Work

Demotivated, But Managing

I don’t know what is up with me this week. I’m blaming Super Bowl haha. Despite what I’ve written a few days ago I’m not really getting my motivation up. Didn’t do any work yesterday except some blogging and organizing. Just, my heart’s not in it. Which is dumb, because right now I’m still in basic outline phase, not even that, so I shouldn’t even be stressed about how bad my writing is going because I literally haven’t “written” anything yet. Anyway, reason is never in the equation when it comes to motivation, it looks like. In addition, I think having people over for the Super Bowl (by people I mean literally one person who’s triple-vaccinated and is super careful) makes me feel like my house is in utter disarray (it probably is, but I also might be too hard on myself. There’s no telling.) So I’ve just been thinking about what to clean, and planning to do it all tomorrow since today I want to work.

But here’s the problem: I can’t just leave everything to tomorrow. Why? Because I want to work more tomorrow, and just saving all the cleaning to Saturday not only messes up my Saturday work schedule, it also messes up my Friday work. I don’t know why, but I can’t just be like “leave everything for later concentrate on this one thing for now”. I mentally cannot. All that does is makes me think about all the stuff I have to do tomorrow and then obsess over it today, which means I don’t get to focus on anything else today either. So I’ve decided to just do some cleaning right now, before I even start writing. I’m going to vacuum later, and maybe dust the tv console. It means that I would have saved time tomorrow and that thought makes me more motivated to work today. I don’t know if that makes sense or the logic is super circular, but yeah. That’s the gist of it.

So now I’m going to work, hopefully, and also hopefully by Sunday my house is suitable for guests. Crossing my fingers.

Life

A Few Updates

This entry will be a hodgepodge of things. Mostly because the actual work I do everyday is pretty boring and repetitive to talk about haha. So let’s talk about something else! But one thing related to work I absolutely want to gripe about is that I never realized that once you decide on a naming convention you kind of have to stick to it for every single character, no matter how minor, and if you picked a slightly unusual way to name people than “Joe Smith” then you need to do research…for literally every single one-liner name. Yeah… I got so sick of figuring out names that by the end I just gave up and went “okay, you know what, this can wait til later.” So I kind of marked my setting sheets as “finished” even though it’s missing a few things. Whatever. I need to move on to bigger things, like more character sheets, so I did just that.

Or rather, I was supposed to start that yesterday, but I didn’t, because I started reading CJ Cherryh’s Regenesis, the direct sequel to Cyteen, after owning the book for like 13 years and never got around to it. And I got sucked in! Let me tell you, there is a marked difference between books written in 1989 and 2009. Least of all is that she can actually use words like “lover” to describe a homosexual relationship instead of the roundabout “brother” thing (seriously, it’s totally understandable why she had to do that but definitely a sign of the times.) There are also more descriptions in general instead of only describing what matters. Like I had no idea what one of the arguably major characters looks like in terms of hair/eye color, you know, super basic things that people describe nowadays but not necessarily back in the day. And settings – like I also had no idea what the space people occupy look like in Cyteen but now have a sense of it in Regenesis. I can go on more about it but I’m going to stop for now, because I’m going to probably dedicate an entry to it, once I finish.

Anyway, I didn’t do work yesterday because I just kept reading the book. Also, and I’m not proud of this, but I got sucked into FF14 again. I knew it was going to happen – it was why I quit a few years ago, because once I start playing that it’ll be the only thing I do for a while. So between these two things I kind of just gave up on working altogether yesterday. Again, not good, but thankfully I’m motivated today, and I’m glad of it. Used to be that I would just give up working for a week or so if I got stopped. Now, not so much. So at least there’s some kind of progress there.

And last but not least, the cute stickers I ordered from thecoffeemonsterzco for my planners/journals finally got here! It took forever (or seemed like forever haha) because it’s coming from Canada, and for the past couple of weeks there has been some serious storms out on the east coast, which probably delayed a lot of mail because so many flights got canceled. I was worried that it got lost in transit. But no worries, everything arrived in tip-top shape, and I spent a good bit of today just decorating my planners. It’s become important as it keeps me using them, and when I do use them I tend to be more productive. So yeah, net positive. I just have to keep going.

Books

Book Subscription

I joined a book subscription yesterday. I’ve been meaning to for a while, but they’re usually super expensive, and I’m in the camp of less stuff more books for cheap type. I mean, some of the boxes are “worth it” if you like a lot of tchotchkes to go with your reading experience, but it’s not for me personally. I rather get a book or two and maybe some snacks/tea for a reasonable price, and that’d be enough.

So after some Youtube research, I’ve decided to get the Introverts Retreat box. I went for the cheapest option (and I’m still not too happy about how expensive the shipping is, but I think that just comes with the territory of book subscriptions). They give you 3 genre choices and I chose the general fiction one. See, because I’m a sci-fi writer, I kind of have to read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy. It’s more akin to researching the market than just reading for fun (fun is included, of course). So when I pick my sci-fi/fantasy books I don’t want a crap-shoot; I’d actually go find Hugo/Nebula winners, or ones that’re pertinent to what I’m writing, etc. However, it’s no fun reading the same kind of book all the time. I wanted to branch out a bit, and well, here comes book subscription boxes to scratch that itch! Only problem is that they really can get up there when it comes to price, and so I’ve always been hesitant. Well, this year I’ve successfully paid off all my student loans, so now I’ve got some extra spending cash per month. Why not give it a go? Plus, I want to read more books in general. I was definitely a non-stop reading sort of kid, but in the recent years I’ve been seriously neglecting that aspect of my life. Time to get myself back into the habit, I say.

I probably will shop around a couple of the cheaper subscription boxes before I settle on one. I mean for the Introverts Retreat box I’m thinking of switching genres next month just to try something new. I don’t read very fast, and I also have literally a giant bookshelf full of books that I haven’t read yet, so the monthly thing just isn’t really viable for me. But I am excited of getting a new book – it’s like a present, you know? I have no idea when it’s going to arrive (with the pace mail is going right now I assume it’ll be a while). But when it does I’m sure I’ll give an update here. Hopefully I don’t get something crazy, but if I do, hey, that’s part of the fun.

Work

January Round-Up

Hi folks. A month into 2022 and I, for the first time, feel like I’m progressing on my work. So many big things have happened this month, though, from my own health, to my family’s health both in America and China, to my friends moving out of state (she’s aiming for Canada, can’t blame her at this juncture), to a slew of other crazy life stuff (Bengals going to the Super Bowl what?? On Year of the Tiger no less lol). But I trudged on despite it all, and more importantly, I am where I’d like to be with my novel, and that’s not something I could say about it for the past few years.

I did take a lot more breaks than I anticipated, so I didn’t work as much as I’d like, but that’s more of a quantity issue than quality. I am content that I finally figured out how to deal with some major plot holes, and I think the story has evolved quite a bit because of it. Now all I need to do is make sure I do enough hours of work. I think once I actually get the detailed outline written, the writing process will then become a pure time-spent issue, and not a stuck-for-days-and-write-nothing-because-the-central-plotline-is-borked issue, do you know what I mean? At least I hope that’s the case haha. I don’t know, I’m not there yet. I need to actually finish the whole Snowflake Method first.

I’m hoping I can actually start writing the words in February. That’s the goal anyway. We’ll see if that is achieved in the next month’s round up.

Work · Writing

Geez, Stuck on Settings Again??

This entry, unlike my last one, is just pure writing gripe. First of all, I’m glad to be writing again, period. After my last entry I had to take a few days off to fully absorb the news. It’s not like I have cancer or anything (knock on wood!), but it is a condition that requires some life adjustment. Or at least expectation adjustment. I thought I just needed a day or two, but that didn’t turn out to be enough. Anyway, I tried to work yesterday and somewhat succeeded. I felt more trepidations on starting everything and was not concentrating as well. But today I feel totally energized. And I think I’m ready to jump back in.

So what am I working on in my planning document? Settings. Again. Yep. I really thought I had gotten it all figured out, but nope, turns out there are some major contradictions and plotholes in my overall setting – I’m talking about the whole trilogy’s background, rathe than this singular book’s – that I didn’t even realize were an issue until I talked to my s.o., and he was like, waitaminute, some of the initial premise doesn’t make any sense. So yeah, back to the drawing board I go! Fortunately, the plot of the novel itself is not really affected, so at least I don’t have to reorganize that whole spiel. Until the outline phase, that is, but that’s Far Future Me’s problem. Today and Tomorrow Mes will be focused on making the setting fit the novel properly.

It is my fault, I know, in the grand scheme. I have been obsessing over some details while ignoring others, and it just happened that some of the parts I ignored are actually quite important, and definitely should’ve been settled early on. Oops. Guess that’s just how the writing process works, eh? Nothing else to do but trudge on. So my hope of actually putting words down by second week of February will probably have to be scrapped. But I’m not really working the full 4 hours yet, so maybe reaching that daily goal would offset the setback. That will be my February goal, I suppose. Work full time and try to start actual writing before the month ends.

Life

Here Be Some News

Well, I have some news. I had an appointment with a geneticist yesterday, because my fertility doctor was trying to figure out why I kept on having miscarriages when they couldn’t really find things obviously wrong with me, so they took some of my blood and did more testing. The results came and I had a very revealing talk with a very nice lady about my karyotype.

So, turns out I have a rare genetic disorder in which some of my cells are missing an X chromosome. It’s called mosaic Turner syndrome. Apparently I have a very mildly expressed case, so it went undiagnosed until now, when I’m a full-on adult for a while. Usually they start testing when you’re a teenager and didn’t start your period at all, or you had a heart attack in your 20s, or you’re just exceptionally short, and other very obvious and abnormal things. Those are the full-on Turner syndromes, where all the cells are missing an X chromosome. For me it’s only about a quarter defective – hence, mosaic. Luckily I missed a lot of the negatives growing up, as nothing happened to me that was out of the ordinary. Unluckily, I did not get spared when it comes to getting pregnant. I apparently have about 40% miscarriage rate compared to normal people’s 10%, and all in all my entire reproductive system just doesn’t work quite right.

So yeah. Quite some news, huh? I’m still processing the shock of it, and I think it’s an effect of the pandemic years, because now I’m just numb than depressed. A bit sad, surely, but not catatonic or anything. My spouse and my in-laws are very sad about it. My mom, however, when I told her, was more understanding. Probably because she works as a lab technician so she has medical background, so I didn’t have to explain too much about what’s going on and she “gets” it, you know? Unlike my mother-in-law who has no idea what’s what and is just like “what is wrong with you why how what does this mean?!” Bless her heart, yeah?

Now, because I’ve been diagnosed, I have to go get some routine checks. The most important two are the cardiologist and a nephrologist. Or maybe not necessarily a nephrologist but definitely a renal ultrasound. I have to go get an echocardiogram first, just to rule out there could be some function issues with my heart, and then make sure I have functional kidneys. Key there is plural, kidneys; people with this disorder sometimes have one messed up kidney and one okay one. So fun times ahead. Either way I’m not planning go anywhere near a hospital until well into February because of Covid. I’m expecting to hear from my fertility doctor soon. I imagine we’d make detailed plans then.

Like I said I’m still processing. I’m definitely giving myself a few days off so not much going on work-wise. Maybe I’ll start cleaning the house or something, just so I can deal with it while doing something productive that doesn’t require too much brain work. I’ll keep you updated for sure.

Work · Writing

No Motivation, and Some Adjustment

I do NOT want to work today. Nope. I think the past three tough days kind of drained me, and today is Friday, so I’m like, wow, I have no motivation to open up my document and work on it. Zero. But, you know, too bad! So many people are exhausted and are forced to work in dangerous conditions right this minute. They make do. What’s my privileged excuse?

Anyway, yesterday I took a good look at the rest of the Snowflake Method, and realized I actually did a lot of steps in one step by accident. I think this method is great if you’re just starting to think about your novel, but is a bit slow for me who’s been ruminating on this novel for literally years. I already know a lot of the advanced stuff because I’ve thought through all those, but I still needed to use the method to really work out some of the major kinks that were keeping my story from being cohesive and whole. Not to say I won’t have issues when it comes to actually writing it, but at least the overall goal is much clearer per chapter. (Or I hope – because I haven’t done the detailed outline part yet, and that’s when things can all fall apart.) So like I said yesterday, I’ve added a step for detailed setting sheets. I’ve also put minor character sheets as its own step because I also have some very important minor characters, who’re going to be the major characters in the next book, so I need to get their stories straight too. And of course the all important outline. Although the method calls for an Excel sheet for that step, I think Scrivener does a good enough job. I’m not afraid of Excel sheets, okay? Hell, I’ve worked in data entry before, so yeah, very familiar. I just like keeping everything I have in one program, and I paid for Scrivener so I’m going use it, dammit. lol.

So when it’s all said and done there’s going to be only 9 steps in my adjusted method. (Eight if you don’t count the review step, but I think a final look at the whole thing before I start writing in earnest is important.) I think at the pace I’m going, I will be done with the whole process by the first week of February. So right after Chinese New Year week I can legitimately tackle my novel again. Wow. So scary to think about. So I’m NOT going to think about it right now. Today Me’s problem is definitely trying to work on the settings sheets. At least get one done, you know? Gotta get over that laziness and lack of motivation to keep going!

Work · Writing

Super Tired

I was so tired yesterday, y’all. You wouldn’t believe. First of all I haven’t been sleeping well because I was having my period, so I took a whole lot of pain pills before I went to bed. Well, turns out that heats me up so I was very uncomfortable. I mean it’s either pain or hot, and I think being hot distresses my sleep less than pain. So I already woke up groggy for three days straight. Also add in the fact that there’s very loud construction right outside my window for the past two weeks. I didn’t realize how damn hard it is to concentrate on writing when there’s incessant, loud clanking all throughout the afternoons. So I was focusing so hard trying to work, while being sleep-deprived and annoyed, while also being anxious about the usual how-much-I-suck. I was so exhausted yesterday, that when I was finally done with the portion of my work I pretty much passed out immediately after dinner.

But. The good news is that I did get Step 4 done! Just finished editing it today and will start on Step 5! I’m going to have to make some changes to the steps to tailor it to my novel, though. For example, in addition to character sheets I also have place sheets, and for this novel the setting is very important. The desert that a lot of the plot takes place in is almost like a character itself, so I’m going to take some time out to work on those. Either way, I’m pretty surprised that I actually am steadily making progress. I did not think I’d be able to make it this far. In fact, I have never made it this far with planning before. You know that horrible Tuesday I had with that one character setup? Yeah, Previous Me’s would have given up and scrapped the thing altogether already. But not Current Me! No, sir, Current Me is determined and more motivated than I had ever been in a long, long time. So yes, onto step 5, even though I’m still ridiculous tired from it all. At least today I slept okay.

Work

Step 3 Done!

Woot! I officially finished step 3 of the Snowflake Method for my novel! Yay!

Yes, miniscule accomplishment, but I think every small step needs to be celebrated. I don’t have a boss to tell me “job well done”. Or even something like “aha, made it under the timeline even though it’s meh work!”. Everything is just me, myself, and I. Until I completely finish the novel and all the things that come after, the ‘during’ process is just one big blah of a marathon. So any tiny marker of accomplishment is important to keep going.

Took me way too long to seriously digest and understand that mentality. So today I’m celebrating finishing this tiny milestone. I’m giving myself tomorrow off. And then I can go on to tackle Step 4 and beyond.

Step 4 is arguably even more scary than Step 3 but, you know, that’s Sunday me’s problem. Friday me is just going to chill and watch tv for the rest of the day.

Happy Friday and long weekend, folks!