Sunday, July 17, 2016

Learning My Lesson

The last two weeks have been a very busy, painful time for me. I started work on repainting my bedroom two weeks ago. Storms rolling in nearly every day have made it almost impossible to do a lot at one time. I worked during that time as well, with a couple of days off each week.

In my old life, before rheumatoid arthritis, I'd have knocked out the room in a couple of days and had the furniture back in. It took me a week to prime the bubble gum pink walls. The windows.... well, the stain bled through each coat and I was concerned I'd have to strip them. I put an experimental topcoat on them and I think they'll be ok. Yesterday, after two weeks, I put the first coat of color on the walls. Afterward, I took a late lunch around 2 p.m. and nearly fell asleep over my Freddie burger. Obviously, I wasn't going to get the second coat on. I came home and sat down in my recliner and was out for about three hours. I woke, still exhausted.

What does that have to do with writing? Nothing. No writing got done. In fact, I'll finish Camp NaNoWriMo with about 1000 words. Pitiful.

Here's the thing. I'm learning, after all these horrible years of trying to do everything, I simply can't do everything. I have to pace myself. If you're familiar with RA, you know that mornings are hideous.

This morning is a great example. I didn't work yesterday. I just painted four walls. I slept a bit in the afternoon. I had a good night's sleep. I woke at 7:30 and could hardly move. It took two hours to unlock my muscles and joints. Once this passed off, I'm not in a lot of pain but my energy is low and I'll need to move around another few hours to boost that. I have to do some more painting. It won't be much. I'll probably just trim out the walls. I have to do baseboards, door trims and finish the windows. I might have to put a second coat on the wall. The room is coming together but it won't be done today.

The process has taught me something. I probably already knew it. I have to treat my writing the same way. I've got to pace myself. I have to schedule what I'm going to do today, write it, and move on to tomorrow's schedule.

I started listening to some podcast this weekend about writing and every author I've listened to seemed to reinforce this in some way. Managing time seems to be their key point. For me, that's pacing myself. I remember when I retired in 2013 I set up a schedule to write 5 days a week. It worked great for several weeks until my son had a motorcycle accident in January and broke both bones in his leg and had to have a rod put in one. He had to move home for 6 months and I had to care for him.

Things happen for a reason and I should have learned my lesson then. I didn't. The first two weeks I almost collapsed from exhaustion. He was in horrible pain and needed almost constant attention. I actually had to call in help so I could rest. As a result, my writing schedule fell apart. Once he was able to go home and care for himself, I didn't go back to my schedule. The holidays were on me and so was NanNoWriMo. A Municipal Liasion's life is busy from October through November.

After my podcast binge this weekend, I realized that I have to manage my time better. I have to go back to the schedule. I have one week left to finish the painting and work on my job. The last week of the month I'll be out of town and I want to return with a schedule in hand to structure my time, particularly my writing time. I think that is what works best for me.

I want to start today but the physical act of painting a room is going to wipe me out every time. I have to get it done and all the furniture in the room before next Saturday. I'll be out of town for a week. Writing won't happen but I'm going to keep listening to the podcasts. They've given me a lot of food for thought.

Podcasts I'm Following:
10 Minute Writer's Workshop
Michael Hyatt's This is Your Life
Writing Excuses

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