I missed last week’s Monday Morning Reset, and I’m a day late on this one. Let’s just pretend there’s just a lot of awesome stuff going on in my life right now that I’ve been too busy to post, when, really, it’s just that I’ve been lazy and unmotivated.
No, unmotivated is not the right word. Ineffective might be better, because I’m definitely motivated. I’ve never understood the concept of “writer’s block” very well, because I usually always have something I’m working on or trying to do. But I get into these fugues where I just can’t bring myself to write or focus, and that, alas, has been my problem these past few weeks. But sitting here now, typing this up, is the first step to getting out of that bad habit and back into my good ones. So here’s a look at last week, the week before, and the weeks ahead.
Writing: Usually, I fall into these inactivity traps when things have gone a little stagnant on the writing front, when you haven’t heard yay or nay on anything you’ve sent out in a long while. I’ve been at 5 acceptances and 52 rejections for the year for the past two weeks now, with no change in the numbers, and that kind of bums me out. It makes me feel like I’ve just been of treading water, although it’s really just the natural flux of these things. I’m definitely getting back to submitting something every day. I need to really push because we’re in June now. Halfway point of the year. I need to get just one acceptance, and I keep up with the pace of one-story-per-month acceptance average, and I’m just slightly over half for my 100 rejections goal. So I need to push more, send more stuff out, really flood the channels so something eventually gets washed back up. I want to focus on meeting more deadlines, as I’ve managed to let too many of them fly by. As such, I need to actually write more new material, but I’ve got a handful of short stories that are turning out nicely, so hopefully they’ll be finished and sent out before the end of the month.
Fearless is another thing I’ve been thinking about a lot. Originally, my plan was to publish every August; I missed last year with that, so now I’m re-evaluating. Should I just publish whenever it manages to get finished? Which is more important, to hold myself accountable by meeting these deadlines I set for myself, or to make sure the product is being produced because I’m enjoying it and I’m not forcing it? I will have more time coming up, but getting Fearless out by August feels like it would be a goddamn miracle at this point. It will get there, but I just don’t have it in me lately. Hopefully, this schedule change coming up will get me back into finally getting the book out and completing The Slayer Saga.
Reading: I did finish The 7 Secrets of Awakening the Highly Effective Hour-Hour Giant, Today last week, which was a very silly book and I enjoyed it greatly. I had every intention of finishing Foxborn on Sunday night, but work was not very kind to me at all and I just got lazy. It will absolutely get finished this week, though, so help me! I’m also getting near the end of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, too.
New to my big pile of books because I have no attention span are Xiaolu Guo’s A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers, which I’ve read before and loved, but it’s been a very long time, so I’m excited to revisit it, and Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge, which means in a month or so, I can watch the show.
‘Rithmatic: I do feel lately like everything just been a blur of work, especially as we transition to a new supervisor, but they’ve also hired another person on, which means a transition to the part-time hours I’ve been craving. And here’s where I really land on what’s been making me feel so….off these last few weeks, and it’s worry. It’s concern. It’s paranoia. These past six months have been really great for me financially, working all those extra hours, being able to actually put money away, and it’s been a great feeling, even if it meant sacrificing a lot for my writing. And it made a sort of sense to me…I’m a dyed-in-the-wool workaholic, the daughter of a Midwestern Catholic Centennial farmer with heavy German and Irish roots. It’s just in my blood and my upbringing to believe that you work yourself to the bone and then you die. I know, deep down, that writing is work, but it’s such a different kind of work. It’s not a physically draining labor. It can drain your soul, but not in the same way a nine hour shift of constantly moving does. And I enjoy it, like, a lot. Work should be work, and writing feels more like fun, so it’s hard for my brain to grasp the idea that, when I’m only working my “real job” three days a week, I’m just slacking off the other four days. I could write a whole novel in those four days, and still feel like a slacker, like I’m not “really working.” And then there’s just the money issue, too. The money’s been nice, you guys. Really, really nice, and now I’m worried I’ve gotten used to having it, so I’m going to splurge it all away. Which is ridiculous, because I know me, and I know that I agonize over spending an extra dollar for almond milk at one store because it’s more convenient than going to another store what has it cheaper. I just never, ever want to be in a spot where I’m hard up for money again. I’ve been there too often and it sucks. So it’s really hard to focus on utilizing the time I’ll have for my writing when all I can think is, “But I’m potentially losing eighty dollars today for not being at work.”
I just need to switch the focus. Instead of losing eighty dollars by not working, I have to remind myself that I might be gaining eight readers by sending out a story to a magazine. I might be gaining a foothold on a wider range of work to appeal to more readers. I’m gaining ten potential contacts by posting on the blog or commenting on someone else’s. Work does not always have to be measured in the monetary value gained from it. Work can be a lot of thing, and the work involved in writing is usually work that doesn’t show off an immediate benefit. It’s a constant climb up a mountain, and every inch you make will eventually become a mile.