So Monday I returned to work after my surgery.
Monday night I came home and fell over.
Tuesday by ten o’clock I’d realized there was no way it was gonna work at eight hour days, and I’m lucky enough to have both leftover sick time and an excellent (and available!) substitute, so I fixed it so I’d work half-days all week.
I’m still pretty dang tired. I come home at 12:30 or so, fall over for a couple hours, then wake up and try to figure out how to get my brain to come back.
Walking happens at about a fourth of my usual speed. I have to remind myself not to jump up and get stuff off the printer, not to twist in my chair, not to do a hundred and one things I’m used to doing, because I have to hoard my energy to get through till twelve o’clock. And I think how lucky I am that it’s not permanent. And then I think how useful it is for story research.
I’ve always tried to be medically accurate in my writing. I know that shoulders aren’t really great places to stop a bullet. I know that major injuries take time to heal. I don’t think I ever quite appreciated the weakening factor, though.
For ten years, I’ve done my job a certain way. Now, if I move at that rate, do everything the way I’d normally do, in an hour I’m tired. In two hours I’ll be sitting at my desk, nothing but decorative, because all I can possibly do is think how I hurt and I want to sleep.
It’s been kind of an eye-opener. I tell myself it’s good for me, as I head back to bed for the third time in twenty-four hours.
And then I’m really grateful that this too shall pass.
You’ve heard the advice. Set goals. Write them down. Post them somewhere. Sometimes the advisor will expand it with “make tangible goals” or “set goals, and then establish smaller steps to reach them.” And often there’s “set goals you can control.” You can’t make yourself write a bestseller. You can make yourself write book after book to send into the great publishing lottery.
I’ve heard it too. I found it good advice, and I thought I was enacting it. But you know what? I was kind of missing the word tangible, and it’s an important one.
1. capable of being touched; discernible by the touch; material or substantial.
2. real or actual, rather than imaginary or visionary: the tangible benefits of sunshine.
3. definite; not vague or elusive: no tangible grounds for suspicion.
Number three is what I’m looking at here. I was interpreting tangible as touchable. Reachable. The meaning I needed, though, was definite.
Make definite goals.
My writing goals have mostly been “as much as I can.” And then I’d spend all day on the computer, and after a certain point I’d get no more words but STILL be on the computer…and my wordcounts weren’t even all that great unless it was the last day of NaNo or something.
Yesterday I dithered a lot about what story to work on, and then when I finally started, I fretted about what goal I should set. What if I aimed too high, and I couldn’t keep it up? What if I aimed too low, and wasted my time?
Finally I went with two thousand words a day. It’s a good pace but not a frantic one, I reasoned. I could keep it up. I might even maintain that once I go back to full-time at work. (Maybe.)
So yesterday I hit my goal and a funny thing happened. I stopped writing. And I liked it. I got up and did some things, I hung out with my friends, I did internet stuff. All with the shiny glow of I wrote two thousand words today! I’m forty-two and I’ve just now come across this amazing concept that if I set a goal and make it, I can go do something else.
Tonight I hit the goal earlier than yesterday. I’ve been done writing since six-thirty. I’ve put away clothes, dealt with laundry, cooked food, hung out with friends…
A 2k-a-day goal is respectable by any measure, and once I hit it I can go do other things. I’m writing MORE than I almost ever do, and doing more of other things too.
I’m trying to find some balance in my life. I’ve always chased after whatever I was interested in at the time, to the exclusion of other things. When I fell into Weiss fandom (my first forays into slash, ahh, nostalgia…), I stalked eBay for everything Weiss. Art books, DVDs, concert videos…I got ‘em all. I spent a good amount of money, I had auction-winning strategies, I searched misspellings of the names to find stuff other fans weren’t bidding on…
Sometimes I still have the urge to go see if eBay has anything I missed, even though I only chased that obsession for…six months?
I’ve talked before about how I do that with writing. Since I’ve been doing it longer, it’s become incredibly ingrained. Even when I’m not on deadline–even when I’m not working on anything at all–I still feel like I should be writing, not _____________.
My friends talk about how busy they are, they never have much time for writing, then they talk about their wedding plans or their children or their journeys out into sunlit areas I rarely see, and a small annoying voice in my head goes “See? Having a life means NOT WRITING. Fuck that!”
Of course, there’s the other side to that, which I argue often in an attempt to shut that voice up. If we never live, how can we have anything to write ABOUT?
That voice doesn’t want to hear logic, let me tell you.
So anyway. Seeking some balance in my life. I’m a Trekkie who hasn’t seen the reboot. No, not even the first movie. I haven’t seen Avengers, OR any of the apparent prequels. By Buckbeak, I haven’t even seen the last THREE Harry Potter movies! Let alone read the latest Bekka Cooper/Tamora Pierce book, or the Amelia Peabody/Elizabeth Peters OR Miles/LMB book…
There has GOT to be a way to balance this stuff out. GOT TO BE. And I will find it.
Just as soon as I watch some movies and read some books.
This year it looks like I’ll only have about two weeks off work. (I know–only?) That may, possibly, be enough time to edit one novel, but it certainly isn’t time enough for more than one. So, alas, no Doomy Summer of Editing DOOM this year.
It’s not DOOM if it’s only one novel. Geez.
I actually don’t know if I’m going to be editing at all. I’ve been editing a lot of late.
I am trying to use my tablet to blog but people talk to me and I lose it all. This is, however, intensely cool. It does recognize nearly everything I tell it and I am getting faster. Whee!Now to try to do it without the hand hurting. I really am enjoying this.
Okay, typing now. I’m terribly pleased with how easy it is to use the tablet. I’ll play with it more another time. I do like how natural it is to use. I could write one-handed in the mornings!
I do like how easy it is to use. I’m enjoying working on beast lately. I think l have the structure figured out now. Just have work out the scenes.
It’s been a lot of fun period, this vacation. I’m doing stuff in nearly all my worlds. The problem is I’m still not in the world should be! My brain does not seem ready to get back to real work, either. I’m jumping from project to project, seemingly solving problems, but if I try to actually write, I freeze.
Besides, I have not done most of the stuff I wanted to get done this vacation. So I guess I will go on vacationing a bit longer.
Maybe I should make a list of things to get done. But then, I did that. I think I’ve done one thing from it, and that not completely? Whoops.
Ah well. Onward.
(ooh I can type on it too! *ahem* Looking back I see goofs I can’t be bothered to fix. Please blame the tablet and not me. >.>)
Tonight I went out with a friend for a quick bite. I hadn’t seen her in a while, and was looking forward to catching up. Except…
I just sent a story off two days ago. Do you think I could think of a dang thing besides that to talk about?
Seriously, I’m horrible at small talk. It doesn’t matter if I care about the person (I did/do!) Once we get past “how’s it going?/Fine. How about you?/Oh, I’m fine” I’m pretty much done. I can’t talk about the weather because–well, Tucson. Hot. Sunny. Next.
Can’t talk about movies because I haven’t seen any. Can’t talk sports ’cause I don’t know. Can’t talk politics (much) because–well, have you SEEN what’s going on? Yeah, don’t get me started. TV, nope. Books I’ve read? Not at the moment. Books I’m writing?
How long have you got?
So yeah. I am, like many writers, not so good at the social skills. Which reminds me of this, which makes me feel better.
I <3 Neil Gaiman.
And no, I don’t mean a sewer, though anyone who’s been around me a while knows I spend lots of time in the gutter.
I was thinking of this today as I stumbled about YouTube looking for the music that Kolya will blast when he needs to escape. If you’re wondering why I’m poking at Kolya when I said I didn’t want to…well, it’s because I decided to work on Romeo, fanfic, and getting some bits and bobs done. So naturally I’m working on a major project, exactly what I decided against.
Anyway. My contrary muses aside, it occurred to me that the compost-heap analogy is a good one. When I started writing, I tried to throw in anything and everything that I liked. Apparently I was worried it was my only chance. Now I know I’ll be writing another book after this one (and another after that!), and if something doesn’t fit into what I’m doing now, odds are good I’ll find a perfect place later.
So, yeah–compost heap. Because you don’t throw garbage on a compost heap. You throw the unuseable-right-now bits. You pile them all together, you supply a good amount of moisture and air, you turn them about once in a while, and they meld and grow and change until you have an awesome, organic fertilizer that lets everything grow better than it would have without.
Figuring out that I can toss stuff for later has both good and bad sides. Editing is easier when I don’t have to cut out tons of stuff that shouldn’t have made it into the manuscript in the first place, but focusing is harder. Exactly what is a waste of my time?
Are you sure?
Fascinating articles on caves occupied five thousand years ago could easily have some bearing on something I will write eventually!
Also, here’s the Kolya playlist on YouTube. It may continue to grow, but hopefully not by too much more. (But suggestions are more than welcome!) (Also, warning for angst and loud. ) (Also, the videos are only there for the song–I didn’t even watch all of them. So my apologies if the images are awful/badly done/whatever.)
So Vistaprint.com will send me 250 cards for free (though it’ll cost me $2 to keep them from printing their ad on the back, and $7 postage.)
Anyone know a reason I shouldn’t go for it?
Critiques of the card also appreciated!