July 2019 Update

My goals for July were to finish transcribing another notebook and, being up to date, to decide what to write first. But I’m pretty bad at decision-making, so I made a list and divided the stories I wanted to write into four groups. Group 1 had all the long stories, so that was out of the question. Group 2 had medium-sized stories with several ideas. Group 3 had short stories that needed more development, and Group 4 was formed by mere ideas. I wanted to choose one particular story from Group 2, but I knew I’d need a lot of time to do research (not as much as Group 1, but still), and I think I’m not ready for that yet. Maybe the problems I had with my PhD still affect me.

Somehow, world-building doesn’t feel so insurmountable at the moment, so I’ve chosen two fantasy stories that will just need some preliminary research. I didn’t want to choose one so soon, so my goal will be to write the two outlines during the month of August, and then decide if I want to write one of the stories, both or none.

I’ll keep you updated!

By the way, July has been a good month in general. I feel more positive nowadays, and I have more good weeks than bad ones per month. I even felt curious about my own notebook and I had fun transcribing it. That’s great news for me!

I also participated in my first Pride Parade ever! It was a lot of work, but I had fun and shared candies and rainbows with lots of people. Unfortunately, I’m very busy at work at the moment, but I’m taking care of myself. It’s always good to have friends that remind you to take a break now and then. My month could have ended badly if it weren’t for them.

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June 2019 Update

Holidays were a bit stressful for me because I got sick, so I spent a couple of weeks recovering and getting used to work again.

Once I got into it, transcribing the seventh notebook wasn’t hard at all. The Pact ™ has kept me motivated, even if I’m still doubting and second-guessing myself. I know making decisions is an important part of writing, so I’m trying to ignore my constant misgivings and keep pushing forward. Well, at least when it’s about transcribing my notebooks… because I still haven’t decided which project I want to draft for The Pact.

I know the doubts will be there with anything I choose, and if I have to choose between writing a draft and thinking it’s not the right one, and not writing anything… well, I’ve done the not writing already, so it’s about time I finished a draft, right? And they’re all going to feel wrong, so the only thing I can do is… try to do my best.

Anyway, you may have noticed I’ve posted not only one, but two posts with book recommendations. I wanted to share good books to read during Pride Month. My goals for the month were to finish transcribing a notebook and to post the Year 2 of Books I Loved as a Romance Reader. As you can see, I’ve been a bit of an overachiever; I did both, and then also posted Year 3 for Pride Week.

But Pride is not over for me! And I didn’t just mean it in the metaphorical sense. It’s still Pride Week in Spain, and we still have to celebrate it in Germany, so I’ll try to keep it up.

After reading this, my own post, I’ve decided my goals for July will be 1) to finish transcribing another notebook and, since I’ll be up to date by then, 2) to decide what to start writing first.

I also want to do something for German Pride, but I don’t know what. I don’t want to stress anyone with more book recs, so what would you like to see?

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May 2019 Update

May has been a productive month for me. Work was less busy, so I had more free time, and I managed to transcribe the second half of my fifth notebok… and even transcribed all of the sixth notebook before my holidays started!

I also updated my blog in Spanish (and realized it’d been a year since my last update!). I know I shouldn’t feel guilty, but… well, I’m trying to fight guilt and keep moving forward.

I feel rather productive and accomplished right now, and I have to thank Lee Welch for that. She’s been a huge help with her conversations and posts about anxiety, burnout and writer’s block. She always has encouraging words for any moment, and she had one of the most motivational ideas ever: making a writing pact! (There’s a pun about it being the right impact hidden somewhere in there.)

Anyway, we have no deadline and we haven’t chosen the story yet, but I’m feeling super motivated and that’s why I’m trying to finish transcribing my notebooks as fast as I can.

And about this blog… I’ve started working on the book rec post I promised, but my priority has been the notebooks. After all, I only feel like transcribing old stuff once in a blue moon, so I have to make the most of it.

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April 2019 Update

April has been a very busy month at work, which is why I was inspired to post Writing with Anxiety. I knew my anxiety would only get worse if I spent my few free hours writing, so I’ve tried to do the opposite of what I do at work: I’ve spent time with friends and nature.

Spring means some days are sunny and warm enough to spend by the river or walking through the woods, so I’ve enjoyed spending more time outdoors and taking lots of photos I may use in the future.

I’ve also been taking care of my Twitter account in Spanish, which is a thing that exists.

The threads I shared may look familiar to you:


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I’m glad I could help these books reach a small Spanish audience. Nothing makes me happier than helping others and sharing the things I love, so I’m thinking of writing another book recommendation post. If you’re interested.

What have you been up to this month?

Writing with Anxiety

As I was working on my post about writer’s block, I realized that sometimes the reason we struggle can be temporary, like lack of inspiration or a particular stressful situation. In those cases, the possible solution may involve doing something else until the inspiration returns or the particular situation has been fixed. But if you have to live with it forever, like some people do with anxiety and/or depression, this might not be a good solution.

I’ve lived together with anxiety as long as I can remember, but depression is new for me, so I’m not as experienced as I am fighting anxiety. I can tell you that, in my case, writing while I was depressed only made it worse, so I had to stop and take a break for a year (while I was looking for a good psychologist), then take another year to come back slowly. So, you know, sometimes it’s good to stop and take care of yourself for a while.

But I have the need to feel useful, so this situation —as you can imagine— didn’t make my anxiety happy. We both had to learn to cope. My problem is I feel guilty if I’m not being helpful all the time, and I can’t be helpful if I’m not doing something “useful”. Writing counts as useful, but since I’m a translator, it’s not very different from my usual job (typing on a computer) or studying (which I was doing at the same time), and it piled up. The solution? I had to learn to relax and compromise.

I try to think of my anxiety as a sort of gremlin (AKA mogwai). It can be a nice pet if I take care of it, but… I can’t feed it after midnight. Or, in my case, after work. I need to spend hours doing something different so I can recharge my battery. It wasn’t that way before, but I overdid it and didn’t notice until it was too late. As a result, I only write a bit during the weekends when I have busy weeks at work. (Or nothing at all, if I’ve been too busy.) I’m slow, but there’s a nice community of #turtlewriters over twitter who are amazingly encouraging. It’s good enough to know I’m not alone, but they also tweet regularly to show their support and understanding. And by regularly, I mean every day!

I also struggle whenever I share anything written by me (yes, even blog posts or tweets) because I don’t want to be offensive, boring or annoying. Which is why I created this blog, so I could start writing and sharing little by little, and hopefully learn that the world doesn’t end and I shouldn’t be controlled by fear. As a result, now I have twitter and this blog to test my anxiety and get used to having other people see what I write.

So those are my plans for the foreseeable future: take my time, keep going to therapy, update this blog and turtle-write.

Tell me, do you have any experience with anxiety? How do you cope?

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March 2019 Update

This has been a great month for the most part! Lots of flowers and cute animals around here. Seeing daylight when I leave work is more encouraging than you may think.

I’ve been on holidays, visited some museums and written a bit. I still have bad weeks, but now they’re turning into bad days, which means it usually doesn’t take me a whole week to get better.

I’m having a bad week right now, though, so it doesn’t feel like an improvement, but I know it is.

Reading has helped a lot, and I’m going to start writing as soon as I finish this post! I found some inspiration in a song and wanted to write everything down before I forget.

This month I opened up a bit and told you about my fight against writer’s block. It surprised me to see my post was so well-received. Thank you, everyone, for your messages, visits, likes and support. It means the world to me!

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How do I fight writer’s block?

Same as any other kind of artist, writers also suffer from this condition. The causes differ and depend on each person, just like the ways to overcome it. Every person should find their own way to deal with it, so if you’re looking for a solution to this very problem… I’m sorry, but I can only speak for myself. My answer to this question may not be able to help you in particular, but I wish it did. I hope you find your way back, and please let me know if I can help in any way.

In my case, writer’s block was not a lack of inspiration. I had ideas, and sometimes I wrote them down, but I didn’t do anything else with them (for years) because of my insecurity. Still, I was struggling at the time, so it wasn’t a complete block. In a way, I’m used to dealing with anxiety and my lack of self-confidence, so I can get things done most of the time. Yes, these are problem I should deal with, but things got worse.

When my anxiety got so bad it reached the stages of burnout and depression, I stopped writing. I had to. Whenever I had to use my computer, I wanted to throw it out of the window. I had panic attacks sometimes.

So I did what I had to do and stopped writing. I changed my habits, reduced my workload and spent one year focusing on work (because I couldn’t stop working) and taking care of myself.

I took walks, played videogames, avoided my computer and didn’t write anything new. Not even on my notebooks. I even stopped reading for a while.

It was hard because I’ve spent all my life working (even school and extracurricular activities are work) and stopping to rest made me feel useless, but I persevered. And then, one day, I started feeling better. I wanted to read again, but I couldn’t trust new books yet, so I started rereading some of my favourite books. Little by little, I started to enjoy it again. And then I started therapy, and it all went even better after that.

I took some holidays and I just went to the beach and relaxed for the first time in many years. That couple of weeks helped a lot and I started writing in my notebooks again, and also transcribing my old notebooks. I even created this blog. And I started writing a fanfic because I thought it would be fun.

It’s been over a year and I’m still fighting, but I think the way to overcome writer’s block is… basically patience and perseverance. I know that isn’t very helpful, but that’s how you learn to take your time and do what you need in order to get better. The solution depends on the reason why you suffer this condition, and it may involve not writing at all. So if taking relaxing baths and walking in a forest is what helps, don’t think of it as Not Writing. Resting doesn’t have to be the opposite of work. Relaxing is hard work and, more importantly, it’s necessary if you want to keep working (and living), so I now consider it a very important part of my day. Try doing something that makes you happy (or that used to make you happy if you have depression), and remember that the mind needs time to heal.

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February 2019 Update

I haven’t written a January update because I already did a Happy-New-Year update, but now I can resume my monthly updates. Or that’s the plan.

First, I’m glad to say that my anxiety is getting more manageable, and now I’m able to do things I couldn’t do before. With the days getting warmer and longer, I’m more active as well. That means that I’ve started writing again!

But then I fell sick twice in two weeks, so I couldn’t write this post on time…

I did finish the list of book recs I’d promised, and it took longer than I thought, but I’m very proud of it. Go take a look!

I’ve been writing some other stuff in Spanish as well, but just I could give a couple of friends something written by me as birthday presents. I hope they liked what I did!

 

love celebrate valentine happy valentine
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