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Writer update: still jealous, still frustrated

I've been in a pretty bad rut the last month or so.  Not unlike last year when I was in a rut for the better half of the year.  But at least last year I was always chipping away at a book; this year I'm well past the arbitrary deadline I set for "Mr. Brickwell" and I haven't even started to revise or otherwise get my post-apocalyptic book ready for release.

All the usual causes are at play - kids, work, exhaustion.  The worst of it is probably my day job, which has gotten extremely stressful as of late due to a combination of factors that I probably shouldn't go into publicly.  (Note to my boss: I love my job.  Please don't fire me.)

I'd like to tell you that in these moments when I'm feeling most desperate and tired, I get a charge by digging deep inside and finding a new well of inspiration and motivation to keep going.  That does sometimes happen.  But usually I just end up getting petty and jealous about stupid things.

This time around, it's the podcast Lore.

Lore is a ridiculously successful show.  It's one of the most widely-heard podcasts out there and one of the highest rated.  Host Aaron Mahnke has won several "Best Of" awards for it and I'm sure he's seen at least some boost in his own horror book sales as a result.

I hate him for it.  Sorry, Aaron.  That's how it is.

The show isn't really for me.  I don't want to be cruel and needlessly negative about it, though.  I've listened to a fair number and I appreciate the work he puts into it.  But between quibbles about the presentation and the fact that he keeps selling it as "truth" when it's only maybe 20% real at best, I keep getting riled up.  Several of the topics he's covered were done in much more detail and with much more accurate revelations by Monster Talk and Archaeological Fantasies, both of which are less accessible, but infinitely more rewarding.

But before I get carried away and just whine like an asshole, I have to stop and realize that what's really bothering me isn't his show, but rather its success.  Aaron has managed through what seems to be magic to create a successful show in between raising his own kids and managing his daily responsibilities, whatever they may be.  He's not only done that, but he's managed to get eight books out on the market that have all attracted a fair amount of attention.  Maybe not runaway bestsellers - but they're being read.  And that bothers me.

At the end of the day, I'm just a jealous jerk who hates it when other people make self-publishing work.  Not to say that they don't deserve it.  Clearly he's put in the effort and he's earned the reward.  I just wish I could stop letting that distract me.  The answer here isn't to bitch about it in my journal, but to get back to work on my books.

So, naturally, I've been distracting myself with a completely different project.  Makes sense, right?

My latest creative tangent, on which I'm collaborating with a friend, is another module for Dread.  I last played a game of this about two years ago, and the group that participated wants to do another one in a couple of weeks.  The thing about Dread is that you really have to bring a lot of story-telling to the table in order to make it work.  Even if you use one of the pre-created scenarios in the rule book, the game is maybe 20% the premise, 40% improv from the players, and 40% your own story.  It involves about as much work as structuring a book.

The payoff will be limited.  The audience will be fewer than a dozen and they'll get to experience it over the course of only a few brief hours.  But it'll be a ton of fun and hopefully it'll be the kind of kick-start I need in order to stop my petty fuming and do something productive.  Guess we'll see in a couple of weeks if it worked or not.