“I never had any doubts about my abilities. I knew I could write. I just had to figure out how to eat while doing this.”
Cormac McCarthy

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

Live on Patreon, it's Friday Fictionettes! Also: A new monster of derby.
Mon 2014-09-01 23:55:51 (single post)
  • 1,242 wds. long

It's September 1, and I've launched my Patreon page. Go ahead, click it, see what you think. Basically, it's a short-short story subscription service, except they're not so much fully formed short stories but rather highly polished excerpts from my daily freewriting sessions. I'm calling these story-like objects "fictionettes." Pledging a dollar or more per month gets you access to the fictionettes I post every first through fourth Friday in PDF format, and at the end of the month I make one of those fictionettes free for all to read. At higher pledge levels, I will read my fictionettes to you, podcast-style, or even mail them to you in handmade collectible editions (limited supplies available).

The first fictionette, "Breaking and Entering," is up on my creations stream. You can also read it right here on the actually writing blog, or on my brand new WattPad account. I'll have an audio version of it up soon so potential patrons can get an idea of whether they like my reading style before they subscribe. I also intend to create a simple cover image sometime this week.

Both Patreon and Wattpad are new interfaces for me, and they're both boggling me in different ways. I can't seem to convince Wattpad that "Breaking and Entering" is its own piece, complete in and of itself, and not a chapter in a larger piece called "Breaking and Entering." And Patreon's creation-posting, creation-editing, and creation-navigating interfaces have so many issues I could write a whole post about them.

But I will not. Instead, I will hang in there and see if things get easier to deal with as I go forward, or if I'll at least figure out smart ways to cope with and around the seeming inadequacies.

Why am I doing this? Several reasons.

  • The possibility of making more money by writing stories than I'm making by blogging at Examiner has a certain appeal. (Hint: It wouldn't take much.)
  • A new weekly deadline means I'm going to be finishing more story-like objects more often, which can't be a bad thing.
  • I'm teaching myself to relax and let go of this whole "Every piece of writing must be saved and its first rights preserved against the day it will become a real publishable story!" Seriously, at the rate of a new freewriting vignette produced almost every day, there will be more of them taking up space in my Daily Ideas .scrivx than I'll ever develop into commercially viable stories. They aren't exactly precious.
  • I like the sound of the word "prolific." I like the thought of applying it to myself.

Call it the crossroads of self-publishing and self-improvement. We'll see how it goes.

In roller derby news, my Bombshells lost to 10th Mountain, and the score was 201 to 207. It was a mirror image of last season's bout against the Mountaineers, with a heroic come-back in the second half and an epic final jam that included two penalties to the 10th Mountain jammer and an amazing effort by our jammer, Sauce, to put huge amounts of points on the board. (Sauce is my hero, y'all. Not even kidding a little bit.) Every pass was a screamingly exciting fight for both teams' very lives, as the Mountaineers blockers clung to their lead and the Bombshells blockers pulled out every trick they knew to get their jammer through the pack.

In the end, I think, if you can't make it through the season undefeated, I think a single loss by a squeaky 6-point margin isn't so terrible. And doesn't every team need a nemesis?

I'm going to call the afterparty a tie. Both teams represented on the dance floor well into the wee hours, and not as separate monochrome bunches, either. We mixed it up real good.

Er. Also. The Bombshells MVPs that 10th Mountain chose for the night were Skinny DipHer as jammer... and myself as blocker. *flabbergasted* Everyone was all, "That's two games in a row, Fleur!" and I'm all, "I know! I don't get it!" I'm not being coy or cute here, I seriously don't get it. But I'm thankful. I hope I managed to show it. I know I hugged a lot of people in 10th Mountain uniforms.

John declared the distinction well deserved and proceeded to explain to me, in great detail and with much enthusiasm, why he thought so. (Have I mentioned how much I love this man?) He also had a lot to say about bout our bout and the "back to school" themed mix-up that preceded it. He and our friend Stras had carpooled to the bout, and when I got home from the afterparty by about 1:00 AM they were in the middle of watching an archived bout on WFTDA.tv (last year's Division 1 game between Windy City and RMRG). They were analyzing the footage, play by play. They paused their viewing to talk derby with me until something like 2:30, and then after Stras went home John and I kept talking until 3:00. By the time I finally fell asleep, my brain was like a computer running a screensaver, and the screensaver featured an endless procession of jammers and blockers whizzing counterclockwise around a derby track.

I've created a derby monster here. John's always been excited to watch derby with me, but this weekend seems to have launched his enthusiasm through the roof. I repeat: He went home from our bout and immediately queued up more derby to watch on his computer. Then we watched more archived bout footage together today (two of this year's D2 bouts featuring Sin City), during which he pressed pause oodles of times to discuss nuances of plays and penalties. There was rewinding and rewatching in slo-mo. There was pausing to look up official rules. There was massive geeking out over derby, y'all.

John said, "I now know why I could never be an official, as much as I want to get involved. I can't be unbiased. I'm too invested in rooting for the Boulder County Bombers."

I thought about this. "Well, with your strategic observations and your tendency to pick plays apart, maybe you could be an assistant coach."

Gods bless him, he didn't say no. In fact, he's seriously considering it. We broached the idea to other league members at the annual league birthday get-together yesterday, to skaters and coaches alike, and everyone thought he'd be a fantastic addition to the team. Gods know we have a need for more coaches, assistant or otherwise, having recently lost a handful of them to the various changing demands of their lives.

He's said he'll come with me to scrimmage on Thursday, and maybe practice on Wednesday too depending on what's on the agenda. We'll see how it goes.

joining the ranks of toasted fictioneers: pretty good for a sick day
Mon 2014-08-25 23:21:17 (single post)

Today is my podcast debut! A few months ago, Tina Connolly bought my flash piece "Other Theories of Relativity" for her podcast Toasted Cake. This week, the podcast episode featuring that story is live. Because it was very short, she paired it with something else that is very short: "Mon pays c'est l'hiver," by Amal El-Mohtar. The two stories go together very well, I think; the main character of one is reevaluating what it means to be family, and the main character of the other is reevaluating what it means to return home. Tina reads both stories very beautifully. No surprises there; Tina always reads beautifully. I've been listening to episodes of her podcast on my drive to roller derby practice, and I've thoroughly enjoyed both her selection and her narration. (Her reading of Paul Hamilton's "Corkscrew" got under my skin and will stay there for a very long time.)

That was the bright spot in my day. The not-so-bright spot was waking up to confirmation that I had indeed caught the crud my husband brought back from Gen Con. I suppose I wasn't so bad off that I couldn't have been a functional member of the Monday farm crew, but, firstly, it's hard to deal with a runny nose when your hands are full of dirt, and secondly, if I've got a cold, should I really be handling other people's produce? "I'm staying home and keeping my germs to myself," I texted to Steph, the volunteer coordinator. "Much appreciated," she responded. "Feel better soon!"

And so I did. John came home in the afternoon with a new box of 12-hour pseudoephedrine. Shortly after that I felt functional enough to go out into the wild and return with take-out from Spice China. Better living through chemistry! Not everything my husband brings home is bad. (He also brought home all the booze remaining from his traditional Gen Con scotch and whiskey tasting. I just sipped my way through a shot of the Balvenie Single-Malt 14-Year Caribbean Cask.)

"Are you still going to roller derby practice tomorrow? Do you think that's wise?" he asked me.

"I have to. It's bout week."

"Then you should wear a face mask. I'll paint a fleur-de-lis on it for you!"

All right. I'll wear a mask. And I'll bring my hand-sanitizer, and reapply frequently. I need my practice, but I don't need to get my Bombshells sick. As things stand, I'm fortunate to have come down with this cold early enough in the week that it should be done and gone by bout day. I don't need to pass it on to someone else such that they'll be still feeling the effects into the weekend.

Tomorrow, in addition to roller derby practice and the usual Tuesday writing schedule, there will be--if all goes well and no unexpected delays are encountered--the project completion walk-through at our home. And if that happens, we'll get to check out of the hotel Wednesday morning and move back home. Keep your fingers crossed.

When they talked about Easy Street I had no idea they meant Gillette, Wyoming
I keep having the urge to hug it. I mean, it exists. It is a thing that happened.
a dramatic rebuttal to the demons of doubt who live rent-free in my head
Mon 2014-07-21 23:20:26 (single post)

Today was all the tired. The pre-lunch session at the farm was weeding crop beds thick with bindweed; the post-lunch session was pruning tomato plants. I came home with a blister from the hula hoe, my arms neon yellow to the elbow from tomato foliage, and the small of my back sunburned quite dramatically from the sagging waistline of my Carhartts utility jeans.

And this the day after we got home from the weekend. Oh, Wyoming. You are so vast, so sunny and hot, so very without shade. Driving across you very nearly made my brain melt and our car overheat. That latter isn't hyperbole; we stopped to change drivers in Wheatland and discovered our radiator fluid was boiling over. That was special.

Saturday morning was relaxing, though. The joy of away bouts is, I'm not responsible for helping set up the track. I'm not expected to help tear down the track and reassemble it on Sunday at our practice location. So I got to sleep late, have a leisurely breakfast, and even take a little reconnaissance walk from the hotel to the afterparty location just to make sure I was familiar with it before I tried it at night, post-bout and post-alcohol. Walking from the Days Inn to Mingles, I went one block too far and found myself at the corner of Wyoming and E-Z Street. I had no idea that Easy Street was in Wyoming. That, also, is special.

You are probably antsy to know how the bout went. I will tell you. We won! The score was 323 to 70, which doesn't begin to tell the play-by-play story. The thing about roller derby bouts is, no matter what the score, every single jam feels like the game depends on it. Every single time you're out there, the intensity is high and the heat is on. Besides, the bout was at an ice hockey venue, using a hockey scoreboard, and there is no hundreds digit on a hockey scoreboard. I had no idea what the score was until it was all over.

("The score is always zero to zero," as my coach will tell you. "Don't even look at the scoreboard until the game is over.")

Also, the track was super slick. We were skating on the polished concrete surface that holds up the ice when the ice rink exists. It made it harder to stop, harder to slow, harder to turn around, and harder for our jammers to push on walls of blockers. Slick floors make for sloppy skating, which makes for more penalties too. Which means each jam was even more of a struggle for dominance, no matter what the scoreboard said.

Now, understand, we're the B travel team that went to Gillette this weekend. Our league's travel teams are filled by twice-yearly try-outs. At try-outs, we're each scored on our skills according to specific metrics. The skaters with the highest scores fill the slots on the "All Stars" A team (our WFTDA charter roster, who, by the way, are going to Division 2 Playoffs in August, and you have the power to help them get there). The next bunch get slotted onto the "Bombshells" B team. Once that fills up, everyone else is placed on the Shrap Nellies C team. At least, that's my understanding of how it works--I don't get to see the scores or the numbers, I just go to try-outs and then practice where they tell me.

I'm explaining this so you'll understand that I was, by actual objective standards, nowhere near the best skater on the track. Our roster included A/B crossover skaters--skaters who skate for both the All Stars and the Bombshells. Our roster included skaters who used to be A/B crossovers but are now full-on All Stars, but who came with us because a week simply isn't enough time to get the new post-try-outs roster ready to bout. I was often on the track with a line-up full of All Stars, and I'm more grateful for it than I can adequately express, because they have taught me so much about how to work with my line and how to communicate and how to hold the jammer and how to be immovable, stable and strong. I've learned so much from them, and I still have so much to learn.

The point is, when the bout is over and the teams come out of their post-bout huddle and announce who they've decided to give the Most Valued Player awards to, when the opposing team says, "And we'd like to give the MVP Blocker award to..." I do not expect to hear my name.

Which is why I stood there like a fool, eyes wide, asking, "You mean me?" And then there were hugs, and congratulations, and pictures, and me crying a little on John's shoulder because I was so stunned and delighted. ("Don't worry," he said. "No one can tell those are tears. You're too full of sweat.") And, oddly, relieved.

I've often said, there are few joys greater than getting to do what you love, than getting better at doing what you love. But I don't always feel like I've got a handle on how much I've improved, or whether I've improved at all. Despite knowing that I can now execute maneuvers I couldn't do last year, and that I'm more stable and have better pack awareness than I used to, there's still doubt. Mistakes often stand out more than triumphs in my head, not least because few of the mistakes go without comment from coaches or teammates. So there's always this half-conscious fear that I'll never be better than mediocre at the game, despite how much I love playing.

But I didn't really understand the extent of all that until Saturday night, when my interior reaction to the award was a huge, overwhelming, and unexpected sense of relief. "Oh, wow, I really am getting better, I really do have the potential to excel at this sport I love playing. Oh, thank goodness." Only then did I realize how much constant background noise of doubt and insecurity I'd been living with.

I'll be attending make-up try-outs this week, having been out of town on the original try-outs date of the 13th. As usual I'll be going into it nervous, aware that I'm capable of screwing it up, and holding no higher expectation than that I simply demonstrate improvement over my results from six months ago.

But maybe this time I'll go into it with somewhat less self-doubt.

a drabble where you can read it; also, revising away some story problems
Fri 2014-07-18 00:20:24 (single post)

I'm pleased to announce that as of today you can read my drabble, "Priesthood Has Its Privileges," on SpeckLit. The other drabble that SpeckLit acquired will appear on the site in September, so stay tuned for that announcement then.

A drabble is a work of fiction that is exactly 100 words long. They are compact and easy to digest, a nutritious part of your daily breakfast. Bookmark SpeckLit to add a new drabble to your diet every other day.

I'm less than pleased to announce that today I was... not as respectful, shall we say, as one should be, of the sharpness of the edge of the scissors blade I was cleaning off. The result is merely a flesh-wound, but there is nothing "merely" about that when it's across your index fingertip and you're trying to type. You ever heard a typo referred to as a "fat finger" incident? Bandaged fingertips are literal fat fingers, hitting two keys where one will do and generally wrecking one's wpms.

Thankfully, this flesh-wound came after a solid session of story revision today. It was solid not only as measured by the formula "butt + chair x time," but also from the standpoint of story problems solved, or at least brought closer to solved. To wit:

1) Raise the stakes. The story has an "OMG shit just got real" moment about halfway through, but I think the draft my friends read suffered from a bit of stall-out after that. The narrator gets home from encountering the "OMG" moment--and almost immediately forgets about it, or at least stops mentioning it, while she listens to some voice mail from her chatty and insufficiently worried friend. So with this revision I'm trying to keep the tension high by correcting both of those oversights. If I've done my job right, I've corrected them both in a single edit to do with what's in the phone message and how the narrator reacts to it.

Wow. That paragraph is a great example of why talking about writing is sometimes not the greatest idea. Trying to discuss a particular edit in generalities rather than specific detail results in hella confusion cum circumlocution. Well, I'm-a leave it up there, let it fend for itself, 'cause I know what I mean, and one day, publishers willing and the markets don't flop, you will too.

2) Everyone's got a story. There is a character in this story more talked about than talking, and it finally occurred to me I have to give him something to do. He's away in a ski resort with the chatty friend, which is to say, they're in what's basically a fancy hotel suite. I visualize it as a kitchen/living room, a bedroom, and a bathroom. That's it. Yet the chatty friend manages to leave our narrator phone messages that this other character in the room is not overhearing. How did I solve that problem in recent drafts? Well, apparently I had him taking a lot of naps. This... is not ideal. He is not meant to be the Amazing Hibernating Man. So with this draft I tried to figure out, well, what does he do while they're in the resort? Especially considering the special role he plays in the development of the plot? And how can I then reveal what he's doing such that it lays groundwork for later revelations?

So now he spends a lot of time sitting on the balcony out in the snow, oblivious to the cold, staring out into the storm. Which doesn't sound like much of an improvement, but in my head there is a reason. I just have to figure out how to make that reason more clear.

This blog post has been brought to you by a somewhat out of date bottle of New-Skin (R) Antiseptic Liquid Bandage. Protects small cuts without all that bandaged fingertip awkwardness! I think I'll go put on a second coat now. And buy a new, not-out-of-date bottle tomorrow.

select all, copy, paste, send
Fri 2014-06-20 23:45:13 (single post)
  • 6,270 wds. long

So, this story. This story that I began trying to write seriously since at least midway through 2011. This story that began with a dream from some undocumented time long before that, at least as early as May 2004. (At least, that's the date on the story's oldest draft.) This story that has been through multiple false starts and aborted attempts over the years to achieve a publishable revision of that original dream-scribble. This Gods-damned story.

It's finally finished.

That is, a respectable draft of sufficient quality to put before other readers' eyes--in this case, a small handful of friends who have been kind enough to volunteer to read it--is finished and has been sent off for their critique.

I will probably have another "Oh my Gods it's finally done!" moment when I finish the (probably post-critique) draft and submit the story to a market, mind you. (And that will probably be next week.) But just getting it to this point is huge. Once a story reaches the critique-ready stage, anything is possible.

(Just shut up about all the stories that have been through one or more critiques and still haven't reached the submittable stage. I'm getting to those, OK?)

So, huzzah and hallelujah! Io evohe and stuff! And also thunk. (That's the sound of me falling over in triumphant exhaustion. But you knew that.)

See you after the weekend.

STANDBY for drabble debut
Wed 2014-06-18 17:16:39 (single post)

Tomorrow we will return you to your regularly scheduled whining about the revision process. Today, we take a break for the happy dance.

About three months ago, I started writing drabbles so I could submit some to the all drabble, all the time market SpeckLit. For about two weeks or so, that's what I did during the half hour that I normally allotted to freewriting. It was a lot like freewriting--I used a prompt (usually the previous day's string-of-ten) to come up with an idea, and I ran with that idea for 25 minutes. Only difference was, I added a bit of whittling down and polishing up, so that when I was done I had a fresh new 100-word short story.

After those few weeks, I had a portfolio of eight that I was pleased with, and I submitted them.

Early this morning, the editor responded to my submission with an offer to publish two of them in the upcoming third quarter of the year, and a contract for me to sign should my answer be Yes. Why, yes!

When I know more--like, precisely when they'll go up, for instance, and whether the editor would prefer me not announce the titles before SpeckLit does--I will tell you more.

I do love acceptance letters. I love them all the more when they have the compassionate timing to arrive alongside rejection letters (yesterday I crossed another potential market for "Blackbird" off my list, and I intend to send it on a looooooong journey tomorrow). I love them any time they choose to pay me a visit. They should visit me more often.

(I wouldn't have whined very much. Today's revision session was actually rather enjoyable.)

got it written. next: get it right
Fri 2014-06-13 20:43:44 (single post)
  • 6,434 wds. long

My goal was to finish this draft of "Caroline's Wake" by the end of the working week, i.e. Friday evening. I'm pleased to say I have achieved my goal. It involved less stress than anticipated, too. I got to the end of the scene that was driving me nuts yesterday; the final scene fell into place today easily and naturally, as a denouement should. Ta-da!

To be painstakingly honest, I did not meet my entire goal, which was the have the draft done and ready for critique. As I worked on it yesterday and today, as I babbled to myself about it in today's edition of the Morning Pages, I discovered some small slight issues I'd like to clean up before letting other people's eyes take a gander. The "hot and heavy" part of the seduction scene needs some cleaning up, as the same energy that made it effective and effortless to write has undoubtedly also weighted it a little on the self-indulgent side. (Please feel free to insert whatever innuendo you want there. Far be it from me to spoil your fun and tell you to get your mind out of the gutter. You're obviously having a lot of fun down there.) And given that the story plays around the edges of some taboo/squick boundaries, it's important that the reader realize, or at least suspect, that the main characters are Goddesses. I need to make the hints about that a lot less subtle. Oh, it sounds unsubtle here on the blog where I'm all THIS IS A PERSEPHONE AND DEMETER STORY, GET IT, GET IT? But things are more ambiguous on the page. Which means that certain things a reader would kind of let fly because Oh, We're In Mythology Headspace, It's OK might instead make the reader go What? No. Just NO.

So there's still a lot of "get it right" work to do next week. But that's OK, because the "get it written" part is solidly done. And that's a huge relief.

Meanwhile--hooray weekend! And it's a weekend with no roller derby practice, because the league observes Father's Day as a holiday. Much as I love derby, it's nice to get a Sunday off and relax. But it will not be an entirely non-skating weekend, because I'll be rolling around during the G'Knight Ride festivities. Wanna come eat good food, drink a beer, jam to some great local music, and watch a roller derby mini-bout? It'll be in Roosevelt Park, in Longmont, 900 Longs Peak Avenue. The demo bout will be at 4 PM, Saturday the 14th, on the Roosevelt Pavillion. See you there!

maybe it really is that simple
Wed 2014-05-21 23:05:53 (single post)

Today I am all about libraries. I have one book checked out from the Boulder Public Library (Riggs, Ransom, Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children), several from the Longmont Public Library (including the Riggs sequel, Hollow City), a couple of paperbacks bought for 50 cents each off the Longmont "Friends of the Library" book sale shelf (Cornelia Funke's Inkheart and Tamora Pierce's Magic Steps), and three more books I'm requesting holds for so I can pick them up at the brand new NoBo (North Boulder) Corner Library and hopefully read them in time to cast an informed vote for the Best Novel Hugo (the Stross, Leckie, and Grant. No, I have no interest in Larry "Sad Puppy" Correia or The Wheel Of Time: A Novel In 14 Parts. But thanks for asking!).

Me and libraries. We're like this, y'all. I wuv me some library.

I also get writing done at libraries, it would appear. And also at lunch. And also early enough in the morning that I'm still squinting. And sometimes even late at night after derby, in between mouthfuls of "hey, this is carbs too, right? So it's OK if I eat it? How about this?" (Did you know that a suggested serving of Haribo "Happy Cola" contains 3 grams of protein and 30 grams carbohydrates? That totally makes it a derby recovery snack.)

I am not sure exactly how today went better than yesterday in terms of Getting The Work Done, or honestly why I'm sure it did go better than yesterday. Seems like I did about the same amount of writing tasks and had the same amount of interruptions keeping me from them. But I feel a lot better about today than yesterday.

I'm not sure the answer is roller derby, since I was feeling pretty good about the day well before I went to practice. But it didn't hurt. Had a fantastic last team practice before the bout (y'all are gonna come watch us play Saturday, right?). We did a ton of drills that reminded us of all the awesome and absurdly effective tools that we've got in our toolbox. Also, it was New Recruit Night. Knowing that a handful of potential new derby skaters on the couches in the corner were watching us practice, it kind of put me in happy cheerful show-off mode. I want those gals to go home saying, "I got to watch the Bombshells practice! It was amazing! I want to learn how to do all the fantastic things they were doing!"

Definitely, roller derby helped. And going to Longmont early to visit the library, check out books, and write for another hour, that helped too. Also the bit about not having the painting project hanging over my head all day, that was nice.

But I think what really set the tone was--surprise!--getting up on time. Last night's hypothesis was, "In case of not enough time, add hours." So I did. I added about two of 'em. I got out of bed when John did (he has a daily 8:30 AM telemeeting with his geographically diverse coworkers) rather than sleeping in. And dang if I didn't use those hours for all sorts of shit. Grocery run, McGuckin's (hardware and housewares) run, going out to lunch with John and taking our time in leisurely conversation before settling down to our respective work-a-day tasks, taking my Wednesday volunteer reading at an unhurried pace and playing Puzzle Pirates while I recorded it... And, um, writing. I think I really will hit the 5-hour mark today. It's amazing how adding two more hours in the morning can add stretch to the whole day!

Note to self: Sleeping late is almost never as rewarding as adding two more hours to my morning is. Can we do more of this? I want to do more of this.

Check it out! All done! Well, almost.
Before and after, conveniently juxtaposed in real time
some things get done. some things don't.
Fri 2014-05-02 23:23:38 (single post)
  • 747 wds. long

Hey, check it out! The entryway is done! So... maybe from this photo it's hard to tell how nice that gold crown molding looks, but trust me, it's glorious. Better yet, it's no longer that "rotten peaches and curdled cream" theme that the unit had when we moved in. See the second photo for comparison, showing where the dining area (done) meets the living room closet wall (not done).

Again, realize we bought the place in August of the year 2000. It feels so good to be finally picking up this project again. It feels really nice to walk into the house and see those newly painted walls that at last look the way we've wanted them to look all these years.

Except--argh!--the entryway isn't quite done yet. You can't see it from here, but the doorjamb is still cream, splashed with white from the new paint job. We'll paint that on Tuesday. Then we'll decide when to tackle the next piece of house waiting for its makeover. And what that next piece of house should be. Probably that central "hallway" where the doors to the bathroom and the two bedrooms let out just off the living room.

Meanwhile, in writing news... More argh. I'll just say that, when the next scene of a short story looks impossible to write, suddenly Examiner articles look really attractive. One of these things I know I can do. And its completion state is easy to define.

"Look," I tell myself, "you don't have to get the scene right in one go. All you have to do is set a timer for 25 minutes and babble to yourself about what needs to be in that scene. Freewriting mode, right? Freewriting is fun!"

To which myself tends to reply, "Sure. Yep. Totally. Except--right after this quick blog article about some writing events this weekend, OK? Sooner I publish that, more useful it is, right? Because it's timely, see?"

It's so very easy to convince myself that I have good reasons for avoiding the thing I want to avoid.

Argh.

Tomorrow's another day, and next week is another week. That's always comforting to remember, even if--once again--there's only two more "another weeks" to go before the deadline I'm trying to hit is here and gone.

forgiveness sometimes means giving up
Thu 2014-05-01 23:14:38 (single post)

Well, there's a depressing title. Only it's not meant to be. It's more about the forgiveness than about the giving up, after all. And the giving up is only temporary. It goes something like this:

"If I haven't gotten it done by 11:00 PM, I shouldn't beat myself up trying to get it done by 1:00 AM."

See? Forgiveness. Giving up on getting a thing done today isn't really giving up. It's just deferring. And deferring is better than hurting myself with stress and unrealistic expectations.

"Hurting myself" isn't entirely metaphorical, or solely emotional. I've been stressing myself into mouth ulcers again lately. Mouth ulcers make eating difficult, and eating is one of my favorite things, so that nonsense has really gotta stop.

This new epiphany goes triple on Wednesday and Thursday nights. If it's unlikely I'll get productive work done after 11:00 PM normally, it's extra special unlikely after roller derby practice or scrimmage. And I'm feeling particularly beat up after tonight's scrimmage. At some point during the night I took a skate wheel to my right calf. It might actually have been my own skate wheel. Now that sucker's so bruised and tender that the simple act of walking is a challenge. And I took one of those hard side-hits that makes you feel like your ribs are about to fold in on each other like the wings of a butterfly or maybe the legs of a card table. Ow ow ow ow.

(I was jamming. One of the opposing blockers, hearing me whimper and not stop whimpering, said, "Just fall down, Fleur, it's OK, we'll take a knee and call the jam off," and I was all "Nope! (ow) Two minutes (ow) have got to end (ow) sometime..." Then the jam ended and I drifted off to the team bench, still whimpering. Have I mentioned I'm not a jammer? I'm so not a jammer. I jam like the unsophisticated blocker that I am: brute force all the way, and no agility to fall back on when that doesn't work. *sigh*)

So basically I'm good for nothing right now except downing a couple ibuprofen and also the entire order of chicken egg fu yong from Golden Sun. Wheeeeee food coma. And maybe reading the rest of Seanan McGuire's online "Velveteen" stories. (I'm midway through "vs. The Eternal Halloween" at the moment.)

And apparently writing a blog post in which I whine about stuff. Hi.

So I'm just giving myself permission to go easy on myself now, and leave anything yet undone for tomorrow. And I'm thinking about how they came to remain undone, and learning from that, and identifying mistakes in time- and energy-management I shouldn't make tomorrow. So that's a good thing too.

By the way, the house painting continues. The entryway now finally looks like the living room, in that it not only has white walls rather than cream, but gold crown molding rather than pink. I laid down the first coat of gold this afternoon, and John put the second coat on while I was at derby. It looks awesome. Now all it needs is the finishing touch, the sponged-on application of a red-gold glaze. We'll do that tomorrow when we have daylight again. It's a process that requires natural light, and plenty of it, to decide how much sponging-on is enough.

Then we get to decide when we're going to attack the next piece of our house that still needs painting.

Here's a hint: it won't be tomorrow.

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