Productivity and Stress, Plus some Self Publishing

29 Apr

I know it seems silly to go six years between books and then hash out a few things all at once. Short answer is, I’ve technically been working on my CSS for a while, and I think I’m overthinking. I made a short as well as finally putting together Garnet and Silver: A Faerie Tale. I’m going to be working on a few more shorts in the next few weeks to ensure I’m doing a decent job. I’ll announce here as well as on Facebook when they’re available. I know the original plan was around Christmas time, but I’d rather take a little longer doing a good job.

Witchslayer’s Scion is put on hold because like with everything COVID, things change daily.  The publisher is doing an Online Meet and Greet (check out their Facebook page). It’s not exactly like I’m going to shows any time soon. Keycon and a The Society for the Ethical Treatment of the Kraken have been cancelled, and Cook’s Creek Medieval Festival has been postphoned until 2021. Manitoba is doing really well concerning our numbers, but I’m not optimistic concerning being able to go to markets or really hang out with people at all. I’ve seen a few potential covers floating around for Witchslayer’s Scion, but I’ve waited this long, so what’s a few more months? Book 3 is coming along swimmingly, so I like to think of it as less time between instalments if the publisher goes that route.

One of the things floating around are two separate mentalities concerning productivity during this pandemic. People are calling this unprecedented, and to a certain extent they’re right. People travel a lot more now than they used to, but plagues and aren’t new. I’m non-plussed as an EMS provider, but that’s also because I’m healthy and stand a good chance of surviving if/when I contract it.

If anything I’ll be busier than usual, but many people have been laid off and their futures are uncertain. I’m doing my best to support small businesses, but part of me wishes that they could close their doors for a few months and come back with complete loan forgiveness. I seem to remember bailing out the banks during a recession, but that’s another topic. Things aren’t rosy for everyone, so I’m sceptical about the government programs that are in place because it seems like the little guys are going to get hit hard.

Anyway, the productivity mentality is as follows:

  • If you’re off, you should use this time to work on something you’ve always wanted to. If you don’t, that means you’re undisciplined.
  • You’re going through stress and it’s okay if you don’t come out of this with a new skill or bettering yourself. In fact, the above mentality is unhealthy.

I think it’s sort of somewhere in between. It’s like: not everyone who does a sport comes out an Olympian. Also, if your future is uncertain, it’s hard to justify running out and dropping a lot of money on stuff at the moment. Some interests, like writing or chess, once you have the expensive hardware, you’re good for a while. Others, like baking or painting, might have relatively low costs on the onset, but the costs grow. I don’t know the answers, but I do know that at least in terms of fitness, it’s not about being the very best, but your very best.

It took me a long time to learn how to write, and it always seems like things get in the way of me being successful that have nothing to do with me. As with my fitness, it seems that if life were fair, I wouldn’t have an ongoing ankle or hip injury. I try not to focus on what I can’t do, but rather what I can.

Can’t dedicate full-time hours to writing? No one says you have to. Waking up early or finding half an hour here or there adds up. Can’t drop the money to get the art supplies or software you want to do the project? That’s fine – what can you do based on what you have?

The other part of this mentality I will admit to is the ‘production is key’ mentality – in other words, I did X yesterday, I must be able to perform X every day. The analogy we have in EMS is as follows:

A Lumberjack is applauded for cutting down 10 trees in a day. He feels great, and cuts down 10 trees the following day. Feeling like King of the Lumberjacks, the next day he only cuts down 9 trees. He’s angry with himself, but comes down and cuts down only 7 trees. He’s down on himself, and someone asks, “Have you spent any time sharpening your axe?”

It’s the same with creativity and fitness and everything. You may be the very best and most productive person, but you need to sharpen you axe, or feed your creative outlets. You can’t run marathons every day without proper warm ups and cool downs. I’d love for some of you to take this time to make great works of art, but bit by bit. And believe me, I’m the sort of person who races other people when we’re doing laps at a pool: The person you’re ultimately competing with is yourself, so don’t get hung up on what other people are doing.

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