Journal

Friday Update: An End to May

And the month of May is just about over! What a whirlwind. I covered a lot of the writing related achievements in my Monthly Goals Review – May 2021 post, but to sum it up: I wrote a lot. Like. A LOT.

I managed to wrap up three short stories, one of which is already on submission, one of which will *hopefully* be on submission as of this weekend, and one which is cooling its heels until it’s ready to be revisited. It’s actually pretty rare that I write a story that I also end up submitting in the same month, so I’m pleased!

I made good progress on the novel, hitting 50k of the rewrite, which I’m hoping will put me in good stead for progressing into the second half over the next few months.

I also managed to finish four books (hooray!): Gideon the Ninth (A), Dark Tales (A-), Your Seven-Year-Old (C+), and The Accidental Creative (B: a reread, but worth revisiting).

Gideon was so good it drove me into a depression for a few days because HOLY CRAP, to be able to write like that-! The first act is a touch slow, only because (like Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell) it has a FREAKTON of world-building to accomplish in that space, but once the download lightens up, it really flies.

Dark Tales is a wonderful collection of Shirley Jackson’s short stories, so if you like her work, you’ll like this one. “The Summer People” is one of my new favorite short stories. If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading anything but “The Lottery” in high school, do yourself a massive favor and try some of her other short work, which in my opinion is just as good, if not better.

I picked up Your Seven-Year-Old because I’ve read several of the other books in the series, and taken lightly, they can be pretty helpful in determining what of your kiddo’s behavior is considered age-appropriate and what not to freak out about (like grumpy gloominess and an obsession with fairness at seven: check and check!). But there are a lot of things in these books that are pretty darn out of date, gender-wise, and some psychology things that I’m not entire sure are things anymore (ectomorphs?), but your mileage may vary. Generally worth it, not quite as eye-opening as the last few were.

The Accidental Creative is one of those books I thought I ought to come back to someday, like Work Clean and Atomic Habits, but I’m not as impressed the second time through. I feel like there *are* very useful things in here for writers (unnecessary creating, for example, and establishing a study habit), but they’re heavily buried in the corporate creative mindset (geared towards managers and marketing executives) which really slows the pace down. It might be more useful for a writer to dive into The Artist’s Way or The Creative Habit which both touch on a lot of the same things, but without the obsession with minute goal-setting. Not that there’s not merit in that and I like the idea of quarterly reviews/determining where and how you’ll spend your energy, but I think TAW and TCH both tackle it from the truly artistic POV better than this one does. Worth reading once–not sure it’s a repeater, like Atomic Habits is.

Month-wise, we’ve finally started getting a taste of summer weather. We had a wonderful thunderstorm the other day, with proper wind, rain, and lightning + thunder. We’ve attempted a bit of planting our garden, only to have the wood rat decimate our lettuce (not precisely unexpected), and Thing 2’s naps have gotten squiffy.

That last bit has been the biggest challenge this month. Whereas before, I could pretty readily count on a nice 2hr nap at minimum, he’s really started flaking out on me. Sometimes he sleeps crazy long (4hrs the other day!) and sometimes he doesn’t sleep at all, or only for about ten minutes. The unpredictability has made getting in my usual run impossible, since I don’t dare leave him with the folks at home and run for 30 minutes, just to return home to find he’s woken up and any writing time is gone. So instead, I started flaking out on my run, just so I’d be home and could focus on writing for a bit even if he woke up a half hour later.

That’s…not great for me. I really need the running to regulate anxiety, and without it, I tend to get a lot more wound-up and cranky. But if I got the run in and skipped the writing, that’s a proven recipe for swinging me (especially at this time of year) towards a depressive episode. So it’s been tough. I need to get the run back in; I need to make sure I keep steadily getting words on the page, neither are all that easy right now.

But at least I can look back at May and recognize that I got a FLIP-TON written, which does help a little.

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