Wait, let me preface this with an apology to my Facebook friends. I don’t know why WordPress insists on posting this entire thing to my feed (and, by extension, your feed), I’m trying to figure out a way to saw it down to just a couple paragraph blurb. Until then, I’m sincerely sorry.
This smallest of months has, so far, become the coalescing point of a number of big things for me. The largest of which is probably that I quit my job of ten years to pursue another avenue of employ. To date, this new direction has yielded positive results and promises to continue to do so for some time, so, that’s a big deal. The most notable of those results, even more so than the bigger paycheck, is the retrieval of time.
I used to commute every day for nearly two hours in each direction; two and from work. I don’t know how familiar you are with the traffic situation in Hawaii, but it’s a mess. Generally, I’d carpool in the AM, and take the bus home. This typically resulted in me getting up 6:30AM to arrive at my office somewhere between 8:00 and 8:30, then I’d put in my time and leave the office at 4:00PM to arrive home somewhere between 6:30 and 7:00PM. My current position, though, gets me up at 5:30 in the morning, but home before 5:00PM. Yes, I have to get up an hour earlier, but ultimately it’s a net gain… And I cannot overstate how wonderful those extra hours are.
I, now, get home from work and actually have time to relax!
Used to be I’d come home, quick food, watch a little TV with The Wife while I eat, and hit the sack shortly thereafter. Some nights I’d stay up for a few extra hours and tend to my Zen garden, or even get some writing done. All depending on how anxious/ambitious I was feeling. What I’m saying is that time was a commodity and trying to do anything with it resulted in a trade of something else. Most often sleep. Now though! I get home early enough to do things and get to bed at a reasonable hour; and it’s showing.
I never really realized how taxing my previous job was on me mentally. It started out small, an over the course of roughly a decade it just got more and more soul-crushing. Like if Sisyphus were hauling a snowball instead of a stone, and every time it rolled down it was a little heavier to carry back up. By the time I left I was so stressed out I actually dreaded leaving just because I knew how large the load was that would eventually be placed on someone else’ shoulders. I felt bad, like really bad, like my guilt physically manifested in a full body rash two days before I quit, bad.
But all that’s gone now. My new job is more hand-on which has me going home more physically tired than mentally exhausted, which is good for writing and sleeping. I used to dread looking at the word processor in the evenings because it’s what I did all day long. Now I get home and I have ideas, as well as the time and tolerance to put them on paper. The guilt rash cleared up in about four days, an I’m sleeping restfully again; which is great. Laying that snowball down was one of the most difficult and gratifying things I’ve ever done.
Despite all that job quitting and such, January went off without a hitch. I clubbed my writing goal to death and racked up a final word count of 13,517 words for the month; which, while not exceptional by any measure, is a big deal for me. That’s about half the amount of writing I did for the entire year of 2015. So, good on me for meeting my goal.
The 10,000 Club is still a thing an I’m still part of it going into February. In fact, I’m over 5,000 words in already for this month so… Huzzah! Now, I’m sure some of you (one of you?) are probably curious what I’ve been working on.
The largest contributor is definitely AWR’s 2016 Arena competition. I can’t talk a lot about that just yet because a big part of that competition is anonymity an it’s still going on. What I can say, though, is that the first two rounds were completed in January and resulted in in one “story” which I am NOT proud of, and another which I think could shape into something good. There is talk about doing a re-write competition after the Arena and I will probably revisit that second story there, but until then, you can read what I’ll now call the “rough draft” here.
I did another thing in January. The astute observer might notice that I made some minor renovations to this here blog. Including, but not limited to, the inclusion of a Twitter feed. Yup, I joined the #Tweeterverse (is that a thing?).
Twitter is strange. It’s weird place that I don’t know if I like or not. I had originally signed up because I saw it as a really great way to get a seen by a lot of eyes really fast; and for that purpose I can still see the potential. The biggest issue I have with that, though, is that it’s really easy to just get lost in the sea of it. There I so much information moving so quickly, unless your Tweets have a bright flashing neon sign, I doubt anyone is going to see them. You’ll note that mine do not. So, the first thing I did was reach out two a couple of friends who use Twitter (Hi Stan!) and check their list of Followers and Followees and just follow a ton of them; the logic being that at least some fraction of those people will turn around a follow me back just out of politeness.
That worked, to some degree and over the course of the next two weeks or so I racked up slightly over 100 Followers. That was oddly gratifying. It’s like I knew that I didn’t know 99 of them, and that 99 of them didn’t know anything about me, but it still made me feel good to get that little email notification that I’d hit that milestone.
There’s like this illusion of importance with Twitter. I knew going into it that it was there and since I was aware of it I’d be able to resist it. But then, after a particularly aggravating day at work, I see this Tweet from @POTUS in my feed talking about the state of renewable energy. I, of course, had something to say about that and popped off.
As soon as I hit “Tweet” this little voice in my head went, “Oh, burn! You just mouthed off to the President, yo!” (my inner voice is a tool, BTDubs). As though Obama himself was going to read it and give a shit. Then a day or two later, I notice I’ve got a new Follower, @ladygaga and my dumb ass brain goes, “Whoo! A famous person is following me! I’m interesting!” Even though I know that; one, it’s probably not actually her; two, it’s was probably just part of a mass Following spree like I did; and three, I don’t even like or care about Lady Gaga (Note: @ladygaga has since stopped following me, but @ginblossoms have started; which is great because I actually like their music. I’m interesting!)
Then, of course, there’s the downside. In the last two days or so, I’ve lost about 15 followers. I don’t know which ones, specifically, but I can’t help but wonder why. I’m sure some are just automated cullers, others are probably just people cleaning their feeds of folk they don’t know, and potentially, there are probably one or two who’ve actually read my few Tweets and said, “To Hell with this guy.” I don’t know. But it doesn’t change the fact that there’s still this little insecure tool-box of a voice going, “Wait, what did I do? Can I make it up to you? Come back!” So, yeah, apparently I’m susceptible to the illusion, despite the bonuses to my WIS check.
Anyway, ultimately February is shaping up to be a good month. I’ve got a couple new projects in the works and some new old fiction I’m touching up with the intent to post probably this weekend; so be on the lookout for that. So, until next time fan(s?), follow me on Twitter @warningsignsblg and make me feel better about myself.
The snowball is melting.