Category Archives: Time management and goals

Despite a moment of panic, this week went well

So after my crown went in Wednesday, I celebrated by having a meal of crunchy granola … and felt a grinding sensation, not from my crown but the cap on the other side. And when I checked with my tongue, I found it was missing. So I called the dentist … and it turned out I was imagining it. No gap that wasn’t there before. Everything’s fine. It still feels funny, but I’m confident my dentist is more objective than I am.

Leaf articles didn’t start back up until the end of the week so I put in a lot of time on Alien Visitors. I have three chapters and the introduction in good, though rough shape; barring disaster, it is actually doable by deadline. I do have to start ordering posters and photos as illustrations though — I’ve left that too long. My original plan was to buy them a couple each month; it won’t be easy to absorb now, but it’ll be manageable. I watched fewer movies than planned, but I’m still on track there, too.

I also started on the final proof of Undead Sexist Cliches and began to think about marketing, promotion, book blurbs (trigger warnings will be a must — some of this stuff I’m critiquing is creepy as shit).

Less than a couple of months and both books will be done. Then it’s back to fiction at last.

And now, time to put up the computer and relax. Have fun, y’all.

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A man, a plan, a canal — only no canal and not really a plan

(For those who don’t know, the title comes from the palindrome “A man, a plan, a canal — Panama.”).

So last month I just threw up my hands and stopped my usual efforts to make a monthly to-do list. Due to Wisp coming in every morning, the stuff I do early (meditate, voice exercises) hasn’t been getting done. And my writing to-dos are pretty basic: 1)Finish Alien Visitors by the end of October; 2)finish my article on golems by the same date; 3)finish Undead Sexist Cliches, ditto. So why worry beyond mapping out my work for the week?

Now that we’ve moved out of August and into September, I’m finding that a little uncomfortable. I like the structure my monthly to-do list gives me, even if I don’t handle more than half of the list. So I’ll probably bite the bullet and resume for October. I’m already trying to reinstitute some of my morning activities into my day somewhere. It’s just difficult, as I get caught up in writing or I suddenly have to take care of the dogs. I love them, but they are not helpful to achieving a meditative state.

This week I had no Leaf articles so it was almost all Alien Visitors, and it went well. I rewrote the introduction into a reasonably polished state, then rewrote the Invasion chapter as well. Having something finished enough I can say “Yeah, I’ll get this book done” is very satisfying. And that despite some extra dog care, including an unplanned vet trip — nothing serious, just Trixie needed a checkup for a sore foot. She’s now in the cone of shame to stop her chewing on it.

Oh, and I updated one of my old posts — about the Bronze Age Freedom Fighters series — and posted it at Atomic Junkshop.

I also made a start on adding a few final notes to Undead Sexist Cliches — items I bookmarked that were worthy of adding, some information from Jesus and John Wayne. I’d meant to start revising my golem piece as well, but the vet visit took up too much time. I’d thought I could get some research reading done but Trixie, who’s usually into wandering around sniffing everything, insisted on sitting on my lap and getting stroked. So she got her wish, of course.

Wisp has still been coming on at night on a regular basis. This morning she came in mid-morning, which hasn’t happened in a while. I suspect she’ll be spending more time indoors as the weather drops. Hopefully she’ll go back to snoozing while she’s in — it’s much easier to get work done that way. There’s a white cat that’s been sniffing around our house lately, but Wisp doesn’t seem compelled to establish her turf and drive the stranger off. If the new cat comes regularly enough, we’ll schedule a spay/neuter at the local clinic, then trap it. We don’t see it consistently enough yet.

Fall has definitely started. Temperatures were relatively mild earlier this week (I emphasize “relatively”) and this morning it was almost chilly enough to require more than shorts and a T-shirt. It’s quite welcome.

For this weekend, I anticipate cooking, reading and as usual watching Alien Visitor films. If the weather stays nice, maybe bicycling as well.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

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Filed under Nonfiction, Personal, The Dog Ate My Homework, Time management and goals, Undead Sexist Cliches: The Book, Writing

Among this week’s accomplishments: removing multi-legged things from the house

One reason TYG is glad to have me around is that when things with too many legs show up, she can have me remove them. Like these two:So that’s two accomplishments unlocked this week.

Writing wise it was a very good week. I wrapped up my Leaf articles for the month Sunday and Monday, then spent the rest of the week working on Alien Visitors. Well, mostly: I finished my proofing of Chapter Nine of Undead Sexist Cliches which means I’m just about done. It hasn’t sunk in yet, though.

I got a lot of writing done for Alien Visitors which has me feeling much better about the book’s progress. Still much to do — almost too much — but for the first time in a while it looks manageable. With the end of October in sight, it’s only a couple more months to work on it — rushed months, but then it’ll be done.

Wisp slept in at night the entire week, which meant she was with me every morning. Nevertheless I managed to regain part of my schedule and get all my exercising done this week, plus long walks with Trixie. Exercise is probably what I need most, so this is good.  And other than one night, she was happy to sleep until I got up, instead of waking me up for petting.

May September go this well!

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So as you may have gathered, this was a busy week

Hence my posting three days of images. A decade ago, I’d just have skipped most of the week, but now that I’ve been blogging daily for several years, I don’t want to break the streak.

Some of the busy was non-writing related. Monday, in addition to the dogs’ rehab appointments, TYG and I had to hit the bank to get some papers notarized; being indoors, it requires an appointment. Tuesday, I had tea with a friend of mine at nearby Bean Traders. I wrote fifteen hours worth of Leaf articles and got quite a bit of writing done on Alien Visitors. As usual, not enough. And annoyingly I discovered a couple of chapters I could have sworn I’d written exist only in my head. Oh, and I had to take Trixie in yesterday for an allergy shot — neither dog can seem to go three months without deciding to chew their itchy paws to shreds, so the shots are now standard.

I haven’t heard back from my dentist about my permanent crown so I’m still chewing everything carefully and avoiding anything too hard.

Despite Wisp coming in each morning, I managed to make my exercise goals for the week. Partly that’s by doing extra on the weekends, but whatever works.

So another low drama week. This is a good thing.

For visuals, here’s a photo of Plush Dog from a few months back —— and here’s how he looks after his recent grooming.Hard to believe it’s the same dog, isn’t it?

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Still too chaotic to blog

Okay, it’s not really a chaos issue. It’s that I’m getting a lot done on Alien Visitors and a lot of Leaf articles done, which leaves little time for blogging. But phrasing it as “chaos” justifies using these three covers from Michael Moorcock’s first Corum trilogy, pitting him against the Lords of Chaos:Covers by Bob Haberfield

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Stressed but productive, so that’s a win

The schedule was against me this week. Not as bad as those dental appointments last week, but we had a grooming appointment for the dogs, my ophthalmologist visit and a lot of extra dog care on top of that. TYG’s schedule was crazy, so I took point on taking care of them as much as possible. After a certain point, they get distracting, particularly as Plushie’s back to his old habit of squeezing into my lap then expanding into maximum space. I usually wind up sitting in a position that’s physically uncomfortable for writing, and my brain feels it.

I did get a lot of Leafs done and I made some progress on Alien Visitors. But not enough progress to feel confident. It’s still doable but I’m really going to have to push for the remaining 2.5 months. I’d feel better if I could sit and think and map out what has to be done, but having the pups invade my personal space for so much time makes it hard to think clearly.

Ditto Wisp spending more time coming in for snuggles in the morning. I’ll never refuse to let her in — she’s my cat, after all — but the morning was the one time I could count on 90 minutes to 2.5 hours to myself without any distractions. It’s surprising to discover how much that helped my day progress. I need to find a solution, but I don’t have a clue what it is yet.

It’s been sweltering hot here, with the heat index getting up to over 100 degrees a couple of times. And Durham is once again under a mask mandate as the right-wing anti-vax crusade continues.

On the plus side, despite all my worries about my temporary crown, I haven’t done anything to dislodge it from the tooth. By the end of next week I should at least have a date for the permanent crown to go on. Looking forward to it!

And I sold another copy of Sex for Dinner, Death For Breakfast. Whoever bought it, thanks!

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Trumped by my teeth!

So along with Monday’s MRI, I also had to go to my endodontist for a root canal on Tuesday. It was quicker than I thought, but it left me feeling definitely off my game. I wound up spending Tuesday afternoon watching videos for Alien Visitors when it’s the writing I really need to be working on.

Worse, I couldn’t get my head back in the game the following day. Partly that’s because Wisp slept in and between her getting up with me and Trixie coming down early, I couldn’t really focus in the morning (I used to have a couple of hours of quiet time to get my shit together). So I spent most of that day watching videos too. Thursday I went into my regular dentist to replace the temporary filling with a permanent filling and temporary crown. That took somewhat longer than I thought. And at that point my mind decided, as it sometimes does, “You’re never going to get everything done. Give up!” and my brain’s been limping along ever since. Much extra dog care due to TYG’s hectic schedule this week didn’t help; when they’re needy it’s very difficult to focus.

So I accomplished stuff, but I really thought I’d be doing more. Oh, well …

A minor annoyance is that I’m utterly terrified of knocking out my crown. Intellectually I realize it’s not a fragile soap bubble that pops at a touch but I can’t shake the fear that if I eat something a little too chewy or hard — CRACK! Having to think about which side I chew with is Not Fun.

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Another productive week without craziness

—So a good week, but not terribly exciting to write about. Next week I have a root canal and an unrelated doctor’s appointment so that may change.

I wrapped up my Leaf writing for July on Monday.

To my pleasant surprise I finished the last chapter and the afterword of Undead Sexist Cliches. In my head, I’m tentatively setting a publication date in early November, which allows me to think about publicity and promotion and stuff (more on this later). Of course, I have a shit-ton to do on Alien Visitors which has a firm deadline at the end of October, so I still wonder if it’s possible. But if I commit, I’ll have to deliver.

Speaking of Alien Visitors, I did a thorough rewrite on the introduction and a good second draft of the chapter on alien invaders (focus: the George Pal and Spielberg War of the Worlds). Being able to look at them and say that yes, people will actually find this interesting, is a huge booster. Much to do yet, though.

And of course, I watched movies and TV for the book. Memorably, but not pleasurably the Day the Earth Stood Still knockoff Cosmic Man (1959) –— which is still more watchable than the Keanu Reaves remake of Day. And then Atomic Submarine (1960)I suffer for my art.

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My week, demolished by dogs (Wisp helped too)

Having Tuesday sucked up by doctor visits was only part of the distractions from writing this week.

It started Saturday night, July 3. Some clodpates decided to launch fireworks to celebrate Independence Day Eve and Plushie freaked out. He crawled across the bed and began licking at my face for comfort, which is not so comfortable for me — I kept having to shift to avoid getting my mouth or my ears licked (ick!). And he wanted to jump off the bed, which would be bad for his ongoing recovery (more on which soon).

Sunday night, July 4, there were, of course, more fireworks and more of a freakout. My writing day Monday was ultra-groggy; I’d scheduled eight Leaf articles for myself and only finished six. Catching up took more time out of the rest of my week (I try for 10 a week. It covers my share of the bills handily).

Monday night, as I mentioned in this morning’s post, Wisp kept waking me up. Tuesday and Wednesday I just didn’t sleep well. Part of that is that the endodontist gave me antibiotics (there’s a slight infection around the site of my future root canal) and my mind keeps prodding me to get up at 3 AM so I take them on a regular schedule (it’s a four times a day thing), then I can’t get back to sleep.

Then Thursday, a friend called with a problem. They’d previously asked about us dog-sitting Lily and Tito as we’d done before, but for a longer stretch, Thursday to Tuesday (the dogs have never been boarded so the owners don’t want to do that if they can avoid it). Then they’d found someone who could house-sit with the dogs, so we didn’t have to get involved. Thursday their house-sitter got slapped with an emergency and it was too late to either take the dogs or board them, so could we … And of course we said yes. Needless to say, having two more dogs slows my work down to a crawl. Plus our weekly session with our dogs at the dog rehab place took much longer than anticipated. So Thursday was a wash as far as anything involving thinking. Today was too.

At least they’re awfully cute, sweet dogs though.

I did manage to read over Chapter Nine of Undead Sexist Cliches preparatory to rewriting it. I posted on Atomic Junkshop about the obscure Superman villain Zha-Vam (“Say his name and even Superman shakes!”) I got my ten Leafs done for the week, and watched a lot of movies for Alien Visitors. Didn’t get much writing done, though and I really need to. But there’s only so much that can be done when multiple dogs clamor for attention.

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With the year half over …

I’ve had a consistent run of completing 50 percent of my goals each month. And it happened once again for June. Writing went well, though (as usual) nowhere near as fast as I wanted. Lots of little goals didn’t get done but I kept up my exercise and (reasonably) healthy eating goals.

This week went well. My relatively new rule of not counting time spent on email or blogging as writing time really does allow me to get more done. And I don’t feel guilty if I plow through a lot of email. Both these things are good.

I rewrote the Alien Invasions chapter of Alien Visitors and put in a bunch of time breaking down my list of movies decade by decade, to see if I can spot any trends. Nothing concrete yet, but I’ll blog about it when I think of something. And, of course, I watched movies. Leaf was on hiatus most of the week so I had extra time (I’ll be back on that beat starting Monday, or maybe Sunday). I also need to rein in how much stuff I try to do during movies. Sure, lots of them are minor and not really deserving of close attention. Even so, they may spark some insight, but not if I let myself get consumed by blogging or reading the news. I used to be able to double-focus, but not so much now. And switching from close-up computer range eye use to staring at the TV creates quite a strain.

I finished rewriting the abortion/birth control chapter of Undead Sexist Cliches. Now it’s just Chapter Nine (and the conclusion), then indexing, spell-checking, researching a couple of point that need clarifying …and (ugh) rereading Warren Farrel’s The Myth of Male Power. The $17 used copy I ordered vanished in the mail (I got a refund today). As every copy I can find is at least $30, I sold out and bought the Kindle edition for $8. I dislike anything that sends royalties his way, but …

For visual appeal, here’s a photo I took of the spare bedroom window early Thursday, when it’s only lit by the back porch floodlights. It came out much better than most of my darkness photos do.#SFWApro.

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