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Short notes on writing and this #depressionhole

Shanley Kane

i'm crawling out of a bit of a depression/anxiety the last two days. but i think i'm halfway out. today i did a read-through on my book so far, and i have to admit i'm feeling pretty proud and excited despite a rough few days of feeling like a useless shit-bag for not making progress. 

it's going to take a lot of work still but what i have.... is pretty cool. and nothing like it has been done before in tech writing. trying to remember this feeling to keep me going in hard times ahead.... 

i've had mental illness most of my life but this book project has been one of the harder things i've encountered as far as being productive and achieving my goals while being mentally ill. for one, writing in a very memoir-like way just brings back so many memories and PTSD and pain. lots of my book combines personal experiences and stories with systemic analysis, and holy fuck it can be painful and also debilitating when it comes to actually being able to write. i cry more than i've cried in years, and am experiencing whole new ways of being triggered as i dig through the past. 

it. fucking. hurts. 

Here's just a few tips that work for me for continuing to work despite mental illness, take what works for you or don't. 

  • there's a huge range of tasks involved in putting together a book. writing, editing, organizing research, doing read-throughs, promoting it, etc. i try to look for the tasks that i think i'm capable of doing THAT DAY and do those things. this requires some mental overhead of tracking a few different lines of work at once, and i try to do that work of laying out tasks on good mental-health days; however
  • SOMETIMES YOU'RE JUST TOO DEPRESSED AND ANXIOUS AND SICK TO DO ANYTHING. i've found forcing myself to write on those days just prolongs the exhaustion and even though it can be pretty hard, i think sometimes taking a few days to try to focus exclusively on self-care actually means i recover faster than i would trying to suffer and struggle through it
  • when i'm working on a particularly difficult chapter, i try to make people around me aware of it and tell them how they can be more supportive, or just warn them not to expect as much of me as i am usually able
  •  when i'm writing during an anxious/depressed spell, i make extra-sure to make the things i need to write available: easy snacks that don't require prep, lots of water within reach, etc. if you're gonna use your limited energy to write, make that as easy as possible on yourself. relatedly: 
  • my writing space is super critical to me. one of the things i've learned through this process is to MAKE MY WRITING SPACE WORK. my writing space needs to feel safe and comforting, and it needs to have ALL the shit to make me feel better. scented candles, decorations, pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, music, a place to lay down, tons of notebooks and pretty pens, marijuana to smoke... for me, having a space that i can feel okay / find comfort in really helps. so i spend a lot of time designing my writing spaces, even while i'm on the move / traveling. 

anyways, i'm sure i'll be posting more on this topic later but now i'm gonna shower and watch TV, because i've done all i can do today for my book. 

remember to pre-order my book at www.shanleybook.com

xoxo, 

shanley

My First Book Update

Shanley Kane

Hello. OK so in this blog I want to keep in touch with my readers and fans and share a little bit about my experiences so far on the book! 

First, here's some pictures of my writing supplies/mobile studio: 

(Left to right: My salt lamp which provides great light and clears my mind; my little light-up writing buddy (changes colors!); notebook/computer set up; and what a good writing morning looks like for me) 

Release Timeline: I had originally planned to release the book in late 2017/early 2018 but have made the decision to move it back to fall 2018. I just really want it to be the best it can be and while I think I could have made an early 2018 release date, I really want to take the extra months to make sure it is excellent and well-edited. 

Where I Am Now: I've been working on the book full-time since February after spending a few weeks last year getting started. I've got a ton of writing, and right now I'm in the process of organizing it all into chapters and moving towards a full first draft - right now, I'm at about 115,000 words of the draft, which is definitely book-length, but it still needs a lot of work. WRITING IS RE-WRITING. I'm doing tons of editing, fleshing out, adding details, working on prose. I think ultimately I'm aiming for the book to be somewhere between 120,000 and 150,000 words. 

Writing Tools: Dozens and dozens of notebooks. Scrivener is where I'm organizing most of the work - it's a great software for working with large amounts of text, it's helping me to keep huge amounts of research, text, and notes organized. I downloaded the new version of OmmWriter for free-writing since it's super beautiful and distraction-free. Look: 

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That's all for now! I hope I can update this every week or two to keep all of you updated on my progress. I'd like to share with you more about my writing process, setting up mobile writing spaces since I'm traveling a lot, and yes, what I'm writing about. 

Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who is supporting my writing by pre-ordering my book (https://www.shanleybook.com/) or getting me wishlist presents for my writing studio - the pens, notebooks, computer monitor and yes, video games have been totally awesome and keeping me going. 

xoxo, 

shanley