I will defeat you Khet *shakes fist*

I did not end this day the way I expected to. I started off this morning intending to do… nothing, basically. It’s Sunday and Sunday in my family is the one day of the week when everyone gets together for a family meal that lasts practically from breakfast till dinner. In years past this has been a non-negotiable event that takes the majority of the day. I’ve been able to weasel my way slowly out of it over the last couple years, and now it’s my day to sit undisturbed and spend some time to myself. Usually I use this time to catch up on laundry and dishes or to read a book. *thumbs up*. Today, I did nothing of the sort.

Instead, I got up this morning and said “Cary, that’s enough of that bull-crap. You said you were going to get a book published this year, and you are woefully behind. Get to work!” So, I set aside my TBR list (which is huge by the way) for a day and sat down to do something I literally haven’t done in years: An outline. You see, I’m severely OCD. I’m not talking about being obsessed with organizing (though I am) We’re talking about a person who when she was little used to turn doorknobs, flip light switches, and blink a certain amount of times in order to balance the world out. Yah, that sort of crazy. I’m not as bad as when I was little anymore, most of my OCD shows itself in the way I’m obsessed with shredding random things into miniscule pieces on my desk, my inability to sit still, my obsession with organizing and being thorough, and an infrequent need to repeat words containing the “ih” sound. Yah, I’m still weird. Moving along.

When I was a teenager I used to spend weeks outlining stories. The problem was, I’d get so incredibly obsessed with “getting it right” (thank you OCD!) that I could never actually get to the writing part. So, to avoid my OCD, I became a pantster. It was great. It really was. For once I could get dozens of chapters done in a week without looking back. I made a ton of progress and all was right in the world.

Until I ran into a part of my story where I wasn’t sure how to proceed. Without an outline  I’d really only half-figured out my story, and when I got to the point where I didn’t know what came next… I stalled. I started to review what I had, and started to nitpick and go a little crazy about perfecting what I had.

So, this morning when I decided to get to work, I said “Screw you OCD. I’m 29, and you will not keep me from writing this story.” and got to work. I looked up some story formula’s, plotting advice and outlining methods and started to really work out what my story was about.  I’m still only partway into figuring the whole mess out, but my story has drastically changed (for the better) and for once I think I have an idea of how this is going to go. So watch out Khet, you’re about to get a makeover! At least I  feel like I got something accomplished today.

PS: writing with OCD is like being a gerbil on a wheel. You run in circles, the same circles… over and over in an attempt to make each circle better than the last. Sometimes I wish I could just jump off the wheel and dismantle it with a crowbar. Anyone else out there writing with OCD? How on earth do you stop obsessing over the details and perfection? It makes my brain hurt.

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Ah June…

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A picture of weeds dying in my backyard from lack of water. I love the desert.

It’s 23 minutes past midnight here in El Paso, Texas, and that means it’s June 1st. What does that mean to me?

First, that there’s only one week left of school here, which is awesome, because I walk/jog to the local elementary school (2 mile round trip) every morning and afternoon during the school year. It’s not that bad in the fall and winter, but, living in the Chihuahuan desert, come spring/summer, we’re talking temperatures easily in the 90-100 F range by 10 AM.

Second, it means bug & critter season. Up until yesterday I was feeling pretty high on my horse. Unlike every year before this, I hadn’t seen a single fire ant, cockroach, moth, or scorpion outbreak. It was unusual, because I guarantee you, every year it happens. Last year for unknown reasons we had a moth PLAGUE. On one particular night I counted 27 moths in my house and several hundred just outside my back door. I don’t know where they came from or why they were here, but the past few years, they’ve been steadily growing worse. It’s frightening. I don’t mind moths as a species, but when they’re ricocheting off your ceiling at 2 am, it sure does make it hard to sleep.

Unfortunately, yesterday I woke up to the horrors of spring again. A roach was dead in my bathtub, and it was being mauled into tiny bits by hundreds of ants. They’d come up the tub pipes in the bathroom. Yay spring.  I have since caught (just since yesterday) 7 huge roaches, including the one that crawled under my desk not 10 minutes ago. Little did it know that I’ve had years to train my cats to hunt the little beasties, and as a reward, they get cat treats. It’s very effective. *shudder* I’ve also seen one tale-tell dark brown moth from years past, and now I’m avidly waiting for the rest of them. No scorpions yet, but they’re coming. I know it.

It’s not like my house is particularly filthy either… I just live in the middle of a desert where these little pests have nothing better to eat than the cat food in my kitchen, so like clockwork they move in come spring. I put out bait, roach traps, spray bug barrier.. it makes no difference. The lil beasties will share my home with me until fall, and then they’ll disappear for a blissful 6 months, only to return next spring.

What else does spring bring? A priority change in my workload. Since school is out, I end up babysitting for three months, often multiple children, and that means spending 12 hours a day doing art/blogging/writing isn’t going to happen. You parents out there know this… trying to get -anything- done while a group of kids is poking at you every five minutes is nearly impossible, but I’ll try nevertheless.

What I -need- to do is work on projects that are going to actually get me paid this summer. (as evidenced by this last month where I spent the last week eating a meal a day consisting mostly of tortilla’s turned into peanut butter and jelly burritos cause I didn’t have the funds to go by bread) and water. That means art for the most part. What I -want- to do is write. I have horribly neglected my writing the last few months, and the year seems to be passing me by at a frightening rate. Unfortunately for me, it’s one or the other. I have to balance the two and decide which is more important to me for the summer, because it’s going to be impossible to get any work done on both. Art takes too much time (often 9-14 hours straight-through for once piece spread over 3-5 days) to be able to actively handle that, writing, and life in general. I have to sleep and eat and interact with humans at some point. If I write, I want to be able to sit down, undisturbed, and work on my writing/editing for days at a time. I desperately want to do that… but I don’t know that I’ll be able to. It’s frustrating.

Anyways, I shall continue to blog regularly, read, and review books. Why? Because I enjoy it! It’s my one hobby that I don’t feel pressured to work at, and it’s almost calming in my otherwise chaotic day. The one drawback is that means I need to finish “sorting” my digital library.

Remember that post not too long ago about my e-library needing a dewy-decimal system? yah. Out of the nearly 9,000 books I’ve obtained, I’m down to sorting the last 6,600. See, I’ve made progress. One day I will be finished and I can push a button labeled “read a random book” and POOF! It’ll be tagged and have all it’s meta data, and be ready to be transferred to my kindle. Why is this project taking so long? Because I’m going through my library book-by-book, looking up the meta-data, labeling it with title, author, series, custom genre tags (that I actually understand) and the synopsis, then converting it to my kindle’s format, and marking whether I’ve read/reviewed it, and what I rated it at. With all my books, it’s the only feasible way I could think of organizing the monstrosity to keep track of what I’ve already read and what I’m reading when I pick it up. Gone will be the days of picking a random book from my kindle library based on cover and having no idea what it’s about without an extensive google search!

Maybe my OCD is getting the better of me.

Ahem. Anyways, it’s late, and I’m going to endeavor to sleep even though it’s currently in the high 80’s and I’m fully aware that there are giant roaches just waiting for me to turn out the lights. Did you know they can fly? It is the most terrifying thing on Earth.