2016 has been a pretty amazing year for me. Enough that, even though I definitely understand where they’re coming from, I prickle at seeing the “Fuck you, 2016” memes that have been cycling the social media sites since.. oh, somewhere round about November 9th.
I’ll talk in more detail about 2016 next week, in a year-end post, but today I am thinking a lot about how I’ve struggled to maintain my writing discipline over the past three weeks. I don’t know if it was the post-NaNoWriMo-climax. The silence after a huge community event in which I get lots of feedback from my echo chamber. Paralleling this, my husband, who does an amazing amount of his illustration work in October every year, tends to struggle to maintain his passion for art once Inktober/Drawlloween have ended. This year he picked up two lists of drawing challenges, completing 62 daily drawings plus four or five commissions, was especially bad. So it’s not really hard to imagine that I, after writing almost double the usual word count for November (probably a solid double if you take blog posts and ML newsletters into account), would also feel a drop in my energy after I was done.
Or maybe it’s just MS-review limbo. After all, I sent off a lightly-retouched MS to my editor so that we could get right into revisions on December 1st. We had to reschedule once, and then ended up returning to the Flotsam queries when we did meet up last week, so the actual work of peeling apart the first draft of Book Two won’t begin until tonight. I am very interested to see how my attitude shifts and what happens during Asimov Hour tomorrow morning. That’s the primary reason I decided to write a belated Tuesday post this morning instead of just waiting to sum up everything for tomorrow’s post.
Maybe it’s just my health? I definitely worked up a sleep debt, and my circadian rhythms shifted so that I’ve been staying up later instead of falling asleep on the couch at 9 pm. That’s led to waking up at 6 or 6:30 am, instead of 5. I’m not sure how I feel about that shift. I definitely prefer not breaking up my sleep between couch and bed, but I’ve not gotten any quality writing time in, and I’ve been distracted when I do sit down. So something’s gotta shift.
Maybe it’s just seasonal affected disorder? Or changes in my habits? I was making sure to get a lot of sunlight. I was making sure to walk during lunch as often as possible. Neither of those things have happened since the daylight hours have shortened, and certainly not since I started writing on my lunch hour instead of walking. I ordered D3 supplements and started taking those yesterday, and I’m going to try and remember to take my fish oil with dinner (I’m so bad at remembering that one).
Tomorrow afternoon is the start of my holiday vacation from work. We’re not really traveling, but I had enough vacation time to take the days off between holiday weekends, so I did. I am worried that sleeping in will become a more reinforced habit. And I’m worried about losing the battle against distraction when I sit at the computer to write. Saturdays and Sundays have been my weakest performance days since mid-November.
All of this is to say that I am very mindful right now that I am not finishing 2016 in the same mode that I feel made me so strong throughout the year. I don’t want to be too hard on myself (after all, I didn’t start in January with even a notion of Asimov Hour or finishing a draft of my SECOND book this year), but being hard on myself is pretty much my super power.
Especially with the break coming up that will take me right up until the calendar rotation, I am going to focus even more on my mindfulness. I’ll try to accept whatever behavior I see, but also to understand where it’s coming from.
I decided to recap my thoughts, like pinning down a butterfly, in this blog post instead of concentrating on Ehl’i’s stories with the remaining morning of Draft One limbo. I’m not sure if this is procrastinatory behavior, but I didn’t want to leave the blog without its early week update.
But if I can manage to wrap up this post in another sentence or two, I still have about half an hour to apply to Ehl’i’s story. Then I need to record two voice-overs for yesterday’s Asimov Half-hour and today’s, since DropVox ate my VO yesterday. That’s not too bad.
So I’ll be paying attention, and reporting back, on how things go over the next ten days. Hopefully the deliberate paying-of-attention to my writing practice will itself be the device that will improve it over what’s been reported in the recent weeks. I guess we’ll find out.