Too many jobs

Due to unforeseen circumstances and some ill-timed illness, my contract work is still ongoing. I’ve delivered the first, project, have a second big one I’m still working on, and a third in the works. Several things have had to go by the wayside in the meantime. I’m not pleased about this. Once my programming contracts are done, I’m going to take a break from that for a while. I anticipate being done by the end of May, although I’m really shooting for earlier.

I did take a week of vacation in SD during which I did a bunch of editing. I think I can safely say I’m beyond most revision and mostly need line edits at this stage. I’ve a few extra scenes to write due to things I’ve figured out after some feedback from alpha readers. While I was on vacation, I thought about all the things I want to do with the time I have. I’d like to mentor women who want to learn technical skills but aren’t really in a position to go to school- so mostly older people. My grandmother figured out how to use DropBox. She’s in her nineties. With lots of places downsizing and an infinite number of cheap college grads available for hiring, how do you keep your supposedly non-technical job?

After vacation, I got sick. Suboptimal. It’s mid-April and there’s still the threat of snow in Boston. Spring will no doubt be a Thursday this year.

So that’s a brief update.

SFR Galaxy Awards coming up!

I rather foolishly took on some freelance programming work on top of my full-time job, so I have not been writing for a while. But I’m feeling this should be more of a reader’s blog with less creative navel-gazing– I save that for my diary. Original content here will have to wait until March.

I am going to return as a judge on the SFR Galaxy Awards! I always end up adding plenty of books to my TBR pile after reading the other judges’ picks. I have a little update and manifesto up for this year. Winners will be announced 31 January.

Remote control

I’ve been sick and adjusting to the way my job has changed. I love where I’ve moved- a flat in a well-trafficked area- and John has made it all homey. But I need to set boundaries. Since I have no interruptions, I can just stay in high energy consumption mode for longer periods of time than I used to. I miss office chatter. I’m exhausted by the end of the day and can barely play video games, let alone read or write.

Structure lets me maintain discipline. I need a state of “working for pay” and, well, not. Here are the rules and guidelines I’ve been trying to follow.

  • When I get up, always take meds, eat, and get dressed before starting work. It’s something of a morning routine and helps me set a psychological pattern.
  • Use a different operating system when I’m working. Macmode is workmode. Windowsmode is everything else.
  • Take a break, at least one hour, for lunch and the gym every day. Or at least get out of the house. Preferably around 2PM.

I’ve thought about taking a walk in the morning before starting work, but I’m such a sleepyhead that it might be hazardous, especially as the weather gets colder. Maybe bring a mug of coffee to sip while walking? I think that’s legal here.

How do you set boundaries for your work? How do avoid burnouts?


Translocation across time

I used to live several blocks from my current place. Moving back here after four and a half years feels exciting and familiar. My time in Seattle was a wonderful adventure, but it is so nice to cook dinner with friends and family most nights. It means easy access to my friends’ cats, and just seeing all these different people every day in the square and on the subway. Same drugstore. Same grocery store. Most of my friends here haven’t moved. The neighborhood hasn’t changed much in the past five years. I guess it’s slowly gentrifying. The subway’s a bit more crowded, and the traffic’s a bit worse. I think.

What’s different? My job is from home now. I have a roommate I adore, and new in-laws close at hand. I’m working on my manuscript again, but I’m still working on getting my new routines down. The house has made a lot of progress, but there’s so much more stuff to organize. I have a new desk! It’s smaller than the last one and doesn’t have storage on the side, but it feels more solid and it looks cuter. I’m building a new computer to write on and giving the old one to my mother.

The biggest adjustment, though, is having one shared bathroom for the house. It means a little more forethought when you take a shower or need to use the toilet or brush your teeth. And if that’s the biggest adjustment to moving cross-country, I am a very lucky woman.

We’ve landed

I’ve moved to the Boston area. This was an insane cross-country move that John and I prepped well for but was still a massive stress producer. We still have boxes around the house, and I don’t know where many of my physical possessions are. I am sleeping a ton, and trying to get things done in a responsible and deliberate fashion. I’ve been pushing myself too hard though, so my body’s shut down on me a few times.

Being a remote employee is different. I have an ideal routine set up that I haven’t been able to follow yet. In the morning after I wake, take a brief walk. This is to replace the commute in my head. My psychologist recommended this as well as doing something at the end of the day. Then do work in the morning until lunchtime. Most days I’ll eat at home, except Wednesday Lunch Dates, where John and I will attempt to scope out restaurants in the area. Half an hour after lunch, I’ll head to the YMCA and either do cardio or weights. It can be tough to figure out which to do each day as I’m starting up: I’ve gotten out of shape, so soreness happens a day after lifting sessions. That should get me out of the house daily if the morning walk didn’t happen.

I worry that all my thoughts are scattershot and that half of what I say or write doesn’t make sense. I haven’t been able to write much, because getting work figured out was the first priority. Now I have to fight with myself to write again. I’ve worked on making concrete the rules of the world that I’d abstracted in my head. Scrivener is great for picking through a manuscript, but I want to make a printout and mark up where to inject more background and details. There’s something nice about seeing rainbow sparkly ink on white paper, instead of comments and highlights on a screen.