I haven’t given up on blogging once a day – I just got overwhelmed at work and life and, more importantly, at friendship – hanging out with some of my best buddies and catching up, something I’ve been far too busy to do recently. But this week I put in time with a few good buddies – one from high school, one from the writing group, even one day when I was a bit under the weather working remotely with my laptop in the backyard, which was appreciated by our aging, inappropriately urinating, formerly-indoor cats.
I was real stressed this week, but, objectively, things are going very well. I saved my threatened project from last year’s craziness and it’s now in use; I started a great new project with my team; even something that we thought was dead long ago got used in a great demo at work. I sent a novel to a publisher; we planned a high school friends trip to Tahoe; things are going well.
One friend noted I’d been living my life the way I do – overstuffed with work, a full time software job; plus as much as a full time novelist as I can be reading over lunch and dinner, writing over coffee and occasional breakfasts; plus helping manage a small press; plus doing comics – for a while now, and he was worried the stress was getting worse. I see that, but didn’t quite agree.
I’ve been this stressed before, particularly in the middle of my PhD, when I was two or three years in and thought I had two or three years more to get out … and then found out after three years of work I had several more years to go. I’ve done it to myself, taking on an 80% time job to spend time writing, but then spending a whole year filling my life with karate, improv, and weekly roundtables which filled my whole schedule to the point weeks just disappeared. As the stress builds, you just want to take a break – and if you don’t, as my friend pointed out, things may break anyway.
Those periods of my life sucked, and in a way this one does too, but in another way, it’s more manageable. My crunch now is not being trapped just by doing too much to myself; it’s like being trapped by my PhD, which got delayed because I had an opportunity to work on a robotics project. Now, while I have a few things to deal with like a wrecked floor at the house, I’m mostly trapped by opportunity: the opportunity to do a great project at work, to write great books, to help bring other books to life.
I can see an exit strategy – a couple years of work at work, three years of work on my next novels, plus maintenance of the small press and continued practice at comics, and once I get through those things, if they’re even moderately successful, I’ll be in a position of much more creative freedom. So I think it’s important to not lose these opportunities – but on the other hand, it’s pointless to let your opportunities kill you. That’s why today, after I finished booking my next trip, after I finished more readings which hit the intersection of my robotics work and my urban fantasy research, but before I did any more serious work, including this blog entry … I took time out to be creative. To just draw.
Well, drawing practice because I want to do comic books, but you get the idea.