I am sitting down to belatedly compose this update, and I’m at a bit of a loss for words.
In general, of late, my head has been feeling full of cotton. Or angry bees. Or like an extension of the pervasive backache I’ve been feeling as a result of too much sitting or craning my next to stare myopically at small text.
My thoughts are consumed, split between the enormous task of a project for work (day job), and the enormous goal of ‘getting it right’ in this (hopefully) last revision of Flotsam.
I enjoy working on both projects, but I am definitely at the limit of what I can handle in terms of stress. My skin is breaking out. I’ve gained weight again. My sleep is finally being affected.
At this moment I want two very contradictory things, and I want them equally. I want this project at work to be completed, because of the promise of lowered stress that having completed it promises. The project will not truly be done but a large part of my stress should be when I finish phase one, so I’m pinning a lot of hopes on that. Possibly unrealistic hopes but hope is about all I’ve got right now.
I also want very much to focus all my own time on being an author, because while writing a book (or more specifically, finishing) a book will never be not stressful, and will likely not replace my need for a day job, it feels utterly rewarding on a creative level that I haven’t felt professionally in a very, very long time.
I am looking forward to vacations in that aching way that Dilbert or Cathy would tell you is totally normal, and even expected, of a professional adult in a corporate world. One that I have thankfully not felt until recently. I always figured I was doing the right thing if getting up to go to work was not something that I found abhorrent.
This week, however, I have felt very much as though going to work is a punitive thing.
I know it’s just because I’ve been putting in extra hours over weekends and evenings, working at full steam until I can’t see straight and my neck pinches. I expect, any day now, to feel the familiar radiating pain down my arm that tells me I have a pinched nerve in my neck again.
This is not a good week for me. I know will pass, but right now I feel embroiled in a very strange realm where I am both creatively charged and physically and mentally drained. I believe it would be accurate to say I have not ‘switched off’ in over a month.
My goal is to complete the project for work before I leave for my week staycation beginning June 30. That gives me just about a week to complete this project. Is that possible?
Not even remotely.
There is so much data entry before I can even do the bulk of the ‘getting it done’ tasks that will actually feel like some semblance of progress.
There is just no physical way that I can see completing this project, even if I worked every weekend and evening. The task is just too big.
But for the time being I have been given clearance to shoo other requests away and concentrate on this. I have learned, repeatedly, that this will not last forever, so I surge ahead while I can get away with it.
The only thing I can do is push forward as though my goal is possible. Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised. If I can get the bulk of this project done so that it can at least enter review while I’m on vacation, I’ll be quite content.
In the meantime, I fiercely defend my morning writing time. Though it means I am completely burning out, I refuse to give over that precious hour and change in the morning to a project that feels like it will never end. That time is for me, and my characters, and my creativity. I will bear fangs and hiss and spit at any suggestion that it is otherwise.
So where am I at now with writing?
Flotsam: About 37K words into my edit, which is just over a third of the way through, if my brain can still handle math.
Salvage: An alpha reader (hi, Mom) has the current draft so I’m allowing it to wait for Flotsam to get through edits.
Prequel Novella: Haven’t touched it since the Pittsburgh Transcription Fiasco of ’17. I’m happy to work on this while Salvage is being beta-read or later.
Other Prequel Novella: Pervasively on my mind, not fair. The characters and plot are coming alive and I can spare them only the barest jotted note for now.
And strangely I have been able to read at a much faster pace lately. Partially I think it is that I have been exploring kindle books largely as sample downloads so I can taste all the flavors as fast as possible. Partially I think I have made it a priority, just like the project for work or the revision of Flotsam. What I put my mind to, I attend, and damn the consequences, and damn myself.