This Friday I’ll be attending the Northeast Modern Language Association’s meeting at the Gaylord National Resort Center. I was invited to be part of a roundtable discussion on teaching science fiction and I’ll be talking about Ray Bradbury and censorship. I’m both excited by and a little intimidated by the event, but I’ve presented papers at conferences before so I have some experience to fall back on.
My event isn’t until 3 in the afternoon, so while I could sleep in I’m going to make an early day of it and take in as much of the conference as possible. The hotel has a pretty good breakfast, so at o-dark-thirty I’ll be dragging myself from bed with the promise of pancakes and bacon.
I can’t sleep again. I’ve been having bouts of insomnia most of the year, although the last few weeks I’ve gotten it under control and only had a few sleepless nights. I do sleep, but I end up not falling asleep until nearly 4 a.m. It seems to be mostly stress related, but my failed attempt at NaNo seems to have nixed the insomnia. Mostly. So it wasn’t a failed attempt, not really. I decided to quit because a) I was falling behind and did not need more stress on top of existing work stress, and b) I decided that the NaNo project could wait because I have other projects in front of it.
It’s not that I didn’t want to do it. I want to do all the damn projects, which is my downfall. There’s only so much of me to go around, so I need to be a bit more selective about taking on assignments. I have a pretty good capacity for work, but I start to get balky when I push myself too far, and I was showing the signs of impending crabbiness and the “deer in the headlights” mentality I get when I have too much to do.
Speaking of too much, I adjusted my daily step goal down from 10,000 steps to 7,000 steps. My reasoning was that I wasn’t reaching the 10K mark very often, and so, let’s say I was at 4,000 steps or so, I would tell myself that I wasn’t going to reach my goal. I was building a lot of negative expectations for myself, and something needed to change. By shifting the goal down to something that is just a little out of reach, rather than in the next county, I’ve put that goal back in my sights. I’m into the second or third week of reaching my step goal. Not every day, but I did have a five-day streak and I’ve been meeting it three or more times a week. That’s an improvement. Things take time, so I’m going to keep working with the 7K goal for a month, maybe two, until it’s so routine I don’t even think about it. Then I’ll start building up again.
Yeah, so in November I started pretty strong with the kick-off for NaNo, but by mid-month I was falling behind and stressing too much. I’ve done NaNo four times, so I know what it takes, but this year I’m so involved in paying projects (in addition to a full-time job) that my NaNo work-in-progress just had to go on the back burner. On the plus side, I have about 24,000 words of a novel that I think I can finish outlining to have a decent story.
The other plus was unexpected: once I made the decision to put my novel aside, it was as though a weight was lifted off my shoulders because I gave myself permission to not do something. That had repercussions for my contract work, too, and I felt like the massive writer’s block that I’ve had for months dissolved. Since the end of November I’ve had a couple of days to organize my workload and set specific task goals that are doable.
I also cut back my step-count exercise goal (10,000 steps a day) because I was almost never reaching it. At some point this led to a failure mentality and eventually I fell off the exercise bandwagon. By readjusting my goals to something just a little beyond reach — 7,000 steps a day — I’ve made it easier to tell myself that I can do it if I just take a few more steps. Last week I made my step goals six out of seven days, and that’s a new first for me. Don’t laugh, but much of my “workout” is going up and down the stairs or jogging in place. I live in a pedestrian-unfriendly area and sometimes just getting ready to go out turns out to be a way to avoid doing anything, so for now this is a start.
At Corrugated Sky we’re working on getting our third anthology ready for its release in February 2019. This one is called Cold as Death and will be four stories about zombies.
Posted in Writing
- Tagged anthology, Corrugated Sky, Corrugated Sky Publishing, exercise goals, Karen Garvin, NaNo, National Novel Writing Month, novel writing, writer's block, Writing, writing goals, zombie, zombies
NaNo 2018 for the win! I think I can, I think I can, I know I can!
I wasn’t going to do NaNo this year because I have so many projects on my plate, and I’ve been frozen into a state of near-perpetual writer’s/editor’s block for months. In the last year and a half at work my project load has at least doubled, and I find myself spending more time chasing notes and trying to figure out where I am in the process than spending time actually editing (I work full-time as a copyeditor). Instead of shutting down my computer at the end of the day and feeling like I’ve accomplished anything, I just feel like I’m more covered in virtual piles of paper. It’s not good for the soul. I want to finish something!
And so on that note, with so much to do already, I had a bit of arm-twisting from my fellow authors at Corrugated Sky. I tried to resist, but it’s too hard to swim against the tide, and the “I would like to, but…” excuse was replaced with “Well, maybe…” until there was just no avoiding it. So here I am. NaNo 2018, Day 1. I have a 181-word description of what I’m going to write, and that’s pretty much it so far.
It occurred to me that if I do NaNo, I will finish it — because every time I’ve done NaNo I finish it. I’m hoping that freight-train of writing momentum that NaNo ushers in just might unstick me from the other freelance projects I have going. Kind of like riding a bike, you know? The faster you go, the easier it is to find balance. Whether moving forward on my personal projects helps me at work is another issue, but a positive attitude never hurts work morale! And so, on that note of I’m-going-to-get-things-done, I’m off to start my NaNo project.
Good luck to everyone who’s accepted the challenge this year!