A Busy Saturday

I’m slotting today for working on NaNo. No, I’m not “behind” per se (or I’m just perpetually “behind” since I wasn’t aiming for 50k to begin with), but I am behind in the sense that I didn’t write the sections that I wanted yesterday, because I need to really sort out my timeline for the novel – again! How many bloody timelines do I have to do per novel? So far my number is like, 5, but I thought that’s already like 4 to many – considering I thought I had a pretty comprehensive timeline to begin with. Ah, guess novel plots change all the time, part of the course.

I tried the methods my therapist told me, and it was horrible! OK, so the relaxation one worked. I could feel it working and afterwards I feel like my shoulders are less tension-y, which is good. The other exercise though, boy. I thought I had like, 4 or 5 worries. Yeah…no…I wrote an entire page about everything I worry about – like 20 items or more – and then I freaked myself out. Right after the first day my heart was pounding and I was short of breath, and then when I exited the room there was a giant wolf spider just scurrying down the hall and I screamed like crazy (from being startled; I’m not that afraid of spiders except really venomous ones). Husband killed it, btw, since does bite. Anyway, I tried the thing again yesterday and I realized I was holding my breath the whole time and had to physically relax so I don’t end up passing out. I don’t know how this exercise is suppose to help. I guess we’ll see in a week if does anything aside from giving me a daily heart attack or something.

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Catastrophizing

I went to my therapist today and learned a term: catastrophizing. It’s basically taking a scenario and think of the worst ever possibilities that could come out of it. You’re driving today? A car might hit you and you become paraplegic for life! You’re sitting in your house? An earthquake might happen and you will lose your house and your loved ones! You got a scratched cornea? You’ll be blind forever! You’re getting surgery in a month? You’ll lose a lot of blood and get a blood transfusion and then get HIV from that! Etc. Etc.

I have been doing this catastrophizing nonstop for the past few months. Probably have been doing it most of my life, which is why I have anxiety issues. (I still avoid driving because I feel like every time I’m on the road I could die any second from people crashing into me). I worry about my husband dying from whatever and since I’m a non-published writer who’s been out of work for about 5 years I’ll just be penniless and homeless and die, and I think about this constantly. (Including right now as I’m writing this.) It’s no way to live but it’s how I live, you know? I told my husband this when he drove me back from the session and he was like, wow, that sounds horrific. That’s what you think about all day? Yep. That is.

So my therapist recommended two things for me to do. One is to just lie down on the bed for 30 min and do nothing. Listen to some yoga music, make sure to turn off every single distraction – like turn the phone off, not on vibrate, or put it in another room entirely. Make sure to relax completely but don’t fall asleep. The second is to write down everything that you’re freaking out about and, get this, freak out at maximum about it for 10 min. I was like what wouldn’t that just put in me in the emergency room from a panic attack and he was like, no, because you’re in control of the freaking out. Panic attacks happen when you feel like you’re losing control. And I have to do these two things every day, because it’s like exercising your body. You have to learn how to relax and it’s not going to cure you immediately. Theoretically these two things would take away some of the heat so I’ll stop catastrophizing so much. We’ll see I guess. I’m a bit skeptical, but I guess it can’t hurt.

Friday Fictioneers – #11

This one is a bit Halloween-y, although we’re technically past the date. Still, my mind’s been on witches for a while, so of course it manifested here.

Photo Prompt:

saltaire-sarah-ann-hall
Copyright Sarah Ann Hall.

 

The Problem with Familiars

“How about this one?”

Sai pointed to the various idols displayed in the shop. Her sister was rifling through them and muttering to herself. Too bulky, too round, too thin. Geez, what does it take to find a suitable vial stopper around here?

The one Sai liked looked like a cornucopia standing up. The end was gilded; its lip just big enough for their largest glassware. Jae practically leapt with joy once she saw it.

“Perfect! Unless Anubis suddenly grows opposable thumbs, I say we’re set.”

Anything’s better than the smell of potion-soaked cat, Sai thought, and grabbed it promptly.

NaNo Approaches…

I am so not ready.

I’m a truly planner by heart. Everything goes down to the last detail kind of person. Now I’m pretty much pantsing the whole thing (i.e. writing on the fly) and I am just not comfortable with that. Adding in all the stuff I have to do pre-surgery and…yeah…am totally freaking out.

I guess there’s so much to do in life that you just have to take it one step at a time. So today I’ll have to do stuff I’ve said I’d do for like, a week now, but have been procrastinating due to stress/fear/other things. Mostly chore things, but also work, and figuring out how to call insurance so I know I won’t get bankrupted from major surgery. (I’ve never had surgery before so I guess I’ll have to learn these logistics things). And clean the house it’s so gross now from my negligence. And NaNo starts in two days. Oh my god!

Deep breaths. Woot. I suppose I should start with, hah, actually writing. My bullet journal’s all ready to go again, so at least there’s that small dose of encouragement.

Bad Eye, No Prep

Time for an actual update of myself. Let’s start with NaNoWriMo, shall we?

I had the month all planned out. Got my bullet journal ready and for the first few days I was totally meeting my goals. I was feeling optimistic, driven, and then of course I had to jab myself in the eye and got my cornea scratched…yeah…did anyone ever tell you that if you get your cornea scratched it takes like, 2-6 months to completely heal? Yep, so guess who spent the majority of this month unable to see without hurting her eyes on a semi-regular basis? It doesn’t help that right now LA is 100 degrees and dry as hell. I had to go buy a gel eye drop just so I don’t wake up with crazy gunk scratching up my eyes again the morning. Broke out the trusty old humidifier, too. On top of that I got a date for my fibroid surgery set (had a talk with my gyno and decided to remove the damn thing after all), and then I spent the days where I could see calling and setting up pre-op/post-op/other necessary medic appointments. I’m supposed to receive a packet in the mail detailing everything involving this surgery. It’ll probably be here today or tomorrow.

Needless to say I got like zero actual planning done after the first week of the month. It sucks. I don’t feel comfortable jumping into this novel without some extensive planning (don’t even have some basic structures down, like how the military’s supposed to work and where are all the different principalities supposed to be connected), so I guess I won’t be writing this novel for NaNo after all. At least, not right away. Instead I’ll be trying to finish some of my ridiculously overdue fanfics. Yep, I’ve had fics that’re two years old, 80% written, and never finished. Also sucks. I feel like all I’m doing is running behind and that’s a sad state of affairs. Granted, it’s health issues and not avoidable, per se, but still annoying. So the first half of NaNo (maybe longer, depends on how satisfied i am with the outline for the second novel) will be fanfic and finishing first novel. Not what I originally planned at all, but sometimes you gotta just make adjustments, no?

On a smaller, happier, quite unrelated note, I learned that there’s going to be a mobile f2p Animal Crossing game coming called Pocket Camp. I’m so happy about that! I’ve waited for a new Animal Crossing since forever, and unlike a lot of “hardcore gamers” I don’t have an aversion to mobile games as a concept at all. I don’t mind microtransactions because I never get sucked into the skinner box and gambling aspects, so I actually enjoy the freemium model very much. The Animal Crossing game is on soft launch right now and will be available just when I go into surgery, I believe. Hopefully I’ll be well enough to play in bed.

Revelation

I just realized something regarding NaNoWriMo. I already said that I’m not expecting to meet the 50k word count. It’s not how I write and I don’t believe it would help my noveling process better than what I’m currently doing (not that what I’m currently doing is super efficient or anything, but drumming out more words than I have brain juice for is not the cure). So I’m going to do the best I can, but I expect my realistic word count to be around 20k or so. 25k if I push it.

And then I realized: my novel doesn’t have 50k words left. It only has about 20-25k left. 30k tops (that is me way overestimating how much stuff I still need to add). Of course I’m writing it now, and it’s only the beginning of October, and I still have the whole of November to push for the ‘real’ word count.

So what does this mean? It means, by the end of NaNoWrimo this year, if I keep myself diligent and nothing catastrophic happens (like the scratched cornea) that’d prevent me from writing, I will be finished with this novel. Finally. After all this time.

Of course now I’ve said it’ll never get done. But, well, let’s just go and see.

Scratched Cornea and Other Hazards

I’ve been away this week because I friggin’ scratched my cornea on Monday. Yep, was taking a shower and jabbed myself in the eye by accident and that was it. Couldn’t blink without being in some serious pain, so husband took me to the closest emergency room and pretty much spent all night waiting. I swear they literally had one doctor on duty, and it wasn’t until 5 in the morning did we finally got everything taken care of. Eyepatch in place, antibiotic cream applied, we were both exhausted and all I wanted to do was sleep, even though closing the eye itself hurt.

Pretty much spent the entire next day in bed sleeping. The prescription grade ibuprofen helped a lot, too. It makes me amazed that people could take so much painkillers that this would have done nothing when it pretty much dulled the entire pain enough for me to sleep the whole day. When I was in the emergency room there was a druggie in the bed next to me. He was begging for painkillers and the nurse gave him drips of morphine and he was still begging, said he’d been on fentanyl for a long time. I was like wow dude, isn’t that the stuff that’s killing heroin users because it’s so potent? How’re you still alive? I hope he’s okay.

Anyway, so I pretty much couldn’t see for a while. Couldn’t read, couldn’t blink without tearing up, all that stupid jazz. Basically sat on my bed and listened to podcasts or slept. And sometime on Wednesday afternoon, after I slept way more than a person should in a 48 hour period, I realized something:

I haven’t been this relaxed in a long, long time.

That is significant, because I’m habitually super anxious, and there like literally two things that make me feel relaxed and both are very pricey to do. My brain’s always working and worrying about something (mostly my writings these recent years). But sitting on that bed, physically unable to do any work, I feel like a huge pressure had been lifted. (No, it wasn’t the drugs talking either. It’s just ibuprofen for one, and I took the same dose for a few more days and I didn’t feel it after I could see and read again.) Like, you literally couldn’t possibly write anything for a while, so your brain finally goes ‘fine, I give up, stop thinking about how much of a failure you are because your body failed you first’. And so, I was very, very content, for a day.

I told my husband afterwards and he was like, maybe I should just lock your computer with a different password for one day. That way you’re physically prevented from working and you can relax, because you can’t just go 7 days a week all the time. I thought that was a sound idea, so we’re going to try that next week (I’ve already relaxed all week this week). I’ll let you know how it goes.