Life

A Whirlwind

Hello peoples. Let me just preface this by saying that life has been crazy these past couple of months. Emotionally, mostly, as is with everything, but also just living. I don’t mean suicidal, I mean like living in a house with bills to pay and somehow everything in your possession start to break at once. This thing needs fixing which leads to this other thing needs fixing and before you know it you’re out thousands and thousands of savings, and in a time like this even if you can weather it you’re afraid of ‘what else is going to go wrong’ scenarios, and you psych yourself up for failure.

I also don’t have a psychologist at this moment. My usual one is, well, I think we’re not jiving anymore, so I’m in the market for a new one. Except of course everyone needs mental health help right now so there’s a giant waitlist for every single option. I am journaling and trying to manage everything myself, and it’s to limited success. It doesn’t help that I haven’t worked on my novel one lick since I finished the outline, and I’m getting really cold feet about the whole process again. It’s a work in progress, always, and I’m going to try to pull through this week. The first week of calmness I’ve had in a while.

I’ll talk more about my life later. Right now I just want to have a small update. Even writing this one took me forever because I’m out of practice, so to speak. Who knew you can get rusty with personal blogging? Yeah, that’s it from me for now.

Work · Writing

The Next Step

I have finished my novel planning with the Snowflake Method. I am very happy about that, but at the same time, I am now terrified of actually picking up my novel again and writing it, again, but better this time.

It’s stressful, okay? I know I should be ecstatic I finally wrangled the novel plot into better shape, but man, now I’m feeling inadequate in the whole writing process things. What if I just suck really, really bad at putting words together to form a cohesive whole? What if what I planned to convey just completely falls flat? What if my planning itself has so many plot holes that I just didn’t see? What if? What if? What? Endless questions and self-doubt plagued me for the past few days. It doesn’t help that I also got summoned for jury duty in a courthouse pretty far from me, and very inconvenient to get to. Fear of dealing with that and chance of Covid and everything just paralyzed me for the entire day yesterday. I’ve put in a transfer request but who knows what’ll happen there? Uncertainty is not a good base state for me to tackle my novel in earnest. (Not even thinking about Ukraine and Russia and all that, nope!)

But the good news is that I got over all the anxiety from yesterday today. Well, okay, getting over is a little optimistic, I managed my anxiety so it’s not debilitating that I can’t think about work. Hence I am working today, or trying to talk myself into starting it. If at the end of the day I can write one paragraph I’d consider it a win. Seriously, this is so ridiculous. Hopefully every day I’ll get a little bit less anxious, and in a couple of weeks I’ll be writing normally, like a writer should, instead of whatever crawling pace I have now.

Life

Cleaning Is Working

So I’ve decided last week to try out this schedule of not working on novel on Mondays, but devoting it to cleaning. The house has so many things that need organizing and fixing, but I realized that I can’t think about major cleaning on days I need to work on novel, because that would just become the entire day’s focus and I’d get nothing done. The weekend doesn’t work either because I spend entire Sundays out shopping for the week’s groceries (this is LA, to go anywhere takes like 40+ minutes, and all the Asian grocery stores are very far from where I live), and on Saturday the last thing I want is major cleaning because I really want a relaxing day. Therefore, it’s going to be Monday. Maybe I’ll work a bit extra on Saturdays to make up for it, but devoting Mondays to clean seems to be the best route.

So this week I put it to trial. And you’ll never guess what happened. Well, no, I’m sure you can guess what happened, which was that I completely froze up on the sheer amount of cleaning I have to do and got very little done. Yep, apparently cleaning is also super anxiety inducing for me, who’d have thought? (Everyone. Everyone would’ve except I thought I could tackle it without a plan. Nope!) I pretty much did the most basic dusting and left all organization to rot. Considering that was like, the whole point of the exercise, essentially I got nothing of note done on Monday. But I didn’t give up! I tried again on Tuesday, but cut everything down to the smallest tackable size. Instead of grand ambition of cleaning every surface in the room I will only clean ONE bookshelf, so that was what I did on Tuesday. The hallway bookshelf is…emptied and a bunch of stuff is on the bed in the guest room, but the shelf itself is clean and I threw out all the garbage papers that had been sitting on there for, uh, a few years? So everything I have right now are things I want to keep. I will organize the keep piles later, but hey, progress!

I will now move on to the other bookshelf in my bedroom. There will be some shuffling of books between the two, and also more dusting because dust is just so goshdarn pervasive! But I won’t be doing that today. I’ll be working on novel planning because I’m almost completely done with the thing! Tomorrow I will see if I can do more with the books, but I’ve learned my lesson now. Everything will be planned out in tiny increments. If I can do more than one great, if not, then that’s it. Any large chunks would just freeze me out and be counterproductive. Just like writing, eh?

Work · Writing

Goal!

Alright, so after some turbulent, stressful hours (days?), I finally finished Step 7 of the Snowflake Method for my novel planning. It’s not quite the step outlined in the official Snowflake Method since I made changes because of where I am with my novel, more akin to Step 8 where you’re making a detailed outline. Anyway, I just want to declare that, finally, I’ve completed my outline for the whole novel. And boy, it is a lot. Super plot-heavy and I’m still not sure about all the transition parts and character developments and all that, but those are worry for another day. Today, I’m happy I got this step done. Felt like I had a mini-heart attack every time I sat down to work on this. But it is over! Done!

I’ve discovered that it was mostly the middle part that really messed me up. The beginning third I’ve more or less already written, and the last third I have a pretty good idea because I know how I want things to end up. But the middle third I was struggling for real! Took some insanely long time to hash out the outline for that part, it was like pulling teeth! I broke a 11-line outline into two separate days because I had a colossal headache trying to get everything to flow. It was so stupid and crappy. But I got through it, and once I moved on to the last third things went much, much faster. So as of now I am officially done with the outline part, and all that’s left is a comprehensive review of everything I’ve done, and then I can go back and resume my writing. You know, the most important aspect of writing a novel, that part.

But that’s for the Next Week Me to figure out. Today Me will take it easy and have a relaxing weekend, because I deserve a little bit of downtime. The grind can wait.

Work · Writing

What Goes Between the Plotty Bits?

I’m making a post because I’m terrified of working on my outline. No lie, y’all. I finished the rough outline for part 1 yesterday and took a small look at part 2 and, ho boy, talk about messed up and sparse. This outline is the last bit before I resume actual writing and I’m sitting here cross-eyed going “how does any of these events connect and fit together???” Where are the character development bridge parts? How long are my chapters these seem awfully dense with plot. OMG everything’s bad!

So yeah, uh, mini-freak out aside, the best way is just to list everything I already have and fill in the blanks….somehow haha. I have no idea. It’s why I’m procrastinating with this blog rather than actually trying to work on it. I’m sure when I start writing in earnest I’ll have a lot more problems than the measly issue I have here, today, but that’s a way off. Right now I could really use a giant cup of coffee.

Life

Good Mondays – Movies

Oh hi. I really made an effort on this series but things have been so bad that I haven’t had anything to celebrate for the longest time. So I gave up on it. Well, today I’m picking it back up! Because good things have happened at last. Very small things in the state-of-the-world-wise but, I think the point of this whole thing is small, personal things to be grateful for. So, yeah, new entry.

First of all, I want to say that I just found out my mom does NOT have another cancer lump. It was benign, just scary looking. So yeah, that is the first bit of good news. It made my day, really, but as this is totally a huge good thing, not just a small grateful thing, I’m not devoting this entry to it. Instead, I’m going to talk about another thing. A milestone for the pandemic world, and that is I actually went to a movie for the first time since March 2020. I went to see Spider-Man: No Way Home.

Yes, I realize that movie came out back in December. Right in the middle of Christmas and omicron surge. So naturally I did not go then. Now it’s almost out of theaters, omicron surge is trending way down, and I caught up on all the other MCU-verse films via streaming. So me and my s.o. went to a 10 pm showing on a Thursday. The theater we’re in had one other person in it – an old man with an N95 mask. No doubt he picked that time for the same reason we did. We wore our masks diligently (I got the free N95 ones the government gave out. They’re surprisingly comfortable.) It also happened we went on the opening night of The Batman. So the theater was very crowded, just not the room we’re in. Kind of gave a good “normal” atmosphere for the night.

I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. I’ve always been pretty basic when it comes to films haha, and I watched every single MCU film in theaters and genuinely liked most of them (except the two Ant-Man films. I haven’t watched those haha, but I think I should at least catch them on Disney+ at some point). Infinity War and Endgame was epic to me. So naturally I watched all the previous Spider-Man films too. Which turned out to be kind of crucial to watch this one. Like, there are some significant portion of the newest film devoted to in-jokes between the other seven films. I think if you haven’t watched them or knew what happened then you might get a little bit lost on why some of the things happened the way they did. (I don’t know though, because I have watched everything, so.) I actually got so excited to see this movie I couldn’t concentrate on work all day. It’s equally the movie itself and the fact I’m going to an in-person movie at all. I feel comfortable doing some of the stuff I did during pre-pandemic times again. It’s a big step.

I’m not sure I’m going to go see Dr. Strange when that comes out in theaters, though. I can watch that on Disney+ soon enough (but not Spider-Man). We’ll see. Anyway, this is an especially rambling Good Mondays entry, but I’m happy I can write one, period. I say good viewings to you all!

Life

Doomscrolling

I did no work the whole last week. Why? Well, let’s see:

I found out that my mother could potentially have another cancer. Oh, I don’t think I talked about her having the first cancer. Yeah, no, I didn’t. It was super stressful and scary. So before I could fully recover from the first shock now we have another one. Uh-huh. Not talking about this one either.

I’m going to actually start all the medical stuff that I’ve put off due to Covid now. That is scary in itself. I don’t want to go into hospitals but I have to. Scary.

I have to schedule/think about learning coding. More things I probably suck at that I have to excel in order to find some work. And, oh yeah,

Russia invaded Ukraine! An actual land war in 2022, with many countries involved in having potential nukes. No, I don’t think we’re all going to die of nuclear fallout any time soon. Yes, everyone’s trying to avoid World War III but you never know if things keep on escalating. No, it’s not healthy to get on reddit and other news sources and obsessively scroll for the latest developments, but yours truly has done it anyway. Only marginally curtailed myself from doing so today, which was the only reason that I did any semblance of work.

Is it a wonder that I got zero things done this past week? And I was doing so well in February too!

Books

First Introverts Retreat Box!

I got my first Introverts Retreat Box today! I talked about getting a book subscription before, and well, the first one has arrived! It’s the Read option, one of their cheapest, where I only get a book, some snacks, and a bookmark. It arrived much sooner than I expected. With all the hoopla around slow mail and blockades and all that jazz I definitely expected it later. But hey, nice Valentine’s surprise, yeah?

(Oh, Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! We usually celebrate by going out and have a fancy dinner, but not these pandemic years. And we’re both really busy with work and stuff so, I guess it’ll have to wait another year before our regular programming.)

The book I received is Adequate Yearly Progress by Roxanna Elden. It’s a satire about life of school teachers and the education system in general. Neat. I admit I’ve never read books like this before, and it’s good that I now have one! That’s the whole point of me trying out the subscriptions – broadening my horizons and reading things I’d never pick up because I wouldn’t know where to start. Along with the book I got some caramel corn, pistachios, hot chocolate, and a bookmark. The bookmark is surprisingly cute haha. I’m not sure about the snacks – might give those to my husband, but I’m all about the hot chocolate! It’s getting pretty warm in So Cal already (the past few days have been in the 80s!), but a good, warm cup of chocolate always brightens my day.

I won’t be reading this book right away because I have a few others to get through first. And they’re all long epics too (because fantasy and sci-fi tend to do that), so I probably won’t be able to tell you how I feel about it for a good bit. I’ve gotta be honest, I had no idea what to expect with a category like “General Fiction” so I was a little worried it might be something I just can’t get into. But this one I’m fairly intrigued and excited about. Guess I’ll be sticking with this box for a while.

Life

Pre-Game Clean-Up

Our friend is coming over tomorrow to watch the Super Bowl with us. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve had anyone over to my house, so the condition of the house is in an understandable (I hope?) condition of pandemic disarray. There’s masks everywhere, boxes from deliveries piled in the corner, mail on a lot of surfaces, a crapload of hand sanitizer bottles, you know, the messy stuff that just kind of accumulates when you haven’t had any company in the past, uh, six months? Longer? I don’t remember haha. I knew we had the same friend over at some point, but not sure when. Anyways, the point is that I’ve spent today and yesterday cleaning everything. I am so sore right now! Because my legs were not used to exercises such as crouching and bending over repeatedly as I vacuum the house, including the stairs. My s.o. went to Costco to get party food and came back with, of course, Costco-sized packages in Costco-sized boxes. I helped him move them upstairs and now my arms hurt because I’m weak sauce. These pandemic years of very little exercise is really cutting into our physique. At least the weather is warming up. We really need to resume walks around the neighborhood soon. Both of us really, really do need the exercise.

However, I do feel properly motivated to do work, just like I thought I would yesterday. It’s nice to know that I have come up with a way to deal with anxiety so it doesn’t interfere my work as much as it could have. So that makes me happy, even though I’m thinking of actually taking an Advil because my muscles are screaming from disuse.