I wish I were like this snowman. But it’s unseasonably cold in Washington, DC. We got snow yesterday, the second of the year, and the temperature outside right now is 20 degrees. Tomorrow, with windchill will go into -10. There is something seriously wrong with that number for this Southern California woman.
I’ve been in reflection of what I want to do in the New Year, writing-wise. There was long-standing event that occurred almost a year ago at work that started out as a snowball, moving very slowly.
So slowly, I didn’t quite see what was coming, and it crept up on me. Especially while I was following a habit from the Army: Accomplish the mission.
In the Army, we got orders to do something, and we would have to do it, because, well, we had our orders. If you didn’t have the tools, you found them (or “acquired” them). Or you built it, or whatever was needed. There was no, “I can’t do this” or “I don’t want to do this.”
And I was running into a whole lot of “I can’t do this,” this year. I came home tired and frustrated, and that was impacting not only my writing, but getting new releases out. The releases take about the same mental energy that some tasks at work take, and I just didn’t want to do things that felt like work at home.
And then it turned into an avalanche around Thanksgiving. Things normally wind down at that time because everyone’s on leave.
I was running into so many deadlines I couldn’t get anything done.
I also realized I hadn’t really done much fun for myself in my off time. I’d gotten out of it when I broke my foot and really couldn’t go and do anything. When I started back up, it felt more like “mandatory fun.” That comes from the Army where they set up an organizational day on Saturday, when you were off, and you were ordered to attend to have fun.
Then I took the Carving Out Time For Your Writing Lecture (free until January 18). I’d taken it three years ago, but hadn’t looked at it since. I realized that work had shifted around me and I needed a reset to keep myself from burning out.
So for 2018:
- Write Longer Fiction.
- 2,000 words a week, in 15 minute sessions. That works out to 8 sessions a week. The number comes out of the lecture itself, but it’s a much slower pace. I’m in the process of doing a redraft of 49er Planet because it had some structure problems. Redraft is an easy fix.
- Workshops that will help this along.
- Have more fun. I’ve been looking at a book called The Power of Having Fun: How Meaningful Breaks Help You Get More Done. It has some interesting ideas (the goal in the book is to have fun for free or low cost). I’m looking at:
- Go for a massage once a month. I did that last week and got my feet pampered. It felt so good that I want to do it again.
- Visit a museum I haven’t been to. I’m thinking of the Bureau of Printing and Engraving. This has to be planned because they are only open weekdays, so I have to take a day of leave.
- Tai Chai class. This is a four week class at the library. I took a one hour special session at work. Be a nice way to vary the exercise routine for a few weeks.
For the moment, I’m trying to keep things simple to keep everything in balance.