|Multi-factorial Progress Report
||[Sep. 10th, 2016|10:37 pm]
NextBook, Cold Welcome, is in production and will be released in April, 2017. New new book (untiltled so far) is sitting just over 55,000 words and rocking along nicely, this first draft somewhat under half done. It's another Vatta book, following directly on Cold Welcome. The story for an anthology is started, but was derailed for quite a while by illness and partial recovery. When the new new book reaches 60,000 words (by the end of next week, I hope), I will put it in second place for the six weeks I will have left to finish the story. (A short story takes me as long as several chapters of a book because there's no momentum built up, and I can't let it run free. It has to stay short.) That's the writing part of the progress report. The prescribed rest has helped--after two months without being able to write, but concentrating on recovery, including getting enough sleep, the words came back into my head.
Recovery from hitting the wall is taking longer than I had hoped, but if you run yourself into a wall, it often does. The Lyme Disease (the tick that bit me shortly after I'd hit the wall) and its treatment slowed things down, and then weather (daily rain followed by an abrupt change to very hot, very humid weather when outside exercise was impossible and I still could not drive as far as a town with a mall) prevented re-conditioning. I went to WorldCon, tried to stay on my new, prescribed schedule, but it was still an exhausting trip. I have not sung with the choir since April and want very much to get back to it--but I have to be able to handle both the rehearsals (drive 50 miles into the city, rehearse, and drive 50 miles back at night) and the Sunday morning services. Planning to try making rehearsal next week, if nothing else goes wrong. My vision is slowly (fortunately very slowly) decreasing, too, in a way that nothing can be done about.
Knitting also had to go, when I couldn't knit even one needle without mistakes. I got back to it a few weeks after starting to write again, but this year's planned knitting is now impossible to achieve. I can't knit as fast (or write as fast) and if I skimp on sleep for any reason, I make stupid mistakes (lots!) in the knitting. But I'm knitting, more slowly, socks I like while I'm knitting them and once they're on my feet.
Because writing at the rate I was writing takes enough time that I can't get enough sleep, and therefore risk hitting the wall again (do not want to do that, and have all the words and ideas and joy in life evaporate from my head leaving me unable to do the things I love) I'm redesigning the rest of my life, with the understanding that plans made do not lead to what happens...necessarily. But still, if you want to get somewhere, you start in that direction and prepare for the detours and blockages and necessary rest stops and plan also to enjoy the detours as much as possible.
So: I can write if I don't push it too hard. I can have energy to spare for the other things I love--singing, knitting, cooking, gardening, work on the land, photography, etc.--if don't have commitments to meet deadlines that mean it's all I get to do. And if I can re-condition as the weather cools this fall, and be better prepared for the heat next summer. I'd like to go back and paint a few more pictures. Write some more poetry. Go on the Central Texas Yarn Crawl next year (can't this year: deadlines.) Sing the Mozart Requiem one more time. Spend more time actually with (not just in the same piece of land with) my husband, because you never know for sure how much time you've got left, and more time with friends, ditto. I was told about 20 years ago that I was pushing too hard and would wear out and should take better care, etc, etc....and I saw no alternative to what I was doing, which was whatever it took to keep us afloat and me sane. In local vernacular, "back your ears and pull that plough." Took awhile for the wearing out to happen, but it did, and now that is what has to be dealt with. So I am.
I'm in better shape in several ways than I was in April. The words are flowing. The stitches are getting made. I'm cooking more again. Progress. Always before "making progress" meant push harder, work longer, dig deeper...but now that whole "just stay up and work until it's done" thing is off the table. Making progress without losing ground is the new goal and it's not the way I've ever tackled a problem...so I'm trying to learn the new skills required. But...there's progress. I brought two horses back from the brink of malnutrition and (in one case) overwork; they both had extended lives and some good years after. So surely I can do the same for myself (even if my malnutrition was in the other direction.)
When the new new book is done, I'm going "off-task" for as long as it takes to reach the new equilibrium. Of course I will write, because it's what I do (but so are the other things I used to do as well as write.) I don't consider it "retirement" (because that would mean not writing, which is...ICK!) but I do consider it switching modes. (And I really, REALLY, want to go on that yarn crawl next year. And learn to deconstruct and repair the pumps that circulate water in our system. And get back to making our bread. And knit more socks and maybe even (gasp!) a sweater.)