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STATE OF THE TROUT: Where I’ve been, you’re doing fine, and BABY MAKES THREE cover reveal!

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Hey there, everybody! You might have noticed that I didn’t post anything last week.

That’s because I was dying.

Okay, not dying. I’m still alive (though I don’t believe anything so insignificant as death would ever stop me from blogging), but a really horrible plague hit our house. Fever, chills, cough, chest congestion, sore throat, earache and the drainage. My god, the drainage. All of this happened while I was trying desperately to finish the latest Ian and Penny books. Once I got those off to my editor, I allowed myself to take some much needed time off and just lay around eating popsicles and soup like a kid recovering from tonsilitis.

Anyway, I’m recovered and hopefully will remain so for a while. Fingers crossed. But while I was gripped by the miserableness, I had some thoughts about my fiction writing and how basically awful I’ve been to myself over it lately. I talked about this on Twitter but I think it’s important enough to share here, too.

My last release, The Sister, came out in August of 2017. I planned to release Baby Makes Three in February of 2018 at the very latest. But I only just now handed it off to my editor. Since January, I have been so brutal in my interior criticism of myself. I started writing Baby Makes Three in September, for god’s sake! Now, Baby Makes Three won’t come out until May? That’s eight months! Eight months between releases! How can I possibly sustain a living that way? We’re going to be poor again! We’re going to be on food stamps again! I should just stop writing and get a real job since I’m obviously no good at this one!

Obviously, this constant litany of self-hatred wasn’t conducive to my creativity. I would go days without writing. At one point, it took me a month to finish a chapter. After I got over the mid-book slump, though, things started to pick up. By the time I sent the book off to be edited, I realized I’d been way, way too hard on myself. During the writing of these books, the following things were going on:

  • The school year started.
  • My daughter was in a play, requiring me to sit through nightly rehearsals.
  • I ended up working on props for that play.
  • The holidays happened.
  • I worked tech for another play.
  • My daughter was involved in another play, herself.
  • My mother-in-law died, leaving us to clean out her apartment and take care of her estate.
  • And the whole time, I’ve been homeschooling my son.

Now, granted, I didn’t have to do the theater stuff I did, but we know what happens when writers are all work and no play. There’s a whole horror novel about that. On top of all of those things, I neglected to remember that:

  • I wasn’t just writing one book. I was writing two at the same time.
  • I was working on this blog daily.
  • Both books turned out longer than I expected, by about 15,000 words.

So, while I was freaking out about not working enough, not getting anything done, I was really writing about 15,000 words per week here and doing things for my mental health so that I could continue to function. On top of that, I was writing basically 160,000 words of fiction in eight months. That’s four months per book. I was doing just fine.

If you’re writing and you’re frustrated by how little you feel you’re getting done or how long it’s taking you to finish, I want you to drop what you’re doing and take stock of your life and what’s going on. Are things at work stressful? Are you putting in a lot of extra hours or coming home mentally sapped? Are you reeling from the loss of a loved one or a major upheaval in your home? Did a pet die? Did you or someone else lose a job? Maybe you’ve taken up a new hobby and it’s taking up time you would have spent on writing (which is not necessarily a bad thing, if it’s keeping you on an even keel)?

No matter what it is, stop being hateful to yourself. I love these books, but it’s always going to be tempered with a little bit of sadness that the writing of it was so brutally un-fun. I shouldn’t have done that to myself, and I’m going to try not to do that in the future. I hope you can join me in that. Let’s make a pact right now: we’re not going to be awful to ourselves for not being mindless writing machines with no other needs or desires in life.

So, after all of that, do you want to see the cover of Baby Makes Three? Of course, you do!

The cover of Baby Makes Three shows a picture of Nassau, Bahamas from the water, with boats and brightly colored homes near the shore. There is a white bar across the middle of the cover with the title, and a green bar with Internationally Bestselling Author Abigail Barnette on it. Below that, the image of a couple's feet and a baby's diapered bottom and little feet between them.

Baby Makes Three will be out in May. I’m not sure about a date yet but I’ll have more information as we get closer to the release. Thanks, everybody who continues to go on a journey with these characters!

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  1. Jean

    Nothing much to say besides a million “likes” for the sentiment of this post. You are prolific and awesome, Jenny!

    April 30, 2018
  2. Pansy Petal
    Pansy Petal

    Some of us get tired just from reading this. You are awesome and doing just great. Nothing to worry about. Now don’t you forget it! Looking forward to Baby Makes Three. Love Ian and Penny. 😀

    April 30, 2018
  3. Kat L.
    Kat L.

    I got the work stress, the extra hours at work stress, the sick relative, the taxes, and the blues. So I can def relate. Hoping a binge watch of a new to me TV show helps cleanse the palate.

    Keep up the good work.

    April 30, 2018
  4. Sophie

    Oof did I ever need to read this today! Thank you so much for sharing. I’m glad you are going to try and not be awful to yourself and I will try to follow your example! That really made me take a look at my life… Lol I’m adopting a baby and in my final semester of grad school but I’m hating myself over not writing??? I need to remind myself, okay buddy calm down you got this! 🙂 Cannot WAIT for more Ian/Penny. They are my absolute favorite EVER. I reread First Time like every few months.

    April 30, 2018
  5. Nasitha DovRenee Nellyren Blackshire
    Nasitha DovRenee Nellyren Blackshire

    I understand the self doubts that can happen with writing and my writing is my outlet for fun.
    I am very excited for the Ian and Penny book. I recently reread the first four to prepare for the following installment.

    April 30, 2018
  6. Fluffy

    All the positive vibes for you!!!

    I read Say Goodbye to Hollywood last week, and I loved it!

    April 30, 2018
  7. Syche

    I was just lamenting my lack of time or energy for writing. This is such good advice. Thank you!

    May 1, 2018
  8. Rachel O'Riley
    Rachel O'Riley

    Wise words.

    Also, that cover makes me crave the book. And I don’t even like babies!

    May 1, 2018
  9. Bookjunk

    That cover is absolutely perfect!
    I’m gonna try and join you in the not-beating-myself-up department!

    May 1, 2018
  10. Anon

    Glad you’re feeling better on all fronts.

    Looking forward to your next blog installments, whenever they come. 🙂

    May 1, 2018
  11. Rhiannon

    I think you are really amazing managing to get all that done, especially as you have health issues as well.

    May 1, 2018
  12. Thank you, thank you, thank you, and thank you.

    Glad you’re feeling better, O Trouty One.

    May 1, 2018
  13. I’ve been struggling with this very problem. I somehow got the idea that the first draft would be done by the end of 2017 and it wasn’t done until a couple of weeks ago. It shouldn’t be surprising, since life keeps happening. Like, all the time.

    I’m glad you’re feeling better.

    May 1, 2018
  14. Laura

    I really needed to read this today. Admittedly I’m writing (almost my last ever!!!) essay for uni, not fiction, so I kinda *can’t* stop (it’s due in two days, holy shit). But I’m gonna at least stop feeling bad about the state of the house cause really, I’m doing my best here!

    PS – the cover is awesome 😀

    May 1, 2018
  15. Mo

    You’ve added another book to this very well fleshed out, very consistently written universe. It’s more than anyone has any right to ask you for.

    May 1, 2018
  16. Sarah

    Thanks Jenny. I’m trying to edit while coping with the end of a four year relationship. I often wind up staring out the window when I’m meant to be writing. It’s hard not to be frustrated, but you’re right.

    May 1, 2018
  17. Susannah Netherland
    Susannah Netherland

    I’m a long-time lurker, but this is my first time commenting. This post was everything I needed to read right now. I’m working on my master’s thesis, and it’s taken me so much longer than I expected, due to my own health issues and my father’s death 11 months ago. Writing can be so difficult when you’re trying to deal with the emotional aftermath of a major loss and your own body decides to attack. I’ve laughed and cried with this blog, and now I feel like I can forgive myself. Thank you, Jenny.

    May 1, 2018
  18. River

    Yeah! Good job lady, so proud of all that you do and accomplish; you’re amazing and talented. I’m sorry that The Sickness hit your home but I have to say I anxiously checked your blog all week in fear that some really awful calamity had struck again. Guess I’m glad it was the sickness as weird as that sounds…Looking forward to more amazing and hilarious and insightful blog posts. Cheers on sending your book off.

    May 2, 2018
  19. merry

    I think you do an excellent job and write very quickly. I understand you need to earn your living but writing takes time, thats natural.

    May 4, 2018
  20. Kayla

    I submitted a short story to a venue this morning, so of course my brain’s been doing “AAAAH WHAT DID I DO IT’S TERRIBLE I’M TERRIBLE” backflips all day.

    Then I read this post.

    I feel much better now, so a sincere thank you for that.

    May 4, 2018
  21. Margaret Bates
    Margaret Bates

    Wow, I’d gotten so busy. I didn’t know she was STILL trying to make this a thing!

    May 4, 2018
  22. Kat

    So excited by this news! I love this series and cant wait for the release. Keep up the great work!

    May 16, 2018

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