Month: April 2019

Problems in March

I mentioned the cat allergy in March’s things post, but I somehow didn’t realise that I was closer than I thought.

The problem is dust.

Cats are not the only thing I have allergic reactions to. I struggle with VOCs (which makes using any oil-based paints a risky proposition), and I don’t sleep well with dust around. Both cause massive congestion and drop my IQ about fifty points*.

VOCs are relatively easy to avoid, but dust accumulates silently over time, and I forget it’s an issue over the winter because dust reaction feels so much like a cold.

On top of this, I had been habitually running on about two hours less sleep a night than I need, and the time change in early March** made the mornings darker just when I needed light.

Things I’ve done to improve the situation:

  • get a daylight lamp. I probably should have got one of these years ago. It has helped me wake up more completely in the morning and given me energy to approach real work first thing.
  • go to sleep earlier. If I am getting up at five (and I am still trying to do this) then I need to be asleep around nine as a usual thing. Maybe I can shave half an hour, but ten is too late and eleven is going to just kill me the following day. I’ve been slacking on this the last week or so, but it helps me a lot.
  • dust more regularly. Dusting is something that I’ve always had as a low priority. I’ve never enjoyed it: moving things around in order to just put them back again has always struck as more annoying than necessary. Still, if I want to continue to function, it’s something I need to do a lot more regularly. I’ve set up a regular reminder to do this task.

The weird thing is that while my mental processes have been swimming in treacle, my running has been stronger. Shamrock this year was great (and I have already signed up for 2020) and I’ve been consistently hitting 8:30 miles on challenging routes. There are injury concerns, but it’s working pretty well.

Still, better sleep will help there too.

Here’s to staying on top of things.

[*] y’know, approximately.

[**] ask me why I loathe the stupidity of the time change adjustments under the Bush Jr administration!

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April Things, 2019

March felt less incompetent than February, but I still felt like I was struggling. I have come to understand some of the reasons for this, but these are things I should be noticing as they happen rather than finally figuring it out weeks or months into the bout of ineffectiveness.

Let’s have a look at what I got done in this struggle.

Three Things for March

There was mention of a train, last time? I think it barely left the station, although at least the wheels are in the right place.

  1. short stories — finish the BSQ story.Completed. I am quite happy with the story in the end.
  2. Song fourth draft — revision plan.Really didn’t touch this in March.
  3. workshop application — cover letter or sample chapters.Worked on sample chapters up to the suggested word limit, although I found that the story hadn’t started yet. So, I find myself wondering about using a different book for this, not because I think the book I first chose was bad but because the story gets going a lot faster in the one I’m thinking of.

    So, I am going to call this half done.

1.5/3 is pretty decent — better than I expected, certainly.

There’s another blog post on the way about my creative problems in March.

Three Things for 2019

Time Marches on. How does this substandard month look when compared to my broader goals?

  1. query A Turquoise Song — a goal in three sequential parts:
    1. prepare a fourth draft — incorporate feedback, make it good. Target is to have this done by the middle of the year — more helpful feedback from my crit group, but I didn’t start working on the revision plan proper in March.
    2. prepare query letter — obviously the initial targets are the agents I talked to at the conference in 2017, but I also want to prepare for querying other agents.
    3. query — get the book out there.
  2. short stories — I am finding my relationship to short stories becoming much less contentious, even fruitful!
    1. several stories to write for Boundary Shock Quarterly — next story done and submitted.
    2. write and submit four stories to other markets. So that’s one a quarter, and I will mark it as such — I did not submit a story anywhere else in March, so this is a miss. 0/4 so far.
  3. engage with the writing community — this is a nebulous label for a group of related goals that don’t warrant a top level item to themselves.
    1. workshop application — I’m going to apply for an intensive workshop. More on that once it’s in hand, which it isn’t yet.
    2. podcast — one of the things that came out of the inconclusive work on producing Livia as an audiobook was a desire to launch a podcast of some kind. This would be audio-only initially, although I am still searching for a good format.
    3. cons & confs — I need to be getting out there more. I just do.

The better things I was looking for in March didn’t really happen. I got stuff done, but not as much as I had planned.

I really hope the energy level goes up in April.

Three Things for April

The train might be on the rails but it needs a bit more movement.

  1. Song fourth draft — revision plan and actual revision.
  2. workshop application — stick with the original plan or switch stories? Cover letter.
  3. short stories — write another story for independent submission.

Off we go.

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