April 2020 Update

A bit late, but I wanted to finish transcribing my ninth notebook before I wrote this, so it’s taken a while. Since my last update, I’ve gone back to work (now from home) and realized I suffer from what I’ve seen people call Quarantine Brain Fog. My sleep pattern is in a what-is-a-pattern state, I forget all sorts of things (words especially) and, even though I’ve never been able to comprehend linear time that well, right now time has no meaning whatsoever.

One good thing that came from all this is that I’ve been putting my mental health first, so I’ve stopped writing from Monday to Saturday. From Monday to Friday I try to focus on my job, then I get upset because I can’t, and then I try to rest until I feel well enough to go to sleep. On Fridays and Saturdays I’m exhausted. So it’s not until Sunday when my batteries have recharged enough for me to write. And I’m enjoying it when I do, it’s just… I can’t do it while I’m working.

My goal now is to keep writing as long as I’m enjoying it. And that happens when I’m well rested, so I’m making sure I rest a lot after work. The difficult part is not feeling guilty. Although it somehow feels easier now that we’re all in it together. Knowing that this is a normal reaction to the pandemic and quarantine and that I should be careful with a few specific things helps a lot. People share their experience and advice everywhere, even on newspapers, and I’m more aware of my emotional state, even if the ups and downs are always unexpected and I can’t read anything right now.

So yeah, it’s been a slow process, but I’m writing, and even though I only write for some hours on Sundays, I managed to fill the second half of a notebook. This is more than I’ve written in the past 5 months, so I’m thinking I should accept this is my new pace. Although it’s slow… if it works, it works.

A male robin with pink flowers on the background.
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March 2020 Update

This post has a couple of questions for you all.

I’ve been quiet for a long time and just came back to post some book recs for people who want to read during their quarantine/lockdown/isolation. I wanted to contribute somehow, as I regret not having written something I could share for free, but I wasn’t planning on doing anything else (not even updates) at the moment.

However, I started checking my old updates and realized they’ve helped me a lot. I had previously noticed, while checking what I’ve read to make my book recommendation posts, that January and February are the worst months for me. Now I’ve noticed that every year I stop updating around October. October, November and December are very busy months, which might mean my anxiety peaks and that’s why January and February are bad months for me.

I always get sick around February and March, too. Although I can see now that I start feeling better during March. Usually, anxiety and depression get more manageable as the days get longer and warmer. Does that mean I have Seasonal Affective Disorder? Well, it is a mood disorder, so it can be related to my anxiety and depression even if I don’t have SAD (because I still have anxiety all year round, so it’s not a seasonal thing). It’s clear that the lack of sunlight affects me more than I thought, so I’ve bought one of those light therapy things, but I’m not sure if it’s the right thing for me. Do you have similar issues and is there anything you recommend?

In any case, I just wanted to explain how the monthly updates are working quite well for me. I’m sorry if it gets boring for you people, but I’m learning a lot about myself and my seasonal patterns. I see bullet journals have become quite popular nowadays. Do you have one and does it help you in this way?

Magnolia tree.
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September 2019 Update

Not a very fruitful month, but more than the previous one. I’ve finished the outlines I intended to write, but they’re very vague. With points that read “Shit happens, but they solve it somehow”. You know, not very detailed. So I’m not very happy with them, but that’s not the only thing I’ve done.

I’ve been gone on a research trip that helped me with one of the stories, which is starting to sound more and more interesting to me. This research trip involved going to a beach in Northern Spain, so it was nice. And I bought some books, did some reading and had some good ideas that sound like they’ll be fun to write. I’m looking forward to it, but I do need free time.

I did start a new notebook and I’ve filled a quarter of it, so I should be proud, but I want to do more. It feels like it’s never enough, and I’m the first to tell my friends off when they do this to themselves, so I’m trying to follow my own advice and take it easy.

And now that I mention taking it easy… I’ve never participated in NaNoWriMo because it’s the opposite… and I’m not going to officially start this year, but I do wonder whether it’ll be good to have a month in which I prioritize writing, even if I do it on my own and I don’t finish the story.

So I have two new goals for October: to get things ready so I can start writing in November (maybe I can make a better outline and work on research), and to fill at least half of my new notebook.

Hope you all enjoyed the end of summer!

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August 2019 Update

I’m afraid I haven’t been able to achieve the goals I’d set for the month of August. That is, writing two outlines for my two short stories.

At first, I was terribly busy and didn’t have time at all. Then I went away on holidays, but it was a road trip and I have motion sickness, so no writing. And after that… well, the month was gone. I’d already mentioned I was going to be very busy and I set easy goals, but I was still unsure. And yeah, I was so busy I had to do overtime at work.

September looks a bit less busy so far, but I’ve been writing things unrelated to the goals I’d set. Still research and outlines, but, maybe unsurprisingly, not for the stories I’m supposed to be writing.

So I’m going to count that as a win, because I didn’t overwork myself, my anxiety is mostly under control, and I’ve managed to write a bit, even if it’s not what I’d intended to write. For September, I’m going to set the same goals. And I’m going to start a new notebook!

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July 2019 Update

My goals for July were to finish transcribing another notebook and, being up to date, to decide what to write first. But I’m pretty bad at decision-making, so I made a list and divided the stories I wanted to write into four groups. Group 1 had all the long stories, so that was out of the question. Group 2 had medium-sized stories with several ideas. Group 3 had short stories that needed more development, and Group 4 was formed by mere ideas. I wanted to choose one particular story from Group 2, but I knew I’d need a lot of time to do research (not as much as Group 1, but still), and I think I’m not ready for that yet. Maybe the problems I had with my PhD still affect me.

Somehow, world-building doesn’t feel so insurmountable at the moment, so I’ve chosen two fantasy stories that will just need some preliminary research. I didn’t want to choose one so soon, so my goal will be to write the two outlines during the month of August, and then decide if I want to write one of the stories, both or none.

I’ll keep you updated!

By the way, July has been a good month in general. I feel more positive nowadays, and I have more good weeks than bad ones per month. I even felt curious about my own notebook and I had fun transcribing it. That’s great news for me!

I also participated in my first Pride Parade ever! It was a lot of work, but I had fun and shared candies and rainbows with lots of people. Unfortunately, I’m very busy at work at the moment, but I’m taking care of myself. It’s always good to have friends that remind you to take a break now and then. My month could have ended badly if it weren’t for them.

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June 2019 Update

Holidays were a bit stressful for me because I got sick, so I spent a couple of weeks recovering and getting used to work again.

Once I got into it, transcribing the seventh notebook wasn’t hard at all. The Pact ™ has kept me motivated, even if I’m still doubting and second-guessing myself. I know making decisions is an important part of writing, so I’m trying to ignore my constant misgivings and keep pushing forward. Well, at least when it’s about transcribing my notebooks… because I still haven’t decided which project I want to draft for The Pact.

I know the doubts will be there with anything I choose, and if I have to choose between writing a draft and thinking it’s not the right one, and not writing anything… well, I’ve done the not writing already, so it’s about time I finished a draft, right? And they’re all going to feel wrong, so the only thing I can do is… try to do my best.

Anyway, you may have noticed I’ve posted not only one, but two posts with book recommendations. I wanted to share good books to read during Pride Month. My goals for the month were to finish transcribing a notebook and to post the Year 2 of Books I Loved as a Romance Reader. As you can see, I’ve been a bit of an overachiever; I did both, and then also posted Year 3 for Pride Week.

But Pride is not over for me! And I didn’t just mean it in the metaphorical sense. It’s still Pride Week in Spain, and we still have to celebrate it in Germany, so I’ll try to keep it up.

After reading this, my own post, I’ve decided my goals for July will be 1) to finish transcribing another notebook and, since I’ll be up to date by then, 2) to decide what to start writing first.

I also want to do something for German Pride, but I don’t know what. I don’t want to stress anyone with more book recs, so what would you like to see?

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May 2019 Update

May has been a productive month for me. Work was less busy, so I had more free time, and I managed to transcribe the second half of my fifth notebok… and even transcribed all of the sixth notebook before my holidays started!

I also updated my blog in Spanish (and realized it’d been a year since my last update!). I know I shouldn’t feel guilty, but… well, I’m trying to fight guilt and keep moving forward.

I feel rather productive and accomplished right now, and I have to thank Lee Welch for that. She’s been a huge help with her conversations and posts about anxiety, burnout and writer’s block. She always has encouraging words for any moment, and she had one of the most motivational ideas ever: making a writing pact! (There’s a pun about it being the right impact hidden somewhere in there.)

Anyway, we have no deadline and we haven’t chosen the story yet, but I’m feeling super motivated and that’s why I’m trying to finish transcribing my notebooks as fast as I can.

And about this blog… I’ve started working on the book rec post I promised, but my priority has been the notebooks. After all, I only feel like transcribing old stuff once in a blue moon, so I have to make the most of it.

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April 2019 Update

April has been a very busy month at work, which is why I was inspired to post Writing with Anxiety. I knew my anxiety would only get worse if I spent my few free hours writing, so I’ve tried to do the opposite of what I do at work: I’ve spent time with friends and nature.

Spring means some days are sunny and warm enough to spend by the river or walking through the woods, so I’ve enjoyed spending more time outdoors and taking lots of photos I may use in the future.

I’ve also been taking care of my Twitter account in Spanish, which is a thing that exists.

The threads I shared may look familiar to you:


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I’m glad I could help these books reach a small Spanish audience. Nothing makes me happier than helping others and sharing the things I love, so I’m thinking of writing another book recommendation post. If you’re interested.

What have you been up to this month?