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Ready to Kick Off Your Summer Reading?

Summer?

SUMMER?!

Let me show you the view from my front window just over a week ago:

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It got better. We’ve got grass again now, though we’re expecting flurries on the weekend. But still. It ain’t summer.

But according to the calendar, we’re almost there. And that means it’s time to plan for summer reading, and I’ve got a couple of books to share with you–one on sale, one FREE, both Urban Fantasy by Canadian authors. Whether you’re looking for something hot and blood-spattered or a ghost story to chill your bones, we’ve got you covered.

 

Resurrection (Immortal Soulless Book One)

99¢

Tanith Frost

links: www.books2read.com/isresurrection

COVER1WITHTEXT

Since the night of Aviva’s murder she’s been forced to accept a new reality—burned by sunlight, dependent on the blood of the living, searching for her place in a dark world she didn’t believe existed until she awoke without a heartbeat. When rogue vampires arrive in her clan’s territory and threaten the uneasy peace of the supernatural world, this uncertain new vampire with troubling gifts may be the only one able to stand between a pack of ruthless killers and the unsuspecting humans they prey on.

Amazon reviewers call Resurrection “decadently dark,” “completely gripping,” and “a phenomenal new take on vampires”!**

99¢ for a limited time! Available via Amazon Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and iBooks

 

 

Death at Peony House

FREE!

Krista Walsh

Links: www.books2read.com/peonyhouse

peony_promo

Magic is a dangerous temptation 

After lights are seen in the windows of the city’s abandoned hospital, sorceress and journalist Daphne Heartstone heads to Peony House in search of a headline.

What she discovers is a dead body and a clue to a hundred-and-fifty-year-old cold case.

Detective Hunter Avery, the man Daphne loved and lost, warns her away from the case, but the ghosts of Peony House have demanded her help.

Not to mention, her job is on the line if she doesn’t have a story on her editor’s desk for Saturday’s edition.

Daphne has worked hard to escape her past of dark magic and blind ambition, but as she walks the balance between light and dark, she’ll learn how many promises she’s willing to break to protect the people she loves.

Personal note from Kate: I love this series, and this book being FREE for a limited time means now is the perfect time to dive in! Unforgettable characters, mystery, ghosts, a bit of romance, a whole lot of interesting worldbuilding… this is my jam. Fair warning, though: This is a complete series, and it’s hard to put down once you start.

Enjoy!

-K

 


*Fullest of full disclosure: I’m mentioning these books because I think there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy them if you like my books, but I do have personal relationships with both authors. Krista Walsh is an author I’ve worked with for a few years as a critique partner, and we’ve left our fingerprints all over each other’s books. And Tanith Frost is… we’re close. We share office space. And brain space. If you’re wondering what I’ve been up to since I last published under my own name, there you go.

**If you prefer a “clean” read, this isn’t the series for you. It gets hot in here. And dark. And there’s cussin’. Gasp.

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Sci-Fi on the Rock? Yeah. It Rocked.

(This post first appeared as a message to newsletter subscribers several weeks ago, and the response has been positive enough that I decided to share it here. Interested in being part of the fun on a more regular basis? You can sign up here to receive three free stories and not-at-all frequent email newsletters. Already a subscriber but didn’t get the message? Check your spam folder and mark the message “not spam”–and be sure to look for today’s important message so you can update your settings and stay in the VIP club!)

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Okay. So.

This winter has been a blah one. Have you noticed? It seems like anyone who’s regularly affected by seasonal depression has been hit hard, and even those who aren’t have found it… well, blah. Since December I’ve wanted nothing more than to wrap myself in a cocoon of blankets, lose myself in my fictional realities, and forget that the grey, cold, frequently unkind world outside my house exists. I haven’t felt like I had much to offer in newsletters, and I’ve backed away a bit from social media so I could avoid the anxiety it so often brings.

But one must emerge some time–or so my family insisted when they found out I’d been invited to share a vendor’s table at Sci-Fi on the Rock, Newfoundland’s biggest Sci-Fi and Fantasy convention.

Was I excited? In theory, yes. In practice? HECK no. I knew there would be people there. My poor melancholic, introverted heart shuddered at the very thought of that many strangers packed into one hotel for three long days. And anyone who knows me knows I’m not so keen on the promotion and SELLING parts of the writing business. So while I loved the idea of the convention itself, the practical details of planning the trip and interacting with people in person (I’m actually quite happy chatting through email) had me more than a little nervous.

And besides all of that… People can often be scary, intimidating, or just downright disappointing. Whether it’s politics, food choices, or Facebook posts, many of us seem more interested in judging others based on the things that divide us than in embracing what we have in common–and the world of Sci-Fi and Fantasy can seem at times like it’s no better than anything else our species has to offer, especially online. That can be disheartening, especially because fandom should be about embracing what we love, not bashing what we hate (and not about hurting people for not loving something enough or for doing it in what we think is the wrong way).

But attending SFotR reminded me that there’s another side of humanity that’s so much bigger than a few loud, nasty voices.

I saw cosplayers in professional-looking costumes that took my breath away or brought me to tears with their beauty… and I saw them mugging for photos with anyone who asked, complimenting costumes at every skill level, and being extremely open and gracious.

I saw a weekend-long event where respect was the expectation, where everyone was accepted, where social awkwardness was okay, and where people wore and celebrated whatever they wanted without worrying about judgements based on gender, body type, or physical appearance.

I saw people drawn together by what they love, not divided by what they hate.

Now, I was stuck behind my vendor table for most of the event. I didn’t see everything. But what I did see–from vendors and presenters supporting each other to the way people’s faces lit up when we complimented their costumes as they walked by–was kind of magical.

Oh, and the panel on Worldbuilding that I hosted with Candace Osmond and JJ King was a blast! We had an hour to fill, and the audience had so many questions that we could easily have stretched it to at least an hour and a half. I love talking about writing, and I’m so thankful that we had that opportunity to answer questions and help other writers with their worlds and approaches to their stories.

The highlights of my weekend were definitely that panel… and seeing a complete stranger flaked out on a chair, deeply absorbed in one of my books. Pretty amazing.

Yeah. I’m glad I went.

The event is over now. Spring hasn’t arrived here in Newfoundland, and won’t for some time yet. I picked up a nasty cold while I was having such a good time being around people. Things still look pretty blah in the world at large. But my faith in humanity has been maybe a little bit restored–or at least I’ve been reminded that we’re more than the hateful voices who somehow always manage to grab the megaphone. And as I sit here at my desk and try to focus on getting back to work on my pen name’s ongoing series, I’m glad I’ve got some fun new memories to keep me warm…and a few new books to read.

…Because my TBR pile wasn’t already big enough. ^_^

-Kate

Want to see some of those costumes I mentioned? Photographer Riche Perez has some incredible photos posted here, or  click here for the Facebook video of CBC’s live coverage of the costume contest! The audio’s not perfect at the beginning of the video, but it gets better.


I’m Not Dead

I KNOW, I know. I fell off the face of the Earth for a while. And I was doing so well, too.

The truth is, I’ve been focusing my time and energy on revisions and self-editing on a book that’s due to my editor January 1, and it hasn’t left a lot of time for making words otherwise.

So here’s a quick update, and I’ll write more once this monster is off my desk:

-I completed the Whole30 program in November. It did wonders for my migraine symptoms (unless some unrelated miracle occurred), but I ran into other problems. Like not eating enough. The medication I’m on kills my appetite, and having to be super careful about what I was eating (and extra time for food planning/prep), having few snack options, and not being able to stomach big meals meant I was probably way under the calorie count my body needs, especially when I’m working my brain so hard. I was exhausted all the time. And three weeks after finishing, I’m STILL exhausted. And my migraines are giving me hell now, of course, because (long story short) I didn’t get to do a careful reintroduction. So I need to take a good, hard look at how I’m going to tackle this one again in the new year. (To be clear: The program was great and totally worthwhile, but my particular situation hindered me a bit. I’ll do a full post on my experiences with Whole30 if anyone is curious.)

-I kind of crashed over the last month. In particular, I had a few bad weeks of depression/anxiety, which is something I usually manage to keep under control. A lot of it had to do with the book I’m working on–deadlines, huge writing challenges, perfectionism, and low energy are a bad combination. It was also looking at my work from a career standpoint (which led to fear of the future), Christmas stress, feeling overwhelmed by life… My point in sharing this being that we all face this stuff sometimes, and if you’re going through it, you’re not alone. We all crash. The important thing is to figure out what happened and dust ourselves off so we can get moving again (and to get help when we need it).

-But in spite of that, I should have this (($#&ing) book ready to go to my editor on time. I’ll share more about it soon, but for now I’m still keeping it under wraps. It’s challenged me in a lot of ways. Not just technically, but in the hits I’ve taken to my confidence and the fights I’ve had with myself over why it’s been so hard. But early responses from readers have been fantastic, and my Big Bad Editor’s only going to make it better. So that’s exciting.

The less-good news is that it’s a duology, so I need to think long and hard about whether I want to release part one too long before part two is going to be ready to go. Big decisions.

-As for my productivity experiment, I’m sticking to a schedule right now where I’m trying to take advantage of my natural energy/focus rhythms, getting most of my work done in the late morning and afternoon. I wish I could say I was still getting up early and enjoying my wonderful quiet time, but my exhaustion is so bad that I’ve been physically unable to get up before I absolutely have to. I’ve also been too tired at night to do much of anything after supper. Here’s hoping a bit of recharging and less deadline stress after Christmas will help me get back into the swing of things.

-And yes, I’m almost ready for Christmas. I dropped the ball on sending cards (I think I mailed five of them), but I’m just going to have to forgive myself for that. And for a lot of other things. I’m doing my best, and that’s all I can reasonably ask of myself.

So there we go. We’re updated.

And just in case I don’t get a chance to come back and say it: Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and all the best to you in the new year!


NEW RELEASE: Light of the Stygian Orb by Krista Walsh

Y’all know I’m a big fan of Krista Walsh’s work. And I’m fortunate to have had an opportunity to get to know her as a critique partner and a friend. I’ve watched her Invisible Entente series evolve from the very beginning and have thoroughly enjoyed every book so far. In fact, I’m building up a shelf full of paperbacks so I can do a massive re-read before the last book comes out next year.

Light of the Stygian Orb isn’t your average, everyday tale of supernatural intrigue. It features an unexpected heroine, a reluctant hero, and a story that revolves around a seriously unconventional friendship. Loads of action, surprises, adorable moments.

Now, if you haven’t been reading the Invisible Entente series, I recommend going back to the beginning and starting there. You can read the books on their own, but the series is building to a KILLER conclusion that will involve all of the characters.

But this post is about Molly, Zachariel, and Light of the Stygian Orb, which celebrated its official publication yesterday. Krista gave me the go-ahead to post about it, so here you go! Scroll on down to read about the book and get the links.

(super gorgeous cover art by Ravven)

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In the darkness, good and evil is a matter of perspective.

As an archer who is deafblind, sixteen-year-old Molly Harris has always lived an exceptional life, but since rescuing the angel-demon hybrid Zachariel and being introduced to the otherworld, she’s craved a different kind of extraordinary. On her mission for answers, however, Molly realizes the road to the truth is more treacherous than she expected.

Zachariel is a freak of nature who has never fit in anywhere, and he’s grown comfortable with his solitary existence. Now, not only does he have a nosy teenager invading his personal space, he’s also dealing with a shady demon who wants to recruit him for a secret project — and who won’t take no for an answer.

As Zach delves into the demon’s scheme, he discovers he’s an unwilling pawn in a life-or-death game. Zach and Molly may be an unlikely team, but it rests on them to hold back the threat that could shake the foundations of the world.

click here for links!


Productivity Experiment Week 2 Baseline Results

Yeeeeeah.

Welp.

It was a week. That is a thing I can say about it.

I mean, it wasn’t all a bad week. It was a pretty reasonable baseline measurement week, actually. Between Monday and Friday I only managed to work 12 hours (mostly writing hours), but I added 12,829 words to my manuscript.

Not as many as I want to be adding per week. Not as many as some people add per day. But that’s not the point. Progress is progress, and I did my best every day.

I averaged about 3 hours’ work on days I was working… which did not include Thursday. Thursday was one of those days I mentioned needing to be prepared for. A migraine and back pain teamed up to leave me in a painkiller-and-brain-fog stupor, which in turn left me lying on the couch watching Roseanne all day.

I got the box set for Christmas. It is most excellent.

I watched more TV on that one day than I usually do in a week. I don’t feel bad about that. It’s not like I could work. So Thursday was a write-off.

And that’s kind of how things go. Sometimes my best is the 4780 words I wrote on Tuesday. Sometimes it’s trying not to feel guilty about taking a sick day.

So between that and my struggles with trying to get started on work in the morning (or like… any time), trying to fit yoga with my husband into our schedule, and having a regular school week to deal with, things were pretty normal around here. Score one for the baseline measurement!

And I got other stuff done. People got fed. No one was crushed under a pile of clutter or choked to death on litter box fumes. A kid had a friend over. I worked on a sample edit with a potential new editor and made last-minute plans to do a panel at Atlanti-Con. I helped with homework. I watched a movie. I waked my dog, and I found time to read. Stuff. Lots of stuff.

Judging by my notes from the past two weeks and my memory of how things worked last year, I’m calling this the baseline against which I’ll be measuring future results:

  • Work hours: 15
  • Words per writing hour average: 1200
  • Sleep: 8-8.5 hours per night
  • Energy: generally low, crash by 6:00 on weeknights

So what does wrapping the baseline weeks up mean?

It means that this week, I start the Godawful Early Schedule.

I’m more excited about it than that name implies. Yes, it’s going to be crazy hard to get up an hour earlier than I do now to fit in 90 minutes of work before I wake the kids up. I’m used to getting up early-ish, but I’m not exactly energetic or what you’d call mentally present in the morning. I may cry. I might not word good.

But if I can make it work?

If I can make it work, I could get a good chunk of my work for the day done before anyone has any reason to interrupt me. I could be alone with my work when I’ve just rolled out of dreams, before distractions have a chance to get to me. I could let ideas filter in the back of my mind while I get the kids up and out, and maybe have new ideas when I get back to writing. Or I could continue drafting in the morning and do edits later, using that natural schedule break to split my day and still finishing my work day by 12:30.

I could have afternoons free for napping so I won’t crash so hard at supper time, or to get a walk in to help me shift gears before home and family time. Maybe I’ll be able to enjoy my evenings instead of watching the clock to see if it’s bedtime yet.

That’d be cool.

We’ll see how it goes. My big plans might not pan out, but there’s always a chance.

(This Thursday’s post is going to take a look at the productivity tips and tricks that are already working for me, which will conclude this series of experiment intro posts. After that, I’ll post reviews of some productivity books, talk a bit about writing/being my own boss and productivity, and of course posting updates on the experiment. Let me know if you have questions/topics you’d like to see covered!

…Assuming I don’t fall down the stairs in a sleep-deprived stupor some early morning and find myself unable to post. It’s not unpossible.*)


 

*Unpossible is a perfectly cromulent word.


Where I’m At Now (Productivity Experiment)

SUPER BORING POST AHEAD. Kind of. If you want to see how my days look, what my job entails, and what I need to work on, you can totally stay. But no pressure. I’m just putting this here so we have something to compare my experimental schedules to. There are probably more interesting Buzzfeed articles and kitten videos out there to fill your time.

Okay, then.

Here’s a look at the baseline schedule I’m tracking right now. This is highly variable, of course. Holidays, sick days, and snow days happen. Medical appointments and car repairs eat into work hours. Summer vacation is a total crapshoot. But ideally, this is my weekday schedule:

6:30 – wake up. Morning routine (wash up, let the dogs out and feed Jack, gratitude notes, tea and breakfast, meds/vitamins, reading, plan my day and note top 3 goals, and 10 minutes meditation + floor stretches (if I don’t get distracted)

7:30 – kids up, showered and dressed, pack lunches, make sure everyone gets breakfast, do last night’s and this morning’s dishes, get the boys off to school

9:00 – walk Jack, listen to music, finish up housework that’s likely to distract me while I’m working at home.

10:00 – work time

12:00 – lunch

1:00 – work time

2:30 – stop work

3:00 on – homework, housework, family time, errands, cooking, supper, read to kids, wash hair, whatever else needs to get done, relax

9:30 – kids to bed

10:00 – bed, maybe read a bit, maybe just crash

It looks so simple laid out like that. Maybe not quite enough work hours to do as much writing as I want and take care of the promotion I should be doing, but decent part-time work hours.

And at its simplest level, my goal here is just to make the most of all those hours. To figure out how to get my brain to stop freaking out when I sit down to write and just frigging do it, to switch gears when I need to let go of work and do something else, to learn how to relax in those unclaimed after supper hours and to enjoy the time I get with my family… and more importantly to figure out how to gain more energy and conserve it so I have something to offer myself and others later in the day instead of turning into an unfocused zombie (mombie?) like I did three days out of last week.

…plus organizing my time/energy/attention so I can tackle all of the tasks related to my job (story brainstorming/planning/beats, writing, revisions, editing, marketing, hiring and coordinating editors and cover artists, answering emails, writing short stories and posts for my newsletters, critiquing work for other authors, networking, doing live reading events, managing my social media accounts and facebook reader group, bookkeeping/taxes/finances, and keeping on top of ideas and news that are relevant to my job without being distracted my the insignificant things) and my home life (you can probably fill in the blanks there. Two kids, three cats, two dogs, one husband who works full time, blessedly few extracurriculars, no hired help or childcare).

Because in reality (and last week’s time-tracking-induced efficiency aside), that schedule usually looks like a chunk of Swiss cheese when you take out the time I spend chatting on messenger, checking my email, scrolling through Instagram for too long, getting lost in an irrelevant Wikipedia rabbit-hole, searching for papers I’ve misplaced, responding to crises I could have avoided had I organized things better, procrasticleaning, and giving in to the urge to do non-critical tasks instead of ones that are important but aversive.

I said I was going to be honest, right?

I’ll let you know on Monday how the second baseline week panned out on this schedule, and then we’ll take a look at what I’m already doing to plug those Swiss cheese holes.

For now, here’s a look at the work projects I’m going to be working on over the next few months. You might notice two things: First, that there’s not a lot of business/promo-type stuff listed. My focus right now is on handling all of the writing I need to do to meet a few firm deadlines I’ve got coming up, including having a major project ready for an editor who books a year in advance. Second, this is a lot to accomplish in <20 hours a week between now and mid-January, even if I’m using those hours consistently and effectively. We’ll see how it pans out.

  • finish drafting Phoenix project (YA Fantasy/Dystopian): ~60K words to go
  • Get Phoenix revised, self-edited, and ready for critique
  • prep Phoenix for editor (post-crit revisions + polish)
  • Fixes on pen name book 3 when it’s back from the editor, polish for beta read*
  • plan and draft pen name book 4
  • book 3 cover art (commission, brainstorm, supervise, approve)
  • proofread, format, and publish book 3
  • try to plan and execute book 1 promo surrounding release of book 3 to get the series selling

Time to get cracking.**

 


*For anyone who’s interested in my writing process, here you go:

  • initial idea, brainstorming, plot and character arc outline, story beats and basic scene outlines
  • drafting (I generally average 1200 words an hour with scene planning and no distractions, and I take revision notes along the way instead of halting my momentum to fix things. I do, however, do a lot of sentence-level second-guessing and fixing as I’m writing. I can’t just leave cheeseball dialogue or dead-end ideas sitting there until revisions. This is probably why I don’t hit 2K words an hour, but it also means my first draft is more polished than it would otherwise be.)
  • rest time (at least 2 weeks to give me some distance and objectivity)
  • read through, look for places I could take the story deeper or make it more interesting, watch for plot holes and character inconsistencies, etc.
  • revisions (could mean massive rewrites or smaller edits)
  • critique (one fellow author and two more casual but sharp-eyed readers read the story and point out flaws/opportunities I might have missed)
  • further revisions and stylistic polish
  • professional editing (up to 6 weeks for a novel, during which time I’m working on something else)
  • edits back, make changes and fixes
  • cover art (I always hire someone for this, but it does require my time and attention)
  • beta read (three or four more readers offer feedback on what should by now be a polished manuscript)
  • fixes and multiple proofreads
  • formatting for ebook and paperback
  • order paperback proof and read over one more time
  • publication

**It probably goes without saying, but I have a tendency to plan bigger than I can actually execute. I get really optimistic in the planning stage, ignoring my average writing speed or forgetting the time I need to plan scenes, overestimating my ability to focus, and not accounting for lost work time. Building those factors into future deadlines will definitely be part of this experiment.


Week One Baseline Results

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One week down.

One week of tracking (almost) every hour, working the bugs out of my tracking system, and getting back into the swing of things as school started.

I’ve gone from just colour coding my time use to combining that with a line in my notebook where I can record what I was actually doing during that time. Does “work” mean drafting a story, emailing a potential new editor, or making plans to sit on a panel at an upcoming event? Does home/family time mean homework, cooking, or going out for a birthday supper? And what did I do during that mysterious “personal” time? What about times when I’m doing two things at once, or those activities that don’t fit neatly into one category?

So notes are good. And I gave up on attempting to measure my focus. Instead, I’m making notes. How hard was it to start work? To become immersed in reading? How irritated did I get when distractions popped up? When did I feel tempted to procrastinate?

I’ve also decided to have my weeks run Saturday to Friday, which will allow me to look at results and write blog posts on Saturdays.

The results:

No major surprises so far, which I guess is good. The first two weeks are just to figure out  how well things are working before I start changing stuff.

As expected, the fact that I’m paying close attention to how I’m spending my time means that I’m wasting less of it than I did on this schedule last year–Thursday’s post will look at that schedule and how it usually pans out. I’m acutely aware of the time I’m spending avoiding the day’s work, so I’m fighting harder against procrastination. I’m also less likely to let myself off the hook when I do it.

So yes, that makes this schedule look more effective than it really is. It also shows that time tracking, while it’s a huge pain in the ass, does lead to more effective use of my time.

Monday and Tuesday weren’t work days. Monday was labour day and Tuesday was an admin day for both the kids’ schools AND my older son’s birthday. I generally went with the flow, checking everything off my to do list but not according to a strict schedule. The only work I did involved taxes (so stressful).

I drafted several blog posts on Monday and noted how easily I became absorbed in the task. My fiction writing is almost always a struggle for me, especially at the beginning of the day… and I think I know why. We’ll talk about aversive tasks in another post, and why it’s writing a book is so deceptively hard to stick with. On the surface, writing a blog post and writing a chapter look similar. Experience tells me they are not.*

My energy was good those two days, and fairly consistent until it started dropping in the evening. Light tasks, lots of reading, and few focus-intensive aversive tasks led to everything running pretty smoothly.

Wednesday was the first day of school. Back to packing lunches. New teachers, a new school for one of the kids. Much excitement. Also back to work for me. Thursday and Friday also offered, in theory, typical work days. No appointments, no errands that couldn’t wait until later. This means that in theory I had 5.5 hours to do what I needed.

It worked out to 3, 2.5, and 3 hours of actual work.

The first hour after the kids are gone (by this schedule) is for dog walking and shifting gears to get into work mode. I take an hour for lunch, partly because I don’t plan my lunches ahead and partly because decompressing is nice. So 3 hours of solid work really isn’t bad.

But I learned or remembered a few things.

  • Writing exhausts me. The human brain burns an insane amount of energy for its size, and mine is firing on every possible cylinder when I’m writing. I love this job, but it’s not easy for me. My scenes are planned in advance, but the paragraph-to-paragraph choices about word selection, character  movements and motivations, dialogue flow, and building tension require a lot of decision making. On another level I’m already assessing elements that will need to change in revisions, planning ahead for that and making notes. More importantly, I’m constantly fighting to keep my brain on task when it’s tempted to wander, take a break, or do anything that might offer the rewarding feeling of completing a task. Which means…
  • I am DONE by 6:00 PM on writing days. I can get through homework (another aversive task for everyone involved), housework, and making supper just in time to pass out in my food.** Much as I’d like to try running in the evenings or picking up a hobby, Zombie Kate is having none of it***. There’s obviously also no question of trying the “split shift” thing where people fit in another hour or two of work after supper. I can get a little energy boost if I fit in a catnap, which means I managed to bake cookies one evening and I’ve been reading with the kids before bed. So that’s something, even if it doesn’t really get me through the whole evening.
  • Attempting to start work makes me wonder whether I’m insane. I like my job. I love my stories and my characters. I cannot settle down to work like (I think) an adult should be able to during work hours. My mind scrambles for distractions, and it requires a ton of willpower to write them down and set them aside for later. I know what I should do. I know what I want to do, what feels like my purpose. I know I have limited time to do it. And I still feel like I’m ramming my head into a glass wall when I try to get there. (“Butt in chair, fingers on keys” might be a great productivity tip, but it’s not always that simple.)
  • Replying to a chat message, checking email, or posting on Instagram before work time are recipes for disaster. Just the possibility of responses is a massive distraction. Lesson learned.
  • Working outdoors in the afternoon is actually, surprisingly, okay. I feel more distracted, but when I look at my hourly word count it’s no worse than morning hours spent in my office. Plus, fresh air is nice. Thanks for giving me That Look and guilting me into it, dogs.
  • My attempts to break my social media/phone addiction are paying off. I’ll save that for another post, since we’re running long here. But I’m pleased.

So there were bumps and hiccups, but none of them were really surprising. And overall I think I did well this week. I generally used the work hours available to me. When a headache hit on Friday around noon, I fought the temptation to take the afternoon off and opted for a coffee, painkillers, and a catnap instead, and I got another 1300 words written before school ended.

I’m not getting as many work hours in as I’d like, but I’m doing what I can. In The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz reminds the reader to always do your best. That means not doing less than your best, but also not expecting yourself to do more.

I’m doing my best.

One more baseline week, and then we see how I can make changes that will give me the time and energy I need to make my best more productive.


TOTAL HOURS WORKED:  9 (1 business, 8 writing)
WORDS ADDED TO MANUSCRIPT: 11,000****

HOME LIFE: tasks completed, no one starved, hosted a sleepover, but too tired to function well between 6 and 10 p.m.

PERSONAL: Morning routine rocks my socks. Lunch date with husband was good, but probably doesn’t make up for the whole zombie thing. Read I Know How She Does It and started re-read of The Happiness Project. No fiction reading. Watched Baywatch. It was hilarious. Walked the dog 6 days, hit at least 10K steps 3 days (and 9K one other).


 

*this is part of the reason this project has to fall under Personal and not Work for me. If I let my brain think for a second that doing this is a valid way to use my work hours, I’ll never get my draft finished.

**Yes, this is with reasonable caffeine intake early in the day, eight hours’ sleep, multivitamins, daily exercise, and whatever healthy-ish food I can force myself to eat when I’m on a medication that makes food ew. I just burn out.

***Speaking properly is an issue. I tried to say “sausage pasta” the other night and the best my brain could do was “passage.” So close.

**** This looks high, given my usual 1K/hour average. I was occasionally able to edit parts of scenes from a scrapped draft of this book, which boosted my average. From here on out it should be almost all straight drafting.

 

 

 


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