Tag Archives: Routine

I’m Psyched

It’s crazy to realize today’s the last day of February, but I think it’s almost crazier still to look back and realize that, on February 1st, twenty eight days ago, I started writing the first draft of Artemis Smith and the Steam Powered Fallacy.

And today, I surpassed 40,000 words.

Meaning I’m writing, on average, 10,000 words a week, over a span of six days (but usually five).

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I’m seriously excited about this, friends.

Especially since today’s writing session almost stopped at 600 words.

I just wasn’t feeling it. I couldn’t stop thinking about all of the problems this story has and how difficult it’s going to be to ever get this story published in the first place. I started to feel, honestly, a little hopeless, as I know this story started too slow and we’re just about to start getting into the thick of it and yet I’m almost 90 pages in, so I’m going to have to do a lot of work on the half I’ve already written. My brain kept being drawn to all the “negatives” around this story right now and how problematic it is, even though it’s a first draft and they’re honestly meant to be this way.

I’d already closed out of all my social media accounts, so that wasn’t distracting me, but I couldn’t help looking at my To-Do List and wondering if there was something else I could do to take up my time, instead of trying to push through and make my writing goal for the day. I was already ahead, so what if I feel a little behind again after one bad day?

Yet I kept pushing and I kept writing. I knew where this scene was headed, I just needed to do the work and actually write it.

3,000 words later and I’m not feeling to shabby.

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I actually really like how this scene turned out. Do all those problems I worried about before still exist? Oh, absolutely, without a doubt. Yet the best parts of this novel, I still have to write. And I’ve already been so pleasantly surprised with some of the scene and events that have popped up already, that were never in my original outline. I’ve put in the work and I’m in a great spot to have a finished draft (or at least reach my word count goal of 80,000 words) by March 31st. And that’s including starting two weeks late, thanks to the flu. That’s including the days were I couldn’t push through and either missed writing or didn’t meet my word count goal. That’s in spite of the fact that, the last two attempts I tried at writing a new novel, I stopped 40 pages ago.

I’ve developed a pretty regular routine over the past 28 days, writing at least five times a week consistently. I have a story that is just the bare bones of what it needs to be, but it’s also so much more than that. It’s a reflection of hope, a result of work, a symbol of persistence and the product of following my dreams, no matter what.

And for that (and for the sake of puns), I am positively psyched.



That Pesky Domino Effect

The brain is an interesting thing.

Particularly how it ties into willpower and how willpower ties into decision making and how tripping up once with your willpower and choosing the “wrong” thing can easily create a domino effect.

That pesky domino effect.

Last week, I ran twice when really, I had the opportunity to run five times (maybe even six). Yet a lot of the time, I chose to sleep in instead of getting up to go run. And though I was tired, I never really woke up fully rested, instead usually just berating myself for choosing to waste another morning. And then the rest of the day, I’d be slightly irritated–even if it was just in the back of my mind–for not running in the morning, which threw off my entire groove.

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Oh c’mon, you knew this was coming.

It tied into my eating, as well. Since I already messed up one thing tied into my goal of shaping the body I want and living a healthier lifestyle, i.e., running, I let myself slide with all the other aspects of that goal. For example, eating that snack when I wasn’t hungry or splurging on that meal even though I knew it was going to mess me up. And sure, those aren’t necessarily bad things, but they stack up. Especially when this line of thinking repeats multiple times over the week and you’re trying to hit your calorie goal and consistently go over, yet you’re not fighting it by running.

Today is weigh day and I’m absolutely dreading to see how much I gained. Sure, it’s not going to be 10 pounds or any such nonsense, but it will probably be a couple pounds back instead of that losing-one-pound-a-week progress I’ve been making. And that’s going to bum me out. Nothing that I can’t conquer, by any means, but it makes me to just go back and reflect on what caused all this in the first place; the same thing causing me to feel so guilty about it currently, a guilt that’s been carried around all week, weighing more than whatever number pops up on that scale.

That pesky domino effect.

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It’s crazy to me how, if I oversleep or choose sleep instead of running, suddenly my entire day is thrown off. Suddenly the habits I’ve instilled, like logging food or eating good, filling, healthy meals, go by the wayside; how easily, if I miss one day, suddenly the next day, the temptation to choose sleep over the goals I’m working towards becomes even more appealing. Then you blink and your entire week has been messed up. It’s even crazier when I know, every time I choose to sleep (or play video games or what have you) instead of start my day off with a run, that I’m going to beat myself up for it and I know it’s going to take that much more willpower to get back on track.

I know this, but I still fall into this trap anyway, tipping over that first domino and then waiting to see if the rest of them fall.

So yeah, last week sucked. Worse, it’s been eating me up since last Monday, that first day I skipped a run. And I don’t like it, especially because the only thing causing that is me and the choices I made. I’m excited for the chance to get back on track this week and do better. I’m nervous–but excited–to see how far I’ve set myself back and then begin taking the steps forward again to get back on track.

Granted, I also have to admit that I’m beating myself up a little too much for one lazy week. I’m not above taking a lazy day here and there, because I honestly think that’s needed to recharge and be happy in general. But when I’m being so lazy that it’s one of the only things I think about and I’m constantly regretting as it happens? Yeah, not so much a fan of that.

So here’s to new weeks and fresh starts and being forgiving, while also chasing your goals.


A Punch from the Brain, Retaliation from the Heart

If someone has a magical solution to help a person stop overthinking things, I, personally, would love to learn more about said solution.

Because it’s exhausting, friends.

I overthink to the point where I only focus on the negative outcomes. My immediate reaction is to assume the worst, because my mind easily twists and warps things to fit into that equation, where the only solution is the one my overthinking brain creates. Until that worst case scenario is proven false or doesn’t come true, I just assume that’s the reality, the truth of what’s to come. And then once it doesn’t, I feel like a fool, because everything obviously pointed to things being okay or things working out, yet my brain couldn’t help but distort those signs, those facts. I tell myself, See, you didn’t need to worry? Don’t put yourself through that again.

I’m sure you’re not hard-pressed to figure out what happens next.

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I’ve been doing this a lot lately in terms of my evolving friendships and undefinable love life. It can be the simplest things, from not receiving a text for a while to not being called a pet name to putting in all the effort to being left out of a hang out session. I over-analyze, I replay conversations, trying to pick up meanings from inflections and word choice and things left unspoken. I become hyper-focused, always worried that my reality is actually going to become what my brain tells me it will–and it’s never good. And life is good, right now, and who am I to deserve that? How long can it last before I mess it up; then, once doing so, how long will I spend regretting that one confession, that one crying session, that one time where I admitted too much or became too vulnerable and fucked everything up?

These thoughts and fears and scenarios birth in my brain and then worm their way into my emotions, twisting me into a sour mood where I either don’t want to talk to anyone at all or I become needy, desperate for affirmation and confirmation that these fears are heedless and merely vicious to my own subconscious. Suddenly, my desire to be productive diminishes, and even writing and reading become chores when they should be exciting. If it’s really bad, the emotions will manifest into physical pain, in my chest or my stomach, a throbbing pain in my temple.

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And all the while, the scenarios don’t stop replaying in my head, pointing out exactly what went wrong and how I caused it.

This sucks. It makes me seem like my brain isn’t exactly all there. That I’m emotionally imbalanced or the most needy human. It makes me seem like…a bit much, maybe too much to handle or perhaps not even worth the trouble, even for the good times; for the times when I have my brain under control and I don’t give into every seed of doubt, every change, every fear. How can the good times be worth it, for my family and friends and partner, when they also come with moments of the bad, which occur more often than I like to admit?

I can’t make a case for why, but I like to believe I’m worth it, anyway. Even though it’s not the most enjoyable part of my personality, being an overthinking worrywart is a part of my personality. A part I’d like to lessen, a part I’d like to be more in control of, but it’s a part of me nonetheless. So yeah, I have a lot of anxiety and I overthink way too much. But that doesn’t mean that’s all there is to me. That doesn’t mean that those demons are right and I’m going to ruin every aspect of my life, to my family to my friends to my love life to my writing career.

So thanks to those of you who stick by me, despite of this.

And also? A little note to that overthinking brain of mine?

Yeah, I’m in a point in my life right now where I have a lot less friends than I used to, so the few I’ve held onto, I’m suddenly so paranoid I’m going to lose them for good and my life will become nothing but working and coming home to an empty house; a routine never broken up by coffee dates to catch up, weekly 1-1 sessions, long conversations or tears caused by laughter. I’m at a point where I am falling hard for a man who is scared of commitment, so we might never have the type of relationship I’ve always dreamed about, and he’s become so important to me, I’m so nervous he’s going to disappear from my life and not only will I be alone again, but I’ll also no longer have him as a constant presence, support and light. I don’t want to lose him. I’m at a point where I’ve been struggling to write and I’m scared I’ll never get over that, but I’m also scared of the books I have written never going anywhere, never being loved the way I love them. I’m at a point where I feel like my financial status is dominated by bills and I’ll never catch up and feel ahead or financially comfortable, so of course I’ll either always live paycheck-to-paycheck….or worse.

But you know what, my lovely, over-energized, never-ceasing brain? All of those things could happen, all of those fears could come true, and I will still be okay. 

I could lose every friend I have and see no one. I could get my heart shattered by this man. I could have every book I write get rejected. I could lose my job or live paycheck-to-paycheck forever. One or all of these things could happen and yet I will still make it. You wanna know why?

That’s calling living.

That’s life.

If I didn’t have these fears; if I wasn’t putting myself out there and risking my heart, risking my hopes, risking my dreams; if I wasn’t so attached to people and passions and things; is that the kind of life I want to live? Sheltered, comfortable, safe, complacent, routine?

No, I don’t think so.

Some days, you win. You make the inside of my head a living nightmare. You exhaust my friends when they have to remind me, again, that they aren’t going anywhere. You make my family’s foreheads meet their palms when I repeat the same mantra of, “But what if X? Can’t you see Z?” You give me anxiety, you make me fear, you add unnecessary stress, you steal sleep, you absorb will, you cause pain. And I hate you for it.

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But other days, I win. I take risks. I follow my heart. I create art. I enjoy the little things. I run miles. I laugh with friends. I get overly excited about dogs. I nerd out. I go on adventures. I work. I live as a hopeless romantic. I do whatever I can to break up the monotony and mundane aspects of life.

No matter how hard you hit, no matter how many punches you throw, I’ll come back swinging just as hard. It may take hours, days, weeks, before I retaliate. Before my positivity can make a comeback and prove more powerful than my anxiety. But know this, anxiety. Know this, my overthinking, over-analytic, obsessive, cynical, hopeless mind.

I will never stop fighting.

And I will conquer you.


A Guiding Focus

If you follow this blog, you may have noticed my resolutions post and then the subsequent update posts I publish every Sunday. I feared that this repetition and constant harping over my personal goals would become boring or annoying to my readers (and there’s still plenty of time for that to be the case), but I’ve actually been really surprised by the amount of responses I’ve gotten in regards to these posts. Overwhelmingly, the response has been coming from a place of concern.

You’re doing too much. Try not to burnout. Cut back. Take care of yourself. 

I admit, those concerns are not unfounded. I have a lot I want to accomplish. I’m really involved in many different jobs, hobbies and interests. I have a hard time saying no, which makes those commitments increase even further. Of course, I always combat such concerns with gratitude while also brushing them off, telling people I know my limits and what I can handle. And there is truth to that. I have always been super involved (perhaps even over-involved) and I function best juggling half a dozen things at once while multitasking, with giant To-Do lists in tow.

Yet, at the same time, with so many different people expressing concern, it forced me to take a step back and ask if I truly am attempting to do too much. That resulted in reflection that didn’t really provide any more answers than it did headaches while repeating pros, cons and questions in circles.

I have five main goals I’m focusing on: blogging, fitness, financial, reading and writing. All of these aspects are very important in my life. All of them are areas I would really like to improve upon and grow within. So when people suggest cutting something out, my immediate instinct is to combat them. I don’t want to give up any of these things, especially because they are all aspects of my life that I want to be important aspects of my life for a long time. I never want to give up writing. I don’t want to reach a goal weight and then suddenly never run a mile again. The unique thing about all of these focuses and the goals surrounding them this year is that, while there is an ultimate goal I want to achieve within each, none of them have a deadline. None of them are meant to. Instead, they are lifestyle changes.

So giving them up isn’t an option. Yet constantly failing to meet my goals on top of balancing everything else in life is also not exactly ideal. Nor is sacrificing self-care. The only thing I have been able to come up with is re-envisioning how I see my goals in relation to balance and focus.

Let’s see if I can make this make sense.

Last week, I didn’t meet most of my goals, but I did meet my fitness goal of working out four times a week. And though I wasn’t shy about admitting what I didn’t do last week, to me, I felt totally accomplished. I felt like it was such a successful week, even though I only wrote once, hardly read any, completely fell off of the blogging bandwagon and am still financially incompetent. And it was that sense of accomplishment despite being surrounding by shortcomings that made me realize a potentially healthier approach to having so many goals I want to work on at once without being forced to give any of those goals up, all while avoiding burnout and giving up entirely.

I’ll always want to work on the five areas aforementioned. They’re lifestyle changes, as I said. Yet I do agree with my sweet friends and readers that trying to meet every goal that I set every single week is a bit overwhelming and is easily a recipe for burnout and giving up entirely due to always falling short.

So, I’ve come up with a plan.

I’m still going to write a goal post every Sunday. I’m still going to write out goals for each category. But instead of being stressed out and overwhelmed that I’m not accomplishing everything that I want to every single day, I’m going to try and focus on a different aspect each week. Last week, I obviously focused on fitness. And through that focus, I was able to achieve it. This week, I can already tell (based on the 200 pages I’ve read in the past two days and the less than 100 pages I have left) that reading is certainly what I’m focusing on, without “deciding” to focus on either category either week. So it’s not going to be a thing where I’m like, “This week, I’m going to focus on X.” Instead, it’s going to be organic, just like these past two weeks have been. Life is unpredictable. So are emotions. And though I love a rigid routine, in order to stay sane, I need some flexibility. I need permission to fail, just as I need a guiding focus on where I want to be.

So not a lot is changing as far as you can tell, dear readers. It’s mostly all what is going on inside my head and how I approach things mentally. Yes, this less-strict approach towards achieving my goals might make reaching each ultimate goal a bit slower or more difficult. But that’s okay, because what matters is that I reach those goals. A week, a month, a year, ten years from now. And, even more importantly, that I enjoy the journey along the way, instead of feeling like I’m in a permanent state of being a chicken with her head cut off, running around a massive To-Do list that never ends and just laughs at me as I stumble each week. I’m not sure if this change in mindset will work, but I’m certainly game to try. Thank you all for your support, your advice, your honest reactions and for your encouragement. You are the absolute best. ❤