‘Tis The Season to be Stressed Out, Fa La La La La, La La La, HALP

OK guys. Confession time.

I’m not going to make my end of year deadline to complete a first draft of The Mayor.

Here’s the situation:

In a previous post (see here), I explained how I still had 8 more chapters left to write, and was aiming to finish a chapter a week.

Well, this plan fell on the wayside pretty quickly, because it took me 3 weeks to complete just one chapter told from the POV of my villain.

Screen Shot 2017-12-07 at 23.52.21
Our writing retreat in the Cotswolds… Take me back!

Now, I’ve spoken before about how hard Kale is to write in the past; understatement of the century as I’m concerned. This particular chapter was even harder, because it dealt with long-awaited revelations, violent payoffs and a fuck-ton of allegory. Add that to real-world, catatonia-inducing stress (I decided that now, just before Christmas, would be the perfect time to sell my house for some stupid reason), and you can imagine how hard it was for me to sit down and force those words out.

As for the 4-day writing retreat with K.F. Goodacre? Productive as it was (I’d probably still be stuck on that Kale chapter if I hadn’t gone), it was only 2 days long, not 4.

So I still have 5 chapters left to write, and less than 4 weeks to write them.

I have shed actual tears over this. I have had anxiety attacks. I’ve felt like a complete failure and like I was letting not only myself down, but other people as well: my writing partner; my boyfriend, my friends who read what I write as I go along…

But the other night while I was having a shower (it’s amazing how much a nice hot shower clears my head), I had an epiphany:

  • I’m not being paid to do this. I’m not published. I don’t have an agent. I’m not locked in a contract. I don’t have any obligations beyond the ridiculously high standards I’ve foolishly set for myself.
  • It’s the festive season. I usually love Christmas, but this year so far, I haven’t been enjoying it at all, because I’ve been so wrapped up in worrying about how I’m not going to meet my deadline on top of work stuff, house stuff, money worries, and other things I can’t control. I can however control my deadline. Why? Because it’s self-imposed.
  • Most of my writing happens at the weekend… but I’m fully-booked from now until Christmas. I do not want to be resenting the fact that I’m spending time with the people I love — or worse yet cancelling on them at the last minute — because of a self-imposed deadline.
  • This last month has been a struggle. A real struggle, mental health-wise. This wasn’t helped by the fact I didn’t win NaNoWriMo, even though I knew there wasn’t a chance in Hell that I would when I started. WHY, BRAIN?! WHY DO YOU DO THIS TO ME?
    Throw a lapsed deadline and a failed 2017 New Year’s Resolution into the mix, and at this point I’m running pretty close to throwing in the towel altogether. My finger is practically hovering over the delete button, Guys, and that is not good! THAT IS NOT GOOD AT ALL. (I’ve actually done this before with a previous WIP, and have regretted it ever since).

If I’m objectively honest with myself, I’ve done amazingly well this year. I’ve written almost 75,000 words of my novel — more than I’ve ever written in a single year in my life — all while maintaining a household, caring for two cats, and holding down a full-time job. I’m within touching distance of the finish line, so to fall at the last hurdle would be an absolute tragedy.

Therefore I’ve made the difficult decision to extend my deadline by 2 months. Instead of 31 December 2017, I will now be aiming to have a first draft completed by 28 February 2018. (This is actually a pretty excessive deadline — I should in theory be able to do it in one).

I hope you guys aren’t too disappointed in me. I’m so sorry to have let you down if you were excited about the prospect of me finishing, but I think it will totally worth it in the end because I will actually have a story to share with you ♥

Take care,

S.E. Berrow


P.S. Just so this post isn’t entirely disappointing and depressing… here are some random things I’m really loving at the moment that I want to share with you!

Books: The Six Of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo — a New Adult heist story set in a fantasy world based on 19th century Tsarist Russia. It has a wonderfully diverse cast with some great characterisation — and the story is so much fun! I just don’t want it to end.

Music: Kingslayer by symphonic power-metal band, Almanac — especially the opening track, ‘Regicide’:

On the morning after the king has lost his crown,
Only tears and laughter come together now.
When my senses fail us, I’ll fade without a sound.
When I see you fail I’ll break in to break you down.

Also the album art is great. It’s so, so good; currently tied with Arch Enemy‘s Will To Power for my personal Favourite Album of the Year, 2017.

Lipsticks:Naked Witch‘ by the lovely ladies at Necromancy Cosmetica. At last! I can now make myself look like a ghost without using my foundation as a lipstick! Their palest nude ‘Healing Stone‘ is simply gorgeous too. I love them both. Love love love.

I’m also super amazed at how — despite being without power for 90+ days (being based in the hurricane-stricken Puerto Rico) — they were still able to safely ship my order to me in a matter of days ♥

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Falling Behind

It’s all been a bit quiet here on the blogging front at seberrow.com. With Christmas and the end of the year rapidly approaching, my spare time has been taken up with extra work, socialising, writing torture scenes (so festive) and baking mini Christmas puddings care of Nigella Lawson. I may also have been drowning in a sea of Fitzy feels whilst reading Fool’s Quest by Robin Hobb, watching too much I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here! and overindulging in Life Killer 4 (also known as Fallout).

Presently I have no less than 4 outstanding blog posts to write for you all. Come Saturday after the Nightwish gig, that number will creep up to a rather intimidating 5:

  1. My NaNoWriMo experience
  2. Album Review: Innuendo by Amberian Dawn
  3. Book Review: Fool’s Quest by Robin Hobb
  4. My romantic weekend in Leeds Castle
  5. Gig Review: Nightwish, Wembley Arena (19.12.2015)

Fortunately I have some time off over Christmas, so I’m hoping to rectify all this soon. Until then, many thanks for your patience!

Take care,

S.E. Berrow


ETA (23.12.2015): Links will added as each planned blog post is written.

 

Welcome to the new official website for S.E. Berrow

It’s much like the old one, only slicker, tidier and, from a personal point of view, easier to maintain. I’ve migrated away from Blogger largely due to my complete inability to work Google’s interface, plus WordPress has lots of really great features that I hope to take advantage of in order to blog – and hopefully write! – more often.

So, as I continue to make headway on my current projects, Salt (a psychological urban fantasy thriller set within the dark underbelly of New Orleans) and The Mayor (an epic historical fantasy set on the high seas of the 18th century), here is a list of things you can look forward to reading about in the not-too-distant future:

  • Updates on my writing progress
  • Notes on my writing process and inspirations
  • Any interesting research that I come across
  • Music, gig and book reviews (on this latter point, you may wish to check out my Goodreads)
  • General life updates
  • Pictures of my cat

I’m also looking forward to building up my website’s content in order to make it a more informative and interactive experience for you all.

In the meantime, take care, and I shall speak with you soon.

S.E. Berrow