Happy New Year, friends! I think the world in general has had quite enough of 2016. Here’s hoping for better things in 2017.
On a personal writerly level, I had a very mixed year. I released my first published novel (co-authored with Kit), which was amazing, and then dove into a months-long promotional campaign for it, which was interesting and educational and sometimes fun, but not so amazing. (Except the two book launches. Those were pretty neat.) One of my co-workers at the day job bought my book recently, and today she walked past and waved it at me with a bookmark in it. That was also pretty neat.
But the promo campaign has been over for months, and I’ve written almost nothing since.
You may or may not be a writer, but I’m sure you know this about habits: if you let them drop, the longer you’ve been away from them, the harder it is to pick them up again. They start to feel big and scary and insurmountable.
I’ve fallen into that trap before. For months. And writer who are not writing? Not the most pleasant people to be around, let me tell you. For starters, they tend to mope around and complain of existential angst, while their family members (and sometimes, the writers themselves) wonder why they can’t be content with normal diversions and enjoyable things like regular people, or alternatively, how it can be so hard to make stuff up with one’s brain. …
I’m office manager at a school for children with autism. That title may be a little misleading, as I don’t really manage the office. I am the office. Just me, little old me, and the director, who couldn’t find a pen if it was in his pocket (it usually is, and it’s usually not his) and who generally has about seventeen things going at once, none of which in any way involves following those pesky ~rules~ set up by HR or Payroll or Accounts Payable.†
With any school, it’s important that no matter who is sick or absent or distracted, things keep going. When you’re talking about a school for kids on the spectrum, it becomes a bit more imperative. Breaks in routine are Not. Good.
So recently when the boss was telling someone how I’m awesome, that I’m office manager, receptionist, nurse, occasional janitor, sometime maintenance tech, and all the while somehow manage to keep him mostly in line so HR doesn’t come hunting him with torches, and that without me the whole school would fall down–I appreciated it, but I also decided it should not all depend on me. I’m human. I get sick. And sometimes I need a vacation. So I started collecting my checklists and notes on how things work into a Standard Operating Procedure Manual. Kind of like this except not so formal. So if I ever needed to, you know, not go to work, the entire school wouldn’t fall down while I lolled around …
So about seven weeks ago, coincidentally enough, I blogged about an app called 7 Weeks. It’s supposed to help build habits. So how’s that going?
I think I should have invested in the Cattle Prod app.
Don’t get me wrong! The 7 Weeks app itself is great. Easy to use, appealing, intuitive…the problem, as always, is me.
The free version tracks your habit for the titular 7 Weeks. I paid $1.99 for the pro version, knowing I was going to need more than seven weeks. And after those seven weeks, I can unequivocally say I was right–I needed it.
Probably I’m trying for too much at once. I didn’t just stick with the two habits I talked about last time, oh no. Not ME. That would be too easy! I stuck with writing every day. I altered “watch the money” to “update budget spreadsheet.” I added “clean kitchen.” And “at or under calorie goal.”
Most days I get one of them (clean the kitchen, generally. It’s the least mentally-challenging). Some days I get two! I’ve even gotten all four once or twice, but definitely not more than that.
As I see it, there are a couple reasons for my less-than-stellar performance here:
I take on too much. Always. Instead of one habit at a time, I went for four. I’m also doing these while I take a three college classes (two of them only one credit each, but still!) work full-time, and continue my adventure-seeking in the great …