A Year in Retrospect

First things first: as a mercenary wench, I’d like to mention that my novella Jade Star is still free, ending today. As a fellow reader, you should check out the IASFA free book promo. It’s a great way to get introduced to some new authors for the low, low price of nothing… can’t beat that!

As a writer… I’m procrastinating. I’ve had another big project at the top of mind, and although I did start work on a short story earlier this week, I haven’t been writing like I would like to. Have some plotting in on Tanager’s Flight…

I’m scattered. It’s just that the mind is all over the place and I can’t seem to get it focused long enough to produce much of anything. There are things going on in the background of my life that are distracting me in odd ways. In addition to the familiar distractions. Which is why this paragraph took a while to write – in the middle, I walked away when called for coffee. Some things are bigger than writing.

What I haven’t been doing? Spending much time on social media. I’ve got one check-in point because a group of friends and acquaintances there is helping keep me sane through this project. But otherwise? It’s not helping, despite the curation over the years. We’ve all gotten tired. It’s been a year, since the walls started to close in. No one in their right mind wants this to grind on for another year. The old myths about writers wanting to shut themselves up in a garret and write turn out to be false, we want to be able to get out and do things. We might not, but that’s our choice! When forced, we chafe just like anyone would. It doesn’t help me that I’ve had moments of bitter envy for those who did get to stay home, while I commuted over eerily empty roads a year ago. I knew I should be grateful – and I am – for the job. Still. The idea of some quiet time appeals.

I’ve got a vacation planned for next month, just a little one. I’m hoping to have wrapped up this big project before that, so I can drop everything and just relax a little for a few days. It’s the carrot bobbing along on the end of my stick, right now. I’m not going to stop writing, or rather, trying to write, until then. If I waited to write until everything was perfect, I’d never get anything done at all.

One thing I find that helps? I’m in a writing group, and they set up a weekly event to do writing sprints. It’s like Pomodoro, but with friends. We have a chat we report in, at the end of a fifteen or twenty minute session, how many words we got in. The sprint moderator encourages us to drink water, or do some stretches (I’ll often do a few crunches as well, since I’m working on my tummy) during the breaks. It’s fun, since we are all writing like mad, then laughing and celebrating on breaks. I find that they are hugely productive for me. Sometimes that push breaks me through whatever was blocking. Sometimes it is just the focus, which I find difficult to achieve on my own.

Whatever works, right?

5 comments

  1. Right! Write! Whatever.

    It doesn’t help that we all cut back on even the necessary trips, one big grocery run, in stead of two or three over the week, which, for me at least, generally involves a mild claustrophobic episode by the end of a long time in my mask.

    Texas has opened up, but most of the stores and half the restaurants haven’t. But it’s really nice to see my favorite restaurants packed again.

  2. Yes, even as an introverted IT guy who would generally prefer to stay home than go out, the fact that my entire company worldwide is working from home, and my state has mandated various levels of lockdown, makes a big difference. As you stated, when forced to stay in, we chafe. That’s a perfect word to describe the situation. No wonder you’re a writer 😉

    Hang in there as best you can. Keep doing what you can when you can, and forgive yourself if you don’t live up to whatever ideal you think you should be living up to. And that applies to everyone of the regulars on this site.

  3. I’ve been amazingly fortunate this past year. Day Job shifted into “text on screen because of connection and bandwidth problems” in the spring. Being trapped in the house and neighborhood from March to June chaffed, badly. Because of a family member with medical concerns, DadRed took over all out-of-the-house runs, leaving me stuck to an extent. I walked a lot. Not seeing, oh, the gals at the coffee shop, or the folks at the local Pop-Mart stank. I need that minimal contact, at least. BUT, I wrote eight books, which people wanted to read, and kept what’s left of my sanity. And my work went back to in-person as soon as we could get Health Department clearance to do so. That helps, even if the faculty can’t socialize the way we used to.

    It’s one thing to be a self-secluding introvert. Compulsory introversion and hermit-living . . . No. Do Not Want.

  4. I skip between stories too much.

    But I have managed to keep the stories from multiplying by circling around.

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