Saturday, April 20, 2013

20 Questions, Day 1: Writing obstacles, depression, and why I am like I am

Over on Facebook author and marketing consultant JM Schroder is hosting a Lethal Obsession Book Blast for my novel, LETHAL OBSESSION. (Click on the link and come on over to join us).

One of the things I’ve offered to do there is to entertain questions about me or my writing, and now I’m going to extend that to my blog. For the next two weeks (or until the questions run out, whichever comes first), I’m going to answer at least one question a day.

And I’ve decided to extend that to my blog as well. So, if you have a question about me or my writing, put it in the comments here (or slip on over to the Book Blast and post there). I’m open to  most anything – how tall I am, my hobbies, how I write, why I write, my favorite color, if I have any pets, where I got the idea for LETHAL OBSESSION  or any of my other published stories (there’s a list at the right top corner of this blog)…go ahead and ask.

The first question comes from Travis Goldson, and he asks: What was the biggest obstacle your writing has faced and how did you overcome it?

Hmmmm…..that’s a tough one Travis. But I promised answers – honest and complete ones, too, so I’m going to be candid.

Over the years I’ve had a number of obstacles – I grew up in a less-than-ideal home, left home at 16 and bounced around for a few years, so I never finished school. But right now my life is a little more settled, I have a job and a little place that one day might be my own, so the biggest obstacle I have is – well, to be completely open and honest, I struggle some with depression.

I don’t want you or anyone to feel sorry for me, or think badly of me, but that’s a condition many people have – or will develop – and I struggle with it from time to time. In my case, it turns out I’ve suffered from it off and on for years, I just didn’t realize it at the time.

It comes and goes – there can be triggers that I avoid, and there are strategies to deal with it, ways to hold it at arm’s length, or to keep an episode from being as deep as it might be otherwise.

Sometimes, though, there’s little I can do to stop it. And honestly there are times I don’t try very hard. I have found find that it’s a double-edge sword. There are times when it comes on and it affects my writing, though I think in a good way. I’ve never published any of my non-erotica work, but I sometimes think I can mine deeper meaning from life and put that in a lot of my non-erotica work at times, or perhaps write in a different manner during that period.   Who knows, maybe it does show up in my erotica work as well – maybe a little in LETHAL OBSESSION.

The bad part of it is sometimes it becomes so strong I can’t write. It’s not what I would call debilitating – I still manage to get to work, come home, keep up a life (though even that can be quite difficult at times), but when I’m in those periods that’s about all I do. I can’t write, can’t really focus. (As an aside, that’s why I rarely take on commitments to do book reviews, or editing/beta reading work – sometimes I just can’t get it done, and I don’t want to miss a deadline or let someone down – of course I feel badly about this, about not being as helpful as I’d like to others – but that’s another discussion).

Then the depression will start to lift and gradually the writing comes back. And when it does, at least for a short while, it all seems fresh and new like I’m really accomplishing something.

As for overcoming it, I just try to learn to live with it, roll with it and, at times, use it. Overcoming, though, isn't a done-deal, it's a continual process.

So, there it is. The biggest single ongoing obstacle to my writing and how I try to overcome it. Hope that wasn’t too serious for you. But I did say I'd answer most anything!

More coming tomorrow...

Shandra Miller is the author of the erotica/suspense novel LETHALOBSESSION, available at and Barnes and Noble. Thus far the novel has garnered high praise by reviewers at Amazon (click here to see them), B&N (click here), and on various book review sites (click here to find a few of them).

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