Productivity recalibration

Phew, what a week!

I slacked off, writing-wise, for most of this week. Partly because I had a belated Valentine’s Day date (we went out on Friday instead of Wednesday), but also because I was involved with some stuff with the dayjob that I am both very hopeful and very cynical about. That took a whole of time and mental energy, and it remains to be seen how well that will all come to pass. I have my last pass of reviews to do for Forward the Hunt before it comes out on February 28th (if you preorder, there’s a discount!), but to be honest, I’ve been in such a tizzy over the dayjob stuff that I’ve neglected this.

I’ve still got a few days, though, so I’m not too worried.

We also had a minor scare about the cat’s health, since he stopped eating for a couple of days, but he’s since bounced back into demanding his meals about half an hour before the scheduled time. Even if it’s irritating when I want to sleep in on a weekend morning, I’m grateful that he’s feeling better.

So between all that, trying to teach myself how to properly use my new camera, and trying to both keep up with the news and not go insane with despair over things, it’s been a very productive week! Just not for writing. Technically I did have the raw time for it throughout the week, but I spent most of that decompressing by reading new things and watching art process videos. And I’ve definitely felt bad for this “slacking,” though perhaps not as badly as I “should,” or normally would.

After the slowburn disaster that was my productivity last year, the worry about “not being productive enough” has definitely weighed on me. I’ve talked about it before, but I still both envy and admire the people who managed to continue maintaining a steady output throughout 2017. The idea seems foreign to me. Even now, I’m definitely not back to my own personal height of productivity. After all, the world remains in a terrifyingly uncertain state; I might not be obsessively picking at the anxiety like a scab, but it lingers. The awareness remains that we live in those proverbial interesting times.

But I’ve been trying to forgive myself more if I’m not on the ball with all things at all times. My girlfriend has been pretty key in helping with this; even if she can’t change the world at large (unless there’s some really big secrets she’s keeping from me), she remains a steadfast and practical bastion of support. So I am trying to give myself passes — not so much that they become constant, consistent excuses, but enough that a week with plenty of outside influences and circumstances can take precedence over just being a steady stream of output.

I do this, and sometimes it’s more effective than others. But this has definitely been a week of letting myself roll with those punches. While I still wish I could balance things better, one of my ongoing goals is to work on not blaming myself for being human. Balancing priorities happens.

Some of it feels genuinely difficult because I am not a “fast” writer, at least not by my own standards. On a very good day, when everything perfectly falls into place, I can write about 5000 words in three hours. And I know that’s nothing to complain about, but getting everything to fall into perfect alignment is more serendipity than anything I can control. Most days, I make it to a standard 750 words or so in an hour (give or take distractions both legitimate and lazy), and call it good. Writing a short piece of story every day has helped, but not I’m still envious of people who can make more of their time when they have it.

…On the other hand, one thing I’ve heard over and over is that everyone writes at their own pace. Someone writing 300 words in a day can be just as, if not more, impressive than someone else’s 3000, depending on how they write and their circumstances. It’s one of those things where applying that logic to others is a lot easier than applying it to oneself. At least I am still feeling more positive than last year!

With this upcoming week, I’m not sure what I’ll end up doing. I’m still trying to work with and learn more things to eventually get an etsy shop rolling, but I’d like very much to get working more on the writing goals I have for 2018. Or maybe it’ll continue to be a week where I have more input than output; at this point, I honestly can’t predict.

Either way, fingers crossed it’ll be a good one (and that I’ll hear good news sometime next week!).

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