Daily Tao ☯ 5.31.17

I write to you from my favorite place—an airplane seat. And actually my favorite of all seats, the A seat in the exit row with no seat in front of me. I’m on Southwest, for those of you who are like, what? There are seats like that? Oh yes, padawan. Oh, yes.

So here I am, legs stretched out, laptop in lap, the LIE TO ME soundtrack playing on my headphones… it’s perfect. (Many thanks to the lovely barely 5 feet tall lady in front of me who was going to take it, then saw me looming behind her and said, “You probably need that.” Bless you, madam!)

So, warning… true confessions ahead. 

I never like to admit any sort of weakness, it’s an Italian thing, I think, but today I realized I am utterly frazzled. It’s was almost 10:30 am, I’d been putting out fires all morning, the phone was ringing, I was having massive outfits for New York packing regret. I stalked into the kitchen and said to Randy — now you see why I can’t get anything done around here. He just smiled and calmly continued his own work while I swanned in and out. I had a grumpy call with a contractor, then huffed back upstairs, unpacked my bag and repacked it with all new clothes, stomped around, fretted and realized… Wow. You are a wreck, sister. And I asked myself what was really wrong.

I do these checkins every so often, whether I’m happy or sad, settled or frachetty. Sometimes I look at the calendar and have that “Ah” realization. But others times… especially the days when I’m feeling this level of out of control, I have to take stock and see what’s really going on. Hormones are a great crutch, but they aren’t the sole issue.

I looked back at the past few weeks, at my normal schedule, and realized it’s been shot to hell. Writing? Not nearly enough. Yoga? Nope. Walking? Some. Listening to music? Not really.  Golf? No. Reading? More there, happily. But everything I am accomplishing is being sandwiched between minor freakouts.  

I hate the term busy, but right now, it’s the only word I can use. I’m transitioning from one novel to another, have a big (surprise) project going on in the background, and am several months into remodeling a couple of rooms in my house. Lots of incredible things are happening with LIE TO ME. I’ve been on the road almost all month. The Predators are in the Stanley Cup. And the world is a really, really weird place.  

My deep work time has been encroached upon. I’m out of my habit. 

And I had that Ah moment. There it is. The OCD control freak doesn’t have control, and has let her discipline slide. And that triggers major anxiety. And anxiety triggers chaos. So it was clearly time for a little chemical help. Ativan on board, I was able to really take a look around (ahem, limited view, aka plane) and figure out exactly what was wrong.

Writing is a muscle. You must exercise it regularly or it atrophies. But you can go too far. I’ve been keeping that muscle flexed all the time. Which isn’t good for the muscle either, is it? 

I’m sort of ridiculous. I always think I’m a superhuman who can just move seamlessly from project to project without any sort of glitch, like opening the door ahead and closing the one behind me. As if my brain would allow for that sort of finality on a project. LOL.

One of these days, I’m going to build a month into the schedule to allow me to take a couple of weeks off between projects. I’m maybe not being fair to my muse trying to wring words out of her when she’s been working so hard for months, and dealing with life.

I think that’s why I normally get sick when I finish a book. It’s my body saying OK, now it’s time to chill for a few. But this time, when I got sick, I had to power through for a week of meetings in New York. I haven’t had that break, and I needed it. 

So. After BEA, I will be doing a massive reset on the schedule, the habit, and all that attendant jazz. Because I absolutely adore this life. I adore that I’m sitting on a plane, flying to a book conference, where I get to schmooze with a bunch of wicked smart people about books and stories, then fly home to write them. I am so, so lucky. And as crazy as it gets sometimes, it's the perfect life for me.

But the words are what matters. The words are what connects me to you. Without them, our contract goes away. And I will never let that happen.

Sweet dreams!


Daily Tao ☯ 5.23.17

A stellar start to the book today, 2300 words. I could have kept going, but there were a ton of distractions, too. My fault, I forgot to turn on Freedom and ended up dealing with an issue that should have waited until after work hours. My goal is to average 2000 per day 5 days a week, and I’m feeling confident enough in the story that I think this is very doable.

I am back in my zone, only taking appointments and calls on Mondays and Fridays, which allows for deep work Tuesday through Thursday. It worked for the last book so well I’m excited to try it again. If it continues to work, it means I can almost double my usual weekly output, which makes my brain (and my publishing partners) very happy, because there are so many stories begging to get out. 

Last night was historic in Nashville. My beloved Predators won the Western Conference title, and will be playing in the Stanley Cup for the very first time. And I will be there, in my nineteen-year-old practice sweater, cheering them on. The Preds came to town the same year I did, and I’ve always been a fan. My parents took me to Colorado Rockies and Washington Capitals games growing up, and darling husband continued in their stead, so this is a lifelong quest, for me to see my team make it to the big dance.  

And at the same time, my heart is breaking for the families in Manchester, England. It’s a terrible thing, and I was so torn last night, filled with great pride and great sorrow. It feels like the world should stop turning when these horrible events happen, but it doesn’t. All I can do is offer a prayer, and make sure the godless people who commit these atrocities are forever stopped in my novels. You wonder why I write crime fiction? So I can stop the bastards in their tracks. 

And on that rather vicious note, sweet dreams!