Progress Report May 2023

Progress Report Decoration Image from Artbreeder. 

It shows a strange landscape with green plants and round, yellow boulders under a blue sky with some clouds.

In this progress report for May 2023, I’m finally admitting that, yes, I was in Burnout and I’m still climbing out of that pit. Which means I’m not putting (much) pressure on myself to reach specific word counts or even write in specific manuscripts. (Who am I kidding? Of course, I’m putting pressure on myself.)

Burnout Progress Report

What did that Burnout feel like?

Writing has never been harder in April. I had no ideas and no motivation, whatsoever. Mostly, I just wanted to hide from everything. And I did, to a point.

At least I read. A lot. Found another author of M/M romance and have been reading her books ever since, often more than one per day. Why gay romance? I wish I knew. But I think it’s because in gay romance both partners are truly equal. They are not hung up on gender stereotypes.

Yes, they have to overcome misunderstandings, feelings of inadequacy, protectiveness, handling danger and the entire gamut of romance entanglements – but they do not fall into the damsel and hero trope traps.

And I am so, so tired of all those gender stereotypes. I want more than that. I mean, we live in the freaking 21st century, why can’t we have stories that actually… put us there? Where people work together and fall in love regardless of gender?

Thing is, I doubt I’ll get that in any kind of F/M romance, simply because (I’m assuming) most of those readers probably love exactly those gender stereotypes. (If you know of authors who write F/M romances the way M/M romances work, please, please tell me!!)

Anyway, so I’ve been reading a lot, which is good because it helps me reconnect with what I love to read and thus what I love to write. It has opened my eyes to some ways I actually fall short of that in my own writing. Yes, that was a revelation and that takes me to the next block in this report.

Winds and Pillars Progress Report

I’m still trying hard to get Earth Splits published this month. Really. I even bought the cover.

However – *sigh* – the cover needs a bit more work, and my designer is on it, but right now, I can’t even share it, because that’ll be a major change. I’m sorry. It weighs on me because I promised.

Second, I am stressing out over editing the manuscript I have for Earth. I did mention above that I’m noticing places in my writing where I feel I can do better now. Things that my beta reader pointed out for East Roars, already, and things I couldn’t quite see back then. (I did my best to follow her pointers, at least.)

This means I’m not making the progress I want. I’m taking a few days off from work around a public holiday next week, and I want to dedicate those days to getting Earth done and up, at least as an ebook, but print will happen, too.

But… I’m still coming out of Burnout and I do not want to slide back. And it’s so difficult to find the fun in it right now. It’s the kind of fun that induces wailing and gnashing of teeth.

If you want to support me and help with motivation, go and read the Winds series (start with South Breaks). I check sales reports every day, and seeing practically nobody reading those books isn’t helping, either. I’ve given away hundreds of copies of South Breaks through Bookfunnel, but only 11 people ever bought West Flows since I published it. I haven’t even made back the cost of very first cover. And I’m about to publish Book 5 in the series, and I’m very much struggling to write Book 7. It feels rather pointless because clearly, readers do not give a flying rat’s arse. Why should I?

Wolves Progress Report

The Wolves still make me happy. They are basically the one series of my four that actually sells. And they sold better in April than ever. Yay!

In fact, the good sales have motivated me to start Wolves #7, tentatively called “A Wolf’s Hacker”. It features a certain character from Book 6 and how he deals with everything that happened there (spoiler: not well). I have the bare bones of the story worked out, I have the two love interests set up (Shadow and Joker) and I’m starting to get a feel for them. They actually become friends through irc (and yes, I still have my own irc channel). And then they run into trouble, because of course they do.

I’m having fun with them – but the story stands at 3k words, so I have quite a bit to go until 50k.

Fan Fiction Progress Report

Yes, this is a new one. I’m not usually a fan of fan fiction. (Because so much fan fiction is just about dumping characters into bed willy nilly. I hate that. HATE it. Why would anyone take beloved characters, make them do something they won’t EVER do and then hype this up?)

Anyway, Writer Brain has been dumping scenes for a fan fiction tale into my mind without any regard to more pressing stories, and well… I figured any writing is better than none.

So right now, I’m stealing someone else’s characters and playing with them (nicely!) in their world, getting a feel for that writing style and learning a lot about inner dialog and showing a characters thoughts. It’s fun.

I’m calling it research.

And I’m gathering the courage to actually… tell the author. Eeeek!

Life Progress Report

Yup. Because I’m working on actually having, you know, a life.

My sister has challenged me to take a long walk at least once a week, so now I’m doing that on weekends. I walk to the water’s edge and then take an image of one of the seals at the local Aquarium. That’s proof for my sis. (She truly is my best friend.) Did it this morning and then got groceries on my walk home.

Life Progress Report Seal image taken this morning - with an arrow pointing to the seal's head.

And just yesterday, I went to a Creative Writing Class set up at university by the Creative Writing Club. If all goes well, I will join them. This feels big. It means I can connect with other authors in my town even though most meetings are online (which is awesome!).

It also meant I went back to the English Seminar yesterday, a place I haven’t visited for over 20 years. Talk about a walk down memory lane. Some things had changed (new fire-security doors), and some things hadn’t (the mandatory art and the shabby ceiling in the hallway).

Newsletter Progress Report

Well, no. This is not a progress report. This is the non-pop-up that invites you to sign up to my newsletter. I hate pop-ups and that’s why I won’t inflict them on you, even if they do get results.

So if you like getting writing news from me (once a month, on the 13th), great opportunities to snag cheap/good/awesome ebooks, and most of all, an exclusive Ember tale, fill in the form below. You’ll also get to download a gift story from BookFunnel. (I think it’s still the dragon book.)

About Hannah Steenbock

Hannah Steenbock is an author, dreamer, and coach. She has published several short stories in English and German, as well as one novel in German. In 2013 she started self-publishing her work. In 2014, she has won two awards for her short story "Sequoia".
This entry was posted in Progress Report and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *