One Becomes Two Becomes Eleventy-Billion

I started a task list. Another one, if we’re being honest, but this one was meant to be more detail-oriented; to help break items down into smaller parts. The task list that might actually facilitate progress and completeness.

I didn’t even realize all the things stacking up. Talk about overwhelming. One item became two became four became eleventy-billion.

So, it was serendipitous this popped up:

(An article from Weight Watchers)

3 Reasons to take a mental health day

Taking a day off to ease your mind isn’t irresponsible—it’s a necessary part of staying healthy.

Everyone agrees that you should stay home when you’re not feeling well. (In fact, your co-workers will probably appreciate it.) But what about when you’re not feeling mentally well? Here are our tips to taking a day off for literal peace of mind.

1. Take (the right) time off.
The goal of taking a mental health day is to lower your stress levels and come back to work (or school or even parenting) feeling stronger and healthier. Think about why you need this break—if it’s because you’re trying to avoid your boss, you might want to think of another way to cope. On the other hand, if you’re feeling totally burnt out and distracted, then taking a day to clear your mind could be exactly what your body needs.

2. Be productive.
What do you need? If it’s catching up on sleep, do it. If it’s a massage or yoga, prioritize that instead.

It’s also fine to take this time to tackle the nagging tasks on your to-do list. If your finances are stressing you out, try making a budget; if your house is a mess, carve out a few hours to clean the bathroom and do laundry. It’ll all make you feel better.

3. Don’t overload yourself.
Taking a mental health day should help you solve a problem, not add to your guilt and anxiety. Don’t pack on the pressure to get an absurd amount of chores done. Just prioritize a few things and try to enjoy the time away.

This caveat of not feeling guilty about taking a “day off” is big. That’s often my problem. Doing this instead of this adds more stress because I don’t trust my decision. Relaxing rather than getting something done makes the relaxing worthless.

This week, a book I’ve waited to release drops. I’m taking an entire day to concentrate on reading it (that’s how I read. All at once 🤣) By scheduling it, I hope to avoid any thoughts that I should be doing something else, or even that I haven’t earned this down time.

I’m not sure just writing a to-do list warrents a mental health day. Maybe I should check a few things off the list first. Still, being aware, knowing taking a step back is actually good for productivity, is helpful.

What do you think about mental health days?

A (late) story of my Reemergence

I’ve gotten so behind, while also getting so much done!

Yes, I’m way behind on getting book 4 of The Fool’s Path to you. It’s in the works, I swear. I have a tentative release of Spring 2021. It’ll be a long book; lots of words. There’s so much to tie up and I really never planned to have Dee’s story start a fifteen book series 😉 I really want four books to be it.

Don’t worry. If you’re sad about the end looming, there are stories about Daniel’s past, Amalthea and Metis, LeSath’s Soldiers, and of course, Hamal cued for writing. Let me know if there’s anyone else you’re dying to read more about 🙂

While diving into this last book (Catching Balance), I’ve gone over the first three books. A (bad) idea that opened so many cans of worms.

Stumbling was my first book baby. I’d worked on it for so long that once I found the courage to put it out into the world I was a little impatient. I should have let it sit a little longer, should have taken a little more time to refine it. But it was my learning curve, and for my first novel with minimal editorial help, I’m still very proud of it 🙂

(Still haven’t read it? Get your copy here).

There was a similar problem with Falling Forward (I’m also convinced somehow a previous edit got uploaded that was a mess and was the published version for a long time before I noticed. It was sloppy for a long time and so many apologies from me if you read that version). Super embarrassing, but a wicked learning curve that has helped my brain so much.

Because of this reevaluation, I’ve decided to republish the series under alternate titles. Don’t worry, that plan won’t take energy from getting book 4 out. I want to release Book 4 under The Fool’s Path series before dealing with rebranding. All my books are published using Amazon ISBN’s. A cheaper option I chose to see how this whole indie-publishing thing worked. The rebrand will happen under my own publishing house but that’s a plan for the end of next year. (If you’re signed up for a free travel pass, you’ll have already gotten the low-down on these plans 🙂 )

I really let the COVID lockdown take me away. I played World of Warcraft 16 hours a day for four months before finally getting my writing tools back out. I’ve been away from social media since June. This post will be my official reemergence (at the time of this post, I’ve been back a few weeks). It’s hard for me to believe in the value of my words. I definitely struggle with connecting. I’m drawn to bury my head in my work, but sharing my process and linking with other writers is important, too! And hearing from readers makes it real! Drop me a line if you’re either 🙂 I’m in desperate need of alpha and beta readers, and I’d love to be an alpha reader for you!

I have put away my gaming computer (mostly) for my writing tools. While I’ve still been stagnant on producing work for The Fool’s Path, I’ve gotten so much other work done. I’ve written two books in a new series I hope to publish traditionally, while also starting four books in a third series that interweave through the eyes of different characters. So, many, many written words. Now, to polish something up or it doesn’t really count…

What have you been working on?

Do We Like ‘Happily Ever After?’

Working towards finishing up draft one of this new project, I’m caught by the fact that I haven’t decided on the ending. Very easily, I can give each character a fantastic end to a long journey, a place in their world that makes it all worth it, that makes their sufferings and losses culminate to finality in contentment.

But is that a good ending? I loved HUNGER GAMES because of the harsh edges Katniss‘ life left her with. I appreciated Tris‘ death because I believe ultimate sacrifice is necessary for the big changes. To give less cheapens the story and teaches a certain lackness in our real lives. It’s more real, more visceral for my heart to break than to simply smile, close the book, and move on. These stories left me numb, unable to put the book out of my head after the last page was turned. THAT is what makes something spectacular over great.

This was what was missing from MaasTHRONE OF GLASS series IMO. That everyone, especially as there were several characters to receive it, got their happy ending was cheap. Cassandra and Brannon reconciling was lame. Some things you can not take back, and the unsatisfied longing for something creates a more lasting impression than giving it.

But I feel public opinion sways more towards handing out this latter ending than the formers. While I don’t want my words swayed by popular opinion, I do want to make money from my work, which suggests leaning towards how the masses might more like something. This is pressure I’m unused to, and unsure how to handle. Pressure I try not to let leach into my brain, but find impossible to ignore one-hundred percent.

In this case, I’m sure I’ll end up writing both endings and leave it to my beta team to decide, or at least allow their opinions to weight my own.

What do you think? How much weight do the fans (or just a general public) get in manipulating the path of art? How do you deal with this in your own work, or how might you expect an artist to react?

Tell me your thoughts! Leave comments or email me directly. I’m so curious to hear how you handle this! 🙂

featured image painting by Sage Barnes; “Self Portrait #3”

Instagram Challenge

Hmm… I guess my pledge to blog a little more daily went right out the other ear…

But, here I am with more recaps from Instagram! As well as an update on Book Two of my Fool’s Path series!

Falling Forward Release…

…is now Thursday the 20th, rather than (instead of?) December 25th. That’s ThIs Thursday! Available on Kindle and paperback through Amazon 🙂

Back to Our “Regularly” Scheduled Posting


Days 15, 16, & 17

How’d I get so behind! (Don’t answer that)

Day 15: Do you write best in the morning, evening, or in between?

I don’t have a favorite time of day. As long as I’ve mined out distractions I’m good anytime 🤓

Day 16: How are your December goals coming along?

Killing it!! My second book’s release has been pushed up a week so you can all get your hands on it on Thursday (December 20th)! That’s TWO books this year I published!! Book three is well on its way, as well as another project I’ve decided to tackle under a pseudonym.

Day 17: what’s the favorite thing about your MC or WIP?

I love that Dee follows the Hero’s path, basically literally. Book 1 has her in this place where she has no idea what’s going on- and she’s good with that. Then, as things unfold she’s forced to figure things out or risk being a pawn for others.

📝Tell me about your WIP! 📝

And follow along with me: @author_CMMartens

It’s Not A Flowing River…

…more like trickling spittle that takes it’s time to build into a drainage ditch, then a cute little creek, before raging as something resembling flow.

For YEARS- I was writing a book. Really, what that meant was that I had an idea I had started but I just wasn’t “feeling it” so I never actually got around to working on it. After that initial excitement phase, when the preliminary “fun” parts vomit to the page, there wasn’t much motivation. Like a new relationship. When the honeymoon phase ends, if all it was was nothing more than chemical sparks, with no greater underlying connection, it fizzles out. 

This “feeling it,” “feeling like it,” “inspired” state of mind isn’t a really real thing. Lightning strikes then fades, and you have to find it. After the spark it’s work. And work isn’t always fun.

Not that any of this isn’t something we’ve all heard a thousand times. I think a lot of us just don’t believe it, or use it as an excuse to do other things which means we’re not ready to be writers.

What I’m getting at is: use your allotted time. First of all, set the time. Then, use it for what it was for, regardless if words are flowing. During my latest writing session, it took me an hour to write five sentences, but then, it took me an hour to write 1500 words. The block will fade if you beat on it.

  • Do you think writer’s block is real?