It’s now a few weeks into 2024 (already?!) and I have just finished reconstructing my website. I had hired out the management of the website for a couple years, but I feel more confident in my skills (and just prefer to be in control of the content) so have rebuilt the website from the ground up. It was quite the adventure, choosing the theme, determining what features I need (or don’t need), etc. And finally, feeling quite proud of myself, the website is done!
Pardon me while I go into a bit of a metaphor here, but I really feel like this just represents where I am in my writing journey. (Yes, yes, I know, quite cheesy. Sometimes, cheesy is the best option.) I have spent the majority of the last…seven years, now, dealing with severe health issues. I spent six years trying to get a proper diagnosis and finally got that, only to have comorbidities crop up. Now, seven years on from when things started to get bad, I have the official diagnosis of hEDS, POTS, MCAS, and various other issues such as coeliac and anemia to my name. I am also autistic, have a smidgeon too much anxiety, and am a service dog handler. But, as of right now, I know all the things wrong with me (well, yes, in the diagnosable sense, if you’ll excuse a bit of dry humour) and am managing them adequately. There is no cure for hEDS and POTS and MCAS and everything else, only management. But they are being managed.
What does that have to do with my writing journey? Lots, as it turns out. During the last seven years, while dealing with this health nonsense, I have managed to get my MSc in Linguistics, start my writing business, add on my editing business, and try very hard to make a proper go of things. The last four years have been more or less awful as far as health goes, and trying to manage my business as well as keep up with the various afflictions has not been easy. Now, though, things are being manged. And as far as my business goes, I finally feel like I’m figuring some things out.
I’ve found my writing niche. I love writing disability representation, primarily in the fantasy genre (with romance thrown in, because I like it). At the moment, that means I will be writing more epic-style romantasy books with various representations in the story. The current project, Silent is the Sword, features a main character with selective mutism derived from anxiety and childhood trauma. Another piece I’m writing features a MC who is an ambulatory wheelchair user. I have plans for considerable more as well, including dyslexia, CPTSD, amputations, and more. Whether these stories take place in more of a medieval style, gaslamp style, or even urban style fantasy depends on the needs of the story.
Apart from my writing niche, I’ve (sort of) figured out a marketing strategy that works for me. I’m really bad at paid adverts, because they require massive amounts of time to optimise audiences and graphics and such, as well as money to test things out. And while I can do them (and have done them) with reasonable success, the last time I did, it took up every minute of my day when not dealing with health problems. Which left no time for writing or editing. Which is a problem. So I focus primarily on newsletters and social media. I’m trying to be more engaged on my socials, posting to a consistent schedule and being very transparent about my thought processes and health issues and such. (Also, more critter pictures. Such as above, picturing my service dog, Willow, “helping” with work.)
Anyways, I feel like I’m finally in a place where I can make forward progress with everything, instead of going sideways or standing still due to factors completely beyond my control. I’m so grateful for the opportunities I’ve had and I fully intend to keep writing.