On Being Completely Overwhelmed

It hit me last Friday, approaching a weekend that would begin the screaming vortex that is my spring and summer schedule, coincidentally starting with a trip to Magic Mountain…land of screaming vortexes. For whatever reason–birthdays, BBQ’s, fairs, trips, the rush of pre-vacation requests at work–these seasons are always jam-packed. I had to calendar lunch with a friend because almost every other weekend in May was booked. Calendaring a lunch! I felt like Charlotte Pickles. I lifted my head from my smartphone (no Bluetooth, I’m not there yet)  after reserving his time slot and faced the colossal tidal wave rearing in front of me. My head went light as I braced myself. Stress swept my legs and took me under, shooting me into a riptide that won’t let out until early November.

I usually embrace the chaos of the warmer seasons. It’s usually all fun and games. This year, it’s fun and games that have to be balanced with the numerous writing projects I’ve taken on.

Last week, I took a break from my MS. I had just finished a review that focused on scribbling questions as I read it again from start to finish. Identifying plot holes and areas in need of improvement, looking forward to the next three books in the series and writing down themes that would have to carry through the entire set, noting key events that would have to take place. Coming out of that review, I knew I had a lot of work ahead of me. The kind of work that requires closed doors, no interruptions and real digging. I would have to answer all of these questions and fill in all of these holes. I would have to make this next draft the final one before sending the MS to beta readers. I spent the weekend celebrating my boyfriend’s birthday and cowering from Monday’s threatening fist.

I also have the graphic novel. I’m writing flash fiction horror stories to expand the world of Beatrice is Dead, telling backstories of some supporting characters and making an effort to get people excited about the actual book in progress. These stories are being illustrated by Robert Burrows, the graphic novel’s artist. My next story is due to him mid-month. I’m also researching marketing, providing merchandise copy, looking into requirements for conventions.

And this one may seem like a throw-away, but it’s important to me: writing short stories for submission to fiction magazines and journals. I need this aspect of the writing process. I need rejection and acceptance to feel challenged. It’s an integral part of my process and also a big part of working on my craft. Just let me reach into my exploding pockets to find time for it.

Work has been insane. My lunches are often working lunches, so I don’t have that hour to work on short stories as I did before.

I have this blog.

Yeah. Overwhelmed.

I will say this. I don’t think I’ve ever been this happy with my life, or felt this mentally sound since I was a kid. I don’t feel like a wistful sad-sack waiting for my dreams to come true–I finally feel like I’m actively pursuing them.