This week I’ve been working the checklists and caffeine pretty hard, as I get ready to start traveling in order to enter the end game of my time in HHC command in the Army Reserve. It’s given me some time to contemplate what I’m doing with my life, and making a few choices to refine what needs to happen.
The process started with a simple question from friends reacting to my manic social media statuses — how are you doing everything that you do? My pat answer (checklists and caffeine) is actually pretty accurate. But I started to reflect. Am I doing a lot? Am I doing the right things? Is this what I need to be doing to achieve my long-term goals?
Some of the things, other than checklists and caffeine, that help me get things done are: 1. Extremely supportive spouse and true co-parent. I really could not do these things without him. 2. Planned (and unplanned) rest times. Sometimes I just ignore what I’m supposed to do and read a book to re-charge the batteries. But, I try to stick to the planned rest times. 3. I have reached a point in my life where I say no to anything I don’t want to do. Yes, I’ll engage in tasks that I might otherwise NOT have a preference for, but it will be in the service of a goal that I have specifically chosen for myself. I recognize this is a luxury, and I try to make what I do worthy of that choice.
However, I have realized that some of the things I’m doing, no matter how rewarding, are not working out. I have not spent quality time writing in a long time. 500, 700 words here and there are not what builds a writing career. I should be done with the first draft, first revision, second revision, and query process for Steel-Toed Blues. Instead, I’m about to write the final, climactic scene. I’ve BEEN about to write the final climactic scene for about a week now. Plus, NaNoWriMo is coming, I need to finish edits and re-query a category romantic suspense, I have a short story deadline for WriterPunk press coming up, and another novel outlined and ready to go. Something in my life has to go away so I can shoehorn in the time to write.
That something is my Army Reserve time. These past two years since leaving active service were supposed to be spent working freelance and applying to PhD programs. That goal has shifted to working freelance and building a writing and coaching career. And also, applying to PhD programs (although I think that will happen AFTER my spouse retires and we are no longer at the whims of the Army assignment process.) But I can’t NOT put the Army computer away in order to work on my civilian career, because to me, the emails and texts and calls are not interruptions–they are Soldiers who have problems that need to be solved, or issues that need to be taken care of. And for a certain amount of time, I was okay with that. But the traveling 12 hours (one way) every month, and the other stresses that come with being a Commander have just about worn out their welcome.
So, while I love serving and have enjoyed my career, I’ve decided to take a year off and head into the Inactive Ready Reserve to re-group, write a bunch, spend more time with Ladybug, have a kid, play some more music, write a bunch more, head to some more Cons, and also write some more.
In the meantime, I’ve got some checklists, the top of which is to write this darn battle scene between Fae and Evil, so better grab some more caffeine and get to it.