A Week in Review

This last week has been a bit busy and hectic.

I did all the normal work stuff, which I won’t talk about too much here.  I’m a programmer.  I programmed.  That’s about all we need to say on that, other than this week, I did more documenting and experimenting than actual programming.

I taught the Computer Club at my kids’ school this week as well.  While Monday was only so-so, Wednesday was fantastic.  I gave the kids an extremely easy task, then added more complexity through the club time to the task until at the end, the kids were all able to make their own program that would accept input and display the input back to the user.  It doesn’t sound like much, but since this is basically the third week of the club, I’m pretty proud of the kids.  Even better, the kids stayed engaged the entire time, and seemed to have a lot of fun.  I’ll have to continue with that style of teaching.

Bryanna and I went to Band practice.  We turned in a bunch of music and site read a bunch more.  That was a lot of fun.  The only problem with band is that it’s Monday evening, which means that my Mondays are ridiculously long.

Tuesday evening, I went to my kids PTO meeting and presented the board with their new mailing list and website.  I’d been paying for the hosting of their domain for years, but no one ever really did anything with it, and it was expensive.  When it came time to pay them again, I kept my wallet closed and moved the domain to one of my servers, and I spent most of last weekend getting it all set up for them.  Tuesday evening was my chance to present it to them, and it received many ohs and ahs.

Wednesday evening, I went to Starbucks, met up with Michael, and did some writing.  I’m not fantastically happy with my book right now, so it was progress was very difficult.  I fixed a couple of things and added another 500 words or so.  It was a productive evening.

Friday, I attended a “Shut up and Write!” even at a different locale, hosted by a different individual.  It was at a restaurant near downtown that used to be called Crepeville.  It looks the same, and still offers the same food.  I couldn’t see the name of the place, and someone told me that it used to be called Crepeville, so I assume it’s under different management.  As a venue for sitting down with strangers and writing, it was only okay.  There was no free wifi, and the only long table available was sort of short, so I wound up sitting at a side table with someone else.  It was from 6PM to 7:30PM, so I wound up eating dinner while trying to write.  It meant that I only added about 400 more words to my book, which is a little disappointing.

After Crepeville, I walked across the street and visited my friend Dael.  I hadn’t seen Dael in ages, and it was really great sitting down with him for about an hour and a half, catching up.

If I stop at Friday, then I think it’s safe to say I had a really great week that was fully, busy, and productive.  I didn’t get as much writing done as I would have liked, and I didn’t get any blog posts up all week, but my well-rounded activities were edifying.  If I stop at Friday, I can say it was a really great week.

I have to include Saturday, though, which is the fly in the soup.  Maybe it’s the flaw in the diamond?  No, because it came at the end, and it didn’t make me value all the days that preceded it at all.

Saturday morning, I was supposed to go to another Shut up and Write event, which was a workshop on using the five senses and juxtaposition in description in fiction.  I was looking forward to the event, but the way they set it up made my teeth hurt.  In addition to signing up in advance (which is normal), you also had to pay in advance.  There was a strict no refund policy listed out, and to pay, you either had to show up to one of the previous Shut up and Write events and pay there, or send a check.

I don’t write checks.  I learned a long time ago that it’s not good for me to write checks.  I use my debit card or cash, and I use my bank’s online services for paying bills.  Most of the time, I don’t know where the checkbook is, and I don’t even have a checkbook for my personal account.  So writing a check and sending it by mail was out of the question in general, for me.

That meant that I needed to go to one of the other events.  Unfortunately, they’re mostly on Monday evenings and Wednesday evenings, which don’t work for me.  This week I wound up driving downtown to pay at the event on Wednesday evening.  I then immediately got back on the road and drove out to Roseville to meet up with Michael.  I didn’t appreciate fighting all the traffic, but I got them the money and secured a spot.

Saturday morning, I got to the event on time, and as I was putting down my laptop bag, I said, “Next time, you should put up a Paypal.” Two other attendees immediately said, “Yes!” The person hosting the event (not the presenter), decided to argue with me, and turned it into a confrontation.

She then took me aside and said “Every time you come to these events, you complain.”

I frowned, blinked, and tried to figure out what she was talking about.  I’d only been able to make it to one other event, and I told her that.  To which she said, “Yeah, and you complained about the scheduling.”

I recalled that I had mentioned my difficulties with the scheduling, but that was only in the context of answering the question, “How long have you been with the group, and why haven’t we seen more of you?”

I told her that I hadn’t been complaining before, but by that time, the damage was done.  My emotional response was going into cascade failure, and I had to leave.  I told her, “You know what?  Fine.  I’ll make it easier for you.  I’ll leave.” She tried to give me my money back and I said, “No.  Keep it.  Spend it on something nice.” And I left.

I wound up coming home.  I watched a bunch of Star Trek episodes on Netflix, played Solitaire, and brooded in my garage until 1AM.  At 1:30AM, I went to meetup.com and unsubscribed from the Shut Up and Write list.  Then I went to bed and tossed and turned for an hour.

I feel a little better, now.  I don’t need that group.  I wound up letting one person chase me out of it, which is bad, but I’ve got a good thing going with Michael that’s giving me what I needed from the group already.

I guess that’s enough rambling.  Today, I’m going to try and be productive.  That might mean doing some work for my job, or it might mean working on my book.  I really need to get to a place where I enjoy my story again, so I can finish.

2 thoughts on “A Week in Review

  1. I just wanted to say that that whole exchange at The Shut up and Write event on Saturday says way more about “her” than it does about you. I’m sorry that you left feeling badly. I hope it doesn’t sour you on other opportunities that may come up. In my opinion it was really poor form on her part.

    Just curious, have you ever tried giving yourself some silly topic to write about just to get creativity started? Something like, I prefer Piglet to Winnie the Pooh because… or if I was in the 100 Acre Woods the first thing I would do is… I had a friend who when faced with a blinking cursor would just do something like that to get creativity kick started. You may not need that kind of thing since you already have a book going. I guess that was the long way of asking how you battle writers block?

  2. I’m not afraid to go write something else, silly or otherwise. When I wrote “Baggage” I was taking a break from my book, because I wasn’t feeling particularly great about the book, and I wanted to get the baggage handler story out of my head before it went stale.

    Writer’s block itself is all about fear, for me. Fear can come in different flavors. The most common is probably the fear that no one will like my stories. I have two weapons at my disposal for fighting that fear. The first is confidence in my work. My confidence has peaks and valleys, though, so when my confidence is low, I harness a healthy dose of apathy: I convince myself that I don’t care what other people think.

    The next fear is that what I’m writing is actually terrible. This is different than the fear of people liking my stories. I will probably always have friends and family that genuinely like my work, even if it is legitimately bad. Confidence alone isn’t sufficient for me to fight this fear, and I can’t really use apathy, either. I have to care about the quality of my stories, otherwise I have no incentive to finish. To combat this fear, I wind up doing whatever I can to make sure I’m doing and saying what I’m supposed to. This could include research. This could include going to talking to other writers about how they solve the problems I’m seeing. This does include the notes I take at conventions (which I still need to post). Wednesday evening, it meant breaking out a different document and writing out a bunch of stuff aside from the story, so that I could know exactly what is going on.

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