Fat Girl in the New Year

The new year is ripe for weight-loss related resolutions. Not for me. My commitment issues only allow for me to have half-assed resolutions. My weight requires my whole ass.

Lots of people make weight-loss related resolutions and that’s fine. Some people need that fresh new year to help motivate them in their health goals. I can relate. I always have to start a goal on a Monday. It feels wrong to me to start in the middle of the week.

For me, though, my weight isn’t a resolution. It informs too much of my existence, too much of how society treats me to consider it so casually. And let’s face it. Most people take their resolutions casually, like champagne bubbles made to broken.

It just so happens that I am trying to lose some weight this year and it just so happens that it looks like I started around the first of the year. But this is not a resolution.

It’s like this. In the last couple of years, due to a delightful combination of illness and injury, sprinkled generously throughout with some mild depression, I’ve gained some weight on top of the weight that I’ve already been lugging around and frankly, it doesn’t thrill me.

Now, I’ve tried to get this weight gain under control, but it seemed like every time I started to get back into the swing of taking better care of myself, something would come along and derail it. And then I’d have to go through the struggle of starting all over.

Last month, I put it to my mind that I was going to get back into the habit of exercising regularly. I started around the beginning of the month (on a Monday, of course) and I was doing well with it. And then I hurt myself. Leave it to me to suffer a devastating knee injury while doing holiday baking.

My knee healed enough that I could start doing modified workouts the week of the first (I started on Monday the 31st, of course). And I’ve continued doing them on a daily basis, wearing a brace and increasing the length and difficulty, using modifications when I need them as my knee continues to heal. This regular exercise should help me feel better and help me lose some of the weight that I gained in the last couple of years.

This is a goal. Not a resolution.

When you’re fat, it’s easy for people to assume that when you’re eating a salad, you’re on a diet. They can’t fathom that you might always eat a salad or that you prefer a salad or hell, you were craving a salad (it happens to me rarely and usually in the summer).

When you’re fat and committing to an exercise plan at the beginning of any given year, it’s easy for people to assume that you’ve made a resolution. And resolutions are famous for being quickly disregarded and therefore, aren’t taken seriously. Which is what compels me to clarify my particular position.

This is not a resolution. This is a goal. A goal with the purpose of creating a lifestyle change. A lifestyle change which should help me feel better.

As much as I struggle, I am taking this seriously.

And, weight-loss related or not, casual or not, I’m wishing you well on your resolutions, too.

Advertisements

Turning 39: The Last of My Thirties

I have once again completed a trip around the sun and once again I find myself looking around thinking, “Holy shit. I’m not dead yet. That’s wild. I probably should have planned this better.”

Since this is the last year of my thirties, I figure it to be a sort of a victory lap. I went into my thirties thinking that I’d have a good time and it’d be my decade. And though I did have a few good years, it was really hard in a lot of ways. I went through some shit. I’m actually looking forward to getting into my forties.

I suppose I should be disappointed. I’m 39 and I haven’t checked off a whole lot of things on society’s To Do List. Hell, I haven’t checked off a bunch of things on my own To Do List. I’m kind of a failure.

Oh, well. Too late to do anything about it now.

So this year I send off my thirties and prepare myself for my forties. I have no idea what that’s going to entail. Ideally, there will be more success than I’ve had. More fun. More good times with people I adore. Ideally, I’ll get to meet new people and see new places because ideally I’ll make more money and therefore be able to afford that. Maybe I’ll even get an idea of what I should do with my forties.

But for now I’ll leave it loose. No need to put high expectations on 39. After all, I haven’t really plotted anything so far. Why start now?

Should be a real swingin’ time.

The Results of My 2018 Experiments

In this post, I declared 2018 my experimental year, or more accurately, gave myself three challenges for the year. The results of the first challenge, exercising for 100 days in a row, was documented in this post, however, at the time that I did the challenge and reported back I didn’t realize that I was suffering from anemia that was causing debilitating fatigue. So, keep that in mind if you decide to check it out.

The other two challenges ran the course of the year: writing a page a day on a project and writing a sentence in each of the languages I’m studying every day. I’m happy to report that I did both.

The point of doing the language challenge was two-fold. First, it meant to help me be consistent with my language practice because sometimes I’d flake off and only practice one of them instead of all four. Because I had to write a sentence in each language, I needed to practice all of them. Second, I thought by writing out the sentences it would help with the learning part.

The first part was definitely successful. I have a notebook full of random sentences from my lessons and I never missed a day no matter how busy or tired or unenthusiastic I was. The second part is a little harder to gauge. I can say that my Russian handwriting improved greatly, but French still confounds the hell out of me and I still screw up my Czech grammar and my pronunciation in all of those languages isn’t great. I am reading all of them easier, though. I’ll take the small victories where I can.

Writing a page a day was a simple enough writing exercise. It guaranteed that I wrote something every day and it acted as a nice warm-up on the days when I was having trouble getting started. I had an idea of what the story was and where it was going when I started, but it ended up being something else entirely by the end (though the ending is pretty close to what I had envisioned when I wrote the first page).

I honestly didn’t know whether or not I had enough story to make it all the way through the year, but it turns out I did. I ended up with 365 (double-spaced) pages and 101,493 words of a messy first draft of story. It’s the longest thing I’ve ever written and likely will be the longest thing I ever write, but I’m so glad I did it. And honestly, I’m kind of lost not having it waiting for me every day.

So, it is with these results that I declare the experimental part of 2018 a success.

Man, I love me some good science.

2019 Half-Assed Resolutions

Only one of my 2018 half-assed resolutions was a total fail and that was working on my blanket-in-progress. Having a good time wasn’t executed as well as I would have liked. This year was kind of garbage in many ways. But! I did successfully art every month and I wrote a Rerun Junkie post nearly every month. Oh, and I didn’t get dead.

So, here are my half-assed resolutions for 2019.

1. Have a good time.

2. Don’t get dead.

3. Clean out my craft drawer, which has become more like a junk drawer and it’s getting unruly. There’s crafting stuff I can get rid of and crafting stuff that I’m not using in the foreseeable future which can be put away upstairs. I need to do that.

4. Do something with my art. I spent 2018 making art once a month. There’s only a couple of pieces that didn’t really turn out the way I wanted. I should really do something with the pieces that I think turned out reasonably well.

5. Podcast. Yes, I’ve been working on the research and whatnot for Book ’em Danno, and it’s been in my brain for months and I said I’m going to do it, but I am remarkable at talking myself out of doing things like this because I won’t do it well enough or I won’t do it right. Maybe if I make it a half-assed resolution, it will help my resolve.

Bring it on, 2019.

2018: The Writing Year That Wasn’t

To help me keep my shit straight, every year I create a writing calendar. I fill in each month with the projects I’m going to work on. This gives me an easy way to look at what I’ve been working on, what I need to work on, and the progress I’ve made throughout the year. Sometimes I’ve got months planned well in advance. Sometimes I’m filling out the month as I’m writing up the blog post about what I plan to work on for the given month.

On this calendar, at the beginning of the year, I make a list of projects, the big things I want to work on during the course of the next twelve months. These projects range from things I absolutely must get done to things I would ideally like to get done to things that are just wishful thinking, but hey, I might get bored.

My projects list for 2018 was more than reasonable, I felt, and I thought that I’d easily get four of my top 5 done this year.

I did two and that’s because I’m counting two items as half-done and/or attempted.

Between the fatigue issues caused by the anemia the first part of the year and the summer lost to the crash and burn of the day job, shit did not get done.

And I’m feeling pretty down about that.

It’s easy to say that I faced some challenges this year; that it’s understandable. The problem with that is that I didn’t really overcome any of those challenges, now did I?

It took me the better part of six months to complete one project that in the previous year took me maybe two all together. It’s very hard to look at that, challenges included, and not feel like I biffed it big time. I’m looking back at that wondering why I couldn’t push through, why I didn’t work harder, why I didn’t find a way.

It does me no good to do this, I know. I’m not going to find any satisfactory answers there.

But I do find some lessons.

There are times that I don’t push myself as hard as I could. I get lazy. I give up too easily on the days that I struggle to focus. I don’t adapt and adjust to changes and challenges as well as I’d like to. I have a tendency to be too bullheaded when it would be in my best interest not to be.

These are the things that I’ll be working on in 2019.

Along with another list of projects.

We’ve Already Discussed This. Writing Is Work.

“Are you coming with us?”

“I can’t. I gotta work. I’ve got 2,500 words to write for NaNo.”

“That’s not work.”

It was a throw away comment in a conversation I had earlier this week, a dismissal of my excuse not to go more than anything, but it still stuck in my skin like a barb.

That’s not work.

I’ve already discussed this, probably more than once, in the time I’ve been writing with the intent to make a profit, but I suppose I should say it again for the people in back.

Writing is work.

The prevailing idea is that if something doesn’t get you a regular paycheck, then it can’t be work. Unfortunately for many of us pursuing some sort of creative field like writing or art, we don’t get regular paychecks. Honestly, we would like to. We’d like to be paid a fair wage, dollars per hour for the work that we do. We’d like that regular weekly or bi-weekly paycheck like so many other jobs provide.

But the reality is that we don’t get that.

And because we don’t, there’s this myth that what we do isn’t work.

It is.

It’s the most frustrating kind of work in this capitalistic society because we will put in a ton of effort on a project that might never yield one cent for us. A story or a novel that never sells. An article that languishes in pitch hell. And even if we do get paid, rarely is it ever fair compensation comparable to the amount of work put into it.

There’s also this idea that because we set our own hours and/or work from home that writing is not work. It’s actually more work when you think about it. How easy is your job when you’re constantly interrupted by the people around you? How long does it take you to get one task done when people keep stopping by your desk to chat? How easy is it for you to get back into your groove? How frustrating is it when you lose that groove ten minutes later because they’re back again?

Yeah. That’s my reality when I’m trying to write.

Writing is work. Yes, I have to hold day jobs from time to time and I currently don’t have one, but my ultimate goal is to comfortably support myself by writing and writing alone. I want writing to be my only full-time job. I wish for it to be my career.

No, it is not backbreaking, sweaty labor. No, I don’t have to leave my house to do it. No, I don’t have a boss in the traditional sense. And no, I don’t get that regular paycheck.

But I earn every penny I make from it. It is work. It is MY work.

Now don’t make me say it again.

It’s That Time of Year Again

It never seems to fail.

By about this time every year, I find myself strapped for cash and it lasts right into the new year. This time around it’s not exactly a shock considering the day job didn’t work out, but even when I was working three day jobs, by the end of October/beginning of November I’d be starting to feel the crunch.

So, I figure it’s a good time to remind everyone of the various ways you can give me money.

The most obvious way is to buy one of my books! I’ve got quite the selection going, something for everyone if you tend to like the creepy, disturbing, and/or scary. You can find the whole list here, but I have a few I’d like to highlight.

Come to the Rocks–From Nine Star Press, this novelette is the closest I’ve come to a love story, so naturally it happens between a mermaid and a woman being stalked by her ex-boyfriend.

Gone Missing–One of my first self-publishing ventures, this novella concerns a town of missing people who start to go missing.

Yearly–My best-seller. A collection of 12 short stories, one for each month of the year.

Spirited in Spite–This is a fun one that came from a failed NaNo novel. It’s one that I think deserves a little more love.

The Haunting of the Woodlow Boys–This is one of my stories that I absolutely love, but it’s gotten so little attention! Please. I beg of you. Give this one a read.

And as always, if you do buy and read, please leave a review! It helps other people find my work. More eyes, more dimes. Or something like that.

If you’re looking for something with some commitment and membership perks, then become a patron! Murderville is my current Patreon project that’s scheduled to go for five “seasons”. Two seasons are already done. Season 3 will start next year. $1 an “episode” lets you read. $2 an episode lets you read, plus you get a bonus every other month.

I’ve also got a little feature called Writing for Tips. I’ve got a selection of free stories here on the blog for your enjoyment and if you feel compelled, you can drop a dollar in the ol’ tip jar.

And if you don’t feel at all like reading, or you’ve already read and raved about everything I have to offer, you can always just buy me a coffee or two.

It’s been a not great year, but I’m getting my groove back and I’m hoping to have some new projects coming out soon. Also, I hope to find a new day job that’s more compatible. But until then, every little bit helps and is very much appreciated.