Winter checklist 4

1. I got out of bed. I’m honestly proud of that. The way I felt when I woke up, I really, really, REALLY wanted to pull up the covers, burrow under the pillows, and hide in bed all day. Instead, I got up and did some things. Slowly. Stiffly. Painfully. In a haze.

But I got up. Yay.

2. I made more words in Ghost Town. Not as many as I would’ve liked, but lots more than I expected given how slow my brain and body were moving.

3. Got my revision ideas for Sharp Edge all organized & answered some emails.

5. Went to a library meeting and didn’t feel entirely useless. Mostly, but not entirely.

6. Organized a bunch of DVDs (Part of the larger ‘putting DVD into binders’ project) I’m so comfortable with the breakdown structure of alphabetizing it’s now a soothing, meditative activity. Reminded me of the best workdays at Borders.

7. Did searches on dyspraxia, ADHD, epoxy resin chemistry, eagles of Asia, and sage propagation. Because internet.

8. Reworked yet another page of the brain-bending present-tense short story. Only a few pages left now.

9. Did some reading and jotted notes for reviews. I love the idea floating on Twitter right now of doing 30 reviews in a month, but I don’t read that fast, and don’t have a backlog of already-read-books I want to review.  I keep forgetting to mention it anywhere, but I do post a fair number of reviews. I dunno why putting “I REVIEWED THIS” on social media feels like bragging, but it does. I mean, I say I liked things here on the blog and so forth, but I don’t specifically mention that I also said I liked the thing on its selling site.  ANYway. Enough about that.

10. And I wrote down my doings here. It’s always meta fun to put the list as an item on the list.

Third Winter checklist

1. Put some pondering time into a tagline for Rough Passages. Current front-runner: “Super-powered grandmothers, elemental Marines, and extraordinary teens.”

2. Added loads of 2019 commitments to the Master Calendar so I don’t forget them.

3. Sent in days-off requests for my  recovery days for my confirmed conventions. (Concoction, WisCon, GenCon & Dragon Con)

4. Finished a scene in Ghost Town WIP. Yes. I wrote.  How many words? MANY.

5. added accountability tasks to my Habitica dashboard for Sharp Edge revisions. because I’ll be starting that soon <cue flailing>

6. Did NOT take ibuprofen in the middle of the day. First time in a week. That counts as an accomplishment. With any luck I will be able to stop consciously thinking about chewing every time I eat by next Monday.

7. Did research on cheap, quiet treadmills. Because I am a dreamer and hope to have both a bit of floor available in the basement and the $$$ to cough up for equipment.

8. Reworked another page of the short story. Bending verb tenses makes my brain hurt.

9. Decanted some movies from their cases & organized them. A very zen way to spend evening time after my brain turned to mush after work.

All that, and a walk, but I also feel like it was NOT ENOUGH. Bah.

2nd winter checklist

Today I’m featuring things I did yesterday, because sitting back down to the ‘puter after supper was one of the things I did not do. That’s a thing on my habits to-form list, one that’s a struggle to achieve on nights I work.

Anyway.

1. Commissioned a new cover for my holiday-ish novella Joining In the Round (THANK YOU RACHEL BOSTWICK) It’s going to be so much prettier and match Turning the Work much better.

1.5 (because it’s also an authoring thing)  Applied for an online ad in case I want to do a holiday promo for Rough Passages.

2. Remembered to water the plants.

2.5 Realized I now regularly sit in a chair I never used to use. A chair I recently moved it next to the plant stand. A chair near the grow lights. Evidently I am a plant.

3. Worked on the present-tense revisions to my short story so I can submit it before year’s end. (the one that could expand into a novella someday if I’m not careful)

4. Sorted out the DVD collection so they can go into binders instead of taking up a wall of shelves. See, binders can go next to the TV so I can browse movies there instead of surfing channels. Then I can watch more things without commercials when I need a sensory distraction to help my creative focus.

5. Made microscopic progress on the section of the Ghost Town WIP (work in progress) that I have to finish before I ‘m allowed to dive into revisions on Sharp Edge.

 

First checklist of December

Today I:

  1.  made blueberry scones, popcorn & cheater’s cherry cobbler
  2. clipped the cat’s claws & gave him many pets
  3. followed yet another awesome librarian on Twitter
  4. shut off FB & Instagram for the week (sorry, FB frenz)
  5. re-read Joining In the Round, which was was written at, about, & for this time of year. Because I’m a dork who re-reads my own books.
  6. took a lovely long rainwalk w/ Spouseman and discussed the ongoing ever-growing Basement Organization project.
    #excitinglifeofawriter #writingcheckin #winterchecklist

This is how I get through the annual darkdays struggle: I lean heavily on lists to prove to my brain that I DID SO DO SOMETHING IT ONLY FEELS LIKE NOTHING.

And since one of the other things I’m doing this year is throttling back to zero FB &  a half hour of Twitter on workdays (thank you Spouseman, for being the trusted holder of my passwords) I’ll be dropping even more random thoughts & all the lists here on the blog.

Can’t say I didn’t warn you.

Doing things my own way. As usual.

Distraction is my biggest challenge. Putting hands to keyboard away from NON-writing distractions takes a monumental amount of effort.  Once I’m started, inertia keeps me going, but starting can be harder than getting the car engine to turn over at 40º below zero.

“Try writing exercises,” say All The Experts.  “Prime that creativity pump!”

“Nope,” says contrarian me. My creative pump doesn’t need priming, it needs control. Exercises divert me.  If I start doing them, I work on them to the exclusion of all other writing. Tasks like character interviews, random story prompts, and plot-starters get my mind moving, but I have to file them under the same mental header as alphabetizing my spice rack.  Sure, the result will be pretty, but is it really a good use of my time?

I mean, I don’t use the spices in alphabetical order, I prefer grouping spices & herbs I use together, and I like having the ones I use most in front, so why bother? Same question applies to wording. Should I spend time practicing on exercises or on actual writing?

Five-minute free association writing is the only type of exercise that works for me, and even then, I have to pretend someone else will read it.

This summer I’m doing pieces twice a week on words provided by friends. I post them to my other blog space, Sometimes I Do Other Things. Here’s the post from earlier this week, just for jollies:


July 24. The word is incandescent.

I might have a thing for four-syllable words. They have a beat that appeals. I mean, one can say “lighted from within by heat” with a lot of words. Alit. Glowing. Shining. Fiery.  I could keep going without a thesaurus, but my POINT is that I like the four-syllable version of it best of bestest.

In-can-DES-cent. You could dance to it. Tossing that word into a sentence with a lot of short, brisk nouns really changes the flow and …erm…brightens it up.

The “it’s on fire” implication pleases me too. I am a fan of fire. When I was a camp cook, we did all our meals over open fires, so that meant three to four fires a day (s’mores!) six days a week for ten weeks. Rain or shine, all outdoors. We had a backup pit in the tin-roof dining shelter, but I only remember using it four times in four years. Three times were in one memorably soggy summer.

The rest of the time we made that cook fire roar hard enough to scare off puny raindrops. It wasn’t just for food either. Typically we boiled about 20 gallons of water per meal for washing and semi-sterilize all the dishes too.  (Bleach was also our friend. Better/healthy living through chemistry.)

ANYway. The best part was lighting the first fire of the day. We had a little ritual for banking a fire to be safe overnight. No dousing with water the Girls Scout way, because this was a working pit, not a campfire. We banked it like pioneers, burning it down to nothing,  burying any hot coals safe beneath a heavy layer of cool ash and clinkers at the bottom, then covering the pit with the spark grate.

Our side goal was to go as many days as possible without lighting a match. Kinda like those safety signs. “It has been (X) days since we last resorted to using modern tools.”

Imagine kneeling in the dew of the early morning to dig through smoky dust while still sleepy-eyed and pre-caffeinated, until at last you find one tiny coal withering to nothing at the touch of damp air. Your only tools are sassafras twigs, the power of your lungs, and the skill of your hands. Careful, gentle, as delicate as can be, you breathe life back into that coal until fire leaps free again, newborn and hungry for fuel.

I felt as powerful as any goddess, I swear. Incandescent indeed.


Word provided by Sue Sherman

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5-minute free association writing

21 June. The word is enlightened.  A perfect word for the solstice, in my not-so-humble opinion. Not that enlightenment and light have any direct relationship, but in the realm of nouns that connect on the concept level, yeah. Light.

Today is the day of longest light from my self-centered Northern Hemisphere perspective, and it marks the turn towards days of more light in the Southern Hemisphere. A theme of light either way.

I know, enlightened doesn’t mean light-light. It’s all about mindful awareness an increased awareness/understanding of the universe and even feeling a sense of oneness with everything. It’s seeing things as they are, (Or that’s what I have at the top of my head as its meaning. I didn’t look it up.)

But it’s considered a goal, a good thing, an aspiration. People are encouraged to aspire, to become enlightened.

But when I hear enlightened, contrarian I am, I wonder why we associate good things with light and darkness with ignorance, bad things, and even evil. Why can’t we feel at one with the dark of night as much as the light of day? Why is sight the only sense we associate with knowledge? Why can’t we seek comprehension by digging into the lightless, dense depths of spirit and thought, and soak ourselves in understanding?

Or something like that. Hey, I only had five minutes here.


word provided by Esther Olson