Welcome to Michele L. Montgomery. She's guest blogging here as part of the Out in the Rockies blog hop. You can find the whole schedule here: Out in the Rockies Blog Hop
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What A Busy Year This Has Been So Far by Michele L Montgomery
A lot has been going on this year for me, that actually started late last year that had my emotions going haywire. I went from very low lows, to very high highs and everything in between that. When my emotions get the best of me I'm a hot mess without a sense of what focus is, never mind actually doing anything which requires my attention for more than a few minutes. I could not sit still, and do any one thing, I was doing too many things at once and none of them were getting my full attention. This included the projects I was working on. The biggest of them was a novel I had been working on since last year. I would start writing and a few minutes into it, I'd be scrambling around and end up doing three and four things at once. This was with everything, my review site, reading, cleaning, talking to people, and of all things, while I was writing.
The reason for that focus issue? Stress. When they say stress is a killer, they aren't kidding you. I had been under an ungodly amount for way too long and my body had quite enough and it was giving me warning signs for a few years that I chose to ignore. A really high stress job that I left in August of 2011 was my breaking point. When I left I thought I'd get better and I could put all my attention to what I loved to do. I figured that because writing is such a comfort to me, and it allows me to lose myself, that I'd be just fine.
Wow, was I wrong. The stress, which I had been burying for years refused to just go away, instead it needed an outlet and I began suffering anxiety and panic attacks more and more often. It got to the point that I could not grab that focus no matter what I tried. And when the writing didn't help any longer, I knew I needed help. So I got it.
Now, nothing like that cures itself overnight, but before I got the help I needed to deal with the anxiety, I had committed myself to a project that I had to have done by the time Pridefest in Denver began. I figured oh hell, that's ten months away, I can do it so I took it on. HA! I was fooling myself because wow did I struggle through that project, so much so that I had to rewrite it from start to finish because I could not connect with the characters no matter what I did. I know why I couldn't, I just refused to believe it. I didn't want to think I lost the ability to create so I kept pushing things until I had to set the project aside and let it rest and hope like hell I'd find the skill and characters to get it done. While I set that aside, and still scared that I lost my creative side, I began another project that wasn't meant to see the light of day and that actually turned out to be DAMMIT!, a novel which was released in March of this year through Seventh Window Publications and one that came to me quite unexpected.
While I was working with DAMMIT! I was also working with the next Lethal Obsession book that I, once again, could not connect with, no matter what I did. So here I sat with two novels I needed to get done and could not get there. Now, earlier in the year I wrote a short titled, “You Never Cared,” and flowed out of me in one night. I couldn't stop typing once I started, so when I ran into the issues I had with the other two stories, I began freaking out wondering what in the hell happened.
All of my focus left due to stress which then caused the panic/anxiety disorder I now have. I managed to complete DAMMIT!, X BAR, and Lethal Obsession: Deserted, (which will be released this year) done. How? I got the help I needed to find that focus which freed my mind up to be my creative self once again. I was able to once again find the characters and get their stories out. I even started a blog for the characters in the Lethal Obsession series. I also keep the review site up and running, I do a bit of promo, I help friends with beta reading their stories, I even keep myself in one place at a time until the project is completed. However, when it comes to writing I will admit, I do work on more than one story at a time and the reason for this is because there are days I can connect with certain characters from one story better than I can with others from other stories. Right now I have two shorts I need to get done, and let me say that shorts for me are hard, simply because I do connect with my characters on such a deep level that I don't know when enough is enough, or they don't. Either way it works and I'm fine with it. I remember when I wrote “You Never Cared,” and feeling Jordan's feelings, his emotions so strongly that once I was done writing it and looked up, I had tears rolling down my cheeks. I didn't even know what I had written until I went back to read it. I shocked myself. OH! And that title was picked up by a publisher and now has a new cover, added content and will be re-released July 1st.
I'm working on the Lethal Obsession series all the time, be it a scene I see, a thought that comes to me, a simple sentence one of the characters spurts out, my mind is always on those characters. They are a touchy bunch and very demanding, as well as a whole lot of fun. Honestly? I have more and more ideas for stories with them everyday, so I don't expect to see that series ending any time soon.
It's safe to say that I'm back and I've found what I've been missing. I still have those goals, those dreams, the want to, and the desire to write. I have a lot of plans for a lot of stories, and at the moment I'm working with Seth Azzarello, on the next Lethal Obsession story that just may see a release late this year. And I have plans to work on another short, just to see if I can.
I rose above the pride I had and got the help I needed to deal with my situation and for that I am a whole hell of a lot better than I have been in a long time. I want to publicly thank Seth, Ash, Sal, Xander, Christine, Lisa, and Jeff for being there for me when I needed an ear, a shoulder, and just plain company when I felt myself falling apart. They spent hours with me helping me find my strength, giving me a kick in the ass when I needed it, and a type of friendship that I've never had before. They believed in me when I stopped believing. They talked me through attacks, and stayed with me no matter how late it got. With each new book that is released they are my loudest cheering section and I'm proud to call them my friends. I also want to give a shout out to those of you at Facebook who keep my spirits up by supporting my writing and letting me know you do. You know who you all are.
Till the next time....CIAO'!