I don’t like burnout. The worst thing about it is that I don’t see it coming: I am diagnosing January’s burnout in retrospect. In the moment it just felt like I was overwhelmed and tired, but in hindsight it is pretty obvious that I had taken on too much and wasn’t getting any of it done.
So this is not going to be a positive Things post, as should be obvious from the way I am not getting it done until two thirds of the way into the month.
Let’s lift up the rock and see what’s underneath.
Three Things for January
With the understanding that I basically didn’t do anything, what did I complete?
- Cinnamon Harmonies — no work. I will come back to this later in the year, April at the soonest. The trick here is going to be closing it out. No points this time though.
- Song fourth draft — I need to develop a revision plan, but I didn’t do that. This is probably the second most important thing I need to do this quarter. Marking this incomplete.
- blog — obviously not, although I have done more blogging than anything else. Half a point.
- workshop application — I have done some work on this, with thoughts on the cover letter and the sample I want to send. Calling this half done, although that might be generous.
What I have done this last few weeks is some wildly overdue card sorting. The Konmari spirit is upon me still, and clearing out cards to make space for other things is still pretty important to me.
Still overall, I am going to rate that two halves out of four, or 1/4 once the fractions are simplified.
Three Things for 2019
This is not the vigorous start to 2019 that I had hoped for, but this has not been vigorous month so that’s just where I am.
- query A Turquoise Song — a goal in three sequential parts:
- prepare a fourth draft — incorporate feedback, make it good. Target is to have this done by the middle of the year. No progress on this first part yet.
- 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.
- query — get the book out there.
- short stories — I am finding my relationship to short stories becoming much less contentious, even fruitful!
- several stories to write for Boundary Shock Quarterly — I have started in on the first of these.
- write and submit four stories to other markets. So that’s one a quarter, and I will mark it as such.
- 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.
- workshop application — I’m going to apply for an intensive workshop. More on that once it’s in hand, which it really isn’t yet.
- 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. No work this month beyond some sorting to make space.
- cons & confs — I need to be getting out there more. I just do. No progress on doing so, however.
As I say, not a great start but I still think this is going to be a good year.
Three Things for February
Not that there’s much left of February, at this point, but…
These month goals are predicated on the truncated amount of time remaining in the month. That necessarily reduces the volume of work which can be completed, as well as the scope.
Still, there are real tasks that can still be accomplished towards my goals for the year.
- Song fourth draft — I’m expecting to receive more feedback on the 3rd draft from my crit group, so I need to prep some questions to help provide prompts for discussion.
- short stories — two things:
- finish draft of next BSQ story
- plan story for submission this quarter
- workshop application — write draft of cover letter.
Note that I am not putting in work on Cinnamon Harmonies this month. I plan to come back to that in April.
Alright*, let’s get back to it.
[*] US English convention is “all right” but I grew up with “alright”. For some reason I have suppressed that British usage for most of the time I have been writing seriously, even while I use other British usages without compunction or mercy: armoured trousers are are my speciality, for example.
I am reclaiming this part of my upbringing.