February’s Update: Keeping My Sanity

February is upon us. It came as we anticipated with all the warnings in the world.

So one month into the fresh 2017, here are some updates and things I’m working on:

Writing

At the end of December, I put a small post up on Facebook pledging to write at least a page a day. This equates to about 500 words, which I’m proud to say I did – with only missing one day.

Some days were easier than others.

Some days I hit my goal at nine in the morning and other days it was closer to ten or eleven at night.

But it still got done.

All in all, I come out of January with almost 19,000 words written. Not too shabby considering the holiday hangover and circling back to edit/finish a novella I started last August.

February 1st also marks the day I’m starting a new draft of a book. Instead of trying to complete it all in one month like I’ve done in the past, I’m extending the self-imposed deadline to March 31st. I figure two months will give me a little bit of leeway and with a smaller daily word count, less stressful in the long run.

I’ve also had this idea festering for several months now. Unlike some previous titles I’ve started and stopped, this one’ll be a bit more planned.

This is much better for the sanity.

(By day 15 this sanity will be reduced to a dwindled puddle of insecurity and self-doubt)

Language

Okay, I’ll admit this one needs the most work. I’m not proud to say this one fell by the wayside over the past few weeks. But I’m not giving up on this yet – just needs a little more attention in February.

It’s fun to learn something new. If only I could go back to my 8th grade self and smack him silly for not appreciating, among other things, Spanish I.

Maybe the language-learning process would be a little easier nowadays.

Either way, I can definitely afford to find 10-15 minutes a day to get back on track with this.

Music

Five weeks in and five songs down.

I didn’t really start this resolution with a lot in mind, aside from learning 52 songs this year. The only rule I’m trying to stick to, and I know I can, is: a band cannot be repeated in consecutive months.

Also, as I head into February, I’m going to try and find songs with different chord progressions. At this point I’ve almost mastered the Aminor – C – F – G chord progression.

I also wanted to learn the lyrics to these songs but I’m still holding out for a singer who doesn’t sound like a wounded animal before I film any of these. Jury’s still out on this point.

Here are the songs already in the books:

 

Health

January was a month of two-week experiments.

I started with no fast food (to those of you who know me, this was tough). I also took Dry January (no alcohol) all the way to the 26th – probably the longest I’ve gone without a drink since college.

For the second half of the month I gave up coffee, which was even tougher than caffeine. Once the withdrawal headaches subsided, I had to get used to drinking water only in the morning.

I’m thankful to say in February, the caffeine-fast will go away. As I write this, I’m sitting in a nice coffee shop on my second cup.

How do you write a book without a constant flow of coffee coming from the kitchen down the hall?

(You don’t)

Social Media

Have you ever wrestled with something for weeks on end? Maybe to the point where you lose sleep over it? And at the end, you just say, “Screw it” and do it anyway?

As another experiment, I took off all my social media apps on my phone. No Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

I’m going on three weeks now and the urge to reinstall them hasn’t really been an issue.

As a complement to this, I installed a website blocker on my laptop that blocks all these sites (adding YouTube, Netflix, Yahoo, and Google/Gmail) until 1pm everyday.

This has helped tremendously in the mindless checking and scrolling I was doing.

After a while, I’ve realized I haven’t really missed anything. I’m not concerned about a lot posts, comments, and pictures. Sure, they’re nice…I guess. But they ultimately don’t add a whole lot to my day. Falling into that rabbit hole takes away a lot of minutes from trying to accomplish everything else I want to this year.

This in itself could been an entire blog post.

But if you want hours back in your life, I urge you to try it. Try it for a day, or a week, and see what you can do.

If you are like me, you’ll have to get past the twitch to check your phone every couple of minutes.

It’ll suck.

But sometimes things that suck are worth it.

Job Hunt

Since I haven’t heard from Hollywood yet in turning my book into a movie and I can’t exactly retire to the Caribbean with my royalties, the job hunt is still underway.

I’ve become best friends with LinkedIn and Indeed and several other sites. I arrived at the place where I know what I don’t want to do and have no idea what I want to do.

This is a process, albeit a frustrating one at that. But at the end of the day, I’ve done this to myself. It’s a hole from which I have to dig myself out.

I’m hoping something comes along soon. There’re only so many conversations you can have with three dogs, isn’t there?

Outro

So those are some of the things I have on the docket for February. A little less consuming and a helluva lot more creating. Between free writing and this new book, the target is 40,000 words and maintaining a shred of sanity through it all.

Cheers

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