Site Announcement

The Gods are Bastards will be taking its first official hiatus for the remainder of March.  The story will resume on Monday, April 2.

During the latter half of the last book, I’ve gone back and forth on this, originally planning a two-week break as I’ve been updating without pause since 2014 and was beginning to feel burned out on the story.  By the time the book actually ended, I was in a much better creative place, and leaning the other direction.  My mind was made up when a very generous reader made an extremely kind donation which funded Friday chapters for at least two weeks.  It seemed like a churlish time to suddenly take time off.

Then, while trying to get the first planned bonus chapter done–by last Friday, which obviously didn’t happen–I’ve had the worst case of writer’s block in my experience set in.

The truth is (and regular readers will know this), I have always been bad at managing my energy.  I’m bipolar, which means sometimes my creativity is through the roof and sometimes it’s practically nonexistent, and during “up” phases I tend to over-commit to things and fail to account for the inevitable downswing.  I also suffer from a case of work ethic which means I feel constantly guilty if I am not working.  I always want to power through, which works fine at my day job but isn’t a solution when it comes to creative labor like writing fantasy.  The result is the schedule slips that have occurred over the last year and a half, the missed and delayed updates.  A lack of planned rest causes unplanned failures.

I’m hitting a burnout point and need to rest, and take time away from TGAB.  I’m extremely sorry to have to come to this decision after already announcing this bonus chapter, but the chapter’s not coming, and I’m making the call to look after my mental health rather than forcing it.

This won’t be a vacation for me, just a period away from TGAB to help stave off burnout for the good of the story.  I have other work to do:

  • I plan to continue working on the second story I mean to launch as a serial when it is complete.  That one is fresh to me, and time spent on it has helped me come back to TGAB with fresh enthusiasm already.  I think a couple weeks of it will do this serial a world of good when it resumes, as well as being productive and bringing Project 2 closer to launch.
  • I have researched and selected an editing service and cover artist to begin launching the TGAB ebook series.  My plan had been to do whole volumes at a time, but that may be prohibitively expensive; Volume 1 would cost nearly $3500 to produce that way, whereas Book 1 alone comes out to less than $1300.  In the near future I’ll be making a decision on that and launching a Kickstarter to fund it, because I have cash for neither on hand; my intention is to make free copies of the finished ebook a reward for backers.  There may be stretch goals and other rewards if I come up with good ideas for some.
  • I still need to launch the planned TGAB merch store.  Reader Vexingvision was kind enough to give me excellent professional advice on this last year, but I subsequently got busy and had mental health issues and that has fallen by the wayside.  It is still planned and this should give me time to work on it.

The Gods are Bastards will return in April with the planned series of bonus chapters, followed by the resumption of the main story arc.  Friday chapters have been funded in advance and will be going for at least two weeks once updates resume.

Thank you, as always, for reading.  All of you who do so are heroes to me.

30 thoughts on “Site Announcement

  1. I live with chronic mental health issues as well and I am proud you are taking time for yourself. Try to take at least a few days to just do nothing but pamper yourself; I know it is hard with a strong work drive but you deserve it after everything you have done for us.
    See you in April ❤

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    1. Even without a diagnosable problem, I’ve observed that high creativity always comes with a cost. The most creative and beautiful (and hilarious) minds I’ve known all pay for their gifts one way or another. Bipolar disorder is the most common price, it seems intimately connected with creativity. It’s a shame Western medicine tries to treat it by attempting to “level off” the patient, eliminating the lows as well as the highs. I’ve never met anybody who considered that to be a good trade. The lows suck, sure, but the highs are what makes life worth living.

      A better way to treat it–for many people at least-would be to stop looking at it like a disorder, first of all. It’s not, even though it causes problems getting by in this particular society. More accurately it’s a different kind of intelligence that’s just undervalued here in 2018. I’d like to see more focus on treating the negative symptoms of the depressive phases without negating the benefits of the manic ones.

      The singularly most creative person I’ve ever called a friend had the curse of not being able to turn it off, and it would drive him crazy at times. When sleep and relaxation started becoming problems he’d take his meds for awhile, but he’d inevitably get bored and stop, and then it was time to party. His diagnosis was schizophrenia, though it wasn’t anything like the “popular” notion of it. He didn’t hallucinate in the usual way: he didn’t have trouble telling what was real from what wasn’t, he wasn’t paranoid or antisocial (or even unsocial, he was emotionally intelligent and quite popular with everybody). The “voices” in his head didn’t seem any different than the ones in my head; calling them voices isn’t literal, it’s more like a way to characterize the sensation of having new thoughts entering your consciousness. It’s not at all like another person being up in there telling you to do things.

      I suspect those voices are somehow integral to creativity as well. I’ve taken hallucinogenic drugs in social situations like Burning Man, and I’ve felt what it’s like to trust your subconscious when it urges you to start telling a joke even though you don’t know what the punchline will be, or even that there will be one. My brain never let me down though. That trip was possibly the most charismatic I’ve ever been in my life. That’s what creativity is. That’s what my friend experiences all the time, whether he wants to or not (and trust me, being “on” all the time is NOT a good thing.

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      1. I would like to add to that, because I run in circles of people more artistic / creative than I, and most of my friends call me the creative one, heh, that there is a very dangerous correlation there. Specifically, while YES, depression, bi polar, and other forms of madness seem to be related to artistic ability and creative insight, there is a school of thought that the pain and mental illness is what causes the creativity, especially when the art a person creates seems related to the form of mental illness, a “reflection of their demons” or “excising their ghosts” a very common couple of tropes I’ve seen when describing this.

        Because of this, there have been a lot of creative people with mental issues lately who hesitate to get help and treatment. There’s a worry that losing the demons means losing the muse. And in every case I’ve seen of an artistic person getting treatment, while the nature of their art may change, none of them have suddenly become not creative, or lost their muse. In many cases, it gets better without the distractions.

        So if you start this line of conversation, I have seen a LOT of artists get REALLY upset and make sure the conversation gets steered away from the idea of mental illness leading to art, when its really the opposite in most cases.

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    2. 100% agree. I’m bipolar with anxiety issues and keep on agreeing to help friends and family, completely overreaching my capacity to do so and end up either making myself ill trying to, or not and drowning in guilt and self loathing. Taking some time to rest and balance yourself is something I think we’d all rather you did, and is a very good approach to dealing with mental health.

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  2. Glad to see you taking care of yourself, Webb! I’ll be looking forward to TGAB in a couple weeks 🙂

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  3. You’ve come a long way, my friend. It wasn’t that long ago that the mere idea of letting your work be influenced by your mental health seemed to be ridiculous to you, from a longtime reader’s perspective. I’ve rather recently made a very similar decision, though concerning studies instead of work or a hobby, and hard though it may be it might be the best decision I’ve made in five years. I’m very, very proud of you. Thanks for everything, and take care.

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  4. *sniffle* they grow up so fast!
    ;p
    Hope the time away is helpful; burnout + guilt is a bad combo and you’re sensible to head it off before it becomes unmanageable!

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  5. Sounds like a sensible, healthy decision to me. Hope you feel more refreshed and more energised when you’re back!

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  6. As much as I love the story, I have to see this has been the happiest I’ve been with an update in a long time. Can’t wait to see the second serial come out!

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  7. This tactic is rather common for creators online. Honestly, I wish you would make it a more regular thing. Not because I dislike your story. Far from it, I want to see it continue to grow and succeed. Perhaps after each book? Every 25 chapters? Something like that will not only give you a necessary creative break but allow you to continue to add to the almighty buffer, assuming you plan on using one.

    All the same, even this much I’m happy you’re taking for yourself. I’m also looking forward to your next serial. I figured out myself only recently that writing two different stories makes it far easier to fill my own personal writing quota, since I find creativity for one story tends to wax when the other wanes.

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  8. Absolutely support your decision to look after your mental health first & foremost.

    That said, aaaargh! TGAB *and* PGTE on hiatus simultaneously?!

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    1. Yea, I think taking a break now is a great idea, but living without both my favorite stories till next month will be tough. Maybe it’s time for another re-read…

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      1. If you’re out of things to read, try picking up a random Hugo or Nebula award winning novel! Don’t even worry if you’ve never heard of it.

        If you want a more specific recommendation (but based on the Hugos/Nebulas), anyone who likes TGAB should also like Neal Stephenson: The Diamond Age and Snow Crash in particular. William Gibson’s Neuromancer is a classic must-read for this crowd.

        I’m maybe 1/3 of the way through the winners lists after two years doing it. Not all of them were worth finishing ATM IMO, but most are really really good. I’d be a lot further along, but what happens is I’ll discover a new author and I’ll have to go read all of their other books first…

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  9. Oh no, I’m so sorry if I stressed you out D: (though I don’t know if the donation you are referring to was mine or not, but in case it was). I am a new reader who just spent a couple weeks blasting through the story, and I felt compelled to throw some money at you since if these stories had been physically published, I would have been back in the story buying all of them, and I felt you deserved the same profit regardless of medium. I didn’t want to make you feel like you had to rush to publish bonus chapters, since to me the donation felt like “thanks” for previous works.

    I really enjoy TGaB, and can’t wait to see it continue, but please put yourself first. I know how awful burnout can be, and I’d rather wait then have you risk your mental health. Please take care. 🙂

    –Sarah “I wish there was a private comment option”

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    1. You never owe me an apology for offering material support!

      I don’t want people to think I’m stressed to the point of collapse here; really, I am fine. This is a case of me recognizing a trend in that direction and acting to prevent it. Much as it grates on my nerves to not be updating, this is the first time in four years I’ve had no deadlines hanging over me and I’m already so much more relaxed after just one day. I look forward to being back in fighting shape by next month!

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  10. Take the time you need! And when you do run the kickstarter, I think you’ll find you’re going to get a LOT more kickers than you expect. Especially if you pop in some “be a character in an upcoming update” rewards tiers. I’m curious, are you comfortable letting us know the editor you went with?

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  11. Those sound like great goals to pursue, and I hope the time off from writing TGAB is helpful. It still sounds like a pretty full schedule though, given you’re also working a job! Good luck with everything. When you get it off the ground, I look forward to buying a couple of t-shirts.

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  12. This sounds like good news (because I enjoy the story), and a healthy choice to make. Good luck, make sure to get some real rest as well (even if this isn’t a full “vacation”), and we’ll be around when you’re back.

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  13. Have a great temporary change of focus!
    I look forward both to the return of this story and to the debut of your next. Speaking of which, I’m still hoping you come back to Rowena’s world sometime.

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  14. About damn time you took a break. 😉

    I hope you can relax and recharge. Anything else… I’ve said before, on the several occasions where I recommended you take some time off.

    About editing this story for e-books… I’d prefer it if you kept it mostly like it was, only fix the small continuity/logic flaws you introduced with some of the bonus chapters (Fross is a good example). The story is excellent and while it starts out slowly and often has to slow down to include all ongoing plots, it works well as it is. Of course, if you and your editor decide that some books need to be changed, then that’s that. Just don’t forget the butterfly effect… every small change might have big consequences later on. You may have to rewrite far more than you thought… and that takes extra time.

    I’m looking forward to the next chapter. ^^

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