monthly updates

… And Waiting

Two weeks down. Humans are a famously adaptable species, but this is a unique situation for many of us, albeit nigh-ubiquitous right now. One has good days and not-so-good days, and one is learning. I have spent the past week nailing down an early-morning routine that leaves me in a good spot; after 9:00 a.m. things get a little trickier. It’s not that I don’t have enough to do by any means (although having my oven broken for the past week has put a damper on one of my usual outlets); it’s finding the wherewithal to go and do them.

At least it’s spring, I have often consoled myself, and going outside is a pleasure. The picture on the right is the seeds the kids and I planted earlier this week, in a hurry to get up and doing. The winter has been so mild here, it seems likely that we won’t see frost again until October November.

(It’s hard to remember the climate crisis with this other crisis going on. Hopefully we can apply the lessons of one to the other!)

I can’t say I’ve been getting any writing done lately. I have gotten some knitting done recently while I sit through endless online meetings. In addition to gardening supplies, I have been indulging myself with fountain pens, lots of ink, and one large present, which I hope will be arriving this week. I have written a couple of letters, although doing so makes me feel like a walk-on in a Ken Burns documentary.

As I reflect, it seems that navigating the work situation is the strangest part of this. It feels farcical and wrong-headed, a case of direly misplaced priorities, to pretend that the only thing different is that I’m working from home all the time instead of once or twice a week. There is no virtue attached to sitting in a chair for eight hours a day just because that’s normally what I do on, say, Wednesday. (Not to mention the damage said chair is doing to my butt.) Perhaps some clarity will emerge from this, given time. We do have that right now.

Be well!

monthly updates

Wrapping up February

Good-bye to what has been one of the busiest months I can remember (among ones that didn’t involve adding members to the household, anyway). I was somewhat startled when I sat down this morning to review the calendar and write up my monthly look-back. Events two weeks ago seem much more distant, the lensing effect of many things crammed into a short period of time.

Today, however, things are quietly balanced. All of the chores I intended to do today are done. Dinner is marinating in the fridge. I finished reading Kafka on the Shore this morning, and while I would like very much to talk about it, I also feel like I ought to read it again before I even try. There’s a lot going on in that book, and I don’t think I understood half of it.

I am making a cup of lemon tea, which I will have in the handsomely glazed mug I bought from LJ Cohen at Boskone. While the water heats, I have been dipping in and out of Roger Zelazny’s Isle of the Dead, a book I haven’t visited in a long while. I don’t remember anything about it, though I do remember the short story he wrote in the same world. The younger children are off doing something edifying with their father for the afternoon. Ordinarily this means that silence reigns in the kitchen, but I am in the mood for something to listen to, and the TV is broken, so I have some music on. The weather is indecisive.

Once I hit Publish on this entry, I’ll poke at the novel for a little while — 54,040 words right now. I wrote three whole sentences last week, but I think I know what to do now. I have a volunteer project to work on this evening, and some knitting to do–I had a promising job conversation earlier this week, so with luck I will soon have a deadline for finishing this gift.

Events in the world continue, of course, but this afternoon I am going to be quiet.

 

monthly updates, writing

The Year in Writing – Numbers

A ballpark of my writing wordcount for the year breaks down as:

  • Draft 2 of the second Round Table book: 89,686
  • Draft 6 of Fairy Hills (so far): 47,283
  • NaNoWriMo: 50,010

Grand total: 186,979 words. Plus morning pages every day starting on September 10.

Not terrible, considering that there were entire months (like this one) in which I wrote virtually nothing. I feel like I am slowly homing in on the approach I want to take next year.

monthly updates

All That Year-End Stuff – 2019

I gave myself the weekend off last week, and next weekend we’ll be traveling, so here is my attempt at a year-end wrap-up.

2019-12-11 13.14.12

I deliberately left some space open as I was planning my 2019, and that paid well. It was a successful year in terms of my very limited writing goals; I finished the draft of Fairy Hills, and I have been reasonably diligent about blogging throughout the year. On top of that, I finished a first draft of another book, put another NaNoWriMo notch on my keyboard, and am halfway through revising the draft of Fairy Hills that started the year. (This book, I swear.)

I found clarity in my job search. I got involved with some volunteer opportunities, which I hope will lead toward a better place in 2020. I started working on a professional certification. I tried some new things in my work, with mixed results.

I spent a lot of time working on habits and lifestyle stuff. I quit Facebook and Candy Crush. I started running again, finished a couch-to-5k program, and bought a bike (and fell off of it a couple of times). I all but eliminated red meat. I signed up for a composting service. I tried growing things in our driveway, and they didn’t die. Diet Coke is now an occasional indulgence rather than a three-cans-a-day habit. I bought a drying rack for the laundry. I started a morning pages practice, and have been diligent about meditating. I’m still finding a place to fit language practice into my routines, but I haven’t given up.

Sometimes I think, “Haven’t given up!” should be my motto.

I read 35 books (still hope to finish a couple more–there it is again) and uncounted blog posts and articles. I did a little bit of knitting. I said goodbye to my grandfather, something I am still getting used to months later. I wrote a few letters. Listened to a lot of music. And of course I cleaned, cooked, shopped, decluttered, ferried children, went to work every day, and so on.

It probably shouldn’t surprise me that I’m ending the year tired, very much looking forward to a break, but I certainly can’t say that it has been a static time. I did a lot, learned a lot, and while I doubt that I will ever be 100% satisfied with myself on any score, I can honestly look at this year and say the time got used.

I will see you again in 2020, and we’ll talk about what might come. Have a wonderful New Year.

 

monthly updates, reading, writing

Countdown!

It’s the last update of October, but all eyes are forward right now! Only a few more days until we dive headlong into another NaNoWriMo. I’ve got a collection of world-building notes, an inkling of a plot, a vague outline of a character. It’s more than I’ve had some years at this point, and there are still a few days left to work with. I feel like this will be a fun project (but I’ve thought that before; they always seem to grow serious in the writing).

I made it through my annual solo week with no more than the usual exhaustion. It gets easier as the kids get older, but it’s always instructive to tote up just how much energy it takes to keep the household running by myself. There tends to not be much left over at the end of the day. Today has been pretty good in terms of productivity and relaxation both. It’s very damp and chilly, an excellent day to stay indoors, and so there has been knitting, and baking, and cleaning, and writing.

And reading! I’ve been enjoying a visit with Fritz Lieber. I’m not sure I’ve ever actually read this one before, despite having had it on the shelf for ages–a single-volume combo of Swords in the Mist and Swords Against Wizardry. The style is obviously dated, but Lieber’s descriptive language is a delight, and the adventures themselves have a cheerful freshness. This choice of material is probably some kind of subconscious revolt against the steadily increasing height of my to-read stack, which has overgrown the bedroom shelf and started taking over the kitchen.

Next time I see you, we’ll be several days into our new projects. Have fun!

monthly updates

Work in Progress – September

This month has flown! Once I got over being sick, someone put the pedal down. I’ve gotten back all of the energy I feel like I’ve been missing for ages now. My habit tracker this month is a thing of beauty, folks.

Writing first: I’ve figured out what I need to do with Fairy Hills. Again. Writing is like that. Wordcount is currently at 46,220, which means I have a month to write 44k before NaNoWriMo starts. This is ambitious, in that it basically means a double writing marathon, but hey, aim high. Speaking of NaNo, I do have an idea finally, working title Cartography of Souls. At the moment it’s looking like a second world fantasy, my first in a very long time now.  Time to dust off my world-building skills.

In other news, I have been exercising consistently, I’m on my longest meditation and language study streaks in forever, I haven’t missed a morning pages day since I started doing them (only three weeks ago, mind), I’ve gotten a lot of reading done (I’m on a Douglas Adams kick right now) and am only seven books behind on my goal this year. I applied for and got a volunteer position as managing editor for a web site related to my day job (more on that later maybe, but I don’t like crossing the streams), and I’m going to be taking a virtual class on coaching over the next couple of months as well.

Everyone is healthy at home and more or less settled back into the school year routine. Things are really awesome right now.

knitting, monthly updates, writing

Work in Progress – July

Last Friday of the month, so here we are again. Looking at the word record, I suspect that what I most need to work on is forming consistent habits.

July

Come to think of it, that probably goes for all areas of my life, not just writing. However! The book is now past the halfway point, which is very exciting even if I am in the middle of a sticky bit right now, which is part of why I’ve slowed down. The other part of it I think is that I’m just tired! It’s been three weekends in a row away from home, and I’m really feeling it.

I have been knitting again; Readercon was very productive that way. Here are the two hats I worked on over that weekend. Now I’m doing a pair of mitts as a going-away gift for a co-worker.

2019-07-23 12.47.27

I’ve been reading a lot, mostly for work. I also added a Climate Action page to this blog, to keep track of the things I’m finding in that area.

And that’s about all. Looking forward very much to our vacation next month.