My Next Big “The Bipolar Writer” Project

I am nearing the end of writing my first fantasy fiction novel entitled Rise of the Nephilim. I am proud of this project and the first-draft will be done end of July.

With that said, I am always looking for my next project, and with my first novel is in publishing limbo, it is important to think “what is next, James.” The answer came to me, it is time to expand on my “Interview Feature” series into a book. So, what does this mean? I am looking for volunteers!

I am coming up a large number of questions and that each interviewee will take up a chapter. There is no telling where this will go. I have reached out to at three potentials with one getting back to me. I want to give back and writing the stories of others will be one thing that will bring me joy. I would like to know if you interested, and if you are, please email me @ jamesedgarskye22@gmail.com

This a not yet a “works in progress” so I am only taking serious people who want to share their story. In an ideal world, I would build my Patreon account and travel, doing the interviews in person, but there is enough money in my life right now to write this book on the road, but it can still be done!

Always Keep Fighting

James

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The Bipolar Writer Needs Your Help!

As some of you know (and others don’t) I am ready to publish my memoir! Seriously. I have edited and moved chapters around, and I honestly believe that I prepared for this next step. I have a great cover and manuscript. The issue? Do I self-publish or try to find a publisher?

I have done a lot of research, and I found a company to publish the physical copy of my book. I have watched endless videos on self-publishing on Amazon and other online self-publications. What is right? What is wrong?

I want to do this right because this is my first official novel (and though its non-fiction and I consider myself a fiction novelist) this is important to my brand and me. My memoir The Bipolar Writer is so important to me, so I want to do this right and not rush into something I will regret. I will admit that I am apprehensive about where to go. I thought self-publishing was the right path, but I have doubts. I am turning to my family (YOU) for any advice you can give me.

James

unsplash-logoRémi Walle

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Influences in Writing from The Bipolar Writer

This is not a typical post from The Bipolar Writer, but I wanted to talk about something that seems to come up a lot recently–my writing influences.

The Influences in my Writing

For those that don’t know, I started working on my master’s in October. I am staying within the same area that I was working on with my bachelor’s degree–Creative Writing and English.

The beginning parts focus a lot on finding out what kind of writer I am, learning to read like a writer, and the most important the influences of my own writing. When it comes to reading books I have no specific genre that I conform to, I am happy reading anything from Modernism to Romanticism; I am a fan of literature in general. When it comes to my influences in actual writing I am more defined.

Perhaps the most significant influence in my writing is the works of Edgar Allan Poe (in honor of Poe I used Edgar in my pseudonym James Edgar Skye.) My favorite era in literature is Romanticism, and more specifically I am enamored by Dark Romanticism.

There is not a poem, short story or works of fiction that I am not amazed by the way that Poe writes. I consider Poe one of the most significant wordsmiths of all time. What I am always in awe when I read a piece of his writing and my favorite, of course, is The Raven. That is why as influencers come in my writing I write my fiction in darker Dark Romanticism or at least a more modern version of this sub-genre.

The other influences of my writing come from some of my favorite authors. There is Rowling, King, George R.R. Martin, and James Patterson just to name a few. I identify the most with Ernest Hemingway as a writer, and given his personal history, it makes sense, but his influence can also be found in my fictional writing. The way that Hemingway wrote in succinct and hard prose always drew me to his work, and his novels seemed to be influenced by his personal history. The Sun Also Rises to me is perhaps one of the greatest 20th-century novels to ever be written. I could say that for any of Hemingway’s literary works.

I conder myself a decent writer and I am right there when it comes to being a legit writer. I am still finding myself as a fictional writer, I have the non-fiction voice down, so I will be working towards finding my place in the writing world. I know my future is in fantasy fiction/supernatural and this certainly where my next novel is going.

What prompted this blog post is that I thought that in 2019 I would spend some time talking about writing. It was the original goal of this blog, and while I talk about it every now and writing in my life is so vital to my mental health. I am happiest when I am writing.

What are some of your writing influences? I’d like to hear from my fellow writer bloggers.

Always Keep Fighting

James

Photo Credit:

unsplash-logoKelly Sikkema

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unsplash-logoMikhail Pavstyuk

The Bipolar Writer is Back

aaron-mello-142044-unsplashAn Update on my Writing Projects

It feels terrific to be back.

I am writing again. I took about two weeks of no writing because my creative side was not blending into my regular life. For a while, my mind lost in the darkness, and I was on the fringes of depression. I felt alone. That is normal.

I did come up with a few more chapters for my memoir, I am not sure if they will make the final draft (I am focusing next week on getting my book on Amazon), but when I go to print I could use those chapters. I have a great cover artist, cover design, and some fantastic chapters. I am ready for the future.

I am also working towards (in my next master’s program class) a new book concept over the next ten weeks. My hope is to ready to start writing chapters in two months seem very hopeful. I am also going to try and finish the novel version of my screenplay.

*On a side note: If anyone knows someone in the movie business– agents, managers, or production companies; let me know. I am selling three different screenplays.

It feels excellent to be back on track and with the next week off from my school work, and I am ready to refocus on the blog.

Stay strong in the fight.

Always Keep Fighting

James

Photo Credit:

Aaron Mello

HB Mertz

Brittany Elise’s Feature Interview

Are we defined by our mental illness? Brittany Elise from Fort Worth, Texas believes that your illness shouldn’t define you.

“There are resources and support networks for you. Don’t think your diagnosis is the end of the world. It’s the start of getting the help you need, even if you don’t think you need it. Find what works for you. Mental illness is not a-one-size-fits-all.”

The Beginning and her Incredible Journey

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Some battles with a mental illness can go on silently for years, it was that way in Brittany Elise’s life. In 2014 while in high school, Brittany was first diagnosed with depression. It was the silent battles that came to a culmination that became her diagnosis. In the summer of 2012, Brittany began to have thoughts of wanting to self-harm. In the winter of that year, she opened up to her parents.

“I would spend an hour or more at the time in the shower. Sitting there with the water running. Thinking about how much I wished the pain would go away,” she explains.

It was always hard for Brittany and her family, and it was common for negative thoughts to go through her mind. She would think “things would get better if.” What if her parents didn’t have pay for things for her. What if they only had to buy food for themselves? It can be an overwhelming to feel a burden in the lives of others.

“I don’t remember what made me decide to tell my family, but I remember my mom’s reaction,” she recalls. Her dad killed himself by slitting his wrists right before her birthday.”

Brittany’s mother held her until she stopped crying. It was in this moment that her mother convinced her to go see the intervention counselor at her high school. The counselor was effective for Brittany, but the following year the counselor was gone. Brittany felt good, but it was only temporary.

“Gradually it started to come back. I would be angry all the time and lash out at the world. I was making myself sick so I wouldn’t have to go to school. I would stay home every day. It got to a point where I was close to not graduating,” she explains about her past.

It got so bad for Brittany that her parent’s frustration grew, and they made her see the family doctor. It here that Brittany got first got her diagnosis of depression and at it was the first time being on medication.

The medication helped at times for Brittany but it was still hard. The depression was still in full force by the time Brittany graduated high school. Stress was a major factor in her senior year and it would be the little things that got to her. Her doctor limited her medication to six months, and for a while after high school she normal.

“I finished the six months right before starting my first semester of college. I was on top of the world. I had a boyfriend who I thought loved me. My family was in a slightly better place and I was starting a new chapter in my life.”

As most things do in life, Brittany’s world began to crumble. It didn’t help that a few weeks coming off her medication Brittany’s grandfather got sick. In hospice care, her grandfather was close to coming home. But after a few days of visiting they never saw him awake. After a week Brittany’s grandfather passed.

“His funeral was the day before my first class and the next day, my relationship ended,” she recalls. “After my grandpa’s death, I started to get panic attacks. I’ve been to funerals before, but my grandpa’s hit me hard. The panic attacks were constant, but I hid them like my depression, and since they came at night, it was easy.”

Brittany transferred to a four-year college and things started to look up in her life. The thing is with life, things like panic attacks never come at the right time. The worse panic attack in her life came for Brittany when she went to a concert with her church group.

“I’ve never been claustrophobic, but I had my first major panic attack there,” she recalls. “This was the first panic attack that made my dad see that I did have something wrong.”

What we often learn in a mental illness journey is that some people will doubt your illness. They believe it made up or not real. This comes from never experiencing the feelings associated with a mental illness. It was the same in Brittany’s life. She explains how her father, up until she had her major panic attack, he didn’t believe that she had a mental illness. When they picked Brittany up from the concert they could see it in her eyes.

When Brittany got back to school she was able to see an on-campus counselor. When she got back on medicine she could see changes. But, in the first semester of her junior year in college, her depression and anxiety got worse. It became impossible to get out bed to go to class.

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“After talking to my professors and my new counselor, I made the decision to take time for myself, and withdraw from classes. Moving back home helped some, but I haven’t been able to find a counselor to see.”

That is where we find Brittany in her journey with depression. It can be a hard place to be in when you have no outlet when you have no counselor to see. Dealing with her mental illness daily can be difficult for Brittany because of her anger. Her targets are often her boyfriend and family members.

“I’m moody all the time. I can go from “the best day ever,” Brittany explains. “To “I hate life and what’s my purpose” in a few seconds.

How Brittany Deals With her Mental Illness

In Brittany’s life, it can be difficult to be herself in a single day with her depression. It helps to have people in her life that understand the bad days. Brittany’s boyfriend suffers from depression and PTSD, so he understands.

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“If I’m having a panic attack, he held me until I quit crying. We adopted a dog, who we are training to be his service dog,” she explains. “He calms me instantly. He knows when our mental illnesses are affecting us before we do.”

Brittany explains that her dog is one of the best decisions she ever made in her life. It also helps Brittany get through a day by reading and writing. It helps her to spend as much time in nature as she can. It is her happy place. It can be a struggle like any mental illness for Brittany. But at the same time, she wouldn’t be who she is without her mental illness. Brittany has found her place within her diagnosis. A great feeling.

“It makes me a stronger person,” she explains. “Even if I am weak some days. I’ve learned how to live with it, and make it more of a back burner than having it affect me severely.”

How do we get back to the real person that we are inside? It takes the little things in your life that make it worth living. The Bipolar Writer often struggles with this. It is in the little things that Brittany finds her strength. With her boyfriend, friends, and family she has her biggest support system.

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“Even when they don’t completely understand my illness.”

Brittany has big dreams that she won’t let depression conquer. Instead, it will be Brittany doing the conquering. It is in her dreams that she also draws strength to move on. Brittany would like to finish her creative writing degree and become a fiction book editor. If possible she wants to write her own novel somewhere in the future.

“My pets. The dog my boyfriend and I adopted and the dog I grew up with is the biggest cuddle bugs. They are always doing something to make me laugh,” Brittany explains about the little things. “Especially when the big one farts all the time.”

Of course, there is Brittany’s tattoo.

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It is a constant reminder to fight and to keep the faith that she will make it through her depression.

Depression can be crippling in our lives. It has been in my own life. I can find strength in Brittany’s story because it is one that I know well. I hope in reading Brittany’s story, that you feel the same. A connection with another member of the mental illness community. It was a great pleasure to share the journey of Brittany Elise. I have a feeling one day we will see the amazing person that she will become in-spite of depression.

If you would like to read more from Brittany visit her blog.

www.brittanyeliseweb.wordpress.com

Interviewee: Brittany Elise

Author: James Edgar Skye

Photo Credits: Most of the photos are from Brittany’s personal collection

Other Credits:

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The History Behind My Screenplay

I wrote this piece in October of last year and I wanted to re-share this post as I work towards getting an agent so that I sell my first screenplay. It’s been on the back burner the last couple of months as I had hoped to place in a screenwriting competition. It didn’t work out but I am determined to sell my screenplay and to finish writing the novel version. As with all things in life patients is the key.

Looking Back on How Memory of Shane Came Into Existence

I thought it was time to talk about my biggest project out there right now, my screenplay entitled Memory of Shane and its subsequent novel that I am writing. This story is really about two years in the making and since I am writing the novel version the idea continues to be ongoing.

The project started as a short story that I wrote for an advanced writing class about two years ago. I never imagined that I would write this story beyond this class because it was a good piece, and there were so many places I wanted to go with it, but the ten-page limit really made me believe that I was done. But, when the opportunity came to choose a story for my second screenwriting class (where our goal was to write the first draft of act one of a full-length screenplay) I jumped at the chance to explore my story again.

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Writing the first act was so amazing. I really got to know the story down to its bones, and I knew the developing it into a screenplay would give me the opportunity to refine my dialogue skill to a new level. In my advanced screenplay class, we finished act two and looked toward the future for act three. I knew by the end of my advanced screenwriting class where I would go in the final act, it would be a few more months until I finished my complete first draft, and of course, there was a long editing period.

But where did this story come from? I will admit the story is a work of fiction, but as any writer will tell you, it is impossible for your real life not to make its way onto the page. The basis of Memory of Shane is a love story between Adriana, the young nineteen-year-old not looking for love and Shane the young writer hoping for his big break. What drove me to even start to write a love story was rooted in what happened in my own personal relationship with my girlfriend at the time in 2007.

I will written several blogs about diagnosis the inception of The Bipolar Writer blog. After leaving the psychiatric ward for the first time there was true chaos in my life.

I was on new medication that I didn’t believe in. I had some idea where my life was heading, and so I was worried about the emotional toll that being in a relationship with me would be for my girlfriend. I loved her, and she was willing to stick it out with me, but I did the unthinkable and ended my relationship in a very Bipolar way. She came to my house and I broke up with her. I was a jerk, there is no getting around that now. Looking back, I know my girlfriend would’ve stuck by with me through the extreme ups and downs, but it just wasn’t fair to her because, as I would find out, 2008 and 2009 were the worst years of my life.

What does this have to do with anything? Well, when writing Memory of Shane I had the opportunity to explore if and how two people could coexist when one of the people in the relationship is bipolar. On some level, I wanted to imagine if a person like me could be in a healthy relationship. I worked so many scenarios in my mind that it gave me the ability to write a story that, at some level, could have been my own life. Our past choices are long gone now, but it’s great as a writer to explore your past through your writing.

It is almost impossible for my own life not to sneak into my writing, and in my screenplay my character Shane does reflect my own experiences with Bipolar One. We both fell in love at the start of our diagnosis although Shane tried to hold on to Adriana. Both Shane and I can trace our symptoms to our teen years. I even wrote a scene where Shane spends days laying down in his bed in complete darkness, I did so many times during my long cycles of depression.

Beyond the diagnosis, both Shane and I tried to take our lives three times, thought Shane was unfortunately successful became a statistic. There was a part of me that, when I wrote Shane’s death in the story, that once and for all that any thoughts of suicide in my own life died with this character. I would no longer walk down that dark path that leads to suicide. It became true​ when I made the decision to end my character Shane’s life, I would lock that part of me away that piece of me forever, and then I decided to start a blog and write memoir. Life is funny like that sometimes, and I have talked extensively about suicide on this blog.

After finishing my full-length screenplay of Memory of Shane it came down to if I would write the novel version. I put so much into this project, could I really do it again? It took months before I could revisit the idea again and eventually I gave in. It will be interesting for me to explore this story once again.

So, there is a little history on my project Memory of Shane.

J.E. Skye


Photo Credit:
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Day One

With my struggles recently I wanted to post this blog post that I wrote just after I completed my ten-year anniversary since my first suicide and diagnosis in November of last year. At the time I was only a few months into The Bipolar Writer blog. Looking at this post makes me realize I have come so far in year one. I will always keep fighting.

Day One – A Start of a New Journey 11/17

Its day one of a new journey, and its time to look towards the future.

The time has passed. I hit my ten-year mark and the only looking back I will be doing is when writing my memoir. It was a wonder to finally get to this point. My past is in the rearview mirror, and I am here for the present. My future isn’t written yet and so I am making it a point to live in the moment.

Depression, anxiety, insomnia, and even my mania is still a part of me, but I what I have learned in the past few months is that writing about what is bothering me, is the most therapeutic thing in the world. Even with my future unwritten, I want to talk about what I am looking forward to as we move towards the end of 2017 and beyond.

I am really looking forward to completing a major project, my memoir. I talk about it all the time and I am working around the clock to finish the first draft by the end of the year. It may happen, and it may take longer, but I am hopeful while at the same time not worrying about the part of this that is out of my control. Things happen and while there is always a need to finish, it is best to stay within who I am as a writer.

I am also looking forward to completing the novel version of my screenplay Memory of Shane. It was such a process to write the screenplay and it was grandiose of me to think I could write the novel version right after its completion. I was too close the project because it has been a major part of the last year and a half, but after few weeks I became burnt out rewriting a story that I know all too well. So I am hoping my April of next year I can be ready to pick the project back up, maybe sooner if the timing is right.

Speaking of my screenplay, I am excited to be entering full-length screenplay for the BEA Festival of Media Arts student screenwriting competition. It would be amazing to win this competition, but it will help to just get my screenplay out there in the world. There are a couple of end of the year screenplay competitions that I will be entering to end my year. I am really excited about the opportunity that my school is partnered with BEA.

Then there is my blog. What an unexpected journey it has been to grow my brand as The Bipolar Writer. It is great to connect with real people in the mental health community. I getting ready to expand my blog by interviewing others like me. I think it will help me hone my feature writing skills that have come with minoring in journalism.

My thinking is twofold for this blog, interviewing other bloggers to help showcase their own experience and their blog, and also having guest writers on my blog. Its a scary thing for me, but I have already had people ask me to help them tell their story and to showcase their blog. I am most excited about this project because there is so much we can learn through the experiences of others. I am thinking once my blog hits 2,000 followers would be the best time to make this idea reality.

I am also happy to be nearing the end of my educational journey. It has never been easy but somehow I get through every semester given that depression, anxiety, and insomnia take their turns making my life difficult. Through it all, I have become stronger, and I have honed my writing skills through education. It is one of the reasons my writing has improved over the last few years.

I am excited about​ what is coming and where my writing will take me in the coming months and into the new year.

What are you looking forward to as we approach the new year? Let me know in the comments below!

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit: Octavian Rosca

Freelance Work

I don’t often talk about the writing side but when I do it’s a big thing.

Going to school is not cheap. Neither is everything else that comes with the writing life. As I move closer to completing the first draft of The Bipolar Writer Memoir, I am thinking about the possibility of self-publishing. I have done my research and I know the costs of such a venture.

That leads me to look for freelancing work wherever I can in this world. I have already started to pick up local work. I am on Upwork. I put ad‘s on craigslist with some good and bad experiences. I thought something today. I have a blog. Why not reach out to those that need help here on my blog—for a price. That is what freelance work is, moving from project to project.

So what am I offering?

I can help with creating a blog from the start. My blog is my own it took me while to make everything right the way I like it. The content is all mine. I have experience in growing my brand without much help. It’s been a learning procsss for me, but hey I have skills. If you want to pay me to help you create a new blog site, I am here.

I can help write original content for you blog under any peramiters. I have already done a couple of these types of jobs and I create my own content on blog daily. I can research like there is no tomorrow for those of you that need that for your content I’m your guy. If you need someone to edit and proofread your blog posts before you go live, I can help.

Then there is the proofreading editing part of my freelance skills. I am an English major nearing the end of my Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing. I minored in journalism, screenwriting, and political science. I have experience in proofreading and editing. The classes I have left are math classes and science classes. I have finished every writing class under my degree. I can help with ghostwriting or copy editing.

I do offer tutoring, but that is probably best for local work. One of my skills is researching. I am damn good at it. So if you need that, I can help.

I am not the kind of guy who charges is a lot. I am competitive with each project. I am online with PayPal so that is always a good thing.

I have a lot of things coming up this summer that I am going to need money for mosty trips. My graduation. My brothers wedding in Oregon. My annual pilgramage to Las Vegas. I would love to finally see Italy and South Korea. I have a good friend of mine in Germany. There is of course the whole student loans thing. It would be nice to pay off my interest before I start my Master’s program at the end of this summer.

I have things in play. My screenplay for one. But I need to be able to save every penny. If that means helping out people then I will do what ever it takes. I am not sure if this is even the right place to put a post such as this, but hey its my blog.

The costs of self-publishing my memoir will be high no matter how I look at it. I don’t need extra work in my life but I have to be open to all opporinites that come my way.

So if you need any type of freelance writing work, I am your blogger— or writer —James Edgar Skye.

So if your interested in any of my freelance skills email me. Let’s talk.

Contact me @ jamesedgarskye24@gmail.com

James Edgar Skye

Photo Credit:

unsplash-logoStanley Dai

Sorting Through my Recent Depression

The last few weeks have been a great test for how much my depression can affect my day and week. I have spent a lot of time recently tracking my mood especially my depression.

I worry about my effectiveness in my writing because as my depression has increased the last few weeks, I still have things to do on a daily basis. My school work is always a priority, I try to blog as much as possible, and of course my writing projects. I am amazed that I can do things as depressed as I have been lately.

It’s been a ride. So I thought about what is causing my depression. The changing of the season is one of the factors. I always get depressed at this time of year. But it goes deeper than seasonal affective disorder. I am really stressed about this time of year.

Just because I have passed my ten month anniversary yesterday, doesn’t mean all is well in my life. I am still stressed about so many upcoming things like completing my memoir which I have tirelessly been working towards the last three months.

My mind is filled with doubts because there are more things that I have to do, I need to grow my brand The Bipolar Writer and it means taking my blog to new levels. I am stressed that I am not ready to do what I need to do and as my depression grows deeper I worry there are not enough hours in the day.

I worry so much and the depression worsens by the minute. At night it can get so bad that I start to have bad panic attacks. I feel so lost at night and I have talked about how much I feel lost and alone.

I have been writing lately but it doesn’t feel right. I feel lethargic when I wake up, and even with coffee in my system, I am not as effective as I want to be. I think I could just give up right now, it would be so easy.

I want so bad to give into the depression. It would be so much easier. I could just lay in bed all day and not worry. I could let the depression take hold of me. It will make life easier. I wouldn’t have to fight for every inch of my life, and wouldn’t struggle every day. Sure the depression would still be there, but I could give in.

But, I made a commitment to do better and to keep writing no matter what comes my way. I know my depression is getting worse so I figure I can do the little things. More mindfulness breathing when I wake up and throughout the day. Meditation in the morning, during the day, and at night.

I can use my lightbox for longer each morning. I can combat my depression by writing more and stressing less. I will tell myself that everything happens for a reason. That I am worth all of it, and I am going to take The Bipolar Writer to new heights.

I could even smile more, smiles are so important. I don’t smile enough.

I can get back on a regular schedule where I wake up at a decent time and focus on getting down to being who I am, James the writer, The Bipolar Writer.

I have survived depression so bad that I wanted to end it all, and this depression is not on that level. I have survived three suicide attempts and I have learned so much on my journey that I know, I will continue to fight.

What are your thoughts? What are some of your triggers for depression and how do you deal with it?

J.E.Skye

P.S. I am still looking for testimonials for my blog. If you would like to write one send it to my email jamesedgarskye24@gmail.com with your testimonial, your blog site, and a picture to feature.

Photo Credit: Ian Espinosa