Well, 2016 happened.
For me, personally, it was not a terrible year. Sure, I was diagnosed with another c. diff infection (my 3rd – woo, hat trick!), and have spent the last few months reasonably stressed out about things both good and bad, but another poop transplant seems to have once again cleared out the former. As for the latter stress, well, half of the things contributing are things that don’t go away because they’re adult-that-is-alive things, and the others I have no control over, so fuck ’em. I’m doing what I can.
But in all, things are just about where I want them to be, and as another year clicks over I look back (not-so) fondly at all of those things I didn’t do. Namely, all those stories I didn’t finish and submit.
I kept thinking, “If only I get a job that doesn’t eat all of my mental energy, I can focus.” Or, “Once I get effective treatment for my depression, I can focus.” Or, my favorite, “Maybe if I reduce the stress/number of things online I look at/amount of music/TV/movies I consume, I can focus.”
Well, I’ve done those. I’ve done all of those. Can I focus?
::wipes tear:: ::goes off to chase a squirrel::
Wait, what was I saying?
It’s becoming apparent that I can make the following revision to those previous experiments:
“I can’t focus.”
So that’s my goal. My resolution, if you go in for those sorts of things, for this year. I’m trying to find someone to talk to about my inability to focus on anything for more than 15 minutes at a time. Except for when I get super focused on something engrossing. Like the book I’m reading (I read 38 in 2016, which is pretty good considering I only really have time to read on weekends). Or video games (beating all three Bioshock games in the span of a week made my hands hurt). Or cleaning (the apartment has become spotless since I began to restrict myself from going on social media – I’m only allowing myself Instagram and Goodreads, currently). Or when I have a deadline and I will fuck over not only myself but everyone around me if I don’t meet that deadline. It seems like I can hyperfocus on anything except what I want to be focused on, which makes me feel like a lazy asshole. All the while everyone I know tells me I’m the least lazy person they know. Hmph.
Woah there, Tangent.
Anyway, I’m hoping this is gonna be there year where I figure out how to start addressing the “so I can focus” thing.
I’m setting a goal for myself to write at least 2 new stories this year. Last year I wrote 3 new ones. I’d also like to collect more rejections that my best year of being rejected and collect over 20. I’d also like to be able to focus long enough to finish that damn book draft and start working on the next one I’ve been picking at.
And I know why I’m getting the rejections. I’m lazy as fuck at editing. So I’m going to try to be better about making that a more organized effort than what I have been doing, which had no discernible system whatsoever beyond, “Sit here and frown for at least 20 minutes before you’re allowed to go down a wikipedia rabbit hole of research.”
An important work thing has made it impossible for me to go to Rainforest this year, which is always my most productive week of writing, where my mental energy isn’t sapped for the first 10 hours of every day by work, and I don’t have to run errands or do anything other than write all day. I’m more than a little frustrated I can’t go this year, but at the same time, getting too attached to the fact that I *can* churn out 25000 words of (honestly not that bad) fiction in five days, isn’t doing me any favors. It’s making me feel like I can only write well when I’m in the zone and I can only get in the zone if I have 8 consecutive hours to write. And when I sit down on a weekend to try and replicate that, well, let’s just say without any momentum going into those kinds of sessions, you’re gonna walk away disappointed when you spend 30 minutes trying to remember what the hell you were doing the last time you worked on this story and oh, hey, look, I need to do the laundry and go to the store and hang out with friends who are starting to get really grumpy with you because you can’t hang out during the week because you’re too fucking busy all the time.
Ahem. Tangent again.
Ah, well, here’s to 2017. May the resulting excuses take on a distinctly different flavor!