Fog Brain

shutterstock_1213716793So, here we are, at the end of May, and I’m feeling alternately super-productive and completely useless.  The past week or so (I honestly can hardly even tell,) I’ve been lucky to hit even my smallest minimum daily word count goal.  I usually aim for at least a thousand words a day, which for me is the low end of achievable.  It assumes I can get some peace and quiet and more than 2 minutes to string together without being pestered.

But my absolute rock-bottom minimum is 500 words., because that’s enough for me to get a whole thought down, story-wise, and it feels like I’m making more progress than pecking at a project word-by-word.  (Also, in the interests of complete honesty, 4thewords has a minimum of just over 400 words to count as a day in my writing streak, so…  What?  I’ve got quests to clear out of my log!)

But lately…  I’m skipping days.  I’m opening up my files to do my edits and… then I’m sitting on the sofa and opening my book of the day, reading the same sentence over and over and yelling at my kid for making too damn much noise.  I can’t keep my focus, and going back over things I’ve already written?  Forget it.  I get five words in and my brain checks out.  It’s infuriating.  In part because I want to work– it makes me feel like a contributing member of society.  And partly because if I could just get through these damned chapters, I could get this book out and published!

It’s not even the writing part that’s suffering.  I am my own marketing team and business admin, and I have pretty much ignored both of those parts of being an indie author for the last two weeks, and it’s kind of showing.  I have got to sit my butt down and do some boring business shit or I’m going to be in a world of pain come next year at tax time. Even thoughts of the IRS on the warpath aren’t enough to get me moving, though.

So, when I woke up this morning, I was shocked to feel like I could sit down and get some things done!  I worked through my Duolingo like a good girl, I made some coffee, I posted to Instagram, I updated some of my spreadsheets… and I hit my 1K word count easily.

I’m not counting on this trend continuing, but maybe I can get almost caught up today?  We’ll see.  My son just woke up, so I’m not holding my breath.

The Blur

Greetings, from deep in The Blur.

shutterstock_1213716793

What’s that, you ask?  Surely you know it.  Hell, I’d be willing to bet many of us are experiencing it right now.  The Blur is a concept I was already familiar with when it was named for me on a parenting blog or something a decade ago.  I was still expecting the birth of my son, and was consuming information like a teenager consumes all the food in the fridge, and I came across the phrase.  The writer then was talking about those first few weeks of parenthood when a newborn is successfully destroying their parents’ brain cells through lack of sleep among other things.

The Blur is when days blend together in a long string of “what day is it?” and  “were we supposed to do something?” It’s where you can sit down and make a list of things you need to do or plan out your day, and yet, somehow, three days later you find your list in the fridge, under a sticky mess that might have been a cookie on a plate at some point.  It’s where you turn to your son who just asked ‘what day is it?’ and tell them that it’s the same day as yesterday, why is he asking?  My husband and son are both home all day, every day.  We have no plans to go anywhere, and no work or school to attend, making no day distinct from another.

calendar-date-time-month-week-planning-paper-1The Blur isn’t so much a psychological thing, though it can definitely affect a person’s sanity.  It’s more of a constant state of sameness that causes everything to just sort of… blend together.  Mornings and evenings are not noticeably different from each other, only differing in drink choice.  I have tried to impose some sort of routine upon The Blur, establish some kind of order to help us through the days, but The Blur is powerful.  It seeps into your very bones.

The upside to The Blur, for me, is that at least I’m writing.  Writing is part of my morning, like coffee, and being annoyed at my son’s energetic cheerfulness.  The downside is that almost nothing else getting done.  I am forgetting to post to Instagram where I used to enjoy it as the end of my morning routine.  I’m not managing to get a meal plan together on the weekend, because when the hell is the weekend?  But that also means grocery lists are sketchy at best.  And my publishing schedule?  What schedule?  I didn’t even make an entry for April in my bullet journal.  Mostly because I forgot that April was happening until my birthday mid-month.

So.  If you, too, are deep in The Blur, I feel your pain.  We will get through this, somehow.  Schools will eventually reopen.  Offices and shops will throw wide their doors.  Friends will once again meet up and make plans.  Someday.  But, until then?  I’ll put a light on in my window, so you have some way to tell the street from the sidewalk.  Also: Today is Tuesday.

Well, it is here in Japan anyway, your timezone may vary.

routines in the time of COVID

calendar-date-time-month-week-planning-paper-1

Well, here we are again.  It’s April and it’s been weeks since I posted.  I feel almost like I’m failing you all, and yet… Honestly this blog is sort of at the bottom of my priorities list.  It’s actually below washing the dishes, so you know I mean that, too.

We don’t have a dishwasher here in Tokyo.  It’s all hand-washing.  Ugh.

ANYway.  I am going to try to do a little better.  No, I am!  Because I have got to get some routines back into place in this apartment or I’m going to go stark raving.  See, that’s one of the biggest things that really is getting me about this whole COVID-19 thing.  We’re all fortunately healthy here at the House of Kim, and our extended families are well, too, from the news trickling to us over the phone and video calls.  And honestly, one of my resolutions was to leave the house more than once a week, so having an excellent excuse to not do that is kind of wonderful.  But…

Oh come on, you know perfectly well that there’s always a ‘but’…

5923137015_d612e7ce88_b

Photo credit: Fairy Heart ♥ on Visual hunt / CC BY-SA

With my husband and my kid home all day every day, and everyone has different goals, and everything sort of up in the air, it’s a major source of stress.  I can’t plan for anything! (is school going to start?  Is it going to start again on May 6 like they said?  What about restaurants, are they CLOSED-closed or just delivery-only, or what?  What about the Olympics?  Can they even cancel them? Apparently, they can, but now what about all the schedules? I need answers, people!)

So I managed, somehow, to cobble together a daily routine that was working for me.  I got up early to get some alone time for my introverted self and got my writing done then.  And I managed to get some meditation in, and some coffee, and was braced for my super energetic kid and my not-at-all a morning person husband by the time they got up.

Then, I sploshed a little coffee onto my laptop and my whole, carefully constructed COVID-19 coping time was destroyed like the Big Bad Wolf came and blew down the straw house it was built in.  My poor keyboard still isn’t back to really normal.  My arrow key seems to think it’s the ‘play’ button for iTunes and the tilde doesn’t even register.  Don’t as me why the tilde- all the way across the keyboard from where the coffee splooshed- is malfunctioning.  I couldn’t begin to tell you.  To irritate me and prevent me from making winky-faces in my chat messages, maybe?

So, I’ve been reading way too many books, both good and bad.  I haven’t meditated much for two weeks, and it’s weirdly starting to show in severely decreased word counts.  I can’t face my outlines or my revisions.  I’m irritable and grumpy and not even chocolate chip cookies have helped.

So, even though it is Saturday as I write this, I’m up.  It’s early-ish, and I’m tempted to go for a walk right now.  Tokyo is an early-rising city, I’ve found, at least my corner of it is, and even with the state of emergency and the new, odd hours and rules, there are still places to buy a cup of coffee and replace my small purse notebook.

3690218087_2c32372cdf_b

Combini: saving society since their creation.

Maybe I should add that to my morning routine.  A walk to the combini.  I mean, at the rate my kid drinks it, I can almost guarantee we’re out of milk anyway.  A morning milk run seems like it’s just what the writer ordered.