken to the back burner. So, I need to figure something out about that.

Fifth – Everything I mentioned above has taken a great toll on my mental health. Things I already knew about life on the Internet were proven. Not just about my third point in this post, but that also helped me realize something about myself and relationships on the Internet and, believe it or not, in real life.

I’ve been so busy helping and supporting others that I haven’t been focused on myself. Not my mental or physical well-being and not my work. My work – writing, blogging, and other things – have taken a back seat to support other authors, bloggers, etc. There have been quite a few people (not everyone – there are definitely some people in particular who have gone above and beyond for me and I hope you know who you are!) who have said they’d help me in return but it was just empty promises.

This could be for a number of reasons: maybe they haven’t checked their email in a few months, maybe they were just trying to be nice, maybe something came up in their life, or maybe they were just saying that in hopes I would help them out. The possibilities are endless and, right or wrong, it’s discouraging for me.

It hurts and makes me feel like I’ve been taken advantage of. Which, again, brings me back to my original point: you have no idea who you’re dealing with on the Internet. Obviously, no one is obligated to help or support me in any way if they don’t want to or if they don’t believe in my work or anything. But it’s still discouraging as much as I try not to feel that way – and I feel awful for feeling this way. If anything, this has been a lesson learned and a huge eye-opener.

With that said, I’m at the point where I dread waking up in the morning which isn’t something I’ve felt since high school and certainly something I never want to feel again. I do get out of bed though and I do get to work. Why? Because I know I need to and because I enjoy the work despite certain things. My anxiety has been all over the place and the idea of certain work, which I typically enjoy, has been stressing me out.

Sixth – This has, of course, affected my creativity as well. There are a lot of things I want to do. There are a lot of things I want to learn. I have ideas for this blog going forward – on and off the blog. The same goes for my other blog, Double Jump. My sister and I have a lot of new ideas in the works.

Obviously, my creativity isn’t going to do that well if my mental health is suffering. In fact, as soon as I skipped a few days of blogging and didn’t care, I knew something was wrong immediately. Normally that would bother me. I hate to miss a day but my mind has been trying to tell me something. I need to slow down and focus on myself.

Another way this has affected my creativity though is that I’m feeling more creative than ever. Oddly enough, it has nothing to do with blogging or writing. I want to try something new. I want to have a hobby. I want to improve my photography and film editing. I want to learn how to crochet or make jewelry (that I don’t even wear, but whatever). There are a lot of DIY projects I’ve love to try. I just want to learn something new. But I want to do it for me.

This is a weird feeling for me because I’ve really only ever known writing or blogging as a creative outlet. But I need something that will relax me. Something that I’ll enjoy doing but that’s not also “work.” Even if I just set aside some time each day to color or something.

Overall – What does all this mean? Why am I writing an extremely long blog post about this? (Seriously, I didn’t think it’d be this long. Thanks for reading this far if you’re still with me.)

I’m here to say that I’m taking a step back from everything. I will still be here in some sense but not to the extent that I have been. I have a lot of thinking to do and a lot of re-evaluating to do of my life and online presence. This doesn’t mean I’m quitting or leaving though. I’m proud of all the things I’ve created, the milestones I’ve hit, the people I’ve met, the things I’ve learned, and the overall work I’ve done.

However, some hurt still lingers. Stress is strong. My mental health is taking the brunt of it all.

I don’t have the intention of giving anything up, but I need time to rebuild. I’m taking the month of June to come up with a new plan and figure things out. Things won’t be back to normal on this blog until July. Maybe sooner, but I’m going to take my time coming up with a new plan and catching up with things while taking appropriate breaks. I’m working on catching up with things on Double Jump and, at this time, I can’t do both blogs at once.

For this blog, my writing prompts and Short Story Sundays will still be published because those are already scheduled for the year. Book reviews are on hold as I haven’t read a single thing in about a month and just haven’t found the motivation for it. I’ll most likely post something here and there just to let you know I’m still here, but, as I said, I don’t expect the regular schedule to be back until July.

My social media presence will be limited until further notice. I am not going on hiatus with any of this because it’s the nature of my job. But I will be scheduling a day or two to check it each week and will not be on constantly. I need to shoo some negative vibes and take a breather from all that.

As for my writing, I need to come up with a plan for that as well. I will still be writing and editing. I will still be publishing books. It’s just going to be a bit more on the slower side for the moment.

With that said, I think this post has gone on long enough. I appreciate everyone’s patience with me and hope you understand my absence and the coming weeks as I try to figure things out and take care of myself.

I’ll talk to you all soon.

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Voting and May 2016 Wrap Up

Hello, everyone! I’m cheating the system today. Instead of having this post just be my May Wrap Up, I decided to enlist your help first.

Camp NaNoWriMo is right around the corner. Again. The new session starts in July. As you know, I’ve been busy with my detecitve series as well as April’s Camp NaNo, The Lost Girl.

Of course I can’t resist writing during a NaNo session. So I want to write something. But seeing as George Florence and The Lost Girl are in the editing stage, I can’t really work on them.

Last year, I had no idea what to write so I added a poll and you guys voted on what I should write. I decided to do that again and I hope you all take a moment to read each summary for my three novel choices and then take a second to vote on your favorite one. I’d really appreciate it!

Hunter (The Hunt, Book 1)

This was the novel I added into the poll last year and it won with the most votes. I ended up winning that Camp session with 50,096 words. The novel is not complete yet. If it wins this year, I’ll be “rebelling” and adding on to the 50k. Here’s the summary:

Cat Webber is the daughter of big-shot Charles Webber, founder and owner of X-Terminate; a company that rids of mutants off the streets to keep humans safe. Raised as a Hunter, Cat believes all mutants are bad simply because they’re different from humans. However, her morals are questioned when she gets to know some mutants; especially Brandon Hurst.

Brandon Hurst is a mutant who can teleport and bend time. He knows some secrets about X-Terminate and Charles that Cat doesn’t even know about. Cat is curious to find out what Brandon may or may not know. It’s not until she discovers her father is killing off the mutants that Cat struggles with taking her father’s orders or if she should stand up for what she believes is right.

Far Away

This novel has also been started and is currently at 20,522 words. I would just add onto this as well. Unless those 20k words are really bad, then I’ll start over. It’s a romance, not something I typically write.

They say it’s hard to keep up with your high school friends. They go to different colleges, they move away, they make new friends. For Gina and Logan, they swear that will never happen.

Gina, Logan, and their group of friends are ready to graduate high school, and can’t wait for the new chapter of their lives to begin. For Gina, it’s striving to be an actress. For Logan, it’s becoming a police officer just like his late father.

But being an adult isn’t as glamorous as it may seem. Logan has to move unexpectedly across the country when his mother passes away. Meanwhile, Gina has realized that being an actress isn’t what it’s all chalked up to be.

Told in both points of view, Gina and Logan go through the ups and downs of life as they wonder if they’ll ever meet again.

The Blank Page (Writers Group, Book 1)

Again, this is novel has been started as well. It’s only at 11,518 words. Like Far Away, I may start it over or I may just add onto it.

There’s a well-known website catered to writers dedicated to all things writing. It’s to help writers, to support writers, to meet other writers, and anything else you can image.

A new feature has been added to the site to create real life writing groups. If you so choose, you can sign up for the feature, fill out a quick questionarie, and the website will see which other writers you’re compatible with. From there, the group can meet how often they want in real life to write together, discuss writing together, or to just be friends with something in common.

There’s Dominic, a 25-year-old quiet business man. He’s unsure what to write, though he’s written bits and pieces of mystery before.

There’s Justin, a 27-year-old laid-back English teacher. He’s writing a young adult drama and has the novel planned out perfectly.

There’s Adair, a 22-year-old spunky freelance writer. She’s working on a fantasy novel and is completely winging the plot.

While each one of them has a lot to learn about writing, there’s something they can all learn from each other.

Again, please and thank you for voting on while novel I should write for July’s Camp NaNo session! The poll will close in one week. I’ll announce the results June 16.

Now onto the wrap up…

Reading

I read most of the books I planned to this month. I got a late start, but I did read about one book a week, which is what I planned.

You can get out my Reading List for the books I read and links to their reviews.

Writing

I made slow progress on George Florence. I got some planning done on the first book. I also planned out a good chunk of the series since I needed to know dates and such like that.

Other than that, I didn’t do too much writing or editing. I was kind of in a slump, but I think I’m in a good place now.

Blogging

I got a head start on my June posts and did a lot of brainstorming and planning for July and August. The summer is going to be pretty busy blogging-wise, so that was a big help.

Overall

I didn’t get too much done, but I got a decent amount done at the same time. May was a pretty slow month, but now that it’s over I’m wondering where it went.

Posts to Remember

1. Work is Hard
2. May/June Writing Contests
3. How Am I Doing?
4. Guest Post: Creativity’s Invitation to Discovery and Wholeness
5. Guest Post: Keep the Inspiration Flowing

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Camp: Week One

camp nanowrimo april 2016 week one update rachel poli

Wow! We’re already a week into Camp NaNoWriMo! How did that happen?

I thought I would share weekly updates with you on my novel, The Lost Girl.

The Ups

So far I’ve been loving my characters. Grace seems well put together and while I’ve borrowed J.M. Barrie’s characters, I feel as though I’ve stayed true to their personalities as well as added my own twists to them.

The plot itself is moving along nicely. I think the novel may start off a bit slow in the beginning, but I can always figure that out when the whole draft is finished.

Description is something that I’ve always had trouble with, but I think I’ve been doing well with it so far. I think part of it is because it’s Neverland, a fantasy world. Whereas I can’t have my readers just picture their own houses in their heads.

The Downs

Honestly, I haven’t hit any bumps in the road (yet).

The plot is, as I said earlier, moving along nicely and I’ve been staying true to my outline. I’ve added a few things here and there, but the novel is going smoothly.

Favorite Quote

“How come you can leave Neverland and no one else can?” She wondered.
Peter chuckled. “I’m Peter Pan.”

Word Count

Day 1: 2,040
Day 2: 2,513
Day 3: 2,210
Day 4: 2,035
Day 5: 2,262
Day 6: 2,671
Total: 13,731

How are you doing with Camp?

NaNoWriMo Progress Report: Week Three

Week Three Updates

Daily Word Count:

16. 2,030
17. 5,028
18. 0
19. 2,299
20. 0
21. 0
22. 0

Week Three Total: 9,357

As you can see, week three wasn’t my best week.

I hit a bump in the road with my novel this week. I had a moment where I didn’t really know where the story was going. It got to the point that I was writing just to get more words for my NaNo goal.

I took a break from writing for a day and rested my mind. When I got back to writing the next morning, I had a better idea of where I was going.

This past weekend I didn’t write anything because I wasn’t feeling well. I planned on finishing Friday or Saturday, but oh well. Life gets in the way sometimes.

I have about 4,000 words left. So maybe I’ll finish tomorrow.

I need to do research as I don’t really know what I’m writing about when it comes to courts and trials, but I’m just going to do my best for now and leave the research for the editing process.

There’s a lot I have to do for this novel once the first draft is completed. I have to make timelines for my characters and do a bit of research before I can start the editing process.

It’ll be interesting.

NaNoWriMo Progress Report: Week Two

Week Two Updates

Daily Words Written:

9. 2,037
10. 4,065
11. 2,054
12. 2,037
13. 2,026
14. 0
15. 4,132

Week Two Total: 16,351

Second Chances is still going well.

Though, I have come to the realization that even though I’ve been doing well without an outline, I’m going to need to make a timeline of events that happened in Lesley’s life as well as Hunter’s life. Maybe Ezekiel, too. I’m not sure if we’re ever really going to find out more about him.

I mean, Lesley did ask him how he died and he told her it was none of her business, so…

Anyway, with that being said, the scenes in my novel are definitely going to be switched around in the editing process (or taken out, depending on the situation).

I think that will be the next step when the first draft is complete. Before editing, I will create a timeline of events for everyone.

My word count has continued to be steady. I’m proud of myself for continuing to write every single day. Normally I get ahead and then I’ll skip a day or two and then get back into writing without ever getting behind. I always end up finishing early, too.

I really didn’t want to do that this year (or any year for that matter). So I’ve been doing great keeping a good pace.

After explaining all this, I’ve sure you’ve noticed that I didn’t write anything on the 14th. That day was my sister’s baby shower. So it’s not like I just decided to skip because I knew I was ahead. I was out literally all day and was exhausted when I got home.

That is the only day I’m skipping this month, though.

At the rate I’m going, I’m planning on hitting 50k by November 20 or November 21. That’s if I keep my 2k-4k a day goal. I’ll be writing for the rest of the month after that, though. I don’t think the story will be finished at 50k.

I wonder if I’ll write enough to finish the novel by the end of the month?

How is your NaNo novel coming along?