The State of the Sushi, Pre-NaNo 2019

This post has been sitting, mostly finished, in my drafts for several weeks, to the point where I’ve had to edit things for accuracy’s sake. At this point I may as well post it.

So how am I doing anyway?

Work Stuff

I’m still at the job I started in March, so even though I’m still the newest person on the team, I can’t call myself new there anymore since I survived a full release cycle and am in the middle of another one. There are still dogs and snacks everywhere, including several new tiny puppies who come in occasionally with their humans. There are photos up on my Twitter whenever a new doggo comes in because let’s face it, they’re all cute.

Sure, there are some annoying parts, some of which come from my background in self-employment and startups, where I could always go straight to the company founder if I needed information or had a complaint. Now there are departments, and sometimes one department that sounds like it can do the thing I need actually doesn’t, and sometimes I get sent back to the first person I asked who said to ask someone else, and I have to work with completely different departments. Ah, corporate life.

My main complaint at the moment is my lack of time to do much else. I’m still doing my freelance work on top of my regular job, with a goal of paying off all my debt by the end of next year. Assuming no major financial emergencies, this is more than doable, and I could accomplish this even sooner if I shove more extra money toward that goal. (Let’s face it. Besides my coffee shop habit–which always goes up during NaNo–I don’t spend too much on other things besides occasionally eating out with friends or the occasional Uber/Lyft to places.)

But the lack of time complaint bleeds into other areas of my life, so let’s keep it here for now.

Goal Stuff

As frustrating as it is for me, I intentionally set no goals for 2019 beyond reading 50 books. Just as I stated last time, I have no idea if I’m a better person than this time last year, or in 2016, or even in 2009. In my last post I commented that I was overall less stressed than I was in the past. This isn’t necessarily true, but now I think it’s for different reasons. Now most of my stress stems from my own social and personal issues.

I’m killing my book goal, already well past my 2019 goal of 50 books, but I don’t plan on upping the goal this year. My original intention of not setting any goals was to put less pressure on myself, and upping this (admittedly easy) goal would defeat that purpose. Maybe I’ll do the same thing as last year and stop at 69 books, but we’ll see if I marathon watch a show in that week at the end of the year.

NaNo and Wikiwrimo Stuff

One of my main website tasks was updating the databases on the sites and updating the software on both sites to the latest versions. Despite putting this off for most of the summer (after putting it off for a year, more in the case of Wikiwrimo), I’m finally DONE. Hooray for finally crossing a thing or five off my to-do list.

With the new NaNoWriMo website launching soon, I’ve had to dig into the site and learn all its new features just like everyone else. The bigger challenge is that I’ve been so busy lately that the time to do so has come in tiny fits and starts that I’ve had to squeeze around the rest of my life (which has gotten busier than usual this summer).

Writing Stuff

I did do (and win) Camp NaNoWriMo, even though (once again) I lowered my goal drastically. This time I concentrated on doing more character work for the Anxiety Girl novel, particularly working on one big character plot hole: didn’t she have other friends and acquaintances besides the BFF who moved away? Surely she did, so why did they never show up in the first two drafts until the very end?

The last-minute push for a Camp NaNo win did get me into a habit I would like to embrace during NaNo as well: writing during my work lunch breaks. I already do this regularly, but I usually write in my paper journal instead of writing fiction, and I’m not sure which to continue in my attempt to make the “break” part of my lunch break a productive one. While I do enjoy scribbling a few pages in my paper journal, the most I can do in half an hour is reflect on what I’ve done over the past few days and figure out what I need to do over the next few days, instead of diving deep into my soul, taking apart a specific issue, and analyzing it. That’s not something I can commit to doing in half an hour. The problem is I don’t have time to do this for several hours at a time anymore. Since journaling is a major source of stress relief for me, this causes problems. It’s like telling Bender to drink. “Sushi, go write.”

Pokemon Go Stuff

I went to Pokemon Go Fest in Chicago, which was a blast and a half, and I even got to meet a longtime NaNo friend in person!

I’m still competing in the PVP aspect of Pokemon Go, mostly for the social aspect instead of trying to win. This is for the best, considering I haven’t done as well in the past few tournaments. I’ve still maintained my challenger rank, which is all I care about since the challenger rank is purple and the rank below that is orange. We all know which color is superior.

Personal Stuff

I’ve also taken care of lots of little things that have required doing over the past while: database surgery on my sites, updating the versions, gathering the stuff to renew my passport…

I did start therapy again recently, but since I only started that a few weeks ago, I can’t confirm or deny that therapy alone is the miracle cure here.

I remember feeling especially burned out this time last year, mainly due to the exhaustion of juggling my regular job (even with reduced hours) and freelance work and starting to have a little more of an in-person social life and maybe having some kind of feelings? I wasn’t too sure about that one.

But this year, I feel less burned out, although a little more burnout has kicked in since Dragon Con ended. Sure, I’m stressed over the attempt to balance my social lives and work (but that’s another post), and I’ll be scrambling some once I get into extreme NaNo gear in the next few weeks, but for now, I’m in a flow that I’m trying to enjoy while I can. I think the new job and better financial security (even though things weren’t too bad at this time last year) are helping, but things are improving on almost all fronts, writing and reading fiction as notable exceptions.

Overall, life is pretty okay at the moment, although I could use a little more time to myself just to write and go over my feelings. Even though the next couple of months promise to be extremely busy, especially with NaNo right around the corner, there’s a lot of fun coming up as well.

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