Routine vs Actual Progress

Rey is back at college, and I have the house to myself again. I could settle back into the old routine that got me here. Or I could reflect on how that got me here, and make some changes.

Before we get to all of that, some brief announcements, pending more formal (louder) announcements to come:

mcon2019-gold-413x413I will be running Go Action Fun Time at MaricopaCon on August 24 & 25.

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I will be running even more Go Action Fun Time at CoKoCon August 30th to September 1

 

I will be speaking at a couple of panels at KABAM Fri-Sat, Sept 20-21, 2019.

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I  hope to be at the Phoenix Library Local Author Fair on November 2nd. That is pending application, and the link below, while no secret, is for my reference.

https://www.phoenixpubliclibrary.org/ServicesForYou/Pages/Just-Read-Local-Author-Fair-application.aspx

I have always viewed routines as a potentially dangerous addiction. Some of this is the autism – which loooves routines – but most of this come from a life in show business where routines, as most people would understand them, are well-nigh impossible.

I have a day job, and a house to myself. I can have routines, and I do. I can go from stopping the alarm to starting the car in 45 minutes, with breakfast and coffee and lunch in a cooler. That this routine exists and is reliable brings me more pride and joy than I am comfortable admitting to.

You will be relieved to know that I am not about to describe said routine. Also worth noting: this is basically the only routine I follow with any consistency.  The laundry is a process rather than a routine, in that it is not time-sensitive. I can do it in a long afternoon, or I can spread it out over three nights. If I do it in an afternoon, though, it is a routine.

Similarly, I have a process for cleaning the house, and even a process for writing, but these are steps-in-order, they are not a choreographed ritual that is my  workday morning routine.

I should be more systematic about the writing routine: reflection, warm-ups, that sort of thing. There really are creative best-practices (but stay away from “Creativity exercises” business trot out when trying to “brainstorm” or whatever word they use for it now. You can’t force creativity out in a scheduled meeting.)  But I am often surprised by opportunities to get creative work done (“I know they said 9am, but they actually meant 1 pm”) and have learned to summon the magic without a great deal of preparation.

Routines are time consuming, though. It is within my autism to schedule every minute of my day doing plausibly useful things that wold maintain and enjoy the quality of life I have right now perpetually. Instead, I rather imagine progress. I am not unhappy with my life as it is now, but that is largely because I see it as a process rather than a routine.  If the last few years have taught me anything, there are precious few constants we can rely upon in life.  Even my precious morning routine is quite different than it would have been four years ago.

Other views on routine:

Fast Company says they are essential.

Jonah Mailin on Medium disagrees.

Productivity Blogger (this is a thing, I suppose) Dean Yeong has a best routine listicle.

I am up much later than I planned to be. I am drinking whiskey. Those are also solid routines.

Now we know.

 

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The Depressing Truth Behind Making Word Count

I have an ongoing weekly goal of 5000 written words a week. I have from Monday to Sunday to write, edit or otherwise create 5000 words worth of new material for a range of projects. (Yes, blogs count.)

I made my word count today for the first time in months, and that might be cause for rejoicing, the underlying reasons for my newfound productivity are not.

First, we brag.

On Are We Lost Yet, I finally recount my adventures in and around the Johnson Canyon Railroad. (Featured in Five Star Hikes: Flagstaff and Sedona).

The article is a few hundred words, but the video counts as a thousand.

In general, I need to figure an hour of total production time (writing, shooting, editing) for every minute of good You Tube video. The footage for this one (and ones like it) was shot years ago as personal notes, so that skews the formula. Nonetheless, I spent over three hours editing it.

Over on Curious Continuity, I popped out a thousand words ( separated by stolen, if credited images) on Fermi’s Paradox, and why our universe might remain terribly lonely.

I also did some artwork for The 64 (and drafted 1300 words on the sequel), but the artwork isn’t scheduled for months, and the novel for years. But we’ll get there.

Nobody on their deathbed laments that they wished they had made word count more often, or any other sort of job-related regret. They all wish they had spent more time with their family. I will to, I suppose. But this week, and perhaps many more to come, all I have is the work.

My wife of 29 years has left me, as in changed her address. As in I had to go start an account at a different credit union just to make certain  there is a hard line between our accounts now.

This was not my idea or desire. There was no problem with my wife or  the marriage that, from my end, I could not deal with or circumnavigate. She saw it differently, and here I am making word count.

I must, then refer you  to her, if you know her, for an explanation of why. I have gotten different answers, and I remain uncertain which if any I believe. There was, so you know, no particular incident or crime, or specific breach of faith. She was unhappy, and felt that leaving me was the way to deal with that. And there was nothing I could do – because I asked – to change her mind about that.

I’m not writing this in an attempt to elicit pity. I am still ahead of the curve in overall human experience. But I’m going to write these next paragraphs anyway, so that it doesn’t just plop out of me on Facebook or the like.

My marriage was one of the few enterprises in my life that I truly took seriously; the endeavor I put the most time, energy and money into (though the kids muddy that measurement), and it has failed. So when I write or speak of the scattered positive aspects of this situation, that is not, an attempt to disparage my wife or our relationship history. Rather, it is an attempt to convince myself that this is not the end of the world.

I have never been a single adult. I met my wife on my first day of college and we were dating by the end of that September. I was married at 21, and have remained so,  to that same woman, ever since. (Divorce is coming, but not here yet).

I have no clear idea how actual adults date in the 21st century. And, so we’re clear, I am not in a hurry to find out. In the summer of 1986 I rented a studio apartment for six months. Penny and I were still just “dating”. That was the last time I actually resided alone. I am kinda curious to see how I handle it.

Now, by alone, I mean with Penny’s two cats (also not my idea) and my daughter’s rabbit, all of which require food and attention. We all live together in a crumbling monument to all the compromises I made in the interest of a now failed marriage.

So bit by bit, I am reconstructing my house now that I no longer have to accommodate other human beings.

I am also working on developing a social life, because I haven’t been able to say yes to a party without side negotiations in 29 years. But I’m still not getting so drunk I have to sleep on your floor.

I still have to feed the pets.

This will be an adventure! So say the optimists in my life They may be right.

Being on a sinking ship is an adventure. And you will learn a lot about yourself and your true limits and priorities; things you might not have learned any other way.

But in your few quiet moments, you are still going to wish that the ship wasn’t sinking.

This was 850 words towards my goal. By the time I add links and tags, I can count it as a thousand.

 

Now you know.

 

You would think…

You would think that having gone to a big genre convention would send me back full of ideas and the motivation to turn those ideas into words. Yet my daily word count is embarrassing since the con.

You would think that a weekend without the kids would provide either pleasure or productivity, but it really produced only traces of either.

You would think this would prompt some introspective analysis from a borderline workaholic who normally loathes wasting time, but, that didn’t take very long.

I discovered Firefly on Hulu. That’s what happened to the better half of my weekend. That and we are trapped checking in twice daily on my sister’s large pack of large dogs, which precludes any serious activities out-of-town.

But I had forgotten how just about everything about Firefly stikes me as cool, from the pseudo-western dialogue to the toilets that fold back up into the cabin wall.

OK – my last reference to WesterCon 62 (I think…): Hand-out from the Writer’s Group Panel

Say it ain’t so: The 114th Skeptics Circle

And looking up in a similar format: the 110th Space Carnival

Now You Know.