Sick Time

So – last week was a total waste of time. I blame the mutant flu for this lost productivity.

Back to healthy, also worked on some noncreative but really important projects. Ready to get back to normal right about now.

 

 

Weekly Report: Poor Showing

Well, it’s not as bad as during my early-year hiatus, but I haven’t been as productive as I would have liked in the last few days.

Editing Book the First is on target. Reading is progressing faster than expected.

But I’ve missed several writing goals, and that’s what bothers me. I did all the easy stuff, but whiffed on the tougher objectives.

I have good excuses but it’s really just a case of not finding the serenity I need to write. I really need an hour completely of interruption-free fucking around (and the guarantee that I’m not going to be bothered afterward) to get into the writing zone. Lately that has been a bit harder.

But hopefully that’s temporary. We’ll see. And I’ve still hammered out a significant amount of words this week, just not as much as I’d like. Onwards!

Actual Progress

The last week and a half has been something quite rare: it’s been productive.

In part, I think that’s because I switched task management systems, going from ToDoist to Habitica. I won’t pretend the gamification features don’t help (I HATE losing HP) but the real winner for me is the organization (and the fact that missed deadlines don’t necessarily stick around in a Late Queue of Despair.)

Regardless of the reason, I’m actually progressing quite switfly on editing Book the First, I’m slowly adding words to Book the Second, and I’m keeping on top of my other obligations and goals for the year.

It’s not always easy (and in part, I’m succeeding because I’ve set the bar quite low in terms of wordcount-per-day and pages-revised-per-day) but the I’d rather hit easy milestones every day than repeatedly fail at harder ones.

I still have quite a few non-routine challenges on the menu right now, which makes further progress difficult, but I think I’ve finally managed to get some forward momentum going.

So what’s up next? Well, I have a Just my Opinion post ready to be written. I’m probably going to torch all my EU4 saves in order to attempt an easier challenge. And maybe some cool news soon, too. We’ll see.

More Steps Forward

I’m having trouble getting over the last few shots life has taken at me.

The writing career isn’t progressing. I’m not enjoying my current job situation. And as mentioned, my personal life has been hell lately.

So for now I’m going to go easy on myself. The goal for now is to make small progress every day, no more and no less. A page of revisions, some work on a synopsis, minor improvements to the blog/site… that’s enough for now.

Reading-wise, I’m not being super-ambitious this year. Another Proust book, a pair of current-gen fantasy author… that’s pretty much it. We’ll see how I feel in a week or two.

Fuck 2017

Well, 2017 was a mediocre, frustrating year on the “becoming a writer” front.

It was good on the personal side, until we lost our unborn daughter (and I almost lost my girlfriend to infection too.) So any motivation and goodwill I had left for that year is gone.

Honestly, I want to write an upbeat, “but 2018 will be DIFFERENT” post, but I don’t have it in me yet. Right now, I’m in a hell of a funk and I can’t seem to find a way out of it.

It just feels like I should throw in the towel on everything, just focus on watching TV shows, and otherwise stop trying to accomplish anything of note.

I imagine it’ll pass, but…

Sick Again

So, the one no-qualification-needed downside of having a kid is that they get sick, and that their bugs tend to mutate into sci-fi style superinfections.

My son brought home a common cold that morphed into an ear infection for him. For a dad, that’s hard to take: I want to make sure he’s fine always. So goodbye free time, I need to take care of my boy.

And then I get sick too, but I don’t get the common cold. I get something that’s a mixture of cholera and terminal sepsis. Or so it feels like, anyway. Kid-empowered common colds do that, apparently.

So… I’ve literally done nothing in the last two weeks. I mean, I was able to get to work and take care of my family, but beyond that it was “crash on the couch, hope to be able to go to sleep before five AM.”

Good thing the “get the book e-published by December” is off the books for the moment. I’m still pushing through the latest reread, because regardless of how things turn out agent wise another reedit cannot hurt, but it’s slow, slow going.

But I have vacation time coming up. Which probably won’t result in any meaningful progress given the way things have been going this year, but we’ll see!

Weekly Report: New Position

Life got fun. A week ago, I was promoted at work. Obviously, that means more responsibilities and opportunities.

Short-term, it mostly means extra work. I kinda know, in general terms, what my additional responsibilities will be. I need to figure out the specifics, and since it’s a small business, I kind of have to do it on my own.

In the meantime, I’ve fallen back to the tried-and-true “be structured, document everything you do” method of task handling. So I’m writing more, which is good I guess?

It’s also been tiring – which is not conducive to doing good creative work, but even less for reviewing. I’ve been disciplined in my editing schedule, but I know the work I’m doing isn’t as good as it could be, which means I will be spending more time going over what I’ve reviewed lately. But it’s progress.

On a more personal front, Baby #2 is on the way. Which is cool from a blogging perspective, at least.

A Dad and a Writer – Year One

What a year it’s been. Also – it’s been a year already!?!

Having a kid is life-changing. Forget everything you think you know about fatigue, time management, or even motivation: there were many, many evening in the last year when I could barely fire up Twitch to look at someone else play a game. So writing… yeah, not that easy to fit in the schedule.

Don’t get me wrong – my son is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. But there’s no pussyfooting around it: if you’re trying to take a fun hobby and make something more out of it, the first year with a baby is the worst possible time to do it.

In retrospect, I shouldn’t have tried to get Book the First published this year. It became an additionnal source of stress and fatigue at a time when I couldn’t really afford it, and I was too tired to assess my manuscript properly and to write good queries.

So I think I wasted a good opportunity there. But on the other hand, few people ever get their first manuscript published. And while in a sense I lost a year trying to pitch a book that probably never had a shot at finding an agent, the truth is that I wouldn’t have been able to do a lot with that year anyway.

On the plus side, I think I’m a pretty good dad. And I’m honest enough to admit that I should have ramped up my productivity, oh, two or three weeks ago. But it’s hard to come back from time off when you’re the only one putting pressure on yourself.

Well… let’s look forward, shall we? I have goals for the next year, but I want to do a better job at juggling all those responsibilities and sources of stress. I have to avoid that soul-crushing crunch time and those late-night writing sessions, and instead make good use of the time I know I can devote to writing without driving myself insane. Since my son is now going to daycare five days a week and my girlfriend going back to work soon, there will be dedicated writing time slots.

Now it’s on me to use them like an adult.

The Great Fall Task List

All right, so what am I planning for the rest of the year?

1-Writing an average of 500 words a week on Book the Second. That’s not a lot, and I feel I should be able to do better than that, but let’s stick to something I’m sure I can do.

2-Get back on track for my blog schedule, my reading list, etc. I’m on track for the reading list, being almost done with Proust (and then the rest is just entertaining fiction or short.) For the blogs, I have thirty Secret Project blog posts ready to go (with more in the pipeline) so I should be able to make up for lost ground fairly easily.

3-Finish a thorough review-and-fix of Book the First and have it published online. My revisions are the main holdup, although I’m also waiting on a cover page suggestion.

4-Once I get my cover page, I’ll do the long-awaited switch-to-a-custom-look for this blog. At the same time, I’ll officially try to turn that into an “official” writing blog, complete with tip jar to beg for money and email to ask for writing jobs.

To get that to work, I’ve decided to rely on an computerized todo list – I’m using Todoist – so that I can manage my time efficiently. I still need to write down everything I need to do but at least I can do that once when I’m motivated, and then have the guilt to motivate me. We’ll see how this works out!

 

 

Summer Breaking

Well, it’s probably obvious, but my productivity has collapsed in the last few weeks. There’s no exciting explanation for it, it’s just fatigue.

So I’ve decided to allow myself a few weeks of, well, not vacation exactly, but lessened demands on my time. I’m still writing, I’m still working on getting Book the First published, I’m still working on the various projects… just without my usual impossible-to-complete task list.

So what have I accomplished lately? Well, I’m doing yet another editing pass on Book the First. I’m also working on getting someone to draw a cover image for it. I’ll probably also use said image as the basis for the visual theme of the blog, so there’s that.

As far as writing goes, I’m trying to get back in the habit of writing every day, even if it’s just a sentence or two. It’s frustrating – I’m just tired enough that getting started on writing is hard. Once I have the file open in front of me, I can keep going for a while, but getting that file open is tougher than it should be.

My various post series are… not progressing at the moment (although I’m slowly making my way through the first book of À la recherche du temps perdu, so expect a Just my Opinion post at some point.

But overall, I’m just trying to return to healthier energy levels. And it’s working, just not as fast as I’d like.

Story of my life, I guess.