Howdy Folks and Happy Saturday!
I’m just wrapping up my third week without a dayjob (and just figuring out that I somehow managed to miss Excerpt Week…apologies for that!)
So far, it hasn’t been the Festival of Words I thought it would be but I have a pretty good understanding of why and I think words are right around the corner. And going slower than expected isn’t such a bad thing. I’m sometimes a bit brutal on myself with my expectations but life conspired with me to help me lower those expectations a bit. Fortunately, I have wise friends around me who are good at pointing out some of the things I’m missing in my limited POV. A gentle transition that lets me get rested, get organized, get focused and establish some routines seems to be the better path. I’ve also had a lot of running around to do between the trip to San Francisco for SF in SF and all the appointments I’ve needed to keep to wrap things up before I transfer onto a less-than-stellar medical plan.
So here’s what I’m discovering:
1) For the first time in I don’t know how long, I feel like I’m getting, consistently, the right balance of people and solitude. I’ve been falsifying type like mad the last three or so years trying to be and do everything expected of me. I remember craving Cave Days every day, longing for a day here or there of Just Me, hiding out in the Den of Ken. I realized the other day that I haven’t craved that now in a few weeks. I test out as an INFJ which is a pretty rare type they say. I’m an introvert who is exhausted by people and yet I enjoy people and often need the interaction in order to process stuff. And I taught myself at a young age to falsify type so I can slide easily into behavior that looks like an extrovert though it’s burning my brain way hotter (and utterly exhausting me) to do so.
2) I still largely keep to a 3am (ish) wake-up and bike ride but I find myself working off and on throughout the day and even napping once in awhile. And other than grabbing up the guitar for a few songs on the porch and a few lunches or phone calls with people, I’m in my Den and working on a variety of things. Mostly organizational in nature. Yesterday, I took a break to go get the girls around 5pm and then, after they went down at 8pm, I went back to work for an hour. I was surprised by this because I thought I’d work something like 5am to 3pm and it’s ending up that the work just fills in the time here and there in a quiet sort of way. And I’ve worked off and on the last two weekends. But it hasn’t been uncomfortable and I’ve not felt tired – it’s still a cakewalk compared to what I was doing when I had the dayjob. (No, I won’t make a habit of working evenings and weekends unless there’s a Real Reason to do that but right now, I’m finding my feet.)
3) Workspace matters. I’ve cleaned a LOT of junk out of the Den of Ken. I have more to do. And I’ve cleared my desk so I can work at it. I just purchased a new chair – one that is very much like the ergo-friendly, plus-size friendly chair at my dayjob – and that should help with the lower back pain I’ve found myself getting using my crappy Office Depot cheapo chair so much over the last two weeks. I’m sure that’s going to make a big difference. And I have a friend coming over to help me FINALLY organize my 6k volume library.
So with those things in mind, I’m continuing every Monday to do my planning for the week – it takes about 90 minutes to go over the to-do lists, prioritize them and then put them into my calendar. I’ve not really had the time these last three years to do much other than try to get my blogs and books written with just some wriggle room for a few short stories here or there…it’s really just been the Tyranny of the Urgent apart from setting annual business goals. But now, I can stretch out and be more strategic about how I use my time.
And I have some exciting things ahead of me:
1) Next week I’m doing an audition at a local venue to get back into performing again. If you’ve met me out the world, you’ve likely met my guitar, too. I bring it along to book signings, cons, etc. I used to perform regularly but moved away from it when I came back to writing in 1997. But not long ago, when I decided to start living my bucket list in the here and now, I decided I wanted to find a place where I could do a few sets of songs once a month. So if you’re in or around the Portland area, watch my Facebook for any announcements around that. I’ve not had the sense of balance and rest needed to do this over the last 3-5 years so I’m really excited about it.
2) Next week, I’m also going onto the Board of Directors for Chicago Medical Innovations, the Foundation that covered my PTSD treatments. I believe a great deal in the work they’re doing and I know that Dr. Lipov’s work likely saved my life. It most certainly changed it. I know others now who’ve gone at my recommendation and it seems to have changed their lives, too. Most may not know that before I settled into government procurement as a dayjob, I used to run nonprofit organizations. I’ve always had a strong desire to use that decade of experience somewhere as a way of giving back and CMI is the perfect opportunity to put my time, energy and experience to work for something that I really believe in. My first assignment, I think, will be getting some fundraising underway…and developing whatever tools the foundation needs for me to start that work.
3) I’ve pulled out my Last Cowboy at the End of Time notes and outline and am tweaking it. I may try to jam out the first three chapters (of a projected 30k novella) just to see how they lay in the manuscript. This is the project I’m tackling to test the waters of indie e-book publishing. I want to see if the readership I’ve established over the last few years will follow after and buy it. If so, I’ll probably do an ongoing series of novellas and let that be part of my revenue diversification plan. Also writing-wise, I have a few short story collaborations that I owe words on and I think I’m going to push those out. And I have a Sekret Projekt that I’m having a planning meeting about on Sunday because I may want to tackle that piece before I start up Hymn, the last book in the Psalms of Isaak, in January.
4) And then I’m at Orycon on November 2 (and giving my speech to the Washington Council for the Blind just across the river in Vancouver.) It’ll be my first convention in a year (Orycon was my last convention actually.) It’ll be interesting to see how cons go now that I’m home during the week and not running on an energy deficit. I had thought I’d just drive to and fro but I caved this week and booked a room for Friday night so I can whoop it up a little and celebrate my Full-Time Writerdom.
And there you have it. Stay tuned for more next week.
Trailer Boy out.