I’ve been out of town for the last two weeks on an unexpected trip. And ever since I’ve returned, I’ve felt like I’ve been playing catch up. Catch-up on mail, on laundry, on groceries, on cleaning, on bills, on administrative stuff for my work. Catch-up on preparing for my upcoming appearances and conferences, and of course, as always, catching up on writing.
I feel like I’ve spent the whole year playing catch up. There never seems to be enough hours in the day. There are at least three stacks of books to read as tall as I am in my office. The book I’ve spent the year writing, the one that was going to be done in January, then April, then June, and now August, is the last one I have under contract, and I don’t have a proposal on the horizon. I’m not afraid that nothing will come along–something always does–but usually I’m well into a new project by this time.
I don’t like how chaotic my life has become. I’ve taken to keeping to-do lists, but they just make me depressed when I get to the end of the day and see how much I failed to do. I feel like I’ve been “On Deadline” for eight months now, and the stress has certainly taken its toll. I’m not sure how to get on top of things again. I’ve read the books, I’ve started the website processes, I’ve downloaded the time management apps, I’ve taken advice from folks who seem much more organized than me. When I was bemoaning my stress to a friend, she suggested I take up exercise. But how can I cram yet another commitment into my day?
And things keep coming up! The baby is sick or the childcare falls through or the lights go out for a week and a half and we spend that time trying to find food and shelter and keep cool on days where the temperature soars past 100. Then, when it finally comes back on, we deal with the fallout of the tree sitting on on our roof, days cutting and dragging and calling the insurance company, and a day cleaning rotten food out of our fridge and then rebuying everything we ever kept in there. This year has been Murphy’s Law. I feel like I’m walking around with a perpetual target on my back, waiting to flinch over the next semi-disaster.
I wish I had a solution. I wish I could feel on top of things again, even if it was only for a week — one week where I was on top of my deadlines, the house was clean, and I wasn’t trying to put out a fire. I keep thinking, “next month, net month, next month…” But it’s August, and I’ve been operating in crisis mode since January.
So… this month? Well, my latest novel goes into copyedits on the 31st, I have revisions for an essay due, my brother’s getting married on the 10th, and I have to prepare for Dragon*Con. That doesn’t seem so bad, provided the lights choose to stay on.Maybe I can even get on top of things again. Clean the house. Do some reading. Write a new proposal.
Keep your fingers crossed.