Arranging Furniture in My Head

I’ve recently been under a lot of stress. In fact, it’s gotten to the point where it felt like my whole brain wanted to short-circuit. (Not going to give a whole blow-by-blow again, but if you’re wondering what it’s like, you can take a good look here.) 

The thing is that I’ve been having to function under increasing levels of stress for the past two years, and I kind of reached a breaking point over the weekend before last. The funny thing is that I’m actually not as stressed this year as I have been for the past two, but at any rate, I haven’t been in a place where I can honestly say that I can truly breathe easier in the past two years. 
And. 
Sigh. 
This is going to be hard to say. 
Anxiety is a real thing, and last Wednesday was that thing raising its head in a way I hadn’t experienced in years. 
I think it was a build up of little things that kept growing and growing until one extra little thing made me feel like my whole life was getting wasted and that I’d be trapped watching said wastage taking place forever. 
The good thing about all this was that this particular freak-out meant that I woke up to the need to evaluate my life and see where I can smooth things over in order to maximize the odds of me breathing easier in the near future. 
So. What this means for me is cleaning up house, so to speak. Which mostly centers around me using the three public holidays I have (one on this past Monday and two on Easter) to do a ton of things I’ve wanted to do that I kept putting aside for other stuff. 
It’s not necessarily a nice feeling, because right now, I’m feeling like I’m in dire need of a vacation. So in between, I’m taking plenty of breaks and doing things I enjoy. But overall, the idea is to give myself fewer things to worry about, so I can deal with the big stuff more efficiently later.
I’m also instituting changes to my current life-style. Such as… I’m not going to get fired for not looking at mails after hours. So I’m not. Nor am I going to look at mails before 8 a.m in the morning. Nor at lunch. And if I’ve done my duties for the day, I’m going to use my available time to write. (Don’t worry. I am actually allowed to do that by contract.) 
Which means I’m going to start setting myself some goals for my job in the same way that I set writing goals. I need a way to measure my progress. (Which will also help me not feel like I have nothing to show for my time at the end of my work day.) 
But yeah. That’s where I am at the moment. 
How are you doing? Do you also take time to evaluate and adjust? How do you deal with pressure?

Just keep going

I’ve been griping a lot about my currently available amount of time lately. (Ask anyone who’s volunteered to host me for my blog tour.)

And just to make sure that everyone understands what I’m talking about:

Since the beginning of January, I have been working full days and then some, and then spent the remainder in a place with no Internet. Which means that my usual schedule of doing my work and finishing and then going over into writing has pretty much fallen by the way-side.

I’m hoping that this will change in the near future as we fall into more of a routine. (And we no longer have to rent a place with no internet reception.) But in the meantime, I think my expected writing time has been reduced by two thirds.

No, I’m not kidding.

BUT!

I’m still getting stuff done. A lot of stuff. Two weeks into February and I’ve written and/or edited the equivalent of almost 40k words. I probably would have been there already but for a work function that kept me up until midnight on Thursday, but anyway.

I think this rate of output, given the amount of time I’ve had available, is impressive enough for me to sound like I know where I’m coming from.

Because I bet there are quite a few of you who are thinking: How in the heck is she managing that?!

My answer comes down to something like this.

Just keep writing.

I mean, I could have been going into a blind panic about my entire schedule changing, but instead, I wrote. I could have complained about my lack of internet at night.

I wrote instead.

I could have worried about the fact that I have less time to get things done… But… you know… I got things done.

I’m not going to say it’s easy. I’ve basically given up on my reading until I’ve 1) finished formatting Endless and 2) finished the rewrite I’m currently working on.

I’ve also swapped my whole writing routine around so that I can write at night and an hour every morning instead of in the late afternoon and early evening as I’m used to.

But write, I am writing. And apparently at an amazing rate.

So if you’re in the same boat where you’re struggling to find your usual writing time, don’t give up. 

If you can find five minutes every day, write for five minutes. If you can find twenty minutes, write for twenty minutes. No, it might not be the hour you believe you need, but it adds up to a whole lot more than nothing if you keep waiting for that perfect hour to show up.

And there you have it. My secret to writing a lot of words.

How much time in a day do you usually use to write? Have you ever needed to swap your routine around to fit your writing in? 


A to Z of Things Writers Should Know About Writing: Time

Yeah yeah. I know. It’s August and I still haven’t finished April’s A to Z Challenge. I’m getting there, though.

For those of you who missed it, my theme was: Things Writers Should Know About Writing, and I planned to post once a week on the theme until it was done. But then I published two books and held a month long blog tour…

Which actually brings me to the whole point of today’s post.

Since I define writers as people who are writing, (as supposed to people who say “I have this great idea, but I just don’t have time…”) this relates to actual writers having time.

More specifically, I want to point out that writers very rarely have any time to spare. We never have enough time to write enough. And when we do, we don’t have time for anything else.

It’s a curse, I tell you.

It is, however, quite normal, and you needn’t feel guilty about it.

Nor should you feel guilty when you steal time.

Or when you make time, be it to write or not.

You’re writing. Even if it’s only a small bit at a time.

You’re writing, and that’s the important thing.

What’s your relationship with time like?

IWSG: Time… oh the time….

Before I start on today’s post, I just want to ask that you check out yesterday’s announcement. I’d love it if you took part! 

Okay, so for those of you who don’t know, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group is a monthly bloghop where we writerly types come together and share our insecurities and encouragements as needed. The awesome thing about doing this is that, if nothing else, we realize we’re not alone in our troubles. Better yet is when we get some tips or advice that actually make things better. Anyone’s welcome to join. Just click here.
So… I’m glad to say I’m still insecurity free on the main, although there’s this growing niggle. It sounds like this: 
What? June Already?! 

See I want to release three books at the end of the year. Two in October and one sometime before the end of December. And as lovely as this sounds in my brain, I can’t believe that so much of the year has whizzed by. 
And I’m starting to worry that the rest of the year will fly by as fast, leaving me with my projects unfinished yet again. (I’m not even going to go into the fact that most of my goals have been forced to the wayside thanks to my former publishing house.)
Point is, the only writing goals that stand a chance of getting done are getting those three projects ready and published.
I made the call of cutting myself some slack on editing, I know, since I’d been spinning my wheels for months. The thing is, there’s only so much slack left before I miss my deadlines. 
Ugh. Anyway that’s the niggle that’s growing into more and more of a worry as I write about it. 
So now I’m just going to stop. 
Anyone else feeling keenly aware of the year slipping away from us? 

Lazy day

I’m not quite where I want to be with my editing, but that’s fine. I’m finally getting back to working office hours at the day-job.

This isn’t really troublesome, since often my job has plenty of waiting periods where I can get some writing/editing/blogging/whatever else I need to do in. (I work for my family firm, working from our house, in case you were wondering how I got this lucky.)

Today, though, is a bit of a tough one because of the cake decorating course I’m taking. Don’t get me wrong. It’s fun and really interesting. But the classes are long and often require more intense concentration than you’d think.

So tonight… I’m going to kick back and not feel guilty.

I don’t need to, because tomorrow’s South Africa’s presidential elections, which means the whole country shuts down (again). Good for me because it’ll probably take me a few minutes to vote, and I’ll have the whole day to edit. So I can still finish The Vanished Knight‘s edits by tomorrow.

Just not by forcing myself to try and edit tonight, and then not concentrating which means I have to redo it all again tomorrow.

Sometimes, it really is more efficient to not work at something.

Anyone else editing? How’s it going?

A bit of a depressed update day…

I can’t believe that we’re at the end of April already. Because it’s the last Friday of this month, it’s Update Day for my bloghop. 

Basically, we’re just a group of people with some big, crazy or even crazy important goals, and once a month we get together to update everyone on how we’re doing. Please feel free to click here for more information. 
So… How did I do? 
Mmm… drafting wise, I’m yet to add any significant amounts of words to my projects. I pretty much spent half the month being too messed up to write (because of the dispute I had going on with my publishing house), and the remainder recovering from being messed up. I did write quite a bit, though, but nothing related to my goals. 
However, I did finish editing Birds vs Bastards and my short story for the Untethered Realms anthology. So I can’t really say I achieved nothing. I’m glad for that, because two months of being unproductive would just have been depressing. 
But speaking of depressing. I’ve had to take a nice long look at my timeline for this year. Basically, the four months being f*cked around by my publishing house means that I’ll basically be able to achieve almost nothing of what I wanted. 
I understand that I had set steep goals and I was never going to get everything done, but… I would have liked if the four months of nearly blank squares everywhere was due to me say… doing something fun like catching up on series or work (yep, I love working on the farm) or anything else of that sort. But… no. Mainly the reason why I did almost nothing was that my mind had been put through the blender, and my emotions wrung out by my publishing house. 
So. The current timeline looks like this:
I’m going to have to edit book two in my War of Six Crowns Series (Wo6C2) in June, when it was supposed to be finished already. Which means I can’t even rewrite Wo6C3 until much later this year. Which means I can’t even start writing Wo6C4 at all. 
It also means that none of the books I wanted to finish drafting by June have even truly been started yet. And that means that the second batch of drafts I wanted to do this year is postponed to the last four months. Rewrites? Half of them had to be postponed until next year just so that I can get my priority projects almost done. 
So yeah. I’m NOT a happy camper. Not by any stretch of the imagination. 
Right now, I’m just hoping that things’ll fall into place easily once I get back into some sort of groove. Right now, that’s the only chance I’ll have to achieve any except for one of the goals I set for this year. Who knows? It could happen, right? 
The lucky thing is that my $7500 goal is only deadlined for 2018. So anything I get done this year still goes towards that. I just HATE that it’ll be such a measly amount. 
How are your goals coming along?

You know it’s bad when procrastinating means you write a query instead.

Thanks so much for the comments to yesterday’s post. I decided to stop whining and look at the query again.

Mistake I’d made this time: I put too much importance on it. You see… I’m not excluding any publishing method at this stage. The only reason why I’m querying now is so that I can say I tried it. If it fails, I’m not going to worry about it too much.

It just means I wasn’t meant to go the traditional route. I’ll take another.

In the mean time, I looked at my most recently drafted query. It sucked.

So I decided to take a completely new approach to the query and I think it’s pretty dang good. Just waiting for the dust to settle, then I’ll be editing it again.

In the mean time, I started the monumental task of summarizing Doorways so that I can write the synopsis. I have 70 chapters. So far, I’ve finished 13.

That’s not the only monumental task I have in front of me. It’s not even the most urgent  I have to finish my grandmother’s painting. You know… the one that’s supposed to be her Christmas gift.

I’m filled with jitters about it. It’s all good and well to do one for myself, but this is for my Grandmother’s Christmas present, so I really don’t want to mess it up. But I only have 6 days and so much detail work to do that I’m terrified.

Sigh. Sorry if today’s post is mixed up. I have a few too many things vying for my attention today.

Anyone else as messed up as me this time of the year? What do you need to get done and soon?