Not Doing All the Things

Maybe I’ve just lost momentum, but I seem to have forgotten how to get things done. The new normal for me is to have so many projects going that I spin in circles looking for a place to start. When I was in graduate school I worked full time and managed to knock out school work, work work, and house work without melting down. These days I can’t see over my work inbox and it seems to take forever to read a book or get any writing done.

I need to get back on the bike, so to speak, although this cute red scooter looks like a sweet ride. (And yes, I do use a cart at the liquor store.) I love the way scooters look, but I wonder if I would have the courage to ride one. I’m fine with something I have to pedal, but I’m not too sure about something that’s powered. I don’t want to think about my one and only time on a moped, when I nearly rode out into traffic because I was afraid to turn it too sharply and fall over. Still, maybe a sunny Italian countryside, a picnic basket, and I could be tempted.

Currently I’m working on a biography of Nikola Tesla for a textbook, and I feel like I’ve been dragging my mental heels on everything writing-related this past year. Still, I am writing, it’s just not completed writing — that’s a big difference to me and one that affects my mindset. I need to work on The One Thing and ignore the other 20 projects I’ve signed up for — and avoid signing up for any others until some of the backlog is taken care of. But that’s not how I roll. The more the merrier … sigh.

And now maybe it’s time to learn a new craft — I’m getting back into calligraphy and fountain pens and nib pens, and I’m thinking of trying some bookbinding. I made one book (not writing, actual construction of a physical book) back in the late 70s but I had a hard time finding and affording the materials. These days, it’s easier to find stuff, and my pockets are a little deeper than when I was a teenager.

 

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Zombies!

My latest story has been published in Corrugated Sky‘s anthology Cold as Death, a collection of four not-too-gruesome zombie stories. We got the editing and formatting of the book done and had our printed copies in hand just in time for RavenCon 14, where we had a vendor table. Our exhibits are starting to look pretty impressive: we had seven titles for sale, which included three anthologies and four novels.

The stories in Cold as Death have a wide range of locations: mine takes place on the asteroid Thisbe, where the zombies work as miners. The other stories are situated in Cape Cod, Casablanca, and Los Angeles. None of the stories is a gore-fest and all of them are suitable for adults and young adults. We’re also moving our books to Ingram, which means they’ll be available for purchase from more vendors, as well as showing up in bookstores nationwide.

And now that the zombies have been dispensed with (!), we’re busy working on our fourth anthology. The theme for this upcoming volume is urban magic, and it’s the first anthology that we’ve opened for submissions. In the next few weeks we’ll be reading through our submissions and getting the accepted ones ready for the editing process, as well as putting the finishing touches on our own entries.

December Musings

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.

NaNo 2018, Day 1

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!