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.




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.

Off to a Conference!

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.

Midnight Oil

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.