Month: June 2019

Hiatus

Multitasking is not a skill at which I excel.

I make lists, I set goals, and I track how I’m doing against those goals, but jumping from task to task reduces my effectiveness on each task.

I work best on one thing at a time. It’s one of the reasons why bug reports and fires in the day job can be so disruptive, because it’s not just the loss of time working on a task but the time to switch contexts, and rebuilding a complex context to reengage with an intricate task is computationally expensive.

However, I also work best on tasks in one arena if I have other things to do in other scopes. This is why I collect hobbies. I do have limits, though. In my experience, I can really work on roughly three things at once: one personal goal, one writing goal, and one day job goal, say.

Some things are routine enough that I don’t really have to think about them. My weight and exercise goals are more or less in that routine category now; I still have work to do but I don’t have to be especially vigilant to remember to not eat piles of sugar or to go for a run.

Writing new narrative is not routine. I only have a limited amount of time and everything is complicated. Switching tasks in this arena basically means I don’t do any task well.

I had hoped that blogging would become routine, but it has not. Having a schedule helped, but sticking to it became a burden that crushed my other writing. My focus has to be on my fiction, and the cognitive gear crashing of regular blogging is not something I can make my brain do right now.

In other words, this is my last blog post for a while.

I will still post goals updates, because that progress tracking remains helpful and encouraging, but I am making official what was already de facto: I am taking a blog break.

I will post more about what I’ve been writing when I’ve written more of it.

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June Things, 2019

My writing practice at the moment seems to be more about getting derailed than getting actual work done, or at least that is how it feels as I write this goals post a third of the way into June.

My projects are not where I want them to be, I know that.

Three Things for May

  1. Song fourth draft — continue revision. I did do some revision, although only for a couple of weeks of the month. Based on my metrics, I am about 1.7% into the revision. It doesn’t seem likely that I will get this finished in Q2. Still, I did do some revision, so I am calling this a win.
  2. podcast — figure out the elements of “T’ Stars Are Reet”. I’ve got a plot and more characters, and I know how fast I talk. Another win.
  3. short stories — write another story for independent submission. Now, this is a funny one — I didn’t write anything for independent submission, but I did get about half my next story for Boundary Shock Quarterly. I’m going to call this half a win.

Overall that’s 2½/3, which is a lot better than it felt. This kind of positive outcome justifies the process of goal tracking, for me, because I can get unexpectedly good news sometimes.

Three Things for 2019

May was better than I perceived on the local goals, but how did that map to the larger intentions?

  1. query A Turquoise Song — a goal in three sequential parts:
    1. prepare a fourth draft — incorporate feedback, make it good. Target was to have this done by the middle of the year — I did work on the revision, but not as much as I needed to. Still, at least it is a positive direction.

      I am formally abandoning the Q2 completion target, though.

    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 one is under way.
    2. write and submit four stories to other markets. So that’s one a quarter, and I will mark it as such — no new stories being written, so cruising for another fail here.
  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 — abandoned.
    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.
      I have the first story for this, along with some characters.
    3. cons & confs — I need to be getting out there more. I just do.
      I’m planning on going to WilWrite again this year.

May was mixed. There was progress on overall goals but not as much as desired, and other things were advanced. I actually did more work in the month than I thought going in to this post, so I should take that as a positive, but I really want to be getting more done.

Even with the progress, I am not happy with where I am.

Three Things for June

I just need to get more done.

Of course, I am also writing these monthly goals from a third of the way through the month. I must scale expectations appropriately.

What might save this month is that I have my retreat coming up in two weeks. I expect I’ll get a ton done that weekend.

  1. Song fourth draft — I will get one thematic element squared away.
  2. podcast — write and record one episode.
  3. short stories — finish theBSQ draft; write another story for independent submission.

The thing that is suffering most in these priorities is this blog, as if you hadn’t already figured that one out. Still, I will get good fiction written.

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