Losing track of time in the name of progress

Or “I could have slept last night, but I failed to realize I would end up staying awake until 5:30 in the morning to finish a short story”. That certainly makes the chosen title for this post look a lot more concise, doesn’t it?

Last night, having recovered from feeling moderately sick for most of the earlier portions of the day, I decided I needed to accomplish something in terms of my writing goals. Having decided to take a short break from working on A Princess, A Lich, and Some Murders (a break I am failing at, as I’m still sort of working on it though I said I would step back for a bit), I focused on giving attention to one of the short story ideas I had recently. I had already started working on Cordelia’s, which was based around the idea of a restaurant that had no menus and served exactly what its guests needed without having to question them, and so that seemed like the right route to follow.

I haven’t pulled an all-nighter in quite some time. I dare say such events haven’t happened since college, but I’m almost too certain I’m wrong in that statement. It’s a mystery. What I do know is that I started by deleting everything I wrote, which is the opposite of making actual progress, and I began anew. Two false starts and a lot of deleted words later, I was well into page four. There was a brief diversion involving last night’s blog post and some live-tweeting of The Bachelor (I detest that show, but it has so much value as a terrible comedy of sorts), and suddenly it was nearly midnight. Conveniently, I had today off and so I figured I would continue to plug away until I got tired.

And then I didn’t get tired until shortly after I finished writing, which was around 5:30 this morning. My internal clock doesn’t typically allow me to sleep later than 9:30 on my best days of sleeping in, so…I can’t exactly say I got my whole eight hours of rest.

Despite having a meeting I need to be at in about an hour, I’m still convinced this is the polar opposite of a bad thing. As it is now, I feel like Cordelia’s turned out to be a tremendous success, far better than I had hoped. I’ll have to wait to see what my wonderful, kind, typically-benevolent proofreading friends will have to say on the subject. Most importantly, it was some of the most fun I’ve had writing since the completion of Joshua Harkin and the Wicked Nightmare King. It’s also one of the first short stories I’ve completed since summer of last year, which is a bit more embarrassing than it is a positive thing. Oh well.

My questions to other writers and creative types out there: when was your last all-nighter? Was it worth it, or did you end up feeling like you’d have better served yourself by getting more shut-eye? What inspiration struck to lead to such a creative spree?

Hibernation season has arrived

At some point, through some cruel twist of fate, it has officially become winter. I know. Shocking that the weather has taken a turn for the cold and disappointing in January of all months. Today was the first day of my favorite multi-month event, the Fishtailing of the Cars. My lovely little black Toyota handles snow pretty well in the sense that it usually doesn’t go three different directions I don’t want it to before correcting its course.

I had a post planned about how things didn’t go quite according to plan in regards to my more writing, more reading, less naps, etc., plan, but there’s something about this weather that makes me want to curl up underneath a thousand blankets deep within a pillow-fort (note to self: find a way to build a pillow-fort that incorporates the TV; only leave the living room for food and bathroom use) and slumber until the first signs of summer are upon us. It’s supposed to be eight degrees or less tomorrow, which is at least twenty degrees colder than should ever be acceptable.

The bigger problem, at least for me, isn’t the cold or the snow, or even my inability to cope with weather conditions I’ve been exposed to my whole life living in Pennsylvania (the keystone to the frozen wastes of Northrend). No. My biggest conundrum is how this cold weather, with its oppressive chill, saps me of any energy to really use anywhere (beyond the aforementioned cover-cocooning).  It becomes a vicious cycle of frustration over not accomplishing much only to realize that it’d be a lot easier to meet goals if I didn’t feel borderline comatose thanks to trudging through this dreadful cold to and from work…all ten feet of parking lot that I need to walk, at any rate.

However, that’s not to say I don’t realize I need to brew up some tea or cocoa (or perhaps just a hot toddy, but probably not since I want to actually be coherent while writing), sit my partially-frozen ass down, and get back to writing. I’ve got a notebook of ideas, more notebooks practically begging for ideas, and a relatively new Moleskine pen that is powerful enough to make me push past my typical distaste for handwritten notes and the likes.

To my fellow creative types, in whatever partially iced-over dwellings you find yourselves in: how are you coping with this polar vortex horseshit? What tricks and tactics are working best to help keep the creativity thawed?

A day of recovery

I’m going to focus largely on the good here, as today was actually an excrement sandwich sprinkled with shards of broken glass and used hypodermic needles of questionable origin. There may be a touch of hyperbole there, but to be fair I also just realized my next post-vacation day off is fourteen days away from when my vacation occurred (with some of those days involving multiple shifts). It makes me tired to even think about it, so I’m going to shift my focus elsewhere.

The stuff – After work, I headed over to Walmart to pick up some ingredients for dinner. I had no actual game-plan in mind, but I figured I could probably mange to make something relatively edible without too much effort. Keeping in mind I didn’t want to do more of the usual, I picked up some chicken (off to a poor start on avoiding the usual) and I wandered around a bit. The end result was I bought some yellow and orange bell peppers, some sugar snap peas, and some baby carrots (which didn’t end up in the dish anyway). I wasn’t quite sure how I’d prepare the chicken until I walked by a display of dressings and spotted a bottle of raspberry balsamic vinaigrette. The dressing, which I’m not ashamed to say I’m actually too lazy to type out repeatedly, ended up being a marinade for the chicken. Tossed it in a bag and let it hang out in the fridge for a bit while I took a nap. Brianne had a very busy day with a doctor’s appointment followed by work followed by one of her grad courses, so I had some time between thinking up dinner and making the actual meal.

Bragging that isn’t really bragging – I managed to get into a Looking For Raid iteration of The Dread Approach after minimal waiting. I was probably one of the lowest DPS players in there, but I also managed to not die. Something about half of the people in our raid couldn’t say about themselves, unfortunately, as people seemed pretty intent on standing in the fire whenever possible. This was my first time really doing any raiding in Mists of Pandaria (ignoring that I did get into an LFR group right at Sha of Fear last week; that was fun). I nabbed a good few pieces of gear and generally enjoyed myself. The best part, however, was that my queue for Terrace of Endless Spring popped right after I completed The Dread Approach. As I’ve not gotten anywhere in my Legendary cloak questing, I was pretty happy to get to 4 of each…er, Mark I guess. Marks of Wisdom and Power? I’m not looking it up. The point is I got to kill things I’ve never killed before, and if that’s not what raiding is all about then I must be doing it wrong. Note to self: I still need to try my hand at getting the other Thunderfury binding before next Tuesday (damn it).

Dinner turned out really well. It’s Brianne-approved, so that’s a plus. It was absolutely awful to look at, but it was a nice and healthy sweet meal I’ll have to try my hand at making again soon.

The best part of tonight is that I feel pretty rejuvenated. It’s a bit surprising, actually, as I ended work and shopping feeling very stressed out. A lot of it is a matter of accepting things that aren’t presently within my control and moving along with the things I can handle in the present (shocking, I know). The nap certainly didn’t hurt.

In closing – Here’s wishing everyone a relatively insanity-free next fourteen days, and in doing so sending the same wishes to myself. Victory is just ahead, right?

Pumpkin spice season has (almost) arrived

At some point or another, September apparently showed up. Or every single calendar I’ve encountered since Sunday has been telling me horrible, cruel lies. I’m slightly more inclined to believe the former is true, however, because I’m not all that big into outrageous conspiracies on most days. This summer provided many opportunities for hilarious misadventures, but it also somehow managed to be entirely draining. From the work-related madness to the life-related madness (with a friendly reminder there was a goddamn bat in my house not too long ago), this summer has felt less like a season of vacation, rejuvenation, and fun in the sun, and more like a time of frustration, bad news so bad it bordered onto comedy, and both minor and major setbacks. That’s not to say all of the summer was bad, of course. I won a book contract, which I then over-thought to the point of making it a good and a bad thing (if you missed that you should count your blessings and move along). Brianne and I have found a new place to live, which I’m quite excited about (save for now having to cut the grass, which is far from ideal). I could probably go on for a dozen more posts about my trip to Chicago, but it’s probably for the best I don’t. You were all right, Summer of 2014, but you certainly tested me. For that I should probably be thankful. Continue reading

One Hundred Days of Blogging – Day Thirty

Remember back when One Hundred Days had only just turned twenty-one. Its whole life was ahead of it, full of promise and potential (and alcohol). And then it hit thirty, which is practically over-the-hill by today’s standards. New technology frightens it. Younger blog posts just don’t seem to make sense, and One Hundred Days doesn’t quite get their strange choice in language.

That’s why I’m a night-blogger, people. Because I’m usually awake enough to filter shit like that out. Even though other, just-as-ridiculous things take the place of passages like the one above. Just observe the strange behavior from afar and appreciate knowing you probably aren’t one of the unlucky people who has to spend family dinners with me.

I’m writing this post early on for two reasons. Reason number one is that I have to work mid-shift today, thanks to my own scheduling, and so I won’t want to do much of anything by the time I get home. Reason two is that even in the event I did want to do anything once I get home, I’ve decided tonight will be spent enjoying a little World of Warcraft. My Shaman needs some attention, and I have to get ready for the excitement Blizzard promised with its 10th Anniversary business. The level of enthusiasm I still feel for this game disgusts me a little. Tomorrow, though my day off, will be spent resurrecting Thanatos into Wheatley, which means transferring several hundred gigs of data from my external hard drive, and writing. Continue reading