NaNoWriMo 2018 Day 19 (11/19)

I meant to only do my daily minimum and then go to bed, but I wound up staying awake super late as I wrote an extra fourteen hundred words. I hadn’t done much writing yesterday since my ill-fated trip to a coffee shop ended in disaster. Not a real disaster, mind you, just the “I wasted an hour and a half of my time on this” kind of disaster. The place was super crowded, full of kids, and louder than I thought possible. By the time I’d realized how bad it was–it takes a while for noise and crowd levels to permeate my pre-caffeine brain–I’d already ordered a coffee and a breakfast sandwich, so I couldn’t just leave. I had to sit and wait for them to come up, eat them, and then figure out what I was going to do about the crowds and noise. Which was leave. I wound up leaving after trying to write and complaining to my friends about the noise for a while.

I was then going to go home and write at my desk, but I started playing Pokemon Let’s Go and got caught up in that until it was time to run Dungeons and Dragons. I was going to stop it at eight, but they were making such good progress I extended the session until ten. Then, finally, after six hours of Dungeons and Dragons, I finally got down to writing. Except I got super caught up in trying to get my iPod to fully back up on my external drive and subsequently spent an hour fiddling with its settings and some of the songs on it that stalled the backup process. The hour was spread out over three, from ten until one. I was going to go to bed at that point, but I told myself I’d just round my word count up to the nearest thousand since I was only three hundred words away. The next time I checked my word total, I’d written more than a full-page and was fewer than five hundred words away from three thousand, so I just rounded up again and went to bed.

It was an experience. A good one, mostly. I forgot how tiring Dungeons and Dragons can be since it’s been almost three months since I ran this particular campaign, but it felt good to run it again. I missed playing with those guys and the story we were telling. Pokemon was super fun and very relaxing, since it has a lot of the elements of the game that I enjoy plus some new interesting mechanics behind finding shiny or rare Pokemon. The only problem is that there’s a monetary restriction on how much leveling up you can do since getting XP from wild Pokemon encounters requires catching Pokemon. Poke Balls are cheaper than ever, but they still cost a lot and I’ve already gone through over one hundred of them and I only just got to the first gym. The catch combo mechanic the most fun since it increases the amount of XP you get per subsequent catch of the same Pokemon and because it also increases the chance of encountering shiny Pokemon. It will also make rare Pokemon start to spawn if you get it high enough, like my beloved Cabbage the Bulbasaur from the Viridian Forest. I’ll go into it more once I’ve gotten a chance to play more of the game and have the time for reviews on here again.

Honestly, the only part of this past weekend that rankled was the fact I stayed up until two in the morning last night and the absolutely unproductive nature of my Sunday coffee shop trip. The first was good, if not terribly productive, because I got to spend some time with my friend, but the second just felt like a waste of time since I pushed myself to get up and out the door in the morning for what turned out to be nothing but noise and chaos. I have coffee, breakfast foods, and apple cider I can heat up at home. There was nothing I gained by going out except for being able to say I left my home at least once yesterday. That’s valuable, sure, but there are other places I could have gone, other things I could have done that would have added more value that sitting in an overfull coffee shop in the sunniest table I’ve ever found inside a building.

It’s really quite difficult to try to manage my time without descending into panic and neurotically measuring the time I spend on everything in such a way that I never actually enjoy anything I do. If I’m super litigious about how I spend my time, I get stressed out and wind up getting nothing done as all my time goes to analyzing how I spend my time, recriminating myself for wasting time, and breaks from all that to browse the internet since I’m clearly too stressed out to work. If I’m super lax about it, I don’t do anything until the last-minute and wind up sacrificing sleep. It’s funny, actually, since I’m doing a project at work about increasing efficiency and managing our processes so we never wind up pushing up against our deadlines in such a way that we need to cut things in order to make it. I really should treat my life-like this work process stuff, break it down, and figure out what is keeping me from actually making timely progress on any of my projects. It’s definitely not a result of a lack of planning and preparation on my part.

It’s probably the fact that I tend to be impulsive when it comes to spending my own time and I’m the first to sacrifice my own sleep on the altar of getting something done, even if that something is video games. From there, it devolves further because even a single night of inadequate sleep makes the next day more difficult and time-consuming. It reminds me of something one of my professors in college said. “If you do you best work the night before your paper is due, you don’t do any work at other times.” I heard it enough times that it stuck and discovered, in my senior year, that I was way better at writing papers if I spread them out over the course of a few weeks than if I crammed them into the last couple days before they were due. The same is true of sleep. I’ll probably be a lot better at writing and being productive if I’m well-rested.

That’s kind of the theme of my blog lately, isn’t it? “I need to sleep more! But I’ve got so much to do! I’m not doing a good job of staying focused while I work on all of these projects, I wonder what the reason is for that?” I know the reason, I just don’t like admitting I need rest. I also extremely dislike laying awake at night, unable to sleep, with nothing to contemplate but my life, existence, and the universe. That is one of my least favorite things. I even wrote a whole poem about it. I wouldn’t mind a less complicated relationship with sleep, that’s for sure.

Anyway, I hope your day is going well! I hope you’re making good progress on your writing goals and that you’re staying strong as we approach the end of the middle third of the month. We’ve got twelve days left for writing, so keep it up! You’ve still got plenty of time left. Good luck!


Daily Prompt

Do the characters in your world us the bathroom? A lot of stories tend to gloss over things like toiletries and waste disposal, but not all of them do. Maybe their use of a bathroom is a setup for someone catching them unawares because people are often are their most vulnerable when they’re eliminating waste. Maybe no one uses the bathroom in your world because that’s just not how humans work. Maybe it’s not really something you care about and just want to avoid it because it’s often an unimportant detour (I’m looking at you, Wheel of Time series. How many times do people need to brush their teeth or hair while they dissect everything that just happened to them? I mean, I usually turn my brain off and just veg while brushing my teeth or combing my hair after my shower to the point where I sometimes hit places twice because I can’t remember if I’ve gotten that particular spot yet. I know a lot of people probably think, but no one reflects on the minute details of the past two weeks of their lives while poking at their teeth with a friggin soft/green twig. Jesus.). Whatever you decide to do, try to avoid inspiring rants like that one.


Sharing Inspiration

Lately, I’ve been revisiting an old favorite TV show during my relaxation/recovery hours. Community, an amazing show recommended by my friend Carolyn (mentioned a few days ago) follows the exploits of an unlikely group of study partners at a local community college. They bond over all the things that make them the same despite being a diverse group of races, political alignments, religions, and mental aptitudes/wellness. They struggle with the same kinds of problems we are struggle with when we’re part of a group that spends all our time together and, despite being characters, feel remarkably human. The show is a comedy, but that doesn’t stop it from telling some really great stories about the human condition and how we all just want to connect with each other. Honestly, the first three seasons are some of the funniest stuff I’ve ever seen and, while the show runner was brought back after a disastrous fourth season, there was no real recovering from it. It took two more seasons after that for it to die.


Helpful Tips

Being able to manage your diet and caffeine intake is incredibly important if you have a marathon of high-stress like National Novel Writing Month done in conjunction with pretty much anything else. Knowing what kind of fuel your body handles best can mean the difference between being sleepy after every meal or spending all your time between meals snacking. I need a decent amount of protein every day to stay full and empty carbohydrates like most snack foods and breads don’t keep me feeling full for very long, so I try to avoid snacking on anything that isn’t meat. Preserved meats like jerky and the various “snack sticks” are my go-to. When it comes to caffeine, you really need to do some experimenting yourself. Finding out how much caffeine you need for a reaction varies from person to person. For instance, my roommate drinks a cup of coffee and that’s all he needs. He even has to drink it slow to stay sane. I drink a cup of the same coffee and need another. At the same time, he doesn’t react any differently with a soda but I can’t drink soda for anything but caffeine withdrawal relief because it hits me quick and then leaves. Once you know how much caffeine you need, you should set some rules on it and stick to them so you don’t start wrecking your ability to sleep or making yourself unable to function because you’re constantly flirting with over-caffeination.