knitting, life, monthly updates, writing

October Wrap-Up

Someday the time distortion effect will ease up, right? I’m looking at my calendar and thinking, There’s no way that was only three weeks ago, what the hell? But here we are, the last day of October (also a full moon, also Halloween of course), so it’s time to consider the month.

In terms of this blog’s focus, the most important thing about October is that I wrote 22k words of the new book. I have decided to try for another NaNo win, which if successful should get me through the bulk of the first draft, with the goal of finishing it by the end of the year. In purely physical terms, this is do-able; we’re not going anywhere this month, we’re not hosting any gatherings, I don’t have a commute right now, and my new job is not crushing me with tasks or boredom. I have the time; it’s down to whether I can muster the focus to keep putting words together.

No word yet from my first batch of queries. I’m going to give them another couple of weeks before I send out a few more. So much for the writing category. Should I be explicit about my goals here? The 2023 plan is all about concrete goals. I shorthand it as “writing” but the actual goal is “get paid for creative work.” Keeping that in mind is supposed to be a motivator.

In other areas, “save for a house” has taken a hit due to major progress in “don’t hate my living space” — this was expected, and worth it. However, being ten weeks into the plan and seeing no progress in that goal is frustrating. We do have a full month of budget information to work with based on my new paycheck now, so I have set myself some small, actionable targets for the month based around that.

My day job feels like it’s coasting right now, and that won’t do in the long term, but November is no time to plan any major activity in that zone. It’s only been two months; I lucked out beyond hope with this change; it’s okay to just enjoy that for a while. I am keeping an eye on my general satisfaction level there, and come December will put together some 2021 targets.

And then there’s the fifth zone, which still doesn’t have a name or a chart because it’s generally about being at home in my body and at peace in my mind. “Lose 20 pounds” is a goal, but it’s not the goal, and I don’t want to mix up forest and trees here; I don’t know whether or not losing weight will make a difference to how I feel day to day. Meditating does seem to be helpful, but it doesn’t have an end date. Maybe I could set “establish these habits” as a goal for a few months, see if that goes anywhere.

I’m still knitting, in between all of this other stuff.

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I finished both of these cowls in October. The top one is snug and warm and a very quick knit. The bottom one has been languishing since last winter, and I am very glad to see the back of it; its a finer yarn than I’ve ever worked with before and took forever. Loosely draped, it’s nice to wear indoors on a chilly day; doubled, it’s cozy for walking outside. I even put together a queue of projects that should get me through the winter.

It’s been a good month.

monthly updates

All Things Considered

I haven’t been updating lately, because, well, it feels like nothing is happening. The plants grow, the days trickle past, no one goes anywhere, and nothing seems to be getting done under the weight of all of this time. Things are too big and to much is still happening for me to really think about events. I am guilty at times of overusing the word liminal, but it may be the word to apply to our times. We are transitional, oscillating, unsettled. Although it may be possible in theory to observe both our position and our velocity right now, our practical ability to keep track of either one is being tested to the limit.

Today, however, despite all of this, because it’s the end of the month, I sat down automatically to do the April reflections for Unravel Your Year. I generally do this with my bullet journal next to me, because evidently I am one of Those People now, and as I flipped through the month I was forced to admit that all things considered, April wasn’t so bad (for me–I am aware of great good fortune in this).

I added 6,000 words to the novel–still a long way from done, as I stalled out partway into yet another Camp NaNo, but it’s not nothing. I did a lot of yoga, am just a couple of days away from finally finishing one of those 30 Days things on Youtube. I’ve never made it more than halfway into that before. The weather has been too gross to get out much, so this past week, I’ve started using DownDog’s free trial to experiment with HIIT, which is… fun? in a this is amazingly awful wow I am in worse shape than I thought sort of way.

I haven’t finished reading many books, but to be fair one of the books I haven’t finished is David Copperfield, which is on the long side and also hardly anything happens in the first half of it. I have continued drawing my weekly zine doodle/journal out of some vague obligation to chronicle Daily Life in These Times. I’ve had a few nice chats with people. The family is hanging in there, surfing the frustrations and moods of our confined lives. The teen and I have started watching Adventure Time, which I have always meant to get to one day.

I dealt with a lot of crap and work and didn’t scream at anyone, even a little. I finished a big knitting project, and cast on the next one with barely a pause (the yarn is so pretty, you’re going to get lots of pictures).

So… yeah, things could be worse for us. Hope you can say the same, and are staying safe. and healthy.

 

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.