The Deathsniffer’s Assistant: In Review

deathsniffer

The Deathsniffer’s Assistant

Kate McIntyre

Rating: 4/5 Stars
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Should You Read It: Yes

3-LINE SUMMARY

Orphan Christopher Buckley, a well-mannered and mild young man, must take a job as an assistant to a private detective (called a Deathsniffer) in order to support and protect his magically-talented younger sister. The Deathsniffer is Olivia Faraday, an extremely odd persona in the vein of Sherlock Holmes. Together they must solve the murder of a prominent upper-class man in a world where elemental beings from another plane are used to power a Victorian city slowly turning to chaos.

PROS

  • Incredible Worldbuilding. Extremely dangerous “elementals” are used to power everything from toilets to lamps. The world is revealed naturally, and I want to see so much more, especially since this elementally-powered system is falling into decline (and it’s starting to get people killed). Also, all of this world’s people have some innate magical talent, which is categorized at age nineteen and used to place them in society.
  • Unique Genre. This book is what would happen if you took the multiple worlds depicted within the His Dark Materials trilogy (e.g. The Golden Compass) and made them into a single place, and then threw in Sherlock Holmes. Victorian England mysteries mix with superhuman abilities mix with magical beasts.
  • An Underlying Storyline. There is more going on underneath this world than the murder being solved, and I look forward to future books in the series. The Buckley’s personal tale is closely tied with several murders and a heightened political atmosphere.
  • Compelling Characters. All of the characters see development in this first book, and I enjoy their company despite a few cliché bits here and there.

CONS

  • Unnecessary Prologue. Starting a book off with up-in-the-air dialogue rather than solid images is ill-advised, and the scene itself adds nothing to the story. If you read samples before buying books, I would suggest starting with the first chapter to get an accurate idea of the book’s value.
  • Line Editing Needed. This book has so many errors, all ones that are easy to see and to fix. I am disappointed that McIntyre herself couldn’t find most of them. It stops being distracting, however, very early on (and trust me, I’m a stickler; so if I’m not distracted, you won’t be either).
  • Inept and Unexplained Detective Character. I get the feeling the author doesn’t really know how real investigations work. The assistant Christopher accidentally and conveniently supplies all of the leads while the Deathsniffer herself neglects to thoroughly question the people closest to the case until it is too late. Also, Olivia’s innate magic ability, called “truthsniffing,” is never explained; I can’t tell if she really has magic like most people do, or if she’s just a regular old-fashioned detective.

THE LAST WORD

If the author hired an editor which could help her cut the word count, typos, and detective plot-holes, this book would be an easy 5/5… but as it stands, my expectations for a boutique-press book were wildly exceeded, and despite my high standards, I could not put it down.

5 Steps to Depression-Crushing Productivity

zero day cover

If you are pursuing a dream, what is the single piece of advice everyone gives? Do it every day. And you wish you could, because doing That Thing makes you feel accomplished, valuable, and happy…. But life isn’t cut and dry, and we all have unreliable schedules and a lack of free time.

Below, I’ve outlined a few tips for increasing your productivity in writing or other pursuits… while also improving your self-esteem. These worked for me, and if geared to your lifestyle, I’m sure they can work for you too!

Step One: Break It Down

According to this famous Reddit post, the key to success is to stop having “Zero Days” – that is, days where you accomplish nothing at all. Even doing a teensy weensy task toward your future is enough to square you for the day. Author Anne Lamott calls these “short assignments.” So begin by making a general list of assignments which would determine a “Nonzero Day.”

Of course, our lives are very segmented – so start with main categories. For example, a writer who is also a parent might have a list of categories like this:

  • Be a Good Parent
  • Work on Author Website
  • Work on Book

From there, the categories can be broken down further. For example:

Parenting: Homework Help, Have a Sit-Down Meal, One-on-One Time
Website: Write Blog Post, Format Site, Network on Other Blogs
Book: Write, Upload to Wattpad, Outline Sequel, Make Starter Cover

Bit by bit, break down your tasks into categories. This will help you feel less overwhelmed; seeing “the trees through the forest” will make your dreams feel less insurmountable.

Finally, throw in a few other minor, but important things… like exercising and cleaning. You should always give yourself credit for them – even if you consider them to be only “the basics.”

Then make a list of all the things you’d like to see yourself doing in a day – including main categories and minor tasks. Below is my list (the bolded words are my main categories):

  1. Post to Twitter or Blog
  2. Network on Twitter and WordPress
  3. Work on a Book task
  4. Work on a Branding task
  5. Work on a Business task
  6. Clean one thing
  7. Exercise

Now decide which of these things would make a Zero Day into a Nonzero Day. For me, it would be performing any one thing under a main category. Don’t make it too hard on yourself!

Step Two: Make It Tactile

Now that you have a list of things that will decide whether or not you have a Zero Day (and again, make sure you’re easy on yourself), we have to make this list a physical reality. Print it off where you can see it – and then hang the list beside a Productivity Board. This can be a bulletin board, a wall of sticky-notes, a calendar, or my personal favorite, a marker board… whichever works best for you. Below is mine:

20151203_095158

As you can see, you have to break down your Productivity Board into categories that work for you. In my board, I broke it down into check-marks (for Nonzero Days),”W”s (for taking walks), and small hash-marks for waking up within two snooze alarms (this is very hard for me). And the magnets (uh-oh!) mark my Zero Days… with a note as to what my last Zero Day was.

You’ll notice that the list is interactive. This is absolutely essential. You must have to perform a physical act to declare you have done a Nonzero-Day… because it will make you feel good to mark them off, and to look at the filled board.

If this looks too complex for you, check out Mark Rafidi‘s productivity board of sticky-notes:

markrafidi_productivity

Remember, use what works best for you… as long as it is tactile, you’ll be golden!

Step Three: Reward Yourself

Often, people resort to beating themselves up rather than commending themselves. This helps no one. Therefore, you must use your Productivity Board to reward yourself. Each check-mark or torn-off sticky-note should come with a further reward, even something small.

For example, a very, very busy friend of mine rewards herself with  “an hour of relaxation time” or, even better, with “tasty treats” and  This last reward has the added bonus of helping her to eat better:

imagejpeg_0

You’ll notice, too, that my board has a dollar amount in the corner. When the board is filled, I give myself fifty cents for each W, check, and hash-mark… which becomes a budget I can allow myself to use on buying books. This not only helps me become a better author via reading, but also contributes to the industry I one day hope to make a living in. My reward is thus a further Nonzero Day factor in my productivity… and something I’ll enjoy deeply.

And remember – never punish yourself for having Zero Days. Punishment has been proven to be ineffective in changing behavior. It will be enough just to see them staring at you from your Productivity Board… driving you (we hope!) to see a lot less of them over time.

Step Four: Keep a Record

This one is small and optional, but imperative if you are one of those masochistic people who can never feel good about themselves because “What have I even really accomplished this past yearNothing!” (even though this isn’t true).

The problem for authors and entrepreneurial spirits like us is that the things we accomplish can be hard to quantify… so I created this little baby:

productivityscreen

It’s a small paper strip which I fill out every day, and file away in a box. I will write anything I’ve accomplished that day… how many words I wrote, if I also went to a wedding, if I merely networked on Twitter and exercised, whatever. It’s all work.

Just writing my accomplishments down daily staves off depression – and if you get in a slump later, you can look through the old notes and see just how many things you’d gotten done the past month or year.

Again, this will be different for everyone. You could add it to your journal entry, or keep a running daily word count at the bottom of your WIP… whatever works for you!

Step Five: Get A Buddy

This one is as simple as setting an alarm on your phone to tell you every Sunday to “Text Jeremy and ask what he got done this week,” in which text you can also tell Jeremy what you did this week (make sure Jeremy agrees to all this). This will cost you almost no time or brainpower, but will turn Jeremy into your own personal cheerleader, and you into his. And who doesn’t need a personal cheerleader?

Even better, if you have children, you can create a similar Productivity Board for them… for homework, chores, an allowance, etc… and you can champion each other along the way!

 

20 Random Writing Tips from CWC 2015 Presenters

ThrowRocksAbbreviate

Author Highlight: Rachel DeWoskin, Karen Abbott, Rebecca Makkai

Attending CWC 2015 was possibly the best decision I’ve ever made in my life, and I thank you so much for reading my recaps! Below are 20 useful-but-random hints and tips I couldn’t fit into my previous posts. They come from all kinds of CWC presenters who work all kinds of genres—but they ring true across the board. Here’s to becoming a better writer!


DO’s of composing a good story:

  • DO Let Your Story Ring True. Don’t be afraid of things like sex, drugs, or murder, even in YA. The fact is that these things exist, and your story may feel false if you don’t include them. –YA Structure Presenters
  • DO Throw Rocks. Take your characters too far, and push them to the limit. Tough odds cause the story to move faster, the main character to change, and the reader to feel more endeared to the character. Just make sure their reactions make sense! –YA Structure Presenters
  • DO Treat Storylines Like Puzzles. Experiment with tying them together. –Karen Abbott

DON’Ts of a composing good story:

  • DON’T  Write to the Marketplace. The fact is, you don’t know what the market is going to love by the time your book is seeking an agent (much less published) . You will almost certainly miss whatever train you were trying to catch. –YA Structure Presenters
  • DON’T Write to an Audience. You can have a general idea of your readership, but if you let your perceived reader change the way your story is written, you might come off as pandering. Let’s be frank here: no human being knows what they themselves truly want, so it’s utterly impossible that you can successfully know – and express – what someone else wants in your writing. –YA Structure Presenters
  • DON’T Make Your Character You. Take care to create people that react differently to stimuli than you would. Otherwise, you run the risk of creating the same character over and over again, or of going too easy on them. –YA Structure Presenters

When obtaining constructive criticism, it will help if you:

  • Get Absentee Feedback. Find out how readers are experiencing your draft when you are not there to answer their questions. –YA Structure Presenters
  • Join a Writing Group with Variety. Various perspectives will help your writing thrive. –Karen Abbott
  • Abbreviate Your Criticizers. In your mind, think of your beta readers as an abbreviation of their criticisms in order to get the most from their feedback. For example, your fellow writing group member Stacey could be the Structural Stickler; look to her when you need structure help. –Rachel DeWoskin, Rebecca Makkai

When pitching a story, remember:

  • Always Compare Your Book to Other Titles. Your pitch or query should contain a comparative-title hook. Don’t leave this out no matter what! It shows your prospective agent how they will pitch your story to a publisher. –Grace Menary-Winefield
  • An Updated Blog is a Plus. Even if you aren’t getting much traffic, it doesn’t hurt to keep up a blog if you are seeking representation.  Also, reading other blogs helps you gain more traffic—and makes you a better author. –Grace Menary-Winefield
  • Highlight the Darkness of Your ADULT  Fantasy or Sci-Fi. If you are pitching these genres, many agents & publishers are looking for darker tones or elements than in their YA counterparts. If your adult book isn’t lighthearted or comedic, make sure its “dark side” shows in your query or pitch. –Grace Menary-Winefield

If you are having trouble writing every day:

  • Write In The Morning. Pick a time for yourself, and stick to it – but if you write for only 15 minutes every morning, you’ll feel less guilty later on if you don’t do more that day. -Karen Abbott, Writing Group presenters
  • Schedule Yourself. “There is no template for this… [people] cobble together beautifully complicated lives.” –Rachel DeWoskin
  • Consider Teaching. There’s a reason so many authors are also teachers—it keeps you in the writing loop. –Rachel DeWoskin, Rebecca Makkai
  • Artist Colonies are Awesome. At retreats or colonies, you work alone all day in your room, escaping from whatever busy life you left behind. Then, you mingle with like-minded people in the evening. This builds a network, but also inspires you to write another day. –Rachel DeWoskin, Rebecca Makkai

If you are writing realistic or historical work:

  • Ask Questions, Amass Material, and Scale Back. This is the writing process of Rachel DeWoskin, and I can say from personally reading her book that it works like a charm.
  • Order a Back Issue Sears Magazine. These are available for any recent historical year. You’ll learn all kinds of stuff when you see what was for sale back then! –Rachel DeWoskin, Rebecca Makkai
  • Research Is Ignition, Not Boredom. You’ll be amazed how fascinating history can be. Don’t fear research—it might be the most fun part of writing the book! –Rachel DeWoskin, Rebecca Makkai

And above all,

WRITE YOUR BEST BOOK.

Marketplace, genre, readership… blah. Just write the best damn book you can, and see where the chips fall when you’re done. Good writing can make up for any perceived deficiencies, so that should be your top priority.

YA Structure Presenters

On Writing Crossover Fiction: CWC Session VIII

Crossover

Author Highlight: Rebecca Johns

Readers are always looking for something with an edge—and crossover fiction could be the answer. If you are in the process of writing crossover, are interested in writing it, or have no idea what it is, then this post should be useful for you. Plus, there’s a list full of awesome crossover books to read!


“Crossover Fiction” can be any of the following:

LiteraryCommercialDifferences


To write good crossover fiction, you need to:

  • Start with a great premise. You’ll build the crossover aspects of your work around this, so make sure it’s totally stellar.
  • Include high external stakes (though it does not have to be world-ending). The book itself is an experiment, and experiments, by definition, can fail. Impart this sense of worry into the text.
  • Have a main character with high internal conflict and strong desires. This mirrors the conflict of the two styles you are trying to bring together, and will strengthen the book’s overall feel as a crossover.
  • Impose a time limit on the character or story. This is good for any kind of fiction—but it turns out to be a strange commonality shared by good crossover.
  • Have a surprising ending. The story is already a surprise for its style-clashing. Don’t go out without a bang!

Some good examples of crossover fiction:

  • The Historian. A three-storyline supernatural, historical thriller concerning the modern-day existence of Vlad the Impaler.
  • The Night Circus. About a circus that magically appears overnight, and two people who become enmeshed in its intrigue.
  • Kindred. A time-traveling story about a modern black woman time-traveling to an era where she is a slave.

In my next post in this CWC Recap Series, I’ll go over Random Tips and Tricks From CWC 2015 Presenters (gained across all presentations), and after that, I’ll do a Final Thoughts & Conference Advice post – and then I can stop chugging out stuff about this conference and move on to some new projects!

The Roles of Dialogue, Character, and Research in Fiction: CWC Session V

CorrectedIgnorance

Author Highlight: Michael Raleigh


How do you really create a character?

  1. Make Your Character Want Something. Sailing afloat in a lack of want… that only worked (arguably) for The Catcher in the Rye. Make your character want something – even if they don’t know what it is.
  2. Make Them Sympathetic. Use every detail in your arsenal to make us like your character. If you’re good, you’ll even make us like bad guys. And when we like them, even a little, we care about what happens to them. Try these tactics:
    • Backstory. Have they overcome suffering? Or will they?
    • Personality & Appearance. Use description to break us into the character.
    • Name. Daisy Faye sounds wimpy and feminine. Dirk Pitt? Not so.
    • Dialogue. How do they talk?
    • Actions. What are their habits/quirks?
  3.  Then Attack Them. Yep. Once the reader likes them… “let the monsters loose.” Sorry, but good stories come from hard times. Don’t make it easy on them.

Dialogue. This gets its own section, because it can so easily get screwed up.

AVOID:

  • Too Many “Said” Synonyms. Every human reader has seen the word “said” about a billion times. We basically don’t notice it exists. But replacements like “asserted” and “exclaimed,” we notice. Watch yourself.
  • Speeches. People almost never talk in speeches.
  • Long, Formal Sentences. Not a thing.
  • Repetitive Hellos. “Nice to meet you.” “Nice to meet you.” “Hello.” “Hello.” Yeah. People do this, but it doesn’t read well.
  • Writing Completely Realistic Dialogue. You are writing, not speaking. It won’t match real-life dialogue exactly. It should just read right.
  • Affecting a Dialect. Don’t mess with words’ spelling or add unneeded punctuation unless you really think it’s necessary. Think of Hagrid. He was done right.
  • Contemporary Slang. If you start using contemporary slang, you will alienate both current and future readers. If you have to do slang, make it accessible and understandable – like in A Clockwork Orange.

Some other notes from the session…

Research – Do Enough to Make You Comfortable. If you get caught up in research, you might stop writing. Great writers like Karen Abbott researched just enough to piece the story together – then went back later to flesh things out. If you can define what’s different about a place or thing, then the research has carried you far enough to use placeholders.

Don’t Write What You Know. Learn things. Then write those. Even in writing fantasy, you’ll need to learn – about the different types of bird feathers (for phoenix descriptions), or about how best to smelt your own weapon (for grumpy elf weaponsmith scenes). Research adds authenticity – but frankly, it doesn’t make stories. Curiosity – and corrected ignorance – make stories.


In my next post in this CWC Recap Series, I’ll go over the Meet the Agents session from CWC 2015 (granted, I missed the first few minutes).

Session I Missed: To see this session, I had to miss the De-Mystifying the PR Process session. If you went to that session, consider doing a simultaneous or guest blog to correspond with my CWC Recap!

Branding Yourself: CWC Session III (2)

BrandCart

Author Highlight: Laurie Scheer

This post will go over the other half of Laurie’s session, which goes over content. Writing a book doesn’t cut it anymore; now there are movie adaptations, YouTube channels, and god knows how many social media outlets to consider. Laurie shows us how to take our brand and get it out there in ways that people are looking for.


It’s All About Adapting. So you wrote a book. Great. Now translate that content into other formats… web, mobile, apps, television, social media, etc.

  1. The Three “Screens.” Laurie mentions three “screens” of watchable content: live theater (first screen), television (second screen), and now mobile (third screen). Ask yourself how your work can be integrated into these models – can it become a play? More so, can it become a TV series? Even more so, can it become mobile, to be consumed in a much smaller visual space?
  2. Apps. Speaking of mobile… can your work become an app? Can you give your content a use and build a downloadable app with it? This could be a game, a short-story engine, or anything else you can come up with. Sites like this one claim they can help you make an app for free.
  3. Over the Top Content. Let’s all just admit it – people are cheap, and we love the word “FREE.” That’s where OTT, or free content, comes in. While some people are fine with paying $0.99 for an app or a chapter or an eBook, most would prefer not paying at all. Learn to put your work out there in the form of OTT, and find the best ways to use OTT to generate more interest.
  4. Have a Facebook Page. Face it (teehee), a goodly pile of the population still uses the good old Book of Faces to see if someone or something is legit. I give Facebook props because it’s easier to manage than most other outlets, and because it’s far from dead. Have a presence here, even if you don’t use it often. Most social media sites don’t require you to log in every time you visit, so it’s not hard to maintain a presence in several at once.

In summary, to really stand out in today’s market, you want to create a brand, and then establish brand awareness by implementing a self-marketing campaign and by adapting your work to new content. The world is changing – run with it!


The next post will go over the Marketing 101 session presented by Lindsay Currie.

Session I Missed: To see this upcoming session, I had to miss the Residencies, Contests, and Grants, Oh My! session. If you attended that session, consider doing a simultaneous or guest blog to correspond with my CWC Recap!

Branding Yourself: CWC Session III

tattooblogart

Author Highlight: Laurie Scheer

We live in a world of rapidly changing media where follower count, platform, and exposure are highly valued commodities for every writer. Laurie Scheer has embraced this future, and to me, her session on branding oneself as an author paid for the whole conference by giving me such an incredible outflow of ideas. This CWC Recap blog series and my developing Radical Fantasy subgenre all stemmed from this session (although I admit I’m still in the planning stages). Anyway, I hope it inspires you too!


Branding Yourself. Sit down, think about your work, and answer these questions: What separates your story from others? Does your content fit into a new genre, or is it a twist on an established genre? What type of voice do you use and in what favored area of interest? This isn’t about your query letter – it’s about you. About what writing subject are you the go-to person? You can’t just market a book anymore – you have to market yourself.

To establish the needed voice in today’s market, I’ve paraphrased (badly?) some of Laurie Scheer’s tips below:

  1. Be True to Yourself – Not the “Market.” Branding yourself is like getting a tattoo. Your brand should have real meaning for you; it shouldn’t be the same infinity symbol that everyone else has, or you’ll regret it when you get older. Be true to yourself, and don’t consider the perceived market, when you decide on a brand.
  2. Study the Media Marketplace. Know where you fit in, and where you can break in. Take note of the most followed people in your general field, read their stuff, and think about the kinds of posts or tweets they would like to see themselves linked in. Buy into their ideas, and you can learn something – and they might buy into you in return.
  3. Don’t Envy. This goes along with studying the marketplace. Don’t be jealous of your competition. See what they’re doing that’s working so well, and put your own spin on it. And don’t forget to “friend” them; the good thing about the writing community is that we’re really all in this together!
  4. Study Similar Writers. Evaluate how your work and voice fit into both the past and current market. Don’t stop reading in spaces related to – or the same, but previously unnamed as – your established brand. You’ll have more to offer the more educated you are in your field. Having trouble finding similar work? Use Amazon’s “people who bought this also bought” or “if you liked this, you might also like” functions.
  5. Prepare with Confidence. Know what you need to know before launching a marketing campaign. Have an open-ended plan. Create a marketing schedule you can stick to (social media is an unrepentant time sink, so learn to rein it in). And remember, social media is for connection more than for money-making. Use it for networking above all else.
  6. Own It. Prove It.  You represent something new to the world. Be sure of it. And make your audience sure of it too, by giving them samples. Get your work out there. Otherwise you’re just blowing smoke.

The next post will go over the content side of the Branding Yourself presentation.

Session I Missed: To see this session, I had to miss the Meet the Publishers session. If you attended that session, consider doing a simultaneous or guest blog to correspond with my CWC Recap!

Writing Place in Fiction: CWC Session II

Author Highlight: Christine Sneed

PlaceInFiction

Creating an authentic feeling of place in a story is not as easy as it sounds. In this session, author Christine Sneed took us through some of her favorite descriptions of setting by some seriously pro authors, like Mavis Gallant and Andre Debus III. Here are my personal takeaways:


DETAILS DETAILS DETAILS. The truest sense of setting comes from the combination of small observations. Take this, for example:

A black balcony stood over the entrance to the mansion.

Does that feel like any other entrance you’ve ever seen or imagined? Hardly. So think about the details. What sort of black is it – is it shiny like a Chinese box, or dull and gritty like igneous rock? Is the balcony spindly or does it have bars as thick as a prison cell’s? Does it jut, leer, or loom? Is it sloped with age or newly built? I could go on and on.

Now, for a few ways to get the most out of your details:


  1. Be Precise. Do not waste anything – every verb, adjective, and chosen noun image should add to the setting’s emotional or physical feel. Pare your sentences down to only necessary and evocative words.
  2. Evoke Emotion or Aura. Settings aren’t just images – they’re indications of feeling. A home housing two about-to-be-divorced people isn’t going to have green walls – it’s going to have walls “green as the one plant he managed to keep alive all these years, using a steady supply of poured-out beer.” Or, if they are newly married and happy, the green could be described as verdant or lush.
  3. Add a Sense of Movement. As you lay out a description, consider the transitions you are using between your images. Try going according to size (e.g. desk > room > house > town); try nesting images within one another (e.g. the color of late-to-bud roses, like those left behind the neighbors’ old house when they left for the winter); and when you are making a list, consider how one item leads to the next (e.g. a list of color associations moving from light colors to dark). Your description of setting should have a sense of progression or conversation; it shouldn’t feel like an awkward dinner party where everyone sits together but no one is talking.
  4. Actions Performed. To further that feeling of action and movement, consider what your setting does. Verbs can keep a setting from going stale. A balcony oversees; a wall forbids; a hearth welcomes. These are just general; see how creative you can get!
  5. Paragraph Size. When your paragraphs become heavily laden with description, consider using paragraph breaks to speed up the feel of the text. This can prevent the reader from getting bored, and give a stronger sense that the setting is causing action.

The next two posts will go over my favorite session – Branding Yourself – The Role of the Author in the Marketplace by Laurie Scheer.

Session I Missed: To see that session, I had to miss the Meet the Publishers session. If you went to that session, consider doing a simultaneous or guest blog to correspond with my CWC Recap!

Blog Ennui and My New Chicago Writer’s Conference Series

Author Highlight: Laurie Scheer

I just returned from the Chicago Writer’s Conference rejuvenated and ready for action! I’ve sadly let my blog waste away for a while, but in honor of this incredible event, I’ve decided to start a weekly (biweekly if I’m industrious) series detailing each individual session I attended at the Conference and sharing my biggest takeaways!

Before I get started on that, though, I wanted to find other ways to combat blog ennui once this is over… and below is a compilation of useful links to that end.

And last but not least, as learned from Laurie Scheer at CWC: make sure everything you do on social media revolves around the same base theme. Develop a brand for yourself, and stick to it. This will help you get recognized as an author and develop a significant readership.

Sorry this isn’t much for now – but check back soon for some conference lessons by a newly-branded author with a newly-anchored blog!

My Last Zero Day: Eight Ten Two Thousand Fifteen

This week has been a strange one for me. Let’s just say I’ve been suicidally, job-walk-outedly, resentfully unhappy for weeks now, being forced as I am to “bring home the bacon” for two people with little more than a “have a good day hun” to sustain me.

But I just sort of snapped this week. Crick, snapped. And I became a dick.

I found myself weirdly disconnected from everything. I looked at success in a new way and I thought of what success meant to me. It means hard, too-hard, over-hard, and ultimately-paying-off work. It means getting up at 7am, writing for 1-2 hours, going to work, coming home, writing again for an hour, showering, reading for an hour, then sleeping. It means no time for bullsh@$. Two hours tops of time actually for my own personal enjoyment each day. Everything else: earmarked for the future.

But, the weekend after, I’m actually happier. My boyfriend got the crap end of the stick with my distance and caustic attitude, poor guy. And it’s going to stay this way for a while. BUT, I regret nothing of the past week.

This Monday will be my last zero day.

Do what you thought you could never do for a week. Succeed how you never thought you could. And then over the weekend, see how you feel, and ask yourself: do I do this again?