Finding joy in the midst of unholy chaos

This past week has been...well, let's just put it out's been hell. Without going into a lot of detail, I'll just say that one of the cogs in the publishing process for Rite of Revelation crumbled into tiny pieces and started messing up all the other little gears and the publication machine came to a screeching halt. I should also mention that all of this was going down as I was trying to celebrate my birthday, even though I'm not excited about how close to 40 I'm getting.

cake and crying, pretty much nails it

As I write this, I am about 24 hours away from getting back my final edits. Yep, you read that right. Two weeks until publication, still don't have a finalized book. Did I mention week from hell? This weekend will be dedicated to getting that finished and getting books out to bloggers who graciously agreed to review the book, even though I was super late in asking them. Yep, it's been that awesome.

I was talking to my writing group, some of whom are published and others who haven't taken that step yet. Because these are my people (and margaritas were involved) I sobbed my whole story to them and spazzed about all the looming deadlines that I'm paranoid I'll miss.

Those who have trod this trail, nodded with sympathetic eyes that said they'd been there before. The non-published of the group just stared at me, slack jawed as if I had killed their beloved family pet. I didn't even apologize, just said that I would give up any percentage of royalty fees right now to have a publisher swoop in and clean up the disastrous, poo-covered mess that is this book release.

But in the midst of my writing world spinning in a fiery tornado of failure, I stopped to find some bright spots. While everything else fell down, my husband and I finally signed on the dotted line for a new house. This is after five months of house hunting and two failed contracts. I'm feeling good that this one is going to stick since we've already passed the inspection stage. Woohoo! My family is healthy and kiddo #1 has started asking me to help her write little stories. So far, she's really into this one fat rat. Hello, series potential. Also, due to the madness, I made a new online writer friend, and after only a few days, I can tell she's awesome.

The point is, even though it would be easy to just curl up and woe myself to sleep, I can't. Being an author is fun. Most of the time. But there are going to be times when it sucks. And not just for self-publishers. Every author, at every stage of their path is going to have times when the whole thing sucks. It doesn't matter if you are still knocking out the first draft of book one, querying your third project, or publishing your fifth book. You are going to have some sucky times.

We all live in this very socially connected, but mostly isolated world. So it would be really easy to let the bad times overwhelm you and suck you into a whirlpool of misery. To fight that, we have to find the joy. We have to intentionally seek out the parts of our lives that make us happy. It can be another aspect of writing or something completely unrelated, but we all need happy.

At the risk of sounding like a middle-aged, suburban mom (which I totally am) I've decided to start a gratitude journal. Nothing fancy. But I've realized that it's too easy to let all the piles of problems stack up so high that I can't see the good things anymore. And that's not cool. Not cool at all. I like being happy.

I don't know what's going on in your world. I hope it's sprinkled with magical rainbow unicorns who edit your pages into gold while you sleep. But just on the off chance that the unicorns are on a break, I'm giving you permission to find joy. Even if it feels like the world has rolled off its axis, you are allowed to be happy. Maybe a journal works for you. Maybe a thanks jar or prayer or just a morning pep talk. Find a way to stick your head up above the chaos and be happy. We'll have to dive right back into the deep, but at least we can go down with a smile on our faces.

Have a great weekend, all! Also, two weeks until Rite of Revelation releases!!!!!!