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PRODUCTIVITY and JUGGLING WRITING, FAIRWOOD, GRADING, LIFE

As I write this, two weeks remain in the school year. As a high school English teacher, this can turn out to be a busy time. For example, I have about 35 creative writing students finishing up short stories, and they’re due at the end of this week, because seniors are done then, graduating on Saturday. It means a lot of plot outlines, character studies, opening pages, rough drafts, and final drafts to go through.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to work my way through a read-thru and edit of The Ultra Big Sleep, sequel to The Ultra Thin Man.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to get five Fairwood Press books ready for this summer for their official release at the World Science Fiction convention in Spokane, WA.

Meanwhile, I also have a lot of “also need to do this” things on my list.  And it would also be nice to have some sort of life outside of all these things. Yesterday, that never felt more true, with a full day to myself, and stacks of work facing me. I met a friend for a late breakfast, and then came home ready to work.

And…… I couldn’t. I mean, I did a few things, but I didn’t even make a dent. I couldn’t even venture outside into the 80 degree weather to soak up the sun. Really, I don’t particularly like the sun when it’s making my world 80+ degrees. So I sat inside, in air-conditioned comfort, and proceeded to read for an hour or so. And then I watched some television shows via Netflix. I rarely get the time to do this (except during the summer). I watched five episodes of A&E’s series Longmire, and finally finished the first season. (I’d watched the first 5 episodes months before.)

I could’ve worked out for an hour. I could’ve done some editing. Could’ve done some Fairwood work. But none of that happened. I did finish a few of the creative writing stories I had on my lap as I watched. I sat glued to the couch and the TV (and enjoyed the episodes), but I also brooded. A chunk of me wanted to be outside, hanging out with someone. (See, I didn’t have my son Orion with me during the weekend.) I did do a couple of out-and-about things with friends: A movie on Friday night. Firepit gathering with another group of friends on Saturday night.  That breakfast Sunday late morning. But when I was home, I gloomily stared at the pile of work and said SHUT UP to it. And brooded.

It’s maddeningly difficult to juggle so many balls in the air. I’ve been told it sometimes seems effortless to those on the outside looking in, wondering at my tenacious work ethic and prolific output. How do I do it all? In the end, I guess I do get a lot more done than would sometimes seen humanly possible (sleep is sometimes a luxury), but I also put a lot of pressure on myself. When I feel overwhelmed, I’m not very productive. To tell the truth, I would’ve accomplished more this past weekend if Orion had been here. I would’ve managed to check off a smattering of tasks from all categories in the blog post title, and still been able to have lots of quality hangout time with Orion.

I have people in my life who are very important to me, for various reasons. When I don’t see them, I freak out a little. I second guess myself. Do I feel like I’m missing out on something good? Maybe. Is it the extrovert in me wanting to get out and socialize? Likely.

Everything will even out a whole bunch in the next few weeks, I’m sure. When summer is in full swing, perhaps I’ll find my second wind for the year 2015.

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