admitting defeat

[trigger warning: mental health]

I am as close to a complete breakdown as I think I’ve ever been.

Part of it is just the usual.  I have a chemically imbalanced brain that’s caused me long and deep depressive episodes (and occasional manic spells) for years now.  Ho hum, situation normal.

Part is the long-standing situational shit everyone on Earth has been dealing with all year.  Months upon months of going nowhere, doing nothing and talking to almost no one has worn us all down.  I don’t think I’m alone in being flabbergasted at how much of an effect this has had.  For introverts like me, it sounds on paper like utopia, but…well, I don’t have to tell anybody what it’s like, you’re all alive in 2020.  Starting from a state of baseline mental imbalance, it’s been…a thing.

Part is more imminent situational shit, as this week I wait to find out whether my country is going to dive into full-on fascism or revert to the intolerable post-capitalist dystopia that’s made millions of people desperate enough to embrace full-on fascism, while I sit here watching both axes to see which falls and wondering what it’d be like if there was a good option, or even a bearable one.

And I’m pretty sure part is the self-fulfilling prophecy and vicious cycle of how all this has caused me to continue to fail at everything, which adds to the pressure and self-recrimination.  As deadlines pass and updates don’t happen and promises go unfulfilled because I just can’t seem to function on a basic level it becomes more and more evident to me that I should quit wasting everyone’s air pretending to be a writer and go get a warehouse job.

The really shitty thing about mental illness is how invisible it can be even to the person having it.  With no sensation of pain or nausea or any such biological warning sign, when I sit here for hours at a stretch unable to just type words on a keyboard and not being able to tell why the only sense I can make of it is simply that I suck.  There’s no feedback that tells me why this is so hard.  I’ve been staring at an in-progress chapter in my word processor all day and achieving nothing but anxiety attacks.  Well, almost nothing, I have managed to add a whole four (4) god damned words to the chapter.  Just typing this post is as physically difficult as running a marathon and that makes no fucking sense.  Yes, I understand what mental illness is, but just intellectually.  It doesn’t feel like there’s a legitimate problem here.  It feels like I am just lazy and stupid and generally inadequate by every possible metric.

This has been a month of basically no productivity, of anxiety and panic attacks, of some of the deepest depressive episodes I’ve ever had, and I’ve been trying so hard to push through and get the fucking chapters out because life is shit for everybody right now, I’m in a luckier position than so much of humanity and my one job is to produce something to help make people’s day a little bit more fun and this is the worst possible time to fail at it, but, well.  I have.  Failed.

I’ve gotta stop.  I feel like I’m coming apart at the seams.  I can’t fix what’s wrong in my brain or what’s wrong with the world.  The only thing I can change about this is the pressure on me to get something published for god’s sake, it’s not a difficult job and people are counting on me and paying me to do this and it’s unbelievable that…  sorry, that’s the kind of tangent I spiral off into every time I think about it.

I have the most supportive and understanding readers on this blessed earth and I appreciate that fact and every one of you so very much, though in a way that almost makes it worse.  Everyone’s always telling me to take breaks and take care of myself, don’t worry and stop pushing, and god, I really wish I could.  I just can’t suppress how awful I feel because I keep letting you all down when you provide me with a living to do this one simple thing that I can’t seem to keep up with anymore.

I’m sorry, further, for subjecting you to a rambling unhinged rantpost like this, I’m sure you all have plenty of stresses and don’t need any of mine.  Feels like I spend way too much of my time complaining about my lot in life anyway.  It’s just that I don’t want to be silent and leave people wondering.  If I can’t manage to meet my obligations, which feels like it’s basically always now, at the very least I owe everyone an explanation of what’s going on.

This feels even more ridiculous coming off my last break, what, a month ago?  Two?  Time is chaos anymore.  I would never plan a hiatus so soon and that’s why I’ve been resisting this so hard but I finally have to bow to the obvious fact that the content isn’t getting made anyway, so I guess if I’m gonna be useless I may as well make it official and try to turn it into a plan to fix my shit as best I can. 

In a concession to reality, I am taking an official break.  Last time I took two weeks off after spending two weeks in a spiraling stew very similar to this one in which I failed to publish anything and then called that a post hoc month hiatus.  That doesn’t seem to have worked.  I came back feeling better but it barely lasted a week. 

The idea of it is causing me to panic again but I’ve gotta face the fact that if I don’t take the time I need to recuperate this is just going to turn into an endless cycle and I’ll just never be able to finish this story.  So, and I can’t express how much I hate myself for doing this, I am taking a planned hiatus of one month, not counting the preceding month of effectively accomplishing nothing.  November will be off.  And at the end of that, I will reassess my condition, see if I’m feeling recovered enough to resume publishing, and if I honestly do not, I will extend it.  God, even typing that makes me feel as slimy as a slug orgy.  I’m just out of any better ideas.  I can’t keep doing this, the story will only suffer more for it.

This is wholly inadequate and I’m more sorry than I can express for letting you all down so much.  I just don’t know what else to do; this is my only idea for trying to restore some of my dilapidated functionality so I can get back to creating the content you all come here for.

I’m eternally grateful to you and sorry about everything.

If you haven’t read them, I strongly endorse A Practical Guide to Evil and The Wandering Inn for your fantasy webserial needs.  I love those stories; I think most of you who like TGAB will enjoy them, too.  They’re both super long, as well, so if you’re picking them up for the first time they should keep you busy for quite a while.  Hopefully longer than I’ll be on hiatus; it took me several months to catch up with each.  Please give ErraticErrata and pirateaba my professional respects if you head over there.

Mother of Learning is also a really good story.  I didn’t enjoy it quite as much but still quite a lot, and it has the advantage of being complete now–plus, as with the above, free to read online. 

I’m sorry that recommendations are the only entertainment I’m able to offer right now.

I promise I’m going to do my best to recuperate and be able to get back to giving you some real good story material when I return.  I’m so sorry for this, all of it.

Please take care of yourselves.  It’s rough out there; do whatever you have to to come through okay.

68 thoughts on “admitting defeat

  1. I’m sure others will put it more eloquently, but nonetheless I’m adding my well-wishes, assurance that nobody’s gonna think less of you for this (rather more, actually, for recognizing your needs and acting on them rather than destroying yourself), thanks for the story and characters we love… and so on.

    So yeah, here’s my drop in the no doubt ocean of support you’ll get. We care about you, so seeing you take care of yourself means more to us than getting a few more chapters squeezed out of a miserable author. Once/if you feel better we’ll be happy to read as a footnote on the new chapters, until then: have a nice recuperation time 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Look, we’re living in 2020 too. We get it. Take *absolutely every second you need* to recuperate, it’s not letting us down to say you need time, and it’s absolutely preferable for us that you do that rather than force yourself and burn out.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I’ve never bothered posting a comment here even though I’ve been reading for years, but I felt that I had to say something.

    I know you might be feeling some dislike towards yourself for what you have to do for your own good, but I would like you to know that personally I have never thought of you as anything less than a wonderful writer. Even through all the hiatus and delays. You do good work and if you need time so that you can keep doing that good work, then take the time. I’ll be here and I doubt I’ll be the only one.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I know and don’t know what this is like. I also want nothing more to write, but can’t because of my brain.

    It’s truly the worst, to be trapped inside your own mind. I hope you feel better when you feel better.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A burden shared is a burden halved.

    2020 has been a hell of a year, for everyone. Given the craziness, I don’t think anyone could fault you for needing to take a break of uncertain length.

    So take the time you need. Know that as you focus on yourself, no one here is getting cranky, or getting frustrated. There seems to be a lot of understanding of your struggles.

    Let this little post be permission from everyone to focus on yourself for a while, guilt free.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. We support you as fans. Nobody here is your are encouraged and permitted to take a long rest. Do or don’t do as much as you are comfortable with and try to be kind to yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Please don’t feel like you’re letting us down! This year has been insane in so many ways and taking time off for mental rest and recovery is super important. You mentioned how time is chaos and I completely agree – to the point where I’m not even expecting new chapters for any of the serials I follow, and am always surprised by updates. Another author who usually posts twice weekly recently took a month off and I didn’t even notice the time gap until he commented on it.

    TGAB has provided a solid 5-6 years of entertainment for me and I’ll still continue donating because I can and because I appreciate you, but I honestly don’t care if new chapters come out in a month or next year – take all the time you need and remember that you are not letting us down, so please try not to feel awful about that.

    Another web serial I recommend is Heretical Edge (and Summus Proelium, a recently started parallel/side series.) And Rhythm of War is coming out soon, so that will keep everyone occupied for a bit. =)

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Most of what you said, fair enough, but I take issue at you saying you aren’t a writer.

    Buddy you are a goddamn writer and a good one at that. Take a break week, month, year, whatever. If Berserk can put out one chapter a year for like 5 years and still have a devoted fanbase, you can guarantee a massive chunk of us will be here when you eventually come back.

    The most important thing though is don’t get better so you can write the story more.

    Get better because you deserve to 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I look forward to seeing the end of this story, but not at the expense of your health! I never really comment on stories but I wanted to chime in and let you know I don’t feel disappointed or let down.

    Hope you feel better.


  10. Taking a break for your mental health is important. Depression is a capricious and horrible thing and this year has so many exacerbating factors it’s kind of absurd. Take the time you need to rest and work on yourself, and please don’t feel guilty! You shouldn’t have to feel guilty for prioritising your wellbeing. You deserve rest and health. I also wanted to say that I’ve always admired you as a writer but also worried about you because you’re amazingly prolific imo. Think about how much you’ve achieved! Some authors take years on a single book length and you’re writing basically an entire epic. You’re a wonderful author and person, so look after yourself and stay safe. 💚


  11. If I may add a little bit of advice along side what is most likely going to be painful, but still well deserved, words of gratitude for all you HAVE done for me and readers like me, I would like to say simply…

    Take the break. Enjoy it. Relax. Don’t think of it as defeat. Some writers go for years without writing due to life and then get right back on the horse. (Dresden Files was a frustrating wait but I could never get angry at the author for being a living, fallible being that had a life, so neither will I get frustrated at you.)

    Take the break, look at it as the necessary refuel you need… And when the break is over, use the good energy it gives you to find a more permanent solution. You said last time your break gave you a week? See if you can find a good therapist, exercise routine or diet that helps maintain that. Come back when you have a plan for yourself that extends beyond finishing the story.

    I am adding this little disclaimer first. I am autistic. I am aware that I tend to lack social acumen. If what I wrote comes off as insulting or problematic I apologize for that. My intention is to be honest, share my own experience, and hopefully help you feel better about your choice.

    This is coming from personal experience but… When I was very young, I had a breakdown. It was… horrible circumstances mixed with a diagnosis I had hidden from me at birth all culminating in me being basically an empty person. One stupid mistake later (I moved) and I ended up struggling to barely feed myself while still dealing with all of this. My options were starve or push myself past it and only half starve. But despite finding a way to push myself through, I didn’t get better. I merely found a very poor way to stand up. But my balance was crap and even the smallest problem (a youtuber not uploading a video on schedule, a friend being busy on a night I was supposed to hang, food that went unexpectedly bad) sent me crashing down. I lost jobs because of panic attacks when I had rent due and only bread in my cupboard. I COULD NOT force myself to leave my apartment sometimes.

    The very real chance of being homeless and starving didn’t fix it. Even now, I’m not really fixed. But I am better. Stability helped. By the grace of another I found a place to stay and managed to leverage that into some simple work by way of a friend who knew of my issues and was super forgiving. With that, I was able to just… rest for a while. But as time went on, this supportive friend stayed, and with their help, no matter how bad, I was able to start slowly working through my issues.

    I still have panic attacks. They are much rarer now. Once a daily occurrence, they are now barely monthly. I don’t have any depressive thoughts anymore except in rather bleak moments considering the state of the world. I’m dealing now with a lot of less critical issues, like socializing. I am improving… slowly. But I couldn’t have done this without a confidant or the time they gave me. And that’s the point. You might be able to survive alone, as I barely managed to, but my suggestion takes that a step further.

    Find someone, be they a professional or a friend, who can listen to the worst you have to offer and tell you it’s okay, and maybe even give you a helping hand, and talk to them. I would personally recommend a professional because friends come with their own problems. I got lucky. But if you have a good friend, tell them you need help. And if you can’t find someone, then find something, anything, that helps. Use it, get a little better, and then find something else. Diet, exercise, a good tv show, a scheduled D&D session where you can play with others online.

    Take whatever energy you get from your break and turn that toward finding a path forward, a stable path. Don’t look to be fixed, look for a balance that doesn’t fall out from under you for sometimes no reason at all. Then look to shore it up. Then never stop improving. Never stop looking for the next step. It’s exhausting, but it helps. And once you finally have that habit down, that’s when I’d suggest coming back to writing. It might take a while, I know, but I will personally wait. If I need to, if you need it, I’ll drop support from the channels I give to now in order to give you support. I can’t guarantee it every month, but when I can afford it I will.

    But… Rest. Recover. Then find a way forward. Please, for your own health.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. I’m going through something similar right now. The depression, the lack of motivation, the endless hours of doomscrolling, the inability to put nose to grindstone… It’s a hard year.

    Do what you need to do to get yourself healthy again. When you’re healthy, if you still feel like writing this, we’ll be here wanting more. If you don’t get back to it: none of us want you to hurt yourself on our account. Getting yourself healthy is the important thing.

    And remember: Depression lies. It makes you say mean, hurtful things to yourself. Remember that those thoughts are coming up because that’s how you know how to hurt yourself, not because they’re true.

    And remember: I’m pulling for ya. We’re all in this together.


  13. Webb, to put things in perspective, when you posted the prologue for Book 1, we were waiting for Winds of Winter to be released. 6 years and 16 books later, we’re still waiting for Winds of Winter to come out. Take as much time as you need.

    Liked by 4 people

  14. I, for one, feel no pressure on you to write. Take all the breaks you need. I’ve searched my thoughts, and it’s not just a social white lie, I really can’t come up with a reason to put any pressure on you.

    Your story is my all-time favorite. It’s so nice to see the characters as they move through a world that’s so deep and wide and exciting. I’ve read _Practical Guide_ and _Mother of Learning_, and I’m partway through _Wandering Inn_. I enjoy them, but I like _The Gods are Bastards_ more. That won’t change while you take a break. An extra wait just means I’ll keep waiting. A new chapter makes that day better, but the days without chapters aren’t worse for the absence of them.

    I admire that you started this thing in the first place. I can’t see myself doing something this long-term. I always leave myself escape hatches to abandon things that get hard, both in my commitments to others and commitments to myself. I think it’s amazing that you are committed enough to worry about all of us through this.

    Knowing that there’s a human writing the story makes it more real for me. That includes the good parts and the bad parts. It’s all part of what makes a web serial different than a traditional book, which I have trouble explaining to the other bookworms I know.

    The last half of 2020 has turned extra-special-bad, but that same speed gives me hope for the future. Most of the things (not COVID-19, but everything else) aren’t new problems. That means they were around before, when we as a society were muddling along without any particular crisis. I think they will fairly rapidly (in months, not years) go back to being background problems again. Plus, a crisis is an opportunity for making progress on big problems. They won’t go away immediately, but they can get better by leaps and bounds instead of the normal slow progression.


  15. This is a very good story. It remains a very good story even when it isn’t growing. It will be a good story when you come back to it. The story can wait. Your well-being shouldn’t wait.

    You’ve made my life better with TGAB; I’ve never regretted the hundred-plus hours I’ve spent on your fiction. Multiply me by hundreds of readers, and you’ve delivered tens of thousands of hours of joy. There are only 168 hours in a week; you’ve surely earned a few of those to rest in.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. You’ve probably heard/tried it (an in that case, sorry for the banal advice), but I always find that taking a walk or going for a run helps me calm down and feel better about everything. I’m doing something, but I don’t have to actually put in the effort to do something I’m struggling with. Makes me feel like I have a plan and everything is manageable. In my opinion, whoever said you can’t run from your problems was very wrong.


  17. Sorry for how you are feeling. The loss of control and the sense of helplessness while being intellectually aware and being able to actively percieve your issues is somehow harder. I am a scientist (an ocean dynamicist) and I have a fairly severe form of ADHD (and drugs don’t help me) which causes it’s own challenges wherein I really have a hard time on focusing even on research that I really love and enjoy. In the past I would end up in a spiral of self-recrimination. I have mostly learnt to not do that and only try and make progress, however incremental. When confronted with failure I keep trying to find ways of doing things better without any emotional self-criticism or harm. We both have different problems and honestly yours are easily worse by far but you should definitely cut yourself some slack. And it’s great that you are taking a break. I think it’s critical to experiment with various approaches to see what might help. Meditation Really helps me and perhaps you should consider the same (unsolicited advice given with the understanding that our issues are essentially unrelated)

    Liked by 1 person

  18. You have nothing to apologize for.
    Reality sucks and punched you in the face.
    Shit happens. Usually at the worst time possible. Murphy’s a fucking bastard.
    It is not your fault, unless you’re omniscient and omnipotent, and I feel confident in saying that if you were omniscient and omnipotent this is not the 2020 you would have chosen, and you certainly wouldn’t be facing the problems you’re currently facing.

    Writing fiction is a lot harder than it sounds and feels like it ought to be. At least, writing good fiction is, and you’re really fucking good at it.

    Take as long as you need to center yourself again. We will be here waiting for however long you need to take for your sake.

    When you’re in a good headspace and the story and words are flowing, you are one of the best and fastest writers around. And when, unfortunately things aren’t going well, you’re still one of the best writers around, because you have high standards for yourself, and higher quality usually takes more time.

    I’ll say it again, take as long as you need to take.
    Don’t try to rush back before you’re ready because it’s taking longer than you hoped it would.
    Getting yourself better will take as long as it takes. Rushing the recovery process simply makes it harder to properly recover, and makes it more likely that you’ll have more problems again and sooner.

    I don’t know if you’ve tried this or not, but I have heard that, at least for some fiction authors, if/when they get stuck on one story, a trick that can help them restore the flow of creative juices is to work on a different story, usually one in a different genre entirely.
    It may or may not help you to avoid writer’s block and/or burnout; if you’ve tried it before and it doesn’t work for you, just ignore the suggestion.

    When you’re taking your recovery period, I suggest avoiding as much social media and news as reasonably possible.
    I’d suggest binging on shows, movies, cat videos, let’s plays, books you’re interested in, and the like instead, but sadly the shitshow that’s been 2020 has probably made a dent in your backlog of stuff you wanted to watch and/or read but hadn’t gotten around to yet.

    You have nothing to apologize for.
    None of this is your fault – except for having written an excellent story that we have all enjoyed reading and rereading, though that’s really more of a “you get the credit” kind of thing. Horror of horrors, you’re a good author who wrote an excellent and compelling story and shared it with the world. Oh, and you are also responsible for you being a living human being during 2020, which again, isn’t exactly something to feel guilt or blame about, rather something to be endured (hopefully).

    Bad times are happening right now. They will pass, and good times will come again. Eventually, if not necessarily as swiftly as one would always prefer.
    Hold onto and believe in that.
    And take however long you need to take, without worrying about us.
    We’ll be back when you’re back, no matter how long you need. And hey, maybe we reread The Gods Are Bastards again. Who am I kidding? We’d probably do that anyways, just for fun.

    Until and unless you pull a GRRM, there’s not going to be much more than periodic expressions of interest and possibly concern about you and your well being, no matter how long you need to take to restore yourself.
    Among other things, you’ve actually got a damned good, albeit unfortunate, reason – mental health issues are a bitch and a half at the best of times and circumstances.

    I have full confidence in your ability to restore yourself, and then, only when you are fully ready, to resume telling and sharing the wonderful story that is The Gods Are Bastards. And I look forward to the day that you are ready to resume sharing this story with us, confident that that day will come whenever it comes in the fullness of time.

    I’ve probably not written this as clearly as it could be, but fuck it. Hopefully the meaning of the message is understandable.
    It’s not your fault, take as long as you need to take for yourself.
    Your well being is more important than anything else.
    One thing I would suggest would be to think about ways you can maintain and improve your mental well being in ways that are less dependent upon your writing output. Might be a way towards reducing the negatives.


  19. Take all the time you need, your life and health are more important then this!
    I hope you will get better, and everything will get better.


  20. All the best, I will be here whenever you come back, be it a month or ten years from now. These are hard times for everyone, so for what its worth, you are not alone.


  21. I just want to echo the sentiments everyone else is sharing. Take all the time you need. Mental health is just as important as physical health. A lot of people (including myself) know how hard it can be and recognize that admitting you need some time to sort things out is a massive step in the right direction and respect the strength it takes to admit it to others.

    I hope the rest of the year treats you better.


  22. Take your time man, you are a human being who has intrinsic value outside of what you can produce, despite what society tells you. You are worth taking a break for. We love your story, but we love you more.


  23. A) Don’t ever feel bad about needing to take mental breaks. Mental health is just as important as physical health, and more people need to accept that.
    B) If you feel like you really, absolutely, need to turn out some product, then maybe try focusing on getting some of the earlier works out on Amazon? I know I’ll sure as hell buy them, and it sounds like that might be an easier thing to turn out. Or finish up some of the Rowena books. I know that I’ve been waiting for that for a few years.


  24. You are an incredibly skilled and eloquent writer Webb, never doubt that. Take all the time off you need.The previous commenters have already given all the advises that I could add anyway so I’l keep it short, we love you Webb!


  25. Appreciate the update as always! If it helps, I’m another reader who’s always been glad to read whatever you share. Do rest and recover, we’re all looking forward to hearing what comes next when it’s possible!


  26. You not being a good author is a straight up lie. This is a great story the has continued long enough to be a fluke. Take as long off as you need and even if it takes til 2022 for things to settle down, we will wait for you to come back. Fill your time however you want, be it relaxing, a part time job, or ever trying out writing short stories that dont fit in TGAB. Do whatever you need and know we your devoted fans will wait as long as it takes


  27. Aww, Webb. So sad to hear you are going through this. You are evidently such a talented, insightful, thoughtful and eloquent person, as is clear from your writing. Also an example of the artistic temperament taking its toll. A familiar story throughout history, and also in my personal history of reading webserials. It’s a huge marathon you writers take on, and you never give yourselves enough credit.

    Does anyone remember “Midnight Moonlight”? One of my favourite urban fantasy stories ever. Sadly after a long stint of excellent writing the author was overwhelmed by mental health and life challenges and eventually took her website down. I can only hope she’s still OK out there, and knowing how important writing was to her, that she found a way to come back to it, but she never came back to Midnight Moonlight. So it goes. I appreciate the amount of the story I got to read.

    Of course, I really really hope the Gods are Bastards does get to finish, especially since it seems its fairly close and there is an endgame in mind, which is not the case with many web serials that relied on “pantsing” and just petered out when inspiration ran out.

    You know, I know it’s been suggested before and you have your reasons for doing things the way you do, but I do see a correlation with shorter posts and story sustainability. It suits the medium too, as many readers are on their devices on the bus or short breaks from work. It might be time to consider that format change, although I know you’ll be reluctant to change at this point in the book, but it might be the saving of it.

    Finally I have another suggestion appreciators of great webserial writing may like – Katalepsis. It’s on Royal Roads and also on its own website. A girl thinks she’s schizophrenic but it turns out the monsters she sees are real, and her twin sister she thought she’d imagined really was stolen by one. In fact, Webb, you would love it too – you should take a break and indulge in a bunch of reading yourself, the best escape and inspiration.


    1. Another recommendation I love to give is Heretical Edge and its sister story, Summus Proelium It is a bit like TGAB in themes like young adult protagonists, magic school, and ambiguous enemies. I’d say more YA oriented but also well written. Huge archive to binge.


  28. Katalepsis is nothing like TGAB, except in excellence of writing, that’s why it would be a great break!


  29. To reiterate what others have said, never feel bad about taking a break. Your mental health is important.


  30. “Writing amazing work” and “writing on a schedule” are two completely unrelated skills. Struggling with the second should not in the least make you question your aptitude for the first.

    Artists have been complaining about fickle muses for thousands of years. You’re not alone; you’re in very good company. See also: George R.R. Martin, Patrick Rothfuss…


  31. Hey Webb, you really REALLY don’t need to feel guilty about not being up to updating the free web serial that you’ve already given sixteen books of to the Internet (again, for free) even if everything else wasn’t going on. Between the pandemic, the facism and the literally everything else, even people who don’t have preexisting conditions are struggling. There’s absolutely no shame in taking the time off you need.

    Obviously I’ll be really excited when you do come back, because I love this story, but please don’t feel the need to rush back or force yourself if you’re not ready.


  32. I’d honestly say you haven’t amitted defeat, this sounds like first of many victories. On your hiatus towards happiness I’d recommend starting some exercise. It’s helped me in my mental struggles and nothing says your not a worthless fleck upon existence like being able to wriggle my tiny pecs. Story or no story I wouldn’t wish even the lightest case of depressive tendencies on anyone and hope you find something to help you make progress. Getting to mental stability is one of the most important things you can do for yourself, anybody who says or thinks otherwise can be drop kicked, local laws may vary.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. I basically don’t comment. But, two things:
    1. Don’t feel guilty in the slightest. If you need a break, you need a break. Guilt doesn’t even come near the issue, so don’t worry about it.
    2. There’s a quote from a videogame that’s not even remotely related to the issue in context, but I always found it helped me: “The deep dark before dawn’s first light seems eternal. But know that the sun always rises.”


  34. You should really look into what free/publicly-supported therapy options there are. With the coronavirus situation, I’m sure they accommodate virtual appointments. Working with a professional to help figure out how to handle your mental situation is just good sense.
    You pushed Milanda into getting counseling, now it’s time to take your own advice :p
    Good luck!


  35. I never comment, but I thought it was necessary here to say that everyone supports you, take all the time you need, and here’s to a less crappy new year in the future 🙂 (Also, I love all those recommendations, I should really get back into A Practical Guide to Evil)


  36. Take all the time you need! 2020 has not been great on anyone’s psyche, and we definitely do understand needing a break. Also, you’ve written a compelling narrative with a LOT of interesting philosophical points these past few years, you definitely qualify as a writer.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. You’re a hell of a lot more successful of a writer than I am, Webb. And I still consider myself one.

    you’ve provided me with hours of entertainment, deep thinking on philosophical concepts, and quotes and concepts I have shared with people. (I have a few friends that now use drizzt as slang for a stereotype in any game where he doesn’t actually exist. )

    Rest well. recharge. Hopefully the shit show of the world will settle down soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Man, you deserve the rest. Your series was one of my first ones and one of the rare ones i still read. If a month of work will help you recover, go for it. If you feel the need to work in logistics for a while, go for it. Physical work is great. Lockdown was horrible for my sleep pattern and when i started exercising, everything felt better. If it will help, i recommend resistance bands, large and small ones.


  39. Everyone needs a break, a proper break where you can just relax without worrying about deadlines, and you definitely deserve one!

    We’ll be here when you’re ready, but go at your own pace. Ive had my own issues with depression and that awful “why can’t I just *do it*” thought process, but any story is only going to be good if the writer is in a good place, step 1 to writing more should be to work on giving yourself some time to decompress.

    Hope you start feeling better soon, no matter how small that feeling is, as that’s the first step to feeling better, just getting those little steps under you.


    1. Forgot to mention this above, and whilst this worked for me, everyone is different so I’m only saying this to offer the little advice I can (and you might have already heard this), but try to break things down into little victories.

      Don’t focus on ‘write a whole chapter’ or ‘clean this entire room’, break it down into tiny chunks. First is just to get a list of those small steps, and then say ‘today I’ll try to get step 1 done’ etc. If they’re small enough then it becomes less of a *thing* to do and more something you can do without having to try and overcome that inertia that stops you from wanting to do anything (at least that’s what I was like for me, but I can only offer my perspective as everyone has their own story to tell).


  40. Dude, we all love you. Whatever pace you want to make your shit at, that’s what we will read it at. If it took a year for a chapter, Id still be here


  41. I’d like to add a recommendation to the list: Go back and reread TGAB. It’s a long, well-written, fascinating piece of fiction that you’ll get a deeper appreciation for by refreshing yourself on. A lot has happened and you almost certainly don’t remember all of it. Plus, it’s a huge pile of entertainment provided to you at no cost which sounds like something we could all use about now. I think we should all consider ourselves lucky to have it available.

    To the author: Any sentiments I have over this have been expressed in abundance by myself and others in this and countless other comment sections. Just try to remember that what you HAVE done has already made a huge difference, and like I say above this serial is so long and of such quality that going back and rereading it is perfectly valid while we wait for updates, and it’s going to take people forever to chew through it a second time.

    I want to elaborate on that a little. Web serials aren’t like food or other consumable goods; it’s not like if you stop providing updates, the audience “starves”. It’s more like building a house. To me (and I suspect most of the readership), apologising in this situation is akin to building a massive, sprawling mansion complete with well-kept grounds, lush gardens, a truly preposterous amount of internal space that’s been thoughtfully arranged and decorated, a bunch of other mansion-related features that I’m not good enough at this to describe well (unlike some people I could mention)…

    …opening it up to anyone who wants to live there, completely free of charge, and then apologising because construction on the 53rd ensuite bathroom has been delayed due to you collapsing from exhaustion.

    Obviously I can’t say anything that will magically fix your mental state; that’s not how any of this works. But to whatever degree your brain allows, please remember that you’ve already built so much for so many that the “loss” from slowing down or even stopping at this point pales in comparison. It’s not even going to be a blip on the overall average update time, and it WILL improve the quality of what you write when you can eventually get back into it.

    Put simply, the idea that you have anything to be sorry for would be laughably absurd if I didn’t know that your current mental landscape leads you to believe it uncritically and utterly.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. You are very much underselling yourself. If writing were easy, we would all be writers. Please appreciate your work and yourself more. Good luck with the break.


  43. As slimy as it may come across I feel less lonely by getting to read someone verbalising the shitty depths of the depression rabbit hole. May your day be less shitty tomorrow and the impostor syndromme nota bite quite as hard.


  44. Take all the time you need. I’ll keep my patreon pledge up cause the amount of entertainment, excitement and happiness I’ve gotten from this in the past is still worth it.

    Also another reccomendation: Metaworld Chronicles on ROyalRoad, the first two parts are on Amazon, but the rough draft IS still entirely up on RoyalRoad for free since the author didn’t go the unlimited route.


  45. Take heed, comrade. Rest. You have done so very well this troubling year. You aren’t admitting defeat, my sibling. You’re making a tactical retreat. You take your time. We’ll be here when you get back. I believe in you.


  46. Love you bud. You’ve brightened my day for years. Take however long you need off, go for hikes, find a nice lake and sit by it. Really hope you come back refreshed at the end of November but I think I speak for everyone here when I say take your time, relax, enjoy the small things, and super don’t stress about your readers 😛
    Your a saint. Srs


  47. Take all the time you need. Take a year off if you need it. These mental check in posts are nice to know how you’re doing, but don’t feel obligated to do anything but take care of yourself.


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