Writer’s Boot Camp Day 21

It’s 9:30 pm and I’m just getting started. If this trend of working later and later continues I am going to fail this challenge in a few days.    I worked my day job until 8, then did some dishes, litter boxes, vacuumed and trash. I’m not going to lie, I also hung out with Paul for a few minutes and played a stupid video game for about 15 minutes.  I feel a little guilty about the video game.

I really don’t think I’m ever going to be good at time management.  I have the same number of hours everyone else does, and yet I get so much less done.  I try to be disciplined but I always end up wondering where the time went. Oh well.

The theme today is delayed gratification, a reminder that writing is a long game. A single short story can take a few weeks from start to finish,  a novel takes months or years. Most things I write will be read by 4 or 5 people tops and not for a while after I write it. Someday if I keep working at it a few more might read my work.  A reply from a publisher about a submission can take 4 or 5 months, which is its own hell. Nothing happens fast in writing. This is hard for me, because I’m sort of a task endorphin junkie. I keep my little lists and check things off all day because it feels good to do the things.  I get one check mark for writing if I work 30 minutes or if I work 3 hours, so there isn’t a whole bunch of reward for more writing at least not right away. But at only 30 minutes a day, each project takes so much longer, slowing down the reward even more.

The author suggests making a list of rewards.  Small rewards for writing 3 hours without checking email or social media.  3 hours! That is a lot for me, I tend to manage about an hour at a time before I get distracted.  Possible rewards are a 15-minute walk, an iced coffee, watching a t.v show, coloring or a cookie. Those are not 3-hour rewards.  How about we split the difference and say 2 hours?

2-hour rewards

  • Going to a coffee shop or bar to get a drink with a friend.  Or dinner.
  • Watching an episode of a TV show I like
  • Going a craft store or something similar
  • Knitting for 30 minutes
  • Buying myself a small present online ($30 or less)
  • Go to a movie

If any of my local friends are reading this feel free to bribe me with a coffee, bar or dinner date. You don’t even have to pay, just text me and be like “hey, write for 2 hours straight and then we will hang out, and I’ll tell you that you are smart, talent and amazing”.  It will totally work.  I didn’t go to karoke tonight because I needed to write. 🙁

There are also big rewards for meeting your daily goals for 2 weeks.  I’ve met my daily goal for over two weeks! I deserve a prize! Her 2-week rewards are not in reasonable scope with each other or with the smaller rewards.  I feel like the 2-week rewards should be 10 times as awesome as the smaller rewards. She has stuff like buy a new journal or go to a movie. Go to a movie makes sense on the first list, I’m going to add that up there now.  

2-week rewards

  • A day at the beach
  • A day out of town vacationing any place
  • A fancy dinner at a favorite restaurant
  • Shopping for a  new outfit really nice outfit
  • Ordering one of those monthly present boxes for myself (I had a yarn box and sticker box as gifts and that was neat, I’ve been wanting to do one of these, but I should probably wait until after I move)
  • A whole day off,  to binge watch tv and eat perogies

The author has the theory that we get caught in a cycle where we don’t have the energy to start writing. That we do something easier like play with our phones or watch TV and that wastes time and then we are too tired to work.   I would change “energy” to something else because I don’t think it is completely about if you are tired or not. I think it is something more, like “mana” or “will” or “chi” but not any of those either, because they all sound a little silly. Maybe “passion” or “drive”, or even “confidence”?  I don’t know, but it’s bigger than energy because you get that back by eating a healthy dinner, drinking enough water and getting a good night’s sleep. But the thing that I lack that keeps me doing pointless time wasting shit is more than that, its a mix of sadness, apathy, self-destruction, shame and a lot of other stuff.

This morning I wasted time doing stupid shit or doing the important things I should do but too slowly.  I did 15 minutes of exercise, ate breakfast, drank water, took morning meds, checked my planner, made a doctor’s appointment, put in a load of laundry, researched who I should vote for today and took a shower.   That should have taken maybe 1.5 hours. It took 3. Somehow in there, I wasted 1.5 hours. If I wasn’t currently doing this challenge and committed to finishing I would not be writing now. That missing 1.5 hours would have been enough to beat down my self-esteem into not doing any writing tonight.  In fact, it almost was, I feel so behind on everything that I really wanted to keep cleaning tonight and get a little caught up with that, but then I really would have been physically tired and probably gone to bed feeling like a big failure.

The author of the book thinks a few days of making ourselves write will break this cycle and we can keep going, the more you do it the easier it gets.  A week ago I would have agreed. Today, no. I don’t feel like this has gotten any easier to make myself do,  I’m not that proud of myself and I still feel a bit silly. I don’t think this has energized me…but who knows?

The exercise for today is to look back at some of my free writing from the last few weeks and see if anything jumps out.  I haven’t done a lot in my actual “free writing” doc, but I’ll give it a look.

There was a sentence there that might be a useful starting point for a science-based poem about suffocation.  And I had an idea to write down on the idea page.

I also had the idea to take a book, magazine or collection of short stories up to my room to read in the mornings instead of my phone.

I worked a poem about time travel for a few minutes.   It’s 11 PM now, I have to go to bed because I have PT in the morning.

Total writing time today 1 hour 19 minutes.

Writer’s Boot Camp Day 20

The theme today is to not seek chaos, which is great advice and something I have been working on for a while now. The author specifically meant people who bring chaos into your life, who waste your time and emotional energy.  I don’t have many chaotic people in my life anymore, because I need all my time and emotional energy, I don’t have very much to give away.

Today was full of chaos, an early PT appointment, starting a new position at work.  The logistics of doing work and PT was difficult, add into that internet issues.  All of these things were unavoidable.

I have to go to physical therapy if I’m ever going to walk without a cane,  which is my top priority right now. I want to walk normally if possible. I would love to maybe, just maybe be able to dance or even run again.  I had to stop going to PT for a few months because I couldn’t afford it (insurance would only pay for so many sessions) and then when the new year started I was in the busy part of tax season.  I did as much as I could at home and made some progress, but a few months ago I stopped getting better. PT is a must, even if it causes some issues at work.

My second priority is work and making money. I used almost all of my saved personal time off during the gap between assignments so that I could still get paid.  I can’t afford to miss much time. I will miss an hour on Wednesday for PT, and at least a few hours next week. I still have my side job and I hope to maybe sell a few stories in the coming months.  All of that could add up to enough money to pay my bills. 

I got off work at 8pm tonight,  made dinner and watch on an episode of “Altered Carbon”, meaning I didn’t start on this until around 9pm.   

I’m supposed to look at my life and see where I can get rid of some chaos.  Today the biggest source of avoidable chaos was Facebook. I woke up at 7 am, which was over an hour before my alarm.  I could have used the extra hour to start on the writing, work on my side job, clean, exercise, meditate, read, garden.  Instead, I literally stared at my cellular communication box for over an hour. I worried about shit I can’t change, felt indigent for people who I hardly know, was interested in things that have nothing to do with me.   I read and liked posts from people who are not actively part of my life, who don’t read my posts, who probably don’t actually like me. I get upset about that at least a few times a month. That is chaos I could do without.    If there is one thing I have certainly learned in the last few years it is that no amount of attention or caring can actually make someone interested in you. You can’t buy love with love. Love is something you have to be ok with giving away.   Nothing you do, nothing you say, no amount of emotional energy you give other people will assure that they will love you. It doesn’t work that way.

It is fact that love and caretaking don’t have a great return on investment.  People who I took super good care of when they needed me were not around nearly as much as they should have been when I was hurt and needed them.  But a few people I hardly knew helped out and were amazing. You just never know. I guess my rule should be don’t give anyone, ANYONE, time that I’m not willing to lose.   My health comes first, then my cats, then my job and my money (don’t give anyone money you need either) and then my writing. Everyone else can have my attention when I have time, or if they want to offer to do something with me/for me that is acceptable too.  If you want to buy me dinner or help me with a project I’m more likely to be available. If you want my help, sorry, not anytime soon.

I have unfriended a lot of the worst people in my life, dumpster fire drama queens and kings who are always in the middle of an emergency.  Or people who are super passionate about something as an excuse to argue. I don’t have time to argue philosophy with anyone. There are certainly a few more people I could cut out, and plenty who I am very carefully only being “acquaintances” with.  

I would like make some grand vow to not get on Facebook, but I know my limits and right now that isn’t going to happen.   I am very, very lonely when I wake up in the morning. Going to Facebook gives me the illusion that I’m not alone. I don’t know if I could get out of bed if I didn’t have that.  I have to pretend that I’m connected to a large “community”. This isn’t to say I don’t have friends, I do, I would say probably significantly more close relationships than the average person my age.  I am booked most weekends pretty much start to finish. It’s just the first 2 hours of the day when I don’t have a spend the night friend when I feel alone. I’m a mammal, I have to accept the limitations that come with that even when I don’t want to.  

That was a lot of time spent talking about sources of chaos.   Almost 50 minutes! We will call that freewriting and journaling. 

Now I have to work on poetry because there are only a few days until that is due.  

Total time writing tonight is 1 hour 49 minutes

Writer’s Boot Camp Day 19

I’m just getting started at 9:20 pm.   I was out shopping and spending time with friends, and then the handle on my front door broke and I had to fix that.  I just finished getting everything set up for starting work tomorrow, which is all super confusing.   I told them I had doctor’s appointment’s and asked if I could start on Tuesday, but no one replied.   I am taking a 2$ an hour pay cut and I don’t actually have any idea at all what my new position entails.  My writing is going to suffer because of going back to work.  I know in a day or two I’ll be happy to be working again,  but right now it feels like one more thing in the way of me ever doing something important. I guess it’s just end of vacation crankiness along with the illusion that anything anyone does is actually important.   

Here is a picture of a cute cupcake I made for my friend last night, for his birthday.  

I’m not feeling at all inspired to write tonight.  My tummy hurts and I feel sad. Not sad about any specific thing, just sad.  Sad to be going back to work, sad that I feel stressed and busy, sad that I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow that I might get in trouble for going to,  sad that my diet isn’t going great. I’m prone to feeling sad, especially after spending a lot of time being social. This weekend has been a whole lot of face time with a whole lot of people.  

It’s odd.  I’m fucking delightful.  Everyone says so, They say I’m funny, smart and nice. I’m often told that I’m entertaining to be around, a “people person” or the “life of the party”. But I’m not. I might look like a super fun cute, awesome person, but keeping that up as many hours as I did this weekend has a cost. I’m emotionally exhausted right now. I have so much fun with people at the moment, but afterwards, I just want to curl up in a ball and cry.  It’s like I burn out all my joy and leave myself empty and charred.

Which conveniently leads into the topic of today’s advice, “join your comrades”.   It’s all about the benefit of working with other people on projects or just having a support who are doing something similar to myself.  I’m supposed to join a writer’s group on meetup or maybe sign up for some workshops. I’m going to post on facebook and see if any of my friends want to get together for a weekly or even monthly writer’s event.  

A community is very helpful to stay motivated and accountable.  We are social animals regardless of how much my brain chemicals and tummy disagree with that right now.   I need a pack, a tribe. When I have worked with other writers in the past I’ve done better work in less time than I do when working alone.   For me, it’s about not wanting to disappoint anyone or hold back other people by being lazy. 

Having something like that again could be helpful to my work ethic and help me be a better writer.  I could learn from others who are more experienced or who have done things I haven’t.  Maybe if I join a writing group I could learn more about getting an agent, or writing successful queries. I could learn better networking skills and get tips on good books to read or workshops to go to.

I’m going to try to work on speculative poetry, but I feel like the only poem that I could write currently would be something like

Beige

Bland, so bland.  

almond, eggshell, off-white, linen

76 degrees

Toast is meant to stand alone, fuck your avocado hipster bullshit

cream, ivory, oatmeal, taupe

easy listening

the only thing you should hear is Yanni

Bone, cotton, alabaster, porcelain

Unsweet iced tea please,

Thank you

 

Hey, that was decent poetry.  Boring, yet topical.

I finished the first draft of a poem, “Calling Ahead” for submission later this week.  Posted on Facebook about starting a writer’s meetup.  

Total writing time today is 1 hour and 27 minutes 

Writer’s Boot Camp Day 18

It’s Saturday,  and I don’t want to do this.  Like, not even a little.

So far today I have dropped stuff off at the storage building,  gone to the arts/crafts store and the grocery store. I’ve made 60 cupcakes in 3 types (one type gluten free) and made two types of buttercream frosting.  I have a super soft birthday party to be to in 2 hours, and I need to shower and get dressed. I am annoyed about doing this.

So very, very annoyed.

But, I’m doing it.  I guess.

Today the book talks about getting good at doing the small stuff.  In specific things like checking markets, using a submission tracker makes sure you type up your handwritten notes and keeping good notes and to-do lists.   I actually do ok at most of this, I don’t do the searching markets as often as I should, but when I do it’s well organized.  

I learned years ago that the time spent keeping a planner, keeping lists and notes is way less than the time you waste trying to figure out what the fuck you are supposed to be doing.   

Speaking of what I’m doing,  I just found out yesterday that my new job starts on Monday,  That is going to make doing this pretty damn hard. Oh well, I guess I’ll figure it out.  I need the money so I’ll make it work.

I’ll try to work on the poetry some more, but I’m not feeling much in a poetry mood.   

I got a little more done on one of the poems I’m working on.  I think I’ll have one of them finished tomorrow. Hopefully, I’ll have at least 2 before the 27th to submit.  

Totally writing time today is 42 minutes,  that is sort of sad.  

Writer’s Boot Camp Day 17

Today’s advice was to not beat myself up about having bad days, just to try to do better next time.  That’s good advice, but hard. My default state is to feel like I’m failing at pretty much everything and to always belittle my own accomplishments.  Which sometimes makes me feel like if nothing I do is ever good enough then why do anything. Which of course leads to me not doing anything, and giving up on goals.  

So far I’ve kept with this one, doing something every day, and yet, every day I feel like I’m failing.  It doesn’t even make sense! Yesterday my timer said I worked 2 hours but I didn’t “write” anything other than the blog post.  This made me feel like I hadn’t really done the challenge.  I was spending time finding markets. Which is actually important and harder.  This morning my brain is saying “well, that was wasted time, it’s not like you are going to submit anything, and if you do it’s not like anyone will ever buy it”.  My brain is very mean to me. It speaks in the voices of all the people who have abused, criticized and rejected me. I have honestly had a pretty shitty life in some way, lots of shitty people in my life. I try not to think about it.  I’m getting off topic. We can call that “free writing”. 🙂

Since I don’t have any exercises in the book today I’m going focus on the calls and work in 30-minute chunks today,  as many as I can manage, which might be one.

First order of business was to put all the writing calls I found yesterday in order by day, pick the one with the soonest deadline and get started.  

The first one is to write up to 4 pieces of speculative poetry, the deadline is May 27th.   I started a poem about aliens a few days ago, maybe it will be useful for this project.  

I worked on the first alien poem for a little while, but then I had a better idea and worked on that.  He is a trippy image as a clue!

Total writing time today is 2 hours and 2 minutes 

Writer’s Boot Camp Day 16

Today is all about figuring out my weak spots as a writer.  

The timeline given has 7 sections to think about:   

  1. Ideas- I’m pretty darn good at this.  I’m imaginative and creative.
  2. Rough Draft- no problems here generally,  sometimes I’m lazy or spend too much time in research, but the storytelling part is easy and comes naturally for me.  I like making shit up.
  3. First review- I enjoy the first reading of my work, while it’s still new.  I like making little changes, moving things around, tinkering with the characters.  This part sometimes makes me feel a little sad because I think “wow, you write like a little kid” but other times I love reading my own work.  I feel proud the first time I read through and edit a short story. Novels are different, I apparently refuse to read my novel, and the rough draft has been done 4 years!
  4. Second/Third/Fourth drafts –  I start getting a little bored, but I can do it.  I might have to take a day or two off from a project and work on something else, but I got this.  
  5. Proofreading and polishing – here things start to fall apart.   I don’t feel like I have the skill sets and tools to even try proofreading my own work.  Many of my projects dead stop right here.
  6. Sending out work – I have 12 “finished” but unpublished stories,  I have 18 “works in progress”. I have 0 places I plan to send them.  0, nada, none, zilch. I have a page on which to write deadlines, but it is blank.  I have a list of markets I should look into, but I never get around to it. I do have one piece that is scheduled for publication in September, so I do sometimes submit, but not often.  
  7. Dealing with rejection and resubmitting – Yeah, not so much.  I just cry.

That’s pretty clear.  I don’t find places to submit, so I never have to finish proofreading and then submit.  I don’t like rejection so I avoid it. Clearly, this is where I need to be focusing my attention.  It seems a little counterintuitive, but maybe for the next little while I should stop writing for this Writer’s Boot Camp and start spending the time searching markets.  That thought makes me feel a little sick.

Looking for calls and markets takes so much time, and so much reading and effort.  And once I find a place I almost always want to start a new story. I never feel like any of the ones I already have done will work.  This could be a stalling technique.

I guess I need to start adding “look for markets/submitting” to my daily tasks.  This seriously might be where I give up on this whole thing. This doesn’t sound fun at all anymore.

I’ve only been working on this half an hour and I feel emotionally drained, about to cry just thinking about it.  I’m going to feed the cats, take a break and then come back to this and start looking for story calls. Ick.

I found 12 possible magazines and anthologies to submit to in the next few months and put all the info in a spreadsheet.  

Aside from this blog post, I haven’t done any actual writing today and I’m not going to.  I just spend 1.5 hours reading calls and submission guidelines, that is enough for one day.  

Tomorrow I will put them in order by deadline date.  Then I’ll find something I already have finished and polish it up to submit or I’ll write something new to submit, but I’m doing these one at a time, trying to complete as many as possible.

Work time today was 2 hours

Writer’s Boot Camp Day 15

It’s almost 4 pm and I’m just now starting on this.  It’s all because of physical therapy. Anything that changes my routine can really throw me off.  I got up early, drove in Atlanta “oh God!  Water is falling out of the sky! What do we do?!?” traffic, and then did an hour of hard exercises.  Then drove home. I got home at 12:30 pm and I should have gotten to work then, but I changed clothes, did some of my morning tasks and took a nap.  Sorry! I didn’t mean to, but I guess I was really tired.

I was dreaming, that I was showing Dean from Supernatural a thing I had made, a health monitoring suit.  And he was telling me how we had to stop Dio (“Holy Diver” Dio) from getting enough red gold to build a throne for Satan. I was going to help him, but first, we were going to eat  Campbell’s chicken noodle soup.

Anyway, I’m awake now and ready to work.  

The book doesn’t have any exercise today,  it’s just about making sure you have enough snacks.  I normally work at home so that generally isn’t a problem.  But I’ll remember this sage advice for any time I’m out in the world.  

I guess I need to just write now.  Maybe do a few of those “obstacles” from yesterday?  I’m not that far into the new story I started, the mystery and it is really hard for me.  The main character isn’t someone I can identify with, we have very little in common which makes him very hard to write.  Also, mystery, or at least this sort of real-world rules crime story is hard, because I’m not a cop or a lawyer. I’m having to stop and research things all the time.  The worst part is that it’s set in the 1960s, so info is hard to get.

Today, I want to give up.  I honestly don’t know why I’m doing this.  I feel sort of silly working this hard, because I have very little to show for it so far and because I’m feeling like I suck.  Like I’m never going to be a very good writer no matter what I do, because of a learning disability I have. Unless I can pay someone to do tons of editing to fix the fucked up ways I write, and I don’t have much money. I’m feeling sort of isolated. Maybe I need to make friends with more writer’s. Or maybe I just need more friends.

I guess we can count that last paragraph as 5 minutes of writing down hurdles.  The fact that I am very smart, well read and creative, but have the sentence structure and punctuation of a 3rd grader is certainly a ‘hurdle”. Or the sentence structure of Hemingway, depending on how you look at it.  That bro was all about the run on sentences and weird punctuation.

I’m going to pull out one of the cards and do whatever it says now.  

60 minutes – I started a short story using a list of words on the card,  Working title “Curse at the Opera”

After that, I took about a 2-hour break.  I’m just not an awesome motivated person today.  But I’m back.

5 minutes of free writing

10 minutes putting some notes and to-dos in my writing notebook, mostly from a podcast I listened to earlier and updating my worklog.  

20 more minutes on “Curse at the Opera”

10 minutes editing “Eat the Rich”

Total writing time 2 hours 55 minutes

Writer’s Boot Camp Day 14

I’m pretty surprised I’ve gotten this far.  I have written at least an hour every day for the last 2 weeks.  I don’t know if I have ever done that before, maybe back when I did NaNo in 2013 or 2014.   One of my self-definitions is that I lack discipline, but maybe it’s time to change that label because I’ve not only done this but I’ve also been dieting for a last 3 weeks and lost about 8lbs.  I still have about 10 lb to lose to get back to my pre-leg breaking weight. Weighing less and continuing physical therapy will hopefully get me off using a cane in the next few months. Hey, there is another thing where I’m pretty damn disciplined,  I’ve done P.T at least once a day almost every day for a year, many days I manage twice. I also got my first yes.fit medal this week for finishing a 22 mile race, sadly it took 10 months because when I started it last July I could only walk about half a mile a day.

On to today’s assignments, which are called the “obstacle course”.  Looks like I’m going to be working on lots projects today and timing them.  Might be hard to get into a groove, but we’ll see.

10 minutes on the mystery story I started last week.  

5-minute sprint, also on the mystery story

So it turns out the timer I’m using only beeps when I’m on that web page because my stopwatch says 50 minutes right now.  So I did way more than 5 minutes on the mystery story sprint. I’m going to pause for a minute and go find an egg timer or something. Well, never mind, I don’t appear to have an egg timer, odd I just figured that was something everyone had.  I mean, yeah, I never bought one….but you know seemed like something that would just be there…I’ll put the timer up on my other screen, I don’t know why I didn’t think of that before.

5 minutes of free writing

Made some notes about the free writing in my notebook for later

5 minutes of “weightlifting” – worked on the outline for the mystery story

5 minutes of “hurdles” I face today,  that was pretty cathartic, I like to whine.

10 minutes of cross-training (working on something that isn’t writing, but keeping a notebook nearby to write down thoughts) – I paused my stopwatch for this.  I took my afternoon vitamins, had some soup and listened to part of a short story on “Starship Sofa” about living under the authority of Grays (classic bigged headed, flying saucer, mutilate cows and put things up your butt aliens). I didn’t have any thoughts that I wanted to write down.

10 minutes of meditative writing (I wrote a short poem about aliens, but not about them putting things up my butt)

10 minutes of reflection on the obstacle course exercises

This was a little odd.  I’m used to focusing on one project for as long as I possibly can before my brain starts to feel squishy.  I sort of power through the scenes, even when that isn’t what I really want to be working on. This was better in that I moved around, mentally.   I had lots of thoughts and ideas. But on the other hand, I didn’t get much usable material. I only have about 4 paragraphs on the mystery story, a few ideas jotted down in my notebook and part of a rather poorly written poem.  But I might be every more drained than normal. It’s only been about 1.5 hours and I feel like I have been at this all day!

I think maybe this book will help me find my own best ritual for writing, maybe a few of those 5 or 10 minutes things before focusing on my main WIP would be a nice mix for me.

Total time today 1 hour 47 minutes

 

Writer’s Boot Camp day 13

I don’t know how to do what the book wants me to do today.  I think I might be confused. The way the book is set up there is a short chapter for each day and then sometimes it tells you to turn to exercises at the back of the book. Today is titled “Writing Meditation” and it says “Now it’s time to slow down a bit.  This would be a great time to Recharge. Turn to page 215 and then come back here for the guided meditation” But the exercise on page 215 involves taking a day of rest or unplugging for 24 hours and then write about it. But if I took a day of rest right now I wouldn’t be able to do today’s assignment.  I thought this was supposed to be 30 days straight of writing.

Also, I’m going, to be honest.  I don’t even understand the concept of a day of rest.  How the fuck does that even work? I keep a daily task list of all the things I do every day,  on a day of rest would I just not do any of those things? Would I not do my exercises, or take vitamins? Who feeds the cats?  Who feeds me and washes the dishes? What do you even do on a day of rest, do you just stare at the wall? Do you read a book or watch TV?   While I was injured and I couldn’t do my chores and tasks I got super, super depressed. Putting the little checks on my list is sort of the only reason I get up in the morning.  I feel like taking a whole day off and not doing that stuff would be super stressful, because I would have to do it later.

I guess when I go on vacation, away from home I am not doing most of my tasks.  So it can be done…but why? I’m willing to give it a try I guess, but I don’t think now is the best time to take a whole day off.  But then again, it might be the only time. I should be starting back to work soon and I am going to be starting to move in June if everything goes according to plan.  Once work or the move starts I can’t take a whole day off. Could I instead take a long time one day off? Like 4 or 8 hours? I think I could manage that without guilt.  

Is it fucked up that the idea of not doing stuff for a day makes me feel sick levels of guilt and anxiety?  I’m not actually doing anything super important as it is. I’m not lying to myself about this, I know I mostly do my own made up list of busy work.  I feel “productive” with all my little tasks if I don’t think about it too hard, which I am now, and starting to question why I’m even alive. I think this is getting into a personal journal or talk to a psychiatrist territory, moving on.  

So, I’m not doing the exercise today,  but I am as a compromise I’m going to put on my to-do list “Day off”  this will be a day when I do my body upkeep stuff (15 minute PT, eat, take meds) and my most important household stuff (Feed cats and Do dishes) but other than that I will not do anything.  I’ll get food delivered. I’ll not write, clean, or do “high-value tasks”. I’ll spend a good solid 8 hours watching TV or something. Moving on.

The next part of today’s assignment was reading a sort of guided meditation and then writing about a time when you felt free, happy or at peace.  

 

The Beach, at Night

I’m on a beach,  it’s near sunset or night time.  This isn’t one specific beach or one specific date.  It’s all the times I have ever been on a beach, alone or nearly alone from sunset to sunrise.   

It’s a night in Hawaii, sitting the sand, looking out to the black waves, which are louder than the music behind me from the Monona Surfrider Hotel,  the music, and the waves sound right together, natural. I had been feeling hurt and ignored when I walked out to the beach, but the sound of the waves and faint music pull the pain out, leaving my soul silent.  

I’m a child,  we’re staying on Tybee Island.  I’m standing on the pier by myself,  it nearly high tide. The place where I played and searched for shells just hours earlier is gone, under the waves that crash against the wooden legs, shaking the pier.  There is no one to hurt me here. No one to judge me. I have never felt so completely alone before, so amazingly free. I think about stepping off, into the water, giving myself to the waves.  I don’t do it, but I realize that I could and that gives me comfort. On some of my worst days to come, I’ll look back at that night, half wishing I had joined sea, but more so reminding myself that it’s still there,  it’s always there, always waiting. If I really, really need to get away she is waiting, ready to receive me. There is a place I can go, that never changes, that always will accept me. I guess, that makes it home?

It’s sunset, near the north shore of O’ahu.  We get to the beach just as almost everyone else is leaving.  The only other people are two guys down the shore fishing and an old lady with lots of cats who lives in a tent near the tree line.  Aside from them it just me and my husband, we have had a nice day, a perfect day. With sea turtles, peacocks, weird local honey and tiny bananas.  We are both tired and happy. He wants to leave, to go back to the hotel, but he indulges me this time, letting me do something that I really want, even if it’s a little stupid and inconvenient. I am so happy.  The sand here is deep and hard to walk on, the changing area far away. I have a sarong in my bag, I put it on and strip out of my clothes under it. I walk to the water, and take it off quickly, before jumping into the burnt orange water.  I swim alone in a tiny tropical bay as the last rays of the sun fade. The only light comes from the windows of multi-million dollar homes in the distance. Those people get to see this water every day, but I wonder how many of them have ever skinny dipped alone in it?  Right now the whole ink-black ocean is mine. The moment is perfect, my life is perfect.

It’s two hours before dawn when I hobble up the sand, using one crutch.  It hurts a lot, but I don’t say anything. My injured leg doesn’t like the shifting uneven ground or the beach plants that try to grab at my support.  I’m afraid of falling. I’m tired, we have been up all night. My boyfriend drove me 6 hours away from home so I could watch the sunrise on the winter solstice.  I feel grateful and oddly melancholy. We reach the beach to find it totally deserted, the only sound is the waves. There are lights in the distance, lights from the hotel behind us, but not so many that I can’t see the stars.  It’s not as cold as you would think, but cold enough. I sit in a camp chair, wrapped in a flannel blanket and wait for the new sun to be born. I feel like I’m at the edge of the world. I feel hopeful, maybe the worst year of my life is going to end this night. Maybe the sun will dawn on a new world, where I don’t hurt all the time, where I don’t feel trapped and afraid all the time. Maybe the darkest part of my life is over.  And maybe not, at that moment it’s enough to listen to the song of the waves.

I have others, but I don’t want to do this all day.  I love the ocean at night. Someday I’m going to live near the sea, someday I might die in it.  

That’s not all!   Today is going to be a long writing day!   Now the book wants me to pick a card from the prompt stack.   I had been wondering when we would start using the cards.

Prompt “How do you define living on your own terms?” 5 minutes

Money.  It’s all about money, that is the only possible freedom.  And I hate that so much it burns inside. But I accept it, because I can’t change it, that is our world.  I have spent my whole life needing others, obeying others, bowing down because that is how you live. To live on my own terms would be to have enough money to pay all my bills, to have my own home, to have enough money for food,  healthcare and medicine. If I had twice that amount I could travel, I could see the places I have dreamed of, I could be the person I wish I was. I’m not submissive by nature, but by nurture. I learned subservience equals survival.  

I still need to do my WIP writing.  But short break first.

I did some edits my friend suggested on the story I finished yesterday and then did some research on my next story, but not any actual writing it yet. 

Total time today 2 hours 13 minutes

 

Writer’s Boot Camp Day 12

Today’s theme is endurance but also picking what you want to put your energy into.

I feel this contradicts with yesterday’s advice about being busy and doing lots of things between writing.  Today the book is saying to give up or pull back time on things that wouldn’t have catastrophic consequences.  So which is it?  Have a balanced life that is super busy because of writing or change your priorities letting somethings slide and use that time for writing.

I finished writing my WIP yesterday.  I will grant you that 11 days to finish one short story is a little long.  I have finished short stories in a day before.  However, that was a long time again,  in the last year I have finished maybe 2?  So one in 11 days isn’t bad.  I feel like I have been writing all the time some days, which adds to feeling like 11 days is too long, but I need to remember that I’ve spent most of the “writing” time doing these blog posts, reading, and researching.

I’m going to type this up when I get home. I’m in a car now, going to the mall to hang out with one of my friends for lunch and some shopping.  Shopping is a weakness of mine, it makes me feel good. I got a Pinkie Pie glitter mud mask and the best Tokidoki unicorn today, the perfect one I that I have been hoping to get for my new house! Yay!.   After I get this typed up I’m going to edit “Eat the Rich” and maybe start on story #2.  I guess the mystery story I started working on a few days ago.

I’m home now, obviously, since this is typed. I spent about 10 minutes emailing and texting friends, relationship maintenance, and then cleaned for 30 minutes, because the litter boxes were gross.  Full disclosure, I took a few muscle relaxers because my leg is hurting and my back is feeling tight.  So maybe I should work on literary fiction because I’m about to be “artistic” if you know what I mean.   😀

I guess up until this point I was about 45 minutes in.  I worked for 30 minutes on editing and actually fell asleep at my desk, how amazingly authentic!

I finished editing the story and then emailed it to a friend to read over.  This feels like progress.

Total writing time today was  about 2.5 hours. I am now going to spend the rest of my Sunday drinking pink alcohol and binge-watching netflix.