I’m feeling stressed this morning. It feels like there are so many things I should be doing, so much stuff to get done, and I’m not getting to any of it. I’d list it all out — a formal letter to get my rights reverted on the Spanish translation, investigate cheaper website hosting, first edit pass on APM, etc, etc, etc. — but the complete list would keep going and going, and it would make me more stressed. Instead, I’m going to breathe and remember the reasons why I’ve fallen behind.

I spent the first weekend of November camping with my niece at Lake Louisa. We used my camping chairs, ate good food, talked a ton, went to a writer’s event with my friend Lynda, built a campfire and toasted ghost-shaped marshmallows, and finished up by having Sunday brunch with my dad and stepmom. My clearest memory of the weekend, already a week later, is sitting in the camping chairs, watching the sky changing colors as the sun set and we talked about what it means to take charge of your own life.

My niece lighting our campfire at Lake Louisa.
I made C light the fire. It’s not hard to convince a 16-year-old that she wants to be the person to play with matches! (Not literal matches.)

Back in Sanford, at Christina’s house, I played games with C & co (her boyfriend & their sons). My favorite is definitely Song Pop Party, an Apple TV song recognition game that I’m terrible at but that I truly enjoy. We also played some Super Fight and some Azul. And we spent a full day playing Arkham Horror, including brunch in the morning with home-made hashbrowns and eggs, and pizza in the late afternoon. We knew it was going to take hours to play the game — it’s that kind of game — so it was a planned experience, but I think I am not someone who wants to play ten-hour games. It was moments of fun interspersed with much rules confusion and a fair amount of frustration. We did win in the end (it’s a cooperative game), but I would have accepted a loss quite contentedly if it came about four hours sooner.

On Thursday, I left Sanford to visit my friend Joyce in Casselberry. Our plan was to write, write, write. Instead we wrote a little, talked a lot, walked the dog, and enjoyed one another’s company.

On Friday, I drove down to Merritt Island to spend the weekend with my friend Lynda. Our plan was to write, write, write. Instead… well, we did write. I managed 1000 words on both weekend days. But again, there was much conversation. And 1000 words are okay numbers, but not NaNo numbers. Today is November 11th and my word count should be closing in on 20,000 words — instead I’m still under 8K. I’m approaching the zone where it’s going to be impossible to catch up. Not there quite yet, but getting close. Oh, well, I’ve been living a good life and that is more important than a word count! And Sunday was a beautiful day, with the kind of perfect Florida weather that has been scarce since I got here. We sat on Lynda’s porch and admired the water and talked for hours. A good day, even without the writing.

View of water off a dock and the moon rising, with a bird overhead.
The moon rising, from the back deck.

I’m also taking a class right now, called Write Better Faster. It’s the course from the book I mentioned a few months ago, called Dear Writer, You Need to Quit. I got so much out of the book that when the class kept appearing in my awareness — Facebook friends taking it, conversations showing up about it in weird places — I decided it was worth a try, and would complement my NaNo efforts nicely. As it happens, I’m no longer thinking it complements NaNo — it’s pretty distracting. But the first week of the class was all personality tests and thinking about writing pain points and how they mesh with and are caused by our personalities. Sadly for me, so far I think I’ve learned I should be an editor not a writer, which is not really the learning I was hoping for. But there are three weeks of the class left to go, so I’m still optimistic. And it is interesting, even if it’s not yet helping me write better and faster.

In other mixed news — is it good or bad, I wonder? — my Kindle Fire is dead. I have no idea what happened to it, but I suspect it might be the charging cable or the connection, since it basically just stopped working and will not start again. I’m sorta bummed about this, because I was playing two games that want regular check-ins. I’m missing my chance to collect dragons and lumber! But it’s undoubtedly going to be good for my productivity to not be able to check in on those games when I am looking for distractions.

Gorgeous morning clouds
View from the van window, 6:30 AM, November 11, 2019.

And now I need to get on with my Monday. I’m headed back to Sanford today, but I think my major goal for the day is going to be to write a complete to-do list — all those things that I chose not to include in the first paragraph of this blog post! — and start working on checking a few of them off. Dentist appointment, doctor appointment, oil change for the van. Book files updated and uploaded. Newsletter written and sent, etc. etc. etc. At least Monday blog post is checked off! And honestly, I have no regrets. The first ten days of November might not have been nearly as productive as I wanted them to be, but they have been lovely, enjoyable days.