My Motto for 2018

“Be better, not perfect.”

I’ve decided this is going to be my mottofor 2018. I’m a terrible perfectionist and have a tendency to avoid doing things simply because I know I can’t do them the way I want to be able to. This is the year I’m going to put that aside.

Those of you who suffer from mental illness likely know what it’s like to feel paralyzed. You see all those things that need to be done, like cleaning, and all the things you want t

o do, like writing, but you can’t seem to get yourself off the couch and actually do them.

It’s a terrible and frustrating feeling. Especially when you know that getting certain things done will do wonders for your mental health. I don’t know about you guys, but when my apartment is clean and decluttered I feel a sense of satisfaction whenever I look at it. I can’t help but feel better.

But that nasty perfectionism comes and bites me in the butt.

I’ve always struggled with it. It likely began with my mild case o

 

f OCD. I can remember as a kid my mom would send me to clean my room and two hours later she’d find me putting the finishing touches on alphabetizing my bookshelf. I couldn’t see the bigger picture. Everything had to be done just so. To this day my bookshelves are more organized than the rest of my home.

This year I want to put into practice something that I’ve learned from reading books by The Fly Lady (Sink Reflections), and more recently, UnF*** Your Habitat. Both books focus on building routines and doing something rather than nothing. Dust for ten minutes. Give the worst spots 20 minutes every day. Or ten, or five. ANYTHING you do is better than doing nothing.

On an extra hard day, it might mean cleaning my bathroom i

 

n increments over the course of the day. One bathroom trip I might wipe out the sink. Another, clean the toilet. A third, shake out my rugs and leave them in another room so next time it’s easy to run my vacuum around. At the end of the day, it might not be perfect, but it’s a million times better. And instead of putting it off another day because I can’t do everything at once, I’ve divided the chore into short steps that don’t seem so overwhelming.

Life is still frustrating. I was all excited, feeling like my new medication was kicking in and feeling ready to take on the world. Unfortunately, I was sick for the last two weeks of December and by the time I could get up and move, all that motivation was gone. I feel hopeful, however. Maybe the next dose increase will be the one that sticks. It’s obviously working at least a little.

Until then, I’m not going to let myself get tripped up by perfectionism. It’s an ideal I can never achieve and it will only cause frustration and hopelessness.

Be better, not perfect.

Do you have a mottofor 2018? Does perfectionism get in the way of your getting things done? Let me know in the comments. I love hearing from each and every one of you.

Continue Reading

What I’m Not Writing

If it keeps raining like this, we’re gonna need an ark.

My plan for today had originally included swimming and getting some sun, but the expected rainstorm surprised us and came early, quashing my plans. Now I’m stuck inside, listening to the downpour, and more recently, the thunder.

I’ve come to realize I’m at this place in my writing where I’m really not sure what I’m doing. I sort of have active projects, but nothing that I’m regularly working on. Instead, I’ve just been spending a lot of time on Twitter and occasionally writing a few thousand words here and there.

I have lots of choices. I’m in the planning/plotting stage of what I’m hoping will be a cozy mystery series about a former NYPD cop with PTSD and Agoraphobia. The first draft of that is going to be written in November for Nanowrimo, but I’d like to get as much as I can figured out before then. Unfortunately, the only times I’ve written mystery I’ve done it completely blind, with no idea “whodunnit” or where things are going to go, so I may not be as prepared as I’d like.

I also have a story called Running Away, which has been in the works on and off for almost fifteen years, believe it or not. It was once a couple short chapters of a fanfiction, which turned into regular fiction and became my first Nanowrimo win. The year after, I wrote the first of several planned sequels. A few years after that, I wrote yet another of those planned sequels for Nanowrimo. And then in 2014, I decided to do a complete rewrite, which spanned the 2014/15 Nano years.

That incarnation of the novel has been collecting dust for awhile. It’s over 100k words and nowhere near finished, but I did write the epilogue, so I know where I’m going. I’ll admit, I got stalled after I let my mom read it and she said my hero was “sexless”. She was right, but I was frustrated and let myself take a break. I think the time away has been good for me. Letting the story percolate in the back of my mind has solved a few problems and I’m probably ready to start the second draft. Which is a good thing because there are four planned sequels (or stories in the same family).

And then there’s the fanfiction.

The story I’ve been working on is what I affectionately refer to as my “Hulk chopping wood” story. I worked on it for Nano Camp a year ago and have a lot of plans for it, but didn’t really want to post until I had more finished. I did finally post the prologue and first chapter of it about a month ago. It was nerve wracking because the relationship I’m exploring isn’t a popular one (there are a lot of people that hate it) so I knew I wasn’t going to get a ton of feedback on it. It was just a story I wanted to tell, or more accurately, the story I wish someone else had written so I didn’t have to.

I had the next chapter all written and was planning on revising and posting it the next week. But then Mr. Muggles (my cat) died. That very day I’d been planning to finish, so I ended up shoving it aside and taking the time to grieve. I finally was feeling up to it and had most of the chapter edited when a mishap with Scrivener (totally my fault) had me scrambling for a backup and praying I hadn’t lost everything. I managed to get a working backup, but unfortunately, those nice edits were gone. I have a decent amount written after that but was having trouble getting from the beginning to one of the major turning points. I think I’ve solved the problem as of this week, so hopefully, I can fill in those missing chapters and start posting again.

I have an NCIS story called “The Middle Ground” that hasn’t been updated in a few years. It might be my most popular story I’ve had to date, 249 reviews last I checked, almost 70k words and 15 chapters posted. I got around 40k written last November as my Nano project, but haven’t been able to update it because I still haven’t figured out the clue someone finds that closes the case. I literally have everything written except for that. I’ve been promising for years I haven’t given up on this story and I haven’t.

The last story I haven’t been writing is another NCIS story. It’s the sequel to another story called Driftwood. I have a complete first draft, and I posted the first two chapters. I got pretty good feedback, but life got in the way and it got pushed to the back burner. All it needs is re-writes and would easily take the least amount of time of any project to complete. I should probably focus on it more.

Well, that’s it, the full list of things I haven’t been writing lately. I’m hoping that by laying it all out here I can make sense of it all, and figure out some kind of priority/rotation/schedule, which I’ll post here when finished.

Thanks so much for reading, and if you have any suggestions or opinions on what I should be working on or just something to say, I’d love to hear from you.

Continue Reading