Hey there, friends! This week’s blog is going to be a little bit different than my usual content! This is a personal blog, so, feel free to skip this week if you want!
CW: Mental Health
I started writing Dark Paths sometime in 2019. I published my debut, Home Sweet Hell, in July of 2021. At the time, I had a pretty substantial backlog — by that, I mean, I had the entire first installment of the series written. Because of that, I was able to pump out content at quite a fast rate. I’ve always been a big proponent of “setting yourself up for success.” That notion translates into every aspect of my life: doing the dishes before bed, pre-making my meals, selecting my outfits the night before. I’ve always been a “planner.”
So, imagine my surprise when I dip my toe into the self-publishing space and realize that there were many things I didn’t account for! It was a very steep learning curve, and oftentimes, it felt like I was pushing a boulder up a hill. I had anticipated the basics. Writing, editing, editing some more, cover art, formatting, publishing schedules, promotional materials, ARC groups, etc. What I hadn’t anticipated was just how much of my time would be spent on social media.
Before I started publishing as Ivy Whitaker, I had no social media to speak of. I loathed Facebook, and really just used Twitter to post stupid things that made me laugh. I had an Instagram that was entirely dedicated to showcasing my dogs and my plants (we see not much has changed, eh?). I was more or less catapulted into the content-creating world. And don’t get me wrong, I am endlessly grateful for this aspect of my journey. I made so many new friends, and met so many wonderful people — and to those of you who randomly slid into my DMs with sloth pictures? You’re real ones.
But, as someone who was unused to social media, and maintaining a presence, it got pretty overwhelming. And pretty quickly.
In learning the ropes, writing has more or less taken a back seat. I kept telling myself that if I set up a rigorous schedule, I could still maintain my writing goes, as well as create content to post on my various social media platforms. I started “front-loading” my posts, and scheduling my blogs. I set up timers and wrote out my schedule during the day down to the minute.
For those of you who don’t know, I’m still traditionally employed, too.
So, on top of working my day-to-day job, I was working two other jobs: social media manager, and author.
I don’t know if you’ve gathered this about me yet, but I’m just a smidgen type-A. I also have a compulsive need to over-achieve. So, as I imagine you’ve probably figured, I created a veritable molotov cocktail for burn-out.
For a while, my mental health was pretty dodgy. I was stuck between feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders, and condemning myself for “doing it again.” I set a limit on how long I would work myself into the ground. “After this project, I’ll take a vacation,” “after this book, I’ll take a break,” “after this, after that.” Obviously, we didn’t get to that last project! So, here we are. At the brink of boiling over.
I’ve been learning how to pace myself. In doing so, I’ve realized that I need to prioritize writing. It’s what brings me joy. I’m happiest when I’m staring at my computer screen with my third cup of coffee in terrifying proximity to my keyboard. I’m alive when I’m giving voice to the stories that follow me like shadows.
So, that brings me back to 2019. When I was writing this series just for the heck of it.
Don’t worry, this isn’t a break-up letter. I’m not going to disappear off the face of the planet. I have a content schedule, and at this point, it’s routine. But! All that being said! My new releases are going to be slowing down.
I’ve — again — created a schedule for myself. Albeit, a far more forgiving one. I’ll still be writing, I’ll still be making goals for myself. I’m learning to find balance, and I’m learning to make space for the things that bring me happiness.
Thank you all for being a part of this journey with me. And thank you all for supporting me.
I’ll still be around. I’m going to keep being my goofy, absent-minded self on social media. But instead of a book every two months, let’s try for something more manageable. Maybe a book every six.
If you want to see regular content, you can follow my stories on Kindle Vella! Or, if you’re not a resident of the US, or don’t want to give the ‘zon your money/want to support me directly, you can find me on Patreon!
Again, this isn’t goodbye. This isn’t even a “see you later.” I just want to go back to writing. I miss my backlog!
Thank you for sticking it out with me.
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