Of Rats and Newborn Koalas

March 23 was release day for RAT RACE (yay!). It’s the 99c novella that kicks off my new Sugar Mill Marketplace Mysteries series.

But I’ll tell you, I never thought it would get here. Not because I was wiggly with excitement like I usually am for a new release, but because I honestly wasn’t sure I could make it happen.

I’m sure you heard—because I whined about it incessantly and melodramatically—that I was sick for almost 8 weeks in January and February. And not with anything interesting … just a stupid cold! But I guess because I hadn’t been sick in so long, I have the immune system of a newborn koala* and it took its toll.

And—not to whine incessantly and melodramatically—it wasn’t just any stupid cold. It rendered me helpless … like a newborn—never mind. But I couldn’t work. Couldn’t function hardly at all.

The only thing I could do was wallow around like a newborn ko and think about all my work that wasn’t getting done.

Along with RAT RACE in March, I’m launching BOOKED in April, PLOTTED in May, and BOUND in June. I had a meticulous and perhaps overzealous writing and production schedule that suddenly had a rather dramatic eight-week gap in it. Egad.

But when I began feeling human again, a weird thing happened. Instead of bouncing up and diving into the task at hand to get back on track, I became paralyzed. Couldn’t do anything. Didn’t know what to do or where to start.

But more alarming, I wasn’t sure I wanted to.

You regulars here at Chicks probably know me well enough by now to know that I am the sunniest of optimists. Nothing gets me down. My glass is not just half-full, it’s overflowing with the elixir of happiness and Ghost-of-Christmas-Present-good-cheer.

This was a little bit scary to me, but oh well, I still had BOUND to write. So I shoved all that ickiness down deep and started typing until I got to a serviceable ending to the draft.

But then, it all bubbled up again.

Don’t wanna.
Why am I doing this?
This is a ridiculous endeavor.

I did a bit of soul-searching and finally had an epiphany … this is what burnout looks (and feels) like!

That changed everything.

I clicked away the manuscript. (I almost said I put it in a drawer, but c’mon, I’m not some eighteenth-century scribe sharpening the nub on my quill pen.)

And I quit thinking about the writing and started focusing on the producing.

I made this cool graphics hub for my Review Crew and other rabid fans. I formatted the manuscripts I’d finished. I set up preorders. I revamped my welcome sequence when people subscribe to my mailing list to give them even more freebies (squee!). I brainstormed keywords. I agonized over blurbs (which you’ll find hilarious if you go to the preorder page for BOUND). I rewrote procedures for my Review Crew so I wouldn’t sound like such a maniacal taskmaster when it was time to send them ARCs. I dealt with the US Copyright Office and lived to tell the tale.

In short, I engaged an entirely different area of my brain.

And guess what? I snapped out of it! It energized me in a way the drafting of the manuscript hadn’t.

And guess what else? I still met my launch date goal for RAT RACE, and I truly believe I’ll hit the marks for the next three books. (Although, just to hedge my bets and not put undue pressure on my delicate self, I did make the pre-order dates for all three of those December 1st. I’ll change them when I’m sure. Girl can’t be too careful with her newfound epiphany, eh?)

So, I’m happy and relieved that RAT RACE is out in the world, and the next three in the series are up for preorder and falling into place quite nicely.

I think I’ll reward myself with some eucalyptus leaves.

*no idea if newborn koalas have delicate immune systems but it has truthiness to it so I’m leaving it.

How ‘bout you? Have you ever become stymied by something you never even thought about before? Did a change of scenery—mental or physical—do the trick for you too? Do you think of me as a helpless and delicate newborn koala? Are you afraid that the tiniest whisper of wind will knock me from my eucalyptus tree?

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