Dealing with Disruptions

Before going to bed, I started a print for one half of the base of my next keyboard. I’m really looking forward to finishing this project. I have all of the electronics and the cables. I just need the case finished. The case is made up 6 parts, 3 on the left, 3 on the right. The base parts are the largest, and are estimated to take 10 hours to print each half. The middle and top parts are 4 hours each. These are estimates, though. The reality is that the base actually takes closer to 12 hours to print. So, starting the print before going to bed is a good idea, when the print goes well.

At 5AM, Melissa heard a crash. It did not wake me up, which I’m thankful for. My body has been waking me at 3AM quite a bit lately, so sleeping through the night is a necessary treat.

The crash was the glass printing plate of my printer hitting the floor, along with the unfinished and warped print.

It was my 3rd or 4th attempt at printing the bottom left part of the keyboard case, and once again, the corners of the print lifted from the glass. This disfigurement meant that as the machine worked, there was a chance that it would catch the unfinished print, and things could go badly. That’s what happened at 5AM. I came into my office and found the glass and unfinished item on the floor, along with a tangled mess of PLA strings strewn across the bare hot plate.

Fortunately, the glass was undamaged, and it wasn’t that hard to clean up. I took care of all that, changed the print temperature, and started again. I’m about an hour and a half from a finished print, and it’s doing great. I think we’re going to make it this time.

This unfortunate incident with the print represents a disruption. Plans were made, and something unexpected came along and caused emotional distress and shifted the timeline. In this case, I was able to deal with it calmly, cleaning up the mess and trying a different approach. But I’m not always able to deal with disruptions quite so easily.

My ability to deal with disruptions is dependent on my mental health and the importance of the task. I’m excited for this new keyboard, so the task is important enough to me that I can push through minor setbacks. Mentally, I’m feeling pretty good right now, which gives me the strength I need to remain calm and move forward.

My normal Tuesday night schedule is to join a Shut Up and Write, with the potential of joining Michael’s stream and then participating in the Zoom session afterwards. Tuesday nights have turned into my weeknight writing night, and it’s fantastic. I get stuff done, and I get to socialize with friends and other writers. But, I’ve got this work thing which demands my attention tonight, so I’m not going to be able to follow my usual routine.

This is a disruption, and initially, it locked me up. If I focused and got the work done, I might have been able to come in late to one of the other activities. I suppose it’s still possible. Michael’s stream doesn’t start for another 20 minutes. But it’s been a long day and I’m a little bit scattered. I had to take a break. I watched some videos, paid my bills, then watched the action of the printer. I enjoy the order and precision of it. It’s calming. Now I’m writing this blog post. When I’m done here, I should have the energy I need to finish the work I’ve been putting off. That’s how I’m dealing with that disruption.

I don’t always deal with disruptions well. I had planned on doing a full year of Wordle. I had a streak of a couple hundreds days going, but then some bit of travel kept me from playing one day, and after that, I didn’t feel the need to play it again. The reminder after every game of the broken streak is enough to disincentivize me to ever play again.

I have attempted NaNoWriMo 6 times and succeeded 3 of those times. The first year, I didn’t know what I was doing. The third year, I didn’t have a good story in mind. But the last year that I failed, it was just too hard to deal with the disruptions. Too much travel. Too many unexpected things to deal with. I had a good story idea, and I’ll revisit it another time, but that was a month where the disruptions defeated me.

There’s less than a week before the next NaNoWriMo starts. I don’t feel like I’m prepared enough. If I can just take a couple of hours to work on the outline, just a little bit more, I think that’ll be enough. But even if I’m prepared, I’m not sure ready to deal with another month of disruptions. I think November is going to come at me sideways.