Cass E Ritter

On the Road to Publishing


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My Life in 3D – Life Rhythm Disrupted

Today has been one of those days. A low after highs. A dip in mood and enthusiasm.

Considering the successes I’ve had over the last few days – talking to lovely people and getting appointments on Friday and Saturday, and then yesterday a successful weigh-in (yeah 🙂 )… Well, considering all that, I should be on a high, I should be raring to go, I should be pacing from one task to the next, riding my own wave of success and positivity.

So why did I sit down after working at stupid o’clock in the morning and do very little today? Yes, I am tired. I have been tired since the weekend. But I went back to bed after work on Sunday and slept until past midday, so I should have caught up. I had a brief nap this morning as well, so why did it not leave me energized? Is it my age? I am after all fast approaching my mid-fifties.

I won’t deny that age has something to do with it. I just don’t recover as easily from lack of sleep as I did when I was younger.

When I accepted the job at silly o’clock in the morning, I thought that it would leave me a lot of time to pursue both my writing as well as building the business. The other job that I do, marking exams, is seasonal, so would also fit in well (and it does).

Reality, however, has been very different. If you need to get up at 3.15 am, count backwards to calculate at what time you need to go to bed for 8 hours of sleep. Impossible! So my bedtime is generally 9 o’clock in the evening. I doesn’t only make me quite anti-social…

“Sorry I can’t stay late, I have to go to bed.” (I sound like a pre-schooler.)

Anyway, in addition to being the eternal party-pooper, I am permanently tired. I need to nap most days, and on days I don’t get one, because I have things to do, I am exhausted the next day, sleep until 2 in the afternoon and then can’t settle back to bed at 9…

Couple that with a life of self-doubt, low self-esteem and anxiety and here we have the reason for one of those days. It is the reason why I have been struggling to write (my most creative time of day is the middle of the night), it is the reason why my business has been growing slower than I wanted, it is the reason why I sought help to get me out of the destructive cycle of depression breeding deeper depression and anxiety stopping me from living.

Do you have any of those friends who do not believe in depression and the debilitating effect it can have on you? Their solution to procrastination, or to anything remotely emotional is:

“Just pull yourself together.”

I’ll tell you next time what I think about “just pulling yourself together.”


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My life in 3D – To Job or Not to Job

A few days ago, before the curveball, I talked about accountability.

Isn’t that just another way of saying ‘taking responsibility’? Yes, that’s part of it. But it’s also about who holds you to account.

Talking about work, when you are employed, that’s pretty simple to answer. You are accountable to your manager/employer. So long as you do your job well, your boss will be happy, you will get paid and can (hopefully) pay your bills.

But what if you don’t like your job or worse, hate it? You do it because there is nothing else you can do to earn an income that allows you to survive.

Can you see where I’m going?

Where is your passion?

Who is responsible for ensuring your well-being?

“Employers have a duty to ensure your well-being. It is part of the appraisal process.”

Who said that? Well, you are not wrong, but no matter how much an employer values and praises you, no matter how many promotions you achieve, if your heart is not in it, if you are not passionate about what you do, your well-being will be affected in the long run. It’s just a job, nothing else and it takes up a third to two thirds of your waking time.

And if you love what you do, you are one of the lucky ones who has been able to bring passion and work together.

I have worked jobs that I loved for many years, and still there came a time when my life changed, circumstances changed, my feelings changed and the love for my occupation died a death. My well-being went down the toilet.

Working a job that leaves you unfulfilled erodes your spirit.

Enter comfort eating…

Enter self-doubt, anxiety, depression…

Exit passion…

So what are the options? I’ll explore that further tomorrow.


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My Life in 3D – A Curveball

slug-on-cactus-2

So there I was, all set to write down some thoughts every day and share them with you and on Day 3 – only on Day 3 – my computer decides that it is a good idea to crash my website, so I couldn’t post the blog I’d written so eruditely 😉

Yesterday – still no difference. I reported it, but clicking on a button requesting feedback doesn’t really help, does it? However, because I was working one of my day jobs that help pay the bills, and Christmas of course, I didn’t have any time to look into it any further.

Today was an equally busy and quite exhausting day but I enjoyed it so much. I spoke to people about my business, I made some contacts, and even appointments. It has given me a great boost to keep going. Training is paying off – I obviously said the right things.

So imagine my disappointment when I came home and my website was still crashing. I did what I could: emptied the recycle bin, cleared history, deleted old data to improve capacity (or so I thought as it said that ‘Chrome didn’t have enough memory to load the website’). I even turned it off and on again.

I will need professional help to find out exactly what the problem is as all my efforts made no difference. In the meantime, as my browser didn’t like me, I tried a different one instead. And it works for my website.

So here I go again… Summarising the last two days: I worked at silly o’clock this morning to be able to pay the bills; then I worked on my business. I boosted my own well-being and I am still in control of my eating, which further builds my self-esteem (it makes me feel very self-righteous to challenge my cravings although I must admit that I am planning a treat day).

And now, I’m going to bed.

Good night world 🙂

 


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My Life in 3D – Accountability

When I made the decision to write a blog and share thoughts with the world, I did more than that. I made myself accountable.
By having to answer to you, I also have to answer to myself.

I went shopping today. I’d had a big Slimming-World-friendly cooked breakfast, so I wasn’t hungry – at least I wasn’t when I started walking around. Everywhere I looked, there was temptation: sweet treats, flavoured oils, bacon sandwiches, Christmas hampers.
Two days ago, I would have buckled. I would have bought something, thinking that I could put it aside for Christmas and then it would have been eaten before the day was out.
Today, accountability influenced my decisions. I found some Christmas presents – except the one I was looking for – and I didn’t buy a single food product.
I can proudly say I’m on track for one A, one B and a maximum of 15 – my Slimming World friends will know what that means.
“You’ve conquered your cravings,” I hear you say. No, they are there, but I control them, not the other way round.

Does accountability influence all my 3Ds?
Of course it does and I will expand more on that tomorrow… Doing a daily blog, at least until I reach certain goals, I can’t tell you everything in one go, can I, or I will run out of anything useful to say.

😉


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My Life in 3D – Going Public

I am going public.
No, I am not going to live my life on social media. Nor am I going to post daily pictures of the food I eat.
But I am struggling. I am comfort eating. I am undoing all the good work of the past year and a half during which I went from a size XL to an M. My eyes see something I like – Lebkuchen, chocolate, shortbread, whatever – and something in me says “I don’t mind if I do… have one… or two… packets.”
So instead of being 4lb from target, I am now a stone from target and not happy.
And trying to understand why.

Then this morning, at stupid o’clock, I woke with this thought “My Life in 3D”, and I felt alive. Not so much awake, but alive.
3D.
My 3 Ds.
Yes, my three dimensions, the cornerstones that will take me where I want and deserve to be.

One: The ability to pay my bills and have enough left over for the luxuries in life like the theatre, good food, friends and family, holidays… The things that make the struggles worthwhile.
Two: Self-worth, which is linked to the achievements that make me proud. But even more important is the way I look and feel as me, and of course my weight plays a huge part in that.
Three: Passion, and I don’t mean the lustful kind, although should that reappear in my life, I will not turn it away. I mean the activities in my life I do with a passion, the things that fill me with joy and serenity. That includes writing, which I haven’t really done for over a year.

And this is why I am going public. I cannot work on any one of my dimensions without the other two. I cannot work on just two and hope the third will happen on its own.
So I will earn, I will eat sensibly and like myself, and I will write.

Follow my blog as I rebuild my writing world, regain control over my eating choices and build my businesses.


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What Blocks your Writing?

Readers may have heard of writer’s block, writers may say they’ve had the affliction, the rest don’t care.
Readers care when they’re waiting for their favourite author’s next work and it’s not forthcoming.
Writers care when they sit and stare at the page and it remains resolutely blank. For hours, and days, and weeks. Do you get the picture?

Actually, I don’t. Either writing is a job or a hobby.
If it’s a hobby, you can do what you want. Some of you probably talk about writing far more than you actually write. But that’s fine. When asked what your interests are it’s so much easier to reply “Writing” rather than “Talking about the writing I’m planning to do one day”.
If it’s a job, you take it as seriously as you take any job where you go to the office and do your contracted hours. You may like it or not, you may have a bad day or a brilliant one, but you do your work or you risk the consequences.
Using a previous self as an example, when I worked as an administrative assistant I never had only one job on at the same time. I had reports to run, spreadsheets to complete, minutes to take and write up, invitations to send out, phone calls to make and so on. If I couldn’t complete a table immediately because data was missing, I wouldn’t stare at the blank template until someone had uploaded the information. I would do something else and come back when the system was up to date.
It’s the same with writing as a job. Many writers have more than one piece on the go, but for now, let’s assume writer Z is working on her ultimate novel. This is the masterpiece. It is her non plus ultra in the making. It will be the turning point in her career, the one that will lift her from obscurity to international recognition, translated into 125 languages. If only she wasn’t stuck on Chapter 3, line 27.
WRONG!
If you cannot write Chapter 3, line 28 because your heroine has just defied you and you cannot for the life of you figure out what you’ve done to offend her, you are missing the information to progress – for now. Like the poor administrator who has to slog away in a 9-5 office, change focus. Move on to Chapter 5 and describe what the hero looks like as he rides into the picture on his motorbike, clad in sexy leathers, with a Chihuahua in his saddle bag. Then jump to Chapter 9, where they kiss for the first time and suddenly Chapter 3, line 28 writes itself. Your mental image of your heroine has been updated.

But this type of block wasn’t at all what I was thinking about when I posed the question in the title.
Reality Check
My reality is that writing is more than a hobby. I want to take it as seriously as a job, but… I’m not independently wealthy, nor do I have a partner who covers the household bills. I haven’t yet found my audience who will buy sufficient quantities of books between them so I can live off the proceeds.
So the block that I’m talking about is the obstacle that keeps me from writing full time: Jobs that pay guaranteed money.
I’m working on so many in order to earn my writing time that I take away from it, too.
I mark exams seasonally. It’s one of the seasons at the moment, so the last time I looked at Leonie was 5 days ago. Not because I don’t want to, but because scripts are available in tightly controlled windows and not conveniently spread out over the year. I think about Leonie every day. She’s like a child who’s gone abroad. I wonder what she’s doing, how she’s feeling, how she will manage to deal with the challenges she’s going through. Last time I wrote her, she was in hysterics.
I’ve finally landed another part time job, 20 hours a week, to bring in regular money between the seasonal top-ups. Next week, I have my induction, the week after I start. I’m really excited. For that job I’m on my feet for four hours, the perfect foil to sitting and writing. It’ll keep the spreading middle under control.
In addition, I’m working on a little business, a plan B, which, with consistent input of a few hours a week, can build into something substantial a few years down the line. It is something that can fit into the nooks and crannies of life.
Where my writing is concerned, all these jobs are obstacles I resent, but without them, I wouldn’t be writing at all. I’d have long since lost my house and the will to do anything with and for myself.
So…
Reality Check 2
No jobs = loss of everything = no writing
Part time jobs = regular income = part time writing
Writing is still a job, which I can treat as such. While it’s wonderful to go into the zone (all writers and artists will know what I mean) and not come out for 8 hours, it’s equally satisfying to find it for 30 minutes, 2 hours or maybe even 4 when I can.
I will complete Leonie and the next few in the series, I will write Nina and Lom’s anthology, I will come back to all the other big projects that have taken permanent residence in my brain, including the alternate ego that will write for younger readers.
This is where writing is different from a 9 to 5 office job. It isn’t restricted to a certain number of hours per week on particular days. It is flexible to fit into my life. As I am self-published, even my deadlines are self-imposed.
So what if I haven’t written Leonie for 5 days, or if I haven’t had time to post and share happiness on Facebook. So what if I will not publish the next book by the end of May, but by the end of June instead.
What’s important is to recognise that what I saw as a block, as an obstacle, isn’t. It’s an enabler.
Block cleared
I will make myself proud and complete one writing project after another.
When my audience finds me, I’ll be ready for them.


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From Dazzled to Frazzled to Full

A 21st Birthday to Remember

“I’m not really excited. I don’t want to get older,” she says.
And still she’s up at 8. She, my daughter, who wants to stay a teenager forever.
It is her 21st-teen’s birthday.
Her face when she opens the first present shows Continue reading