Rock Me Gently

Wednesday and it’s all downhill from here into the weekend, isn’t it?

It’s been an interesting week, to say the least. But I am handling everything and getting some good rest at night; getting a handle on everything that needs to get done in the next few months, and am rather excited about everything rather than intimidated–which is an absolutely lovely change, frankly; it’s been awhile since I’ve seen a lengthy to-do list as an exhilarating challenge rather than a depressing reminder of not being able to keep up with things, and I am glad there has been a mental shift for me. Huzzah!

One of the hardest things for me, as a writer who has an appalling amount of creative AHDH, is having to put aside something I am already working on to work on something that has a contract and a deadline, plus I am a bit of a completist; I don’t like leaving something unfinished once it’s started (hence all those files of unfinished stories and fragments and so forth). I had planned originally to spend this fall writing Chlorine, but another book opportunity dropped into my lap and I got a contract, so Chlorine–being written on spec–has to be put to the side for the actual contracted work. The two books are completely different in everything, from voice to tone to style to setting, so I am having to shift from one mindset to another. This used to be incredibly easy–switching back and forth from Chanse to Scotty and back again was incredibly good training–but it’s not as easy as it once was. (For that matter, what is?) And when you take into consideration that I was also in the midst of revising a novella when the storm came ashore and The Power Went Out…yeah, my creative mind is definitely all over the place….and all three are, as I said, completely different in style and tone and voice and plot.

And I keep getting more and more ideas every day! It never ends, really.

I also have a short story to finish at some point as well. AUGH.

But I will not allow myself to fall into the trap of being overwhelmed–you see in the last sentence how I almost began backsliding into it? NO. I can do it, and I will do it.

But first, I need to make a to-do list. I think one of the biggest problems I’ve had over the last two years–the reason I have been primarily feeling so overwhelmed–is the utter lack of organization I’ve been dealing with. I never seem to be able to get a handle on everything I need to get done (recognizing that I am older and no longer have the energy I once did) primarily because when the pandemic hit, I got out of my routine last year and stopped making to-do lists…which got me behind, and I never really have been able to sit down and get a real handle on everything again. My office space at home is getting sorted–there’s still a lot of work to get done around there, too–and I am hoping that by the end of this year I will see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel and maybe, just maybe, 2022 will be the year I am able to manage things a lot better for myself.

Interesting thoughts before the sun comes up on a Wednesday morning in November, eh?

Trying to focus has been one of the biggest challenges for me during the pandemic, frankly. I am used to being scattered–of the necessity of multi-tasking rather than trying to simply do one thing at a time, which would ultimately be disastrous for me–but with the addition emotional drain of the pandemic, that’s become a lot more difficult. Still. I’ve managed to get some writing done–I finished rewriting two novels, there were some short stories along the way, and I did write drafts of the novellas–but I feel for the most part like the last two years were lost somehow. I’ve also reached the point where I don’t believe that any of this is ever going to go back to anything like it was two years ago, before the pandemic started. The world, our society, everything has changed–whether that’s for the better or not remains to be seen, I think.

But today I am going to try to get a thorough–and undoubtedly long–to-do list finished; in fact, I am most likely going to make three; one for the short term, one for the rest of the year, and one for long term. It is essential for me in order to get organized, for me to have some idea of what needs to be done and by when, and I also need to clean out some files. I think, if I can get some serious writing done during the rest of this week, I may take Saturday to clean out the filing, and get some of the boxes of files in the living room cleared out and up into the attic. There are a bunch of files in the filing cabinet I can put away into storage; I rarely go into the file cabinet for anything, after all, and I really do not need easy access to contracts I signed twenty years ago. It’s just such a huge job that I really haven’t been able to face it for quite some time, but I think I need to just bite the damned bullet and take a day (probably this Saturday, LSU plays Alabama which will be a horrifyingly painful to watch mismatch) and get it done. Some of this stuff can also probably be thrown away at some point as well…sure, it’s great to have hard copies of things in case electronic files get lost (which can happen, and is my biggest fear) but at the same time…well, it’s already happened a few times already and hasn’t really had a great impact on anything going on for me.

And maybe, just maybe, it’s time for me to come up with a five-year plan, personally and professionally. In five years, after all, I will be retirement age, and retirement is beginning to look a lot better to me the more time passes–despite the gutting of social security and Medicare, as well as the lack of enthusiasm by politicians to fix them–and so I need to figure out how to make that possible. The plan was always that a strong income from writing would correlate nicely with my social security and retirement; but that plan isn’t looking very good at the moment. Granted, not having to give my office forty hours a week would–and should–free me to do more writing, which means income increase from that part of the my life, but the insurance is terrifying…which is why I try not to think about it or look into it too much.

Sadly, I think our retirement will mean having to leave New Orleans and live somewhere a lot less expensive. Disappointing, to be sure–I assumed I’d die in New Orleans–but…as living costs continue to escalate here and rents/property values keep sky-rocketing, I don’t see how it’s even going to be possible.

Ugh, that’s a road of depressing thinking I didn’t want to take this morning, so on that note, I am going to cleanse my mind and get on with my day. Have a lovely one, Constant Reader.

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