Tuesday 21st April 2020

I’m not feeling it today.  Day job stress has meant that I really don’t have a lot of spoons for other things and it’s left me irritable.

I’m waiting back on a bunch of writing things –  short story submissions, novel rewrites – and I’m feeling impatient.  There’s also things I want to write / rewrite that I’ve not yet started and so the impatience extends to myself.   Of course, in the wider world, so much is changing, so those perceived delays are perfectly acceptable.  But there’s a part of me that worries I’m writing for a world that no longer exists.

Of course, deep down I know that’s not true.  Things I’ve embraced over the last few years – digital working, SMM, content delivery – are things that will be accelerated by this new world.  If anything, the last few weeks are a indication that I’ve been prepared for this new world for the last couple of years.

But there’s uncertainty, and on days when I’m feeling low spoon, it gets the better of me.

I have coping mechanisms.  World of Warcraft has been my place to escape to for many years now.  The immersion in another world allows me to take a time out from the real world.  It means that when I do emerge from a long play session, I’m more removed from my problems and able to deal with them rationally.  I’ve been playing loads of evenings lately, and I’ve found it really good for my mental health.

Another thing I’ve also found myself doing lately is watching loads of storycraft videos.  I started when I was researching things for the novel but I’ve continued, watching youtube videos on characters, theme, screenwriting and all manners of storycraft, much of which I don’t actually need right now.

Today, I’ve had this great video on short stories with Mary Robinette Kowal playing in the background.  I keep pausing on it when the spreadsheet work I’m doing needs greater concentration (It’s taken 5 hours to get 30 minutes in), and I’m pretty sure that I’ll want to rewatch it and do the exercises at a later date.  But for now, I’m happy to half listen to a video and come away with one small takeaway point.

I struggle with short stories and this seems (because I’m half watching it in small chunks) really useful.  Of course, I have to remind myself that I’ve written professionally lauded short stories – but I’ve never been sure what I’m doing.  Learning about craft is giving me a better understanding of what I’m doing when it goes right, and where I likely fall down when a story doesn’t seem to jibe.

Likely most people at the moment, I have good days and bad days.  Whilst this isn’t the best of days, I’m healthy both physically and mentally.  Importantly, I give myself permission to have bad days.

However, I’m finding these small coping mechanisms are really helping.  My Warcraft alt army is slowly getting all geared and professioned up and more importantly I feel my storycraft has improved in recent weeks.

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