Wednesday 6 March 2024: I need structure

Image by 8926 from Pixabay

When the poet came home on Tuesday, he quickly fixed the mini TV box and the booster before rustling up a quick tea (we had fish fingers, chips and baked beans followed by the last of the trifle) and dashing out to do band stuff. I believe we’ll be having Tuesday’s actual tea (spaghetti bolognese) for tea today. I have the job of making some kind of pear pudding – sponge or crumble.

The drummer had a set of new drum mics for Christmas, I think off his wife, and he wanted the poet to set them up and program them into the mixing desk. It turned into a band event when everyone said they were going. We both thought the poet would be there until quite late, but he was on his way home again at about 8pm, which meant a reasonable evening for us after all.

At 5am on Wednesday, the dog woke me up. He went back into his basket, but for the next 2½ hours my brain was awake and going through all the things I wanted to do. When the poet’s alarm went off at 7:30am, I got up with him. Yup, that’s right. The poet was surprised too.

I put some washing on, took the dog out, made us both a hot drink (in a pot each no less), and made us both some cereal. For the first time in about 8 years, we had breakfast together before he went off to work.

Then I watered the cacti, did some finance stuff on my phone, downloaded a couple of apps, completed a couple of surveys, and opened a new current account. I thought one of my accounts was already a basic current account, but no. It’s a basic saver. And I need a current account with them to take advantage of their regular saver.

I put some more washing through, put some washing away, and hung some more washing up. By the time I got to my desk, it was 10:30am, and I was STARVING HUNGRY. That’s what happens when I have breakfast at 7:30am. I made myself another hot drink, grabbed a couple of biscuits (English biscuits, not cookies or American biscuits), and started today’s blog post.

Just under a year ago, I was in the very fortunate position to have saved up enough money to pay myself a wage for 12 months. The plan was to stop doing client work and only concentrate on my own work.

Well, that plan went a bit pear-shaped, didn’t it? I still worked on 2 client edits and I did start and finish a few short stories. But I didn’t finish a single large project of my own. Instead, I spent the days doing nothing, idling away my time like a lady of leisure, getting out of bed later and later, doing less and less exercise, and basically achieving hardly anything.

I will cut myself *some* slack…

We *did* lose my mother in April and hot on the heels of the cat disappearing for 2 weeks, the cat disappeared again, for 3 weeks this time, and when she came home she died the next day. In the meantime, the dog was diagnosed with a debilitating condition. I’ve also been embroiled with Probate and conveyancing, and the former is *still* to be wrapped up.

But other than that, I seem to have whittled away my days doing absolutely sweet Fanny Adams, as my mom used to say (sweet FA, sweet eff all).

And it seems to have spilled over into our private life too.

Once upon a time, we would be out every weekend we could, walking or sightseeing or just going for a drive. Then my dad got ill and we tried to see him at least once a fortnight, and that was a 200-mile round trip. We all visited my mother in the care home whenever we could too. And if we were seeing my parents, then it was only fair that we saw the poet’s mother as well.

We gave ourselves a reason to go out again by starting the Alphabet Adventurers, despite us both needing medical treatment for one thing or the other. Then Dad died, and then came Lockdown. And that meant the alphabet temporarily finished at K. (I think we did well to get to K, actually.)

During and immediately after lockdown we both had our medical procedures carried out, and we had every intention of starting again at L. And then the dog had his diagnosis and we didn’t really want to go out walking if he couldn’t come with us. Rufus was very much one of the alphabet adventurers.

But we don’t seem to have started doing anything again yet. We did buy the dog some wheels, and we did start him on a permanent medication program, but he can’t walk as far as he used to. And on Sunday when the poet took us on our surprise drive to look at snow, I didn’t feel like going through the hassle of putting the dog in his wheels, let alone putting my boots on.

I’m now at the heaviest weight I’ve ever been, and I feel very unfit. I gave up diets a couple of years ago, but the poet is buying me a couple of books on intuitive eating for my birthday (um… I believe…), as well as a couple of other things (ah… I understand…). But it’s time that I started *doing* again instead of talking about it. Time to start walking the walk.

It’s clear to me now that working in an organic fashion does absolutely nothing for me or my work. I *need* the structure of a very structured day. I *need* to do lots of different jobs in a day that get lots of motivational ticks. I *need* a reason to get out of bed in the mornings when the poet has already gone to work. And if I’m less idle during the week, perhaps I’ll be less idle at the weekend.

Two biscuits became 4, and I determined to see *something* (anything!) by the end of the day… So I started a proofreading job. Let’s see how today goes now I’ve had this revelation.

(I plugged in ‘structure’ at Pixabay, and it seems to have converted it to ‘texture’…hence the psychedelic image.)

4 thoughts on “Wednesday 6 March 2024: I need structure

  1. Some people need structure. I spent so much of my life in the theatre structure — 8 shows/week on a very set schedule — that I do better with large swaths of unstructured time.

    I still never get as much done as I’d like.

    But for me, the key is to know when my own creative energy is highest (right now, that’s early in the morning), and put my own work first, then build the client work around it. i mean, sometimes there are meetings or quick assignments or whatever and I have to modify, but I’ve found that works best — my own work first, other people’s work later.

    I mean, my IDEAL schedule is to write all night into the morning, do stuff until about 11 AM, sleep until 5 PM, and then do it all again, but that’s not realistic.

    But maybe your creative energy isn’t highest in the morning. Maybe it’s at some other point. Play with it and see.

    You had a lot of life stuff happen these past years, in terms of health and loss and moving. You’ve handled everything incredibly well. Now you get to figure out what kind of schedule works best for what you do.

    1. Yeah, I tried doing my work first thing too, and ended up wanting to spend the entire day on it. I think it’s better that I do my own stuff as a reward for doing everything else. I haven’t really identified when I’m at my best, creatively. But I can pretty much do analytics any time of the day.

      Thanks so much for the kind and supportive words. As ever they mean a lot.

  2. Like you, I do much better with structure. When I stayed home with my kids, I thought I’d have loads of time to write. I frittered it away, and didn’t finish my first novel until after I’d started working full time. it’s so weird ow our brains work!

    1. Yes, when I had less time, I wrote more – NIGHT CRAWLER was written in 3 months when I had a full time job. And I was ghostwriting each of those regency romances in 2 months flat. I know I need the pressure of a real deadline (as opposed to a made-up deadline just to get me to finish something – I’m complete rubbish at those). Maybe I need the pressure of a tight schedule too.

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