This post is a break from short stories while I'm debating which story to post next – I have a couple of options that would be fun. I’m definitely going to keep doing the short story posts, though, because the format is really fun for me. I’m thinking the next will be a science fiction bit. But there’s this fantasy one I have, too…
That said, I still have a today post! Crazy, I know. If you find me as a human to be boring, thanks for stopping by and short stories will resume soon! If you find me as a human to be interesting, please keep reading!
I took a week off.
I can hear you rolling your eyes over there. If she’s laid off and not working a real job, how can she take a week off? Well, that’s easy because I am working. That ‘focusing on writing’ thing that I’ve been doing is something that I’m taking seriously.
I’ve had chronic tendinitis in both wrists for the past twenty-five years and I just did six weeks of constant typing. Needless to say, but ouch. Please don’t give me advice on how to treat tendinitis – trust me, I’ve tried the available options for treatments over the past twenty-five years, which is why I have sixty percent use of both hands on a good day instead of zero percent, and why I have a fully ergonomic work station at home. What I’d rather talk about is that instead of focusing on writing like I wanted to, I turned it into ‘work’. I gave myself deadlines (which were unrealistic), was missing out on family time (big thing I hate doing), and was making myself unhappy and physically hurting over something that I actually do love doing. And it’s only been seven weeks since my layoff from my day job.
Translation: I didn’t refocus, I fixated my job anxiety onto writing. Dumb move.
I followed up with a smart move, though, by recognizing that I’d done the dumb move and giving myself a week off to re-calibrate. I helped my kids with art projects, took a real interest in my oldest doing homework, and even cooked a couple of times. I also started the plan for my Jedi cosplay for Calgary this summer… (There might be photos. Depends on how well the costume turns out when I’m done sewing.)
I also edited, instead of writing new; read old stories I’d written, instead of forcing out the latest; read a couple novels other people had written, and spent likely too much time on Twitter and Facebook. Not going to complain about that, though, because the time spent on social media resulted in finding more people I like talking to and some great new people to be stalking… er, following. Yes… ‘following’. I also got to help my hubby with his table o’ shortwave radio equipment at the annual HAM Radio flea market (we have too much amateur radio equipment… he says… I say we should keep all of it in case of zombies… he won the argument that we have too much – this time…). We met some great people at the market, too, so the day flew by with lots of laughs and good conversation.
During my week off I even paid enough attention to personal hygiene to have two eyebrows again! You’d think they’d have learned to stop trying to grow together by now, but alas, no, the plucking continues.
Did I stop thinking about my next projects that are in the works of being dreamed up? Of course not. I couldn’t stop that even if I wanted to. I have a couple mom characters in the next series, and was dreaming through a scene with one of them when my youngest had a potty training breakthrough. I honestly shared a ‘proud mom moment’ with an imaginary woman, and part of her backstory from when her boys were little popped into clarity. Is that specific part of the backstory important in some way to the plot of the series? Not in the least. But it makes her more real to me, so now I can write her as more real for everyone else.
Borderline delusional, imaginary conversation with pretend woman marginally justified because I’m an author! Lol :)
Also in my head, buried down there under the layer of choking anxiety, was my sense of humor. I do hope everyone else has the same thing – the little voice in the back of your head that says those little things that you know you can only verbalize to a couple of people in your close circle? That voice which usually pipes up – out loud – in a crowded place, though, which is how you were able to identify the people who are safe to share it with… and the people you really shouldn’t share it with. My humor never goes away, but anxiety – and all the crap anxiety drags along – will choke out the internal voice. It’s a little bleaker in my thoughts without that witty spark prattling out groan-worthy puns and Spaceballs quotes.
It’s annoying that my best weapon against the bleakness is humor, and that’s the part that gets the quietest when things are bleak. At this point, I’m plain lucky I have a few good people in my circle that say those things out loud when I can’t until my snarky little voice comes back. I also have a few good characters in my head who need that little voice for when I’m writing their dialogue, so editing current works (and reading some old stories) will usually pull that humor back out from under the anxiety until it can speak clearly again. Fairly certain some of its dialogue leaked into this post… it’s baa-aack.
Overall, I’d say this week off has been a success. Today I was I legitimately missing my keyboard (which is why I’m typing this post up on a Tuesday – way ahead of my Friday posting schedule), longing to get to my sewing machine, and those chocolate cupcakes I made the other day are so tasty! (Writers operate best with correct caffeine and cocoa levels in their blood.) Now to just train the brain to recognize that fixation isn’t focus. Baby steps. I noticed this time that I was anxiety-fixating and nipped it in the early-to-mid transition stage. Next time anxiety-fixation creeps up, I can catch it quicker and positively re-calibrate sooner and over less time. Maybe just a few days off next time…
Or keep the re-calibration to a week. A week off is really nice.
Internal decree: Re-calibrations must take a week!
.... And likely need chocolate cupcakes. And definitely need coffee from a mug with a handle – not just a travel mug.
Decree amendment: Re-calibration = week off, chocolate, and coffee! Minimum. :)
Why are Authors crazy? I can't answer that, but I can provide bits of my own thoughts so that you can piece together why I may be.