2021 has been a strange year for me so far. I am really struggling to find the motivation to work on my fiction most days, and when I do, it feels like I can never do enough. The rewrite of BLOOD OF SALT, TEARS OF PEARL feels like an endless, torturous slog I’ll never escape, which makes me not want to bother at all. I know a lot of this is pandemic-induced. I’m bored out of my mind with doing the same damn thing every morning, noon, and night, feeling like I’m making no progress toward anything at all. It’s hard to see an end from here, and the fate of my book seems to have sunk into that same void.
I did manage to work on the book a little bit last month, though Spring Break put a halt on that, and I haven’t managed to pick it back up again. Part of me wonders if I should bother trying to piece the book back together, or if I should move onto something new—but I also know I can’t let this one go. It’s like I can feel the book it’s supposed to be, glimpse the possibility of it in the distance, but I can’t figure out how to get from Point A to Point B from where I’m standing. And I don’t know how much of that is book fatigue (I’ve been working on this story since 2017) or pandemic fatigue or straight up publishing industry fatigue (it’s a mess) or if I’m just so deep in it I can’t see anything objectively and what I think is hot, stinking garbage is probably actually fine. I’m still struggling with doubts about my skill and ability to produce a book worth publishing. I want to. I know that much. I haven’t given up. But right now, the task feels next to impossible. And I don’t know what to do about it.
I’ve been having other thinky thoughts about the systemic issues within the publishing industry as well, and how toxic the book community can be, especially on Twitter, and it all makes me wonder if I really want to be a part of that or not. I’ve had thoughts about leaving Twitter for good, possibly even all social media, other than my website. I just don’t think I can deal with the level of vitriol on display, especially when it comes to the book community policing what people can and cannot write about, and sending throngs of angry commenters at anyone they think is out of line. Now, a lot of this is in the Young Adult book community, so maybe I’m worrying about these things for nothing, but as a white woman who wants and prefers to write diverse characters outside of my narrow experience, it’s on my mind a lot.
So there’s a lot going on in my head lately. I’m not sure I have any answers for myself yet. And with all of this uncertainty toward my writing career, I don’t feel comfortable or confident enough to continue any public-facing content, like my writing talk livestream, future author appearances, or other book events, at least for the time being. I need to figure this out first.
Probably not the sunny update many of you were hoping for! But in good news, I have been making really good progress on my D&D campaign, which has been a lot of fun.
Word Counts in March:
BLOOD OF SALT, TEARS OF PEARL: ?
Total Words Written in March: 8,868
Total Words Written in 2021: 27,841
Plans for April:
With luck, I’ll feel like working on BLOOD OF SALT, TEARS OF PEARL this month. Maybe I’ll have some epiphany that provides the breakthrough I need to get moving on it.
February was another off month for me, featuring a bit of nihilistic defeatism that made me question why I even bother with writing and publishing anyway. I go through this on occasion, especially when writing is particularly hard or publishing is in turmoil or a...
January was a weird month. I had intended to start working on BLOOD OF SALT, TEARS OF PEARL and return to my usual blogging and writing streams once kiddo returned to school, but as it turns out, my brain needed a longer break than originally thought. I did work on a...
Writing went rather smoothly in December, though my word counts were lower than I would have liked. I was able to write every day before the holiday break, except for one day when I was sick (probable food poisoning). Some days, I netted a negative number of words,...
Chroniker City #1
Seventeen-year-old Petra Wade, self-taught clockwork engineer, wants nothing more than to become a certified member of the Guild, an impossible dream for a lowly shop girl. But when Emmerich Goss—handsome, privileged, and newly recruited into the Guild—needs help designing a new clockwork system for a top-secret automaton, it seems Petra has finally found the opportunity she’s been waiting for…
Chroniker City #1.5
Petra Wade’s older brother, Solomon, has always dreamed of being an actor. Instead, he works grueling shifts in the clockwork city’s boiler rooms to help support his large adopted family. When Le Theatre Mecanique holds an open call for their upcoming performance, he decides to audition, but the only role he is suitable to fill is that of the theater’s custodian…
Chroniker City #2
It has been six months since clockwork engineer Petra Wade destroyed an automaton designed for battle, narrowly escaping with her life. But her troubles are far from over. Her partner on the project, Emmerich Goss, has been sent away to France, and his father, Julian, is still determined that a war machine will be built. Forced to create a new device, Petra subtly sabotages the design in the hopes of delaying the war, but sabotage like this isn’t just risky: it’s treason. And with a soldier, Braith, assigned to watch her every move, it may not be long before Julian finds out what she’s done…
Brooke Johnson is an avid tea drinker, nonprofit co-founder, amateur seamstress, tabletop RPG enthusiast, and dabbling artist, in addition to all her book writing. As the jack-of-all-trades bard of the family, she adventures through life with her fiercely bearded paladin of a husband, their warrior princess daughter, a cowardly wizard of a dog, and two roguish cats that somehow rolled high enough persuasion to join the party.
They currently reside in Northwest Arkansas, and once they earn enough loot and experience, they’ll build a proper castle somewhere and defend against all manner of dragons, goblins, and whatever else dares take them on.