Another Writerly Achievement Unlocked

Hello, hello!  On Monday, September 26, while many of my friends were watching and commenting on what I’m sure was a magnificent presidential debate (I couldn’t even keep a straight face while typing that), I was finishing up the first draft of my current novel attempt!  Why is this an achievement?  Because I started it on February 29th.  I wrote a novel, 90,000 words, in less than a year.  I know that might not be awesome to other writers, but for me, it’s amazing!  So, I figured it would be okay to take one post to toot my own horn.  Sorry, not sorry.

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At least it feels like I did.

 Now, the question becomes “What’s next?”  For this novel?  It gets to sit in its dark little corner of my computer for a while, all by itself.  I haven’t read through it to see if it’s any good, and honestly, I’d probably think it sucks if I did look at it right now.  So, I will be taking a break from it while I work on Garnets and Guardians for a bit.  I tend to have attachment issues to certain parts of my work if I don’t take some time away from it before edits, so I think this is the best course of action.  After all, no one likes dealing with a writer on an emotional rollercoaster.

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Time and space tempers this whole up and down thing.  Sometimes.

But first, there will be celebrating.  I still have no idea how I will celebrate, but I will.  Maybe I’ll buy myself a present.  Or maybe I’ll get a bag of chocolates.  Or maybe I’ll just take a couple of days off and binge watch Netflix.  I’m not very good at deciding how to reward myself.  Suggestions are welcome.

 Honestly, I’ll probably end up starting my initial read-through of G&G without taking more than a day’s break, because I really want to get back into it.  Has that ever happened to you?  A sudden itch to return to a certain world after an extended break?  It popped up a couple of months ago, so I sent G&G out for feedback in the hopes of having some suggestions when I finished the current novel attempt.  A couple of people got back to me, so I should be good to go.  I just don’t know where the urge came from.  I don’t usually have this problem.  It’s kind of neat, and worrisome.

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This is usually what editing boils down to for me.

 Have you guys made any new achievements lately?  How did you/will you celebrate?  What did you move onto afterwards?  Or what do you plan to do?  Take a second to stop and congratulate yourself in the comments or on my social media!  I want to be able to celebrate with you.  No humble brags allowed.  Own your accomplishments!  Be loud and proud about them.  We’re here to support each other, in the good times as well as the bad.  I, for one, enjoy seeing my friends succeed.

One Long Vacation

Hello, hello!  It has been a fairly blah few days with an unidentified sickness.  I haven’t written anything except this since Wednesday (the 14th).  It’s currently Monday (the 19th).  I guess when I said it was okay to take a self-care day now and then, my body decided to take it seriously.  Tomorrow (yesterday?), I have (had?) a dentist appointment, so I probably won’t write then either.  Shame on me, but it goes well with a question someone suggested as a blog topic last week: “What would do if you no longer needed to work/write for a living? How would you spend your time?”  Apparently, I’d spend it being sick!  Really though, it depends on the situation.

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This isn’t entirely inaccurate as far as the possibilities go.

 First, I have to actually get to a point where I’m making a living with my writing.  That’s a distant dream all on its own.  But, dwelling on my current lack of success (I refuse to claim defeat or failure in such a subjective field) isn’t as fun as daydreaming about the possibilities of the future.  However, it really depends on the circumstances surrounding my ability to quit writing.  What are we talking about?  Am I able to quit writing because I have billions of dollars and awesome investments to keep that money rolling in?  Do I have enough for the near future, like a five year plan or something?  Have I simply found a different job that I like better?  The answers are always going to be different.

Honestly, if I had enough money to survive in luxury for the rest of my life, I probably wouldn’t write much anymore.  I know I should say that I would and that writing is in my soul and I can’t live without it, but I can’t lie.  It’s just not the way I am.  Writing is great, but it’s a job.  Instead, I’d get a tricked out RV and travel the country visiting with all my distant friends.  When I got bored with that, I’d hit the connected countries.  Then, I’d look into a customized private plane if the doctor gave me the okay to fly (if not, maybe a cruise ship) and travel the rest of the world.  But cripple friendly RVs and planes and ships probably cost more than I could ever think of making.  It’s my daydream though, so the money supply is unlimited.

Port of Entry at Universal's Islands of Adventure.
Can’t forget to stop at some theme parks.

However, if money wasn’t an issue for only five years or so, I’d definitely keep up with the writing.  I’d probably take a few months off here and there to do some traveling and visiting, but I’d still want to produce work to put out for when money started running low.  Plus, I’d need some extra cash to buy an RV to do the traveling in.  So, I’d have fun, but I would keep planning ahead by writing.

Lastly, if I found a different profession, I most likely wouldn’t write at all unless the job called for it.  Writing is time consuming.  I love it.  But, if I want to do something else, that would be where all of my energy gets focused.  Though, I can only think of a couple of professions that I’d drop everything for, so I think my writing is safe.

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According to this, I’d be the most productive writer ever no matter what.

 What about you?  What would you be doing if you didn’t have to write or work anymore?  Would you go on a grand vacation or stay locked up in your home to avoid the world?  Share your daydreams in the comment section here or on any of my social media sites!

Productivity Is Overrated

Hello, hello!  I know I’ve probably posted about feeling unproductive and all of that before, but I can’t find a specific post, so that’s what you’re getting today.  I asked for some blog topic suggestions for today’s post and my friends did not disappoint.  One of them asked “What do you do when you feel unproductive?”  Honestly, it depends on whether or not I’m actually being unproductive.  Just because I feel that way, doesn’t mean that I’m not just being too hard on myself.  So, the first step is to evaluate what I’ve done that day (or week or month or whatever) to decide if I’m being my own worst critic.  Then, I go from there.

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I am quite good at procrastination.

 If it turns out I really am being unproductive for the week (I go by the week because we’re all allowed a day for goofing off here and there), I suck it up and write or edit something or do whatever it is that I need to do.  Sometimes, I have to accept that I’m going to be unproductive in my writing if I have to do extra adulting (doctor’s appointments, the dentist, meetings, etc.) or if I want to go out and have a life or something, but that’s just being productive in different ways.  I have to remember that productivity comes in many different forms.

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That’s how it usually goes.

If I have been productive, I allow myself the chance to take a day off (unless deadlines are involved, then I kill myself with work until I’m done).  If you’ve been working steadily and have kept up with your work, one day of doing nothing isn’t going to hurt you.  It might actually help.  It gives you a chance to breathe and come back to the project rested and ready to look at it in a new light.  Self-care is a very specific type of productivity that seems unproductive to everyone else, but we all do it and we all need it.  If you’re ashamed of taking a day off, call it a “self-care day” and that helps make it feel more like you’re doing something.

 Then again, if I’ve been doing my writing and editing and all of that, but slacking in other areas, I re-prioritize my time for the day.  I read (which I always put on the back burner, sometimes for months) or I adult or I devote time to checking in on friends (not as often as I should) or whatever I’ve been ignoring.  There’s always going to be something I fall behind on.  I have to accept that.

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And that’s when it’s time to start writing again.

 It’s really hard to find a balance where I almost always feel productive.  I’m always slacking on one front or another.  But since I’ve convinced myself that productivity comes in many forms, it’s a little easier (and a lot more complicated, if that makes sense) to know when I’m truly being unproductive.  I think productivity is more about learning to prioritize your time around the things that need to be done.  Sometimes, that will mean cutting back on writing in order to take care of yourself.  And that’s okay.  It’s always going to be a juggling act, and there will be times when you drop a ball or two.  Pick them back up and start again.  Eventually, you’ll learn which ones you can leave off to the side until you’re ready to swap something out with them.  The point is, you keep trying and learning and growing.  That’s the most important thing: keep going.

Labor Day Weekend

Howdy, howdy!  In the United States, this past weekend was Labor Day Weekend.  On Sunday, Dad made a baked ziti with a homemade ragù (yes, you should be jealous), and we had an impromptu thing.  Some people came over and hung out and we watched part of the UT/Notre Dame game.  It was a nice day all around.  But Labor Day Weekend wasn’t always just another weekend in this house.  It used to be a weekend spent at the ballpark or the race track or wherever the Dallas location of the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon was being held.  It was a lively, busy weekend surrounded by a bunch of MDA volunteers and local celebrities and all that fun stuff.

Labor-Day

I hadn’t participated in the telethon for a few years before it devolved into the “Show of Strength” with the departure of Jerry Lewis, then faded away into nothingness.  I don’t know why Mr. Lewis and MDA parted ways.  I don’t know why they decided to end the telethon.  These things just happen, I guess.  But I do know that the money raised over the years helped a lot of people.  I know MDA continues to help a lot of people.  It’s something I’m grateful for.

I’m also grateful for the memories of those weekends along with all of the other fundraisers I participated in over the years.  I got to meet a lot of people I otherwise wouldn’t have.  As a kid, all I really cared about was the fact that the caterers usually brought delicious desserts even if the meals weren’t all that tasty.  Now, I’m happy that I was a part of helping others like myself.  I’m glad that I got to experience the behind the scenes of the telethon, even if it was only at the local level.  I was able to observe and learn.  It’s not something everyone gets to do.

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Always had to display the nails.

 Knowing that the money went towards research and helping families who couldn’t afford equipment and the like makes it worth it.  Even when I was going through that phase where I felt guilty for asking people for money, I at least knew it was helping people.  MDA has helped me on numerous occasions, especially when I was a kid and didn’t qualify for Medicaid because Dad made too much money.  But, there was no way we could’ve afforded all of my equipment (my chairs and later my breathing machines and all that) without MDA’s help.  That’s just part of what MDA does.  It’s part of what Jerry Lewis helped raise money for.  Without him and his telethon, MDA wouldn’t be where it is today.

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At the ballpark.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is, thank you.  Thank you to MDA, to Jerry Lewis, and to everyone behind the scenes.  Not only did the telethon raise money for a great cause, but it also provided many of us with wonderful memories and fun stories to tell.  I’m sorry that the telethon is gone, but I’m happy to have been a small part of it.