Bang your head (challenge update)

After a strong(ish) start this morning, the day has fizzled. Dentist visit went well, and I got home and decided to make an early supper so I could have a longer evening of writing, but that didn’t work out. Writing has turned out to be difficult because of a message I received just as I was finishing supper. Unfortunately, I have a tendency to obsess and sure enough I started obsessing. I haven’t been able to let go of the thoughts that message set into motion and that’s killed my ability to concentrate.

I took some time out to talk with one of my kids and watch Border Security on Netflix, because it’s wild and weird and I like it. But within moments of returning to the computer, the obsessive thoughts started again.

Googling (or Binging, is that a word?) “how to stop obsessive thoughts” didn’t turn out to be the answer, surprisingly.

All I can say is that this tendency is why I try never to read reviews, because this is exactly how I’ve felt afterward, obsessing over stuff that just does not matter.

So, I don’t know if this was the right thing to do, but I deleted some email addresses off my mobile devices, because that’s where I saw the message. Of course, I went ahead and deleted all related addresses from my devices (I have quite a few addresses) because it made sense in context. If my devices hadn’t been set up to check those addresses (pretty needlessly, I might add), I wouldn’t have seen the message at that time because WiFi was off on my computer. Then I wouldn’t have become distracted from writing by the obsessive thoughts. Maybe I would have turned on WiFi and checked my email client later, before I was finished writing, but at least I would have had the chance to restart and recover my momentum from this morning before I was derailed.

I feel lighter after doing that, although I admit it was an impulsive decision. Maybe having access to everything all the time just isn’t for me. Compartmentalization of the various parts of my life might be more my style.

It’s all a work in progress

Hmm. It’s possible I was overly optimistic about my start time today for writing, since I was trying to make up for a really short night of sleep the night before.

You see, the night before last, I stayed up and binge watched Stranger Things on Netflix. I shouldn’t have, and I didn’t mean to, certainly, but once I got started watching it, I couldn’t quit. I think my lack of self-control is tied in to everything that’s been going on with my writing. On the other hand, I burned myself out and I’m going on a TV watching hiatus outside of my lunch break. (I watch TV during that time with my daughter and she would not be happy with me if I cut out that time together. So, not giving that up.)

Because of how tired I was yesterday, I stayed up late last night. I know that sounds at odds with how that’s supposed to work, but for some reason, when I’m desperately tired because of lack of sleep, I find it much easier to stay up late. I get a surge of energy in the evenings, usually around 8 or 9 o’clock and I start to feel like I can finally make up for a lackluster day. It’s a routine, or might as well be. It’s also one reason I have a hard time getting back into good sleep patterns when I mess up even just one night—and it’s why I try not to do that. I didn’t succeed last night and ended up getting to sleep around 12:30 AM. So of course, this morning I woke up at 6:56 AM and couldn’t go back to sleep, although I did try. I shouldn’t have. It did no good and it led me to getting up much later than I wanted to get up today.

It’s also put me off my stride and I’m struggling to get started this morning.

Not only that, but there’s a leak in a pipe in the basement and a repairman is here to fix it, and that’s also been a distraction.

But… even though I know it’s late, I’m about to try anyway. Since no one is here to notice that I’m not stopping at 11 AM today (the 11 AM to 2 PM break is not a break so much as it’s reserved non-work time), I’m going to write from now until 12 and then stop. After that, I’ll restart at 2 PM and go from there.

The goal today is unchanged: 3,233 words.

One thing you won’t find mention of is the multiple books experiment. I think it really works for me, but… I also think it has its flaws. If I’m still going to end up struggling to write the way I’ve been struggling these past two months, I think it’s best if I focus all my energy on one book at a time.

I have a sneaking suspicion that part of the reason I’m having such a hard time with the particular book I’m working on now is because I’ve spread it out over such a long time period. According to the files in my backups folder, I made my first backup of that story back on 2/8/2015. That means I’ve been working on this book, in one way or another, for almost 18 months. That’s too long to spend on a book. I lose interest. I lose focus. I can’t write without either of those. I lose the threads of the story, and that’s worst of all, I think, because it leads to the other two problems.

This is something I just realized a few days ago. The multiple stories experiment has failed to keep me writing. If I’m going to struggle, I might as well reserve that struggle for one book so I can have a better chance of keeping up my momentum with whatever particular story I’m working on.

Anyway, it’s all a work in progress. I keep feeling like someday I’ll find the perfect system that’ll keep writing fun and keep me writing, but the truth is I know that’s not going to happen. I just have to keep doing whatever it takes to make as much progress as I can. I do love to write when a story is going well, and I’m happier doing this than I’ve ever been at any of my previous jobs. It’ll work out if I just keep moving. :)

Independence Day!

Today is the last day I need to let myself get away with not writing to my goal word count. June was my worst month for writing since January. It was bad. I admit January was worse, since I ended that month in the hole. :D

I’ve been distracted for about two months now, starting about the time school let out for the year and my A/C stopped working, but instead of getting better after getting my A/C unit fixed, and the kids settling in for the summer, it’s gotten significantly worse this year.

It got even worse this week, with my beloved phone giving me significant trouble with some recent updates to Google services. I finally had to give up on it and migrate to a new phone.

Of course, I went out with my usual impulsiveness and bought a phone while I was stressed. :D

I paid for it, oh, boy did it. On Friday, I bought an LG V10. Cost me $710 and I liked it—it was an amazing little machine—but by Sunday afternoon, I was over it.

The battery lasted 3 hours on Saturday, and all I was doing was a bit of internet and email—no video at all. Then it took 5 hours to recharge. What?

I did some research on it, talked to the shop where I bought it, and did a factory data reset. At this point, I was anxious and irritated, because it was a new phone and I don’t like stress. I wasn’t doing much with the phone at all, so battery drain shouldn’t have been so significant—I even kept it in airplane mode for a while.

Overnight, the battery charged to a higher level and seemed set on Sunday to run for about twice as long as it had on Saturday. I needed that battery to last at least 12-14 hours, if not significantly longer. I was getting 6-8 hour estimates based on my Sunday morning usage. (Very light.)

So yeah, the factory data reset helped and the battery life improved, but not enough. Not by far.

At that point, I started to really consider all the other things about the phone that weren’t working out as I’d hoped. The 5.7″ display was beautiful, but I couldn’t hold it comfortably in the palm of my hand for very long. That massive display wasn’t much smaller than the display on my 6″ Fire, which I like to hold two-handed, but can’t really manage in one hand without cramping my hand. The LG V10 was entirely too much phone for my hand.

This made me realize something else: I actually like having a range of small, medium, and large devices to choose from depending on what I want to do, and I definitely like having at least one small device for reading because of my small hands. I’m short and my hands are sized appropriately. :) It was no fun holding that huge phone.

I don’t even want to know how much power that screen would use up during a reading binge—I didn’t get to test that. I read for about half an hour Saturday morning before I noticed how quickly the battery was draining. :o

Then there’s the $710. I looked up a few other phones online and realized I’d really missed how cheap smartphones had become. I found something comparable to my Droid X (only better* and newer, of course) for $70.

What?! Yeah. $70.

I took the LG V10 back. I had 14 days to make a return, and I decided Sunday afternoon that I’d overbought by a ridiculous degree, and that $710 was a ridiculous amount of money to spend only to be disappointed.

What this experience taught me was that I don’t need a flashy phone; I need a workhorse.

The only app that I really wanted on my Droid X that it couldn’t run was OneNote. I definitely needed a phone that could run newer apps, but… that was it. Any decent Android phone with the newer OS on it could do that.

So, I rethought my entire plan: no more thinking I needed the best phone I could find so I could ride out a long time on the same device, no more thinking I needed a replaceable battery so I could keep the phone working well as it got older. Smartphones are ridiculously cheap now and an upgrade at today’s prices just isn’t the big deal I’d imagined it would be. Only the top of the line smartphones are still pricey and I had fallen so far out of the loop I hadn’t even realized that. :o

I replaced the LG V10 with a cheap little Moto e with the intent to upgrade (if I want) after doing my damn research. Impulsiveness won’t win again on this issue. :D Lesson learned!

*Mostly better. In actuality, the camera is not better. Since I take so few photos, I decided I didn’t care. The phone was $70. Sadly enough, my impulsiveness cost me on this too, because I came home after buying the little Moto e and found it available on for $35! Holy crap.

The truth is, I’m remarkably satisfied with the phone even at $70. I like it. I hadn’t realized just how slow my Droid X had become. The Moto e is great for me and I’m thrilled I didn’t end up spending $710 + $70 sales tax after all.

Now, off to a fourth of July cookout! :D I’ll be back later to worry over the writing I’m going to have to do to make up for all the writing I didn’t do in June. :)