There's going to be a blog version of this, but it'll be edited and cleaned up and fit for public consumption. This is just me, sitting here at my computer, talking to you, my supporters. I want you to read this as it comes from me, raw and unfiltered, because it's been brewing for a few months, and I've only now been able to put words around it. You support me directly, with a financial contribution to my ability to not have a full time job and write, and that's something I haven't been doing lately. So, I really feel I need to start with you, honestly and directly. Everyone else gets whatever I feel like giving them after I've gotten it all out.
1) A Confession
I have been very depressed and, at times, broken the last two months. It's been confusing at times. I have direct financial support for my writing from you guys. I have some savings. I have a few freelance gigs that have helped me build a bit of a runway to operate from. I am not at risk of losing my home, or my ability to feed myself. My girlfriend and I are great. My animals are all healthy. And yet, I'm depressed.
Admitting this is the first step to fixing it. Diagnosing it is the second.
I know precisely why I'm depressed, but my brain doesn't let me say it out loud. It tells me stories to justify my current state, making it larger than it is, because it has to be, right? I can't just be depressed because I quit my job to write, and I'm not writing, can I?
Well, yeah, sure, I can. And I am. I feel like I've let myself down, I've let you down, and I've let anyone waiting for Marlowe Kana Volume 4 (and 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9) down. I've got story parts in my brain that ache to come out, and I don't get them into any meaningful form. I'm about 60% finished with the next book. I had a fantastic few weeks of high productivity, where I wrote 7 chapters. During that process, I realized Volume 4 is going to grow by 4 chapters, becoming 14 instead of 10. So, as I neared the finish line, it got farther away from me.
This isn't a bad thing. It needs to happen, because that's how the story is going, and I honor that. The real problem is all the distractions between writing, that take all the priority, sap all my energy, and break my brain.
I recently finished my part of a freelance gig where I stepped in to help a friend, and ended up being spun around in many different directions, wasting a LOT of my time and energy. I finally had to tap out. I couldn't continue it the way it was going, and it broke my heart. I am not a quitter. I finish what I start (hence the guilt for not finishing Volume 4 yet). But at the end of that project, I realized I was pushed into a position where I was overly-responsible for things I don't own, and blamed when parts I don't control didn't work. I set myself up to be the fall guy.
Combined with the re-adjustment to freelance life, some unexpected expenses that made it impossible to just leave the money on the table, and the broad, ever-present guilt of not doing what it was I quit my job to do, and you have a mixture for a pretty unhappy writer guy.
On top of that, several opportunities for Marlowe Kana which were set up to really speed up the development process and get a lot more eyes on the project never manifested. Promises weren't kept. I won't say lies were told, but I will say I learned some new lessons on how people will keep you on the hook by baiting it with your dreams.
All in all, I has a sad. It's a real sad. I say it that way to make light of it and try to get a laugh. I'm not laughing, but I hope you are.
2: An Apology
I have let you down. I recognize and own this, and I apologize. I plan to correct this starting literally right now, and make every effort every single day to get back on track and earn the money you are paying me.
3: An Epiphany:
A week ago, I woke up to a sudden and super powerful realization: this is not how it has to be.
I am responsible for how I feel. I am responsble for my own fate. How I got to here is how I got to here... But at any time I choose, I can stop letting life direct me, and I can choose where to go from here (within reason, of course).
I have over half of the next book written. I can write the rest. That is on me, and I am more than capable.
I have an audiobook for Volume 1 nearly done. Jessica and Ricardo are kicking ass, and it sounds amazing. By September, I hope to let you all hear it early.
I have a podcast based on that audiobook in the works. The brilliant musician who did the Volume 1 Soundtrack is working on a crazy, never-before-done "audio experience" project and it sounds neat.
And speaking of that, I have the second soundtrack (for Volume 2) in early stages.
None of these things are bad. They are all good. And they are in progress.
The biggest wrinkle was about the animated series. For too long now, I've been put on hold and promised all kinds of "coming soon" crap, only to be told the day of a big phone call or meeting "can we postpone?" After months and months, I've finally grown tired of waiting. I've got a pitch deck for an animated series with great art from Meghan. I have friends in the industry who are willing to help guide me, and Kickstarter exists in 2018, so financing is possible. Should I choose, I could make a decent pilot for an animated series. It is A LOT OF WORK and I am no stranger to doing A LOT OF WORK.
4) A Promise:
I am committing to the following, in order of importance:
1) finishing Volume 4.
2) blogging at least 3 times a week.
3) Finishing the audiobook.
4) finishing the podcast.
5) (and by far the scariest): Developing and creating an animated Marlowe Kana pilot.
Rest assured, you will be with me every step of the way on all of these projects I plan to share with you every bit of the process as it develops, from chapters in Volume 4 and "Beta Reading" copies of the manuscript, to sneak peeks in the Audiobook and Podcast production, to step by step development of the animated series.
Thank you for sticking with me. And thank you for believing in me. I will earn that.