This is a post on the run, kind of like a “Nun on the Run” but not as fun but just as spiritual. Today it’s October 1st, and the first day of Round 4 for the writer’s challenge, Round of Words in 80 Days. Kait Nolan has a nice blog post on being kind to ourselves when setting and possibly not meeting our goals, telling us how to Fail Small.
If you want simply the goals, scroll down to them. If you want to know what I’ve been up to lately, read on.
First, some Grounding
It’s been almost two weeks of my in-laws being here in the land of Oz. I’ve never felt so stressed in my life – and at my age, that’s saying something. It’s not their fault – they are simply elderly human beings set in their ways, and trying not to be a burden in those ways. On a logical level and when I’m feeling less tired, I do understand that. But being an introvert I find myself having to pull away for several hours in a day to try to re-energise. Ironically, this energisation comes from my writing. What a blessing.
My husband and I sit in our mid-forties, looking at these parents of his, and trying very hard not to see our own futures. We make promises not to do that and that “when we get old” – examples being watching television gawk-faced simply because we haven’t got anything in common to talk about, or doing a small load of washing every day just because it’s something to do, or leaving glasses out all over the place, unwashed, to give the spouse something to do. We’ve made promises to have our own hobbies and joint hobbies when we get older, we’ve made promises to also do some of the things the in-laws still maintain in their very long and successful relationship, like holding hands in public.
Hopefully we have managed to take the worst and make it okay for our own futures, and to take the best and adapt it for us.
But looking into this future can also be frightening. My mother-in-law in particular has some pretty obvious health and mental issues going on. Her short-term memory is almost non-existent meaning that I often have exactly the same conversation with her – word for word – three times in the space of an hour. She also has a facial tick that irritates her and anybody looking at her. Her husband and son are worried, but coping. Add to that my father-in-law’s own health problems – diet restrictions after a triple heart by-pass, and you have basically an older couple facing movement into elderly status, but fighting with all their might against it.
They are also unable or unwilling to spend time to themselves, always seeking out us all when we’re trying to read, or enjoy the garden etc, and forcing conversation. I’ve been so tired at night that I’ve only been able to crash and burn so am beginning to miss having the ability to just relax and read.
It’s also a recipe for analysis into what might come our way in the future, and one that is only one-sided. My own mother died years ago, my father died when I was four. But importantly, I was adopted at birth, so have no information on what health problems I may have inherited in my own future. So, we can only look at my husband’s side, and that is reasonably unfair, I know.
Two weeks in, and I am learning to take each day as it comes, and to not be so hard on myself when I feel the need to just disappear away from them for a few hours. Writing gives me that necessary excuse. I am mindful that these memories we are building together will be probably the last formed by my own daughter over her grandparents, and it’s taking a lot of money and time to make those memories as special as they deserve to be.We are taking them places and doing things packed into a few weeks that normally we would only do over several years. No wonder we all are so tired.
All that has been learnt will one day find it’s way – with maturity – into my writing. In-law visits are like wine – they need a little time and mould to make them good again. But seriously, when I am able to step away for a few moments I do realise just how blessed by their visit I am. Certainly as much as my daughter.
When I say writing, I lie. I haven’t done actual writing as in word-count for some time. And editing I put by the wayside, while I explore more about my main character. I’ve been busy doing a couple of SavvyAuthors.com courses, and today should see the beginnings of another couple. Some have been helping me get to grips with my second novel in the series.
New ROW80 Goals
These are a continuation of those I have already progressed, but with November coming, are more timebound.
- October – Prepare for Writing 50K words of Blue Popcorn during November’s NaNoWriMo. This preparation will include some plotting prep work via SavvyAuthor’s writing workshops (and Savvy also runs a NaNo bootcamp during November as an incentive).
- October – personal goals to get through the month with my inlaws, giving them as much experience of their granddaughter and visit to Australia as possible. And there’s a birthday party to prepare for.
- October–December – Revision / edits / beta for Blue Daisies. This requires a rewrite in some chapters to include more characterisation, and my inner voice is telling me the structure doesn’t work fully ie it’s just too episodic. If I do get time over the next couple of months, I’ll move back into the novel to work on it.
- November – NaNoWriMo participation – 50K for Blue Popcorn, first draft. This task includes writing every day (5 days a week) and some minor participation through the NaNo forums and others I may join for the event.
- Continuation of blogging, social media – I’ve slowed recently, but hope to maintain some quality content. Reading other’s blogs and social media will also be a light relief for my own tasks.
- Reading – as I suggested above, due to circumstances, I’m way behind in reading anything lately. I want to get through a few books, at least by year end – some for research purposes, some for pleasure, all for some learning.
- December – Clean up – Finish Blue Daisies. Finish first draft of Blue Popcorn if possible. Note: not only is it Christmas in this month, but it’s the first almost full month of summer school holidays over here in Oz. This means there are a lot of end of school year activities right around the end of NaNo, and into December. But I’ll keep on anyway.