One of the best pieces of advice I can remember being offered to new and would-be authors, was offered during a speech by Neil Gaiman. Among the various bits of admonition he gave was “Go for a walk.”

Elaborating, he said that sitting and writing all day was hardly healthy, and that one had to make time to get up and go for a walk, to clear one’s head, and to maintain one’s health.

When I was writing my book, I didn’t have much free time, since I worked odd hours and had a long commute. So, the time I used to spend exercising in the morning was the time I appropriated so that I could write. Perhaps I should have found another place from which to carve out my writing time, because it took me about two and a half years to get through the bulk of the work for which I needed that time. This was a Bad Thing for me.

I am an unlikely martial artist. I used to spend an hour or an hour and a half in the early mornings practicing forms and techniques, and doing various conditioning exercises. I haven’t been in decent trim since 2000, but with constant training, I maintained myself around 125kgs for most of the time. Alas, without constant exercise, I managed to expand to 140kgs (I stand 184cms).

Trying to get back into my old training routines is difficult now, not least because I also battle depression. Training has never come easily to me, but now, overcoming the inertia to get back into it, is much harder. Most nights, my anxiety prevents me from sleeping, and in the morning, dread simply enervates me. My limbs feel like lead, and everything is grey. But I am trying to force myself.

Over the past spring, I discovered that I had very high blood pressure, and hyper lipidity. I only found this out because I had to go for preoperative testing when I needed to have my knee repaired (I had damaged my lateral meniscus (right knee) while practicing martial arts back in November of 2015). That, and the weight gain, convinced me that I had to at least make the effort to get back to my old routines.

But the depression is difficult to overcome. And there are worries about money, as the job I currently work does not pay enough to cover all my bills. And other, non-specific social anxieties. These all distract me from not only my attempt to train seriously again, but they distract me from my writing. I feel utterly unmotivated.

I have been keeping somewhat busy doing scripting and voice work for game mods for Skyrim. But again, even this has been an effort. And you all can see how difficult it’s been to simply keep up with my blog here.

So, for now, I continue to look for other, more remunerative work, I am looking for a competent doctor for treatment, and I am considering taking advantage of my current workplace’s benefit of tuition reimbursement so that I can complete my Ed.M. and perhaps find work in academia once more. Furthermore, although I have already self-published my novel, I am considering looking for a “standard” publisher once more. I know a few of them will consider work that has been self published, so long as one holds the rights and is prepared to deactivate one’s Create Space and Amazon accounts.

If I can just keep moving forward perhaps I will be able to find a way to make it.

About Michael Butchin

I was born, according to the official records, in the Year of the Ram, under the Element of Fire, when Johnson ruled the land with a heavy heart; in the Cradle of Liberty, to a family of bohemians. I studied Chinese language and literature at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. I spent some years in Taiwan teaching kindergarten during the day, and ESOL during the evenings. I currently work as a high school ESOL teacher, and am an unlikely martial artist. I have spent much of my life amongst actors, singers, movie stars, beautiful cultists, Taoist immortals, renegade monks, and at least one martial arts tzaddik. I currently reside in Beijing's Dongcheng district
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