How Much Progress Can You Lose?

How much progress can you lose in a few weeks. All right, okay, a month?

A lot, as it turns out.

Vacation, kids, just being lazy, and trying a couch to 5k program got in the way of strength training. I never did figure out how to merge a couch to 5k program into my strength training routine. So, as I started working on the 5k, I fell off the strength training wagon.

For a month.

Yeah, I didn’t realize it had been that long, but as I looked at my log that listed the last day I had trained, it was undeniable.

So, I knew I’d have to ease back from where I was. I just didn’t realize how far I’d have to ease back. Or how much I’d hurt the next day.

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I so thought I was over each step I took reminding me I’d overdone it the day before, like when I first started strength training.

See, I try hard not to overdo it in these sessions. I have a day job that requires concentration if not physical exertion, and pain makes it hard to concentrate. I also have two amazing but rambunctious kids that demand my attention. And, I hate asking my husband to run down to the basement to bring up the clothes because my legs have the consistency of jelly or my arms can barely lift a pencil.

Granted, I’m not that bad this time. Okay, I did ask him to bring up the laundry, but I could lift more than pencil.

As I revitalize the routine, I find myself going through another case of the “I’m so hungry I’ll even eat peas” phase. That says something as I can’t stand peas. They’re all wrinkly, and they smell like dirty feet while they cook. Snow peas or pea pods, those are a whole different food stuff. We eat those like they’re candy in our house.

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Not sure how long it’ll take me to get back to where I was a month ago. Hoping only a few weeks, but it’s so hard to tell. I’m getting older, and my body is letting me know. I finally broke down and bought compression socks to help with the ankle I broke last year. Probably going to need a compression sleeve for at least one knee. Not so much for the strength training, but practicing for a 5k has been murder on that ankle I broke, especially.

*sigh*  I can’t be a twenty-something forever. And while I’d love the body of my twenty-something self, not sure I’d be willing to trade my wisdom and self-esteem for that body.

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How about you? Do you find that a month away from something makes you worse at it? If so, how long does it take you recoup lost ground? If you don’t get worse at it, do you have a secret you can share as to how you manage it?

Beach Reading Without Getting “The Look”

I want to be reading more, but it’s been a hectic summer with all the activities for the kids, DH having a much heavier than normal work schedule, and events for family and friends. Our vacation was less than spectacular, and we failed to potty train DD2 during it.

Now that summer is in its last throws and we’re gearing up for school to start, we’re taking one last long weekend. I haven’t gotten in much reading this last month with everything else going on, so I want to pack some beach reading.

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What I plan to be doing. Wishful thinking with a toddler, I know.

This means no iPad. While I do really like my iPad, it doesn’t like sand or water. And, it’s pretty tough to read in direct sunlight.

So, I have to find some actual, real paper books. I have mixed feelings on this. See, I love holding a real paper book in my hands. There’s just something about it I enjoy.

What I don’t enjoy is the traditional half-naked romance cover. On the beach. With the kids. And all the other snickers from family that come with it. Invariably, someone comments on it.

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So, even dressed, still obvious.

I don’t *hide* that I love reading romances, though most people don’t think I’m your typical romance reader. They’d be wrong, as demographically, I fit the profile perfectly.

The iPad hides this cover beautifully, and no one ever need know I’m reading either a bit of Regency, a retelling of a fairy-tale, or if I’m really lucky, a love story with dragons instead of the Economist.

I wish Amazon sold romance books with an optional hide-what-I’m-reading cover. Make it a plain and boring cover without eve a title. Or a title like Complete History of the Napoleonic War. So us Regency readers know exactly what that means, but the rest of the beach can be blissfully unaware.

I don’t know why DH can bring a book with space ships and laser battles on the front, and no one looks twice. But a half-dressed hot guy and suddenly it’s nothing but snickers.

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A book by DH’s favorite author. Less clothes than the romance novel, still gets fewer comments.

Oh well. Maybe I’ll have to borrow one of his space ship books. He’s been trying to get me to read more than the one book I did by Charles Stross anyway.

 

How about you? How do you read at the beach? Or on vacation? Do you prefer to read on an electronic device or a book? If you read romance, do you have any tricks to disguising your reading fare? Or maybe you just don’t care? Or maybe your family is less prone to teasing you?

Brain Went on Summer Vacation

A week before vacation, my brain and body decided they were already there. I struggled to motivate myself on my WIP, and my exercising regime became sporadic.

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I enjoyed the week I was off of work, but it’s now a full week after returning from vacation, and I’m still not back in my groove.

Perhaps it’s the summer doldrums. Our months-with-snow are usually longer than our months-without-snow. My daytime gig as a desk jockey is usually quieter in the summer months before we gear up for budgeting. Right after budgeting, we face a new fiscal year, and things get even more hectic.

So, yeah, summer is a good time to relax, take a deep breath, and get ready to face the challenges.

So, after three weeks, why am I not facing those challenges?

Maybe I’ve hit a snag with my current WIP.

The piece I’ve been working on for over a year is at the point that I actually have to send my baby out into the world and face the cruel rejections coming. I truly dread this.

Maybe I’ve been pushing hard for a while and I need a break. A longer break. Burn out is very real.

Maybe I don’t really know what motivates me, so I struggle to stay motivated.

I’ve adjusted my word count requirements to reasonable levels, but there’s more to it. I just don’t know what that more is.

As far as exercising goes, I suppose this is the epic uphill battle you face when you hate exercising. When it’s always a chore rather than something you look forward to doing. Not sure how to fix that, either.

Time to do some thinking. To analyze what’s going through my brain and why my motivation has evaporated into procrastination. Science may help with this, or it may just be I have to figure things out for myself.

Maybe inspiration will come and get me.

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What do you do to rekindle motivation, especially if it’s something you know you need to do rather than want to do? Any tips or tricks you use to escape the procrastination beast?

 

I Clearly Misplaced It

Looking for my motivation. Yes, I’ve clearly misplaced it, but I’m not sure where.

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That’s not entirely true.

We’ve had a run of nasty sicknesses in my house. From ear infections, to stomach flu, to five-day fevers, we haven’t had more than a couple weeks all year where someone in the house isn’t sick. Work has also been really busy, and my lunch hour has been usurped so that I can still make it home in time for the kids. We snuck in a mini-vacation as well.

Yet, that’s only part of it. I was super busy going into the new year, but I still found time to write. Even as we faced the holidays, which are my peak time at work, and potential unemployment and loss of benefits, I still made time to write.

But that isn’t happening now.

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You and me both!

I examined my work-in-progress. Perhaps the story is weak or the characters are flat, but I don’t think that’s it. The hero has been teasing around in my thoughts for a couple of years. The heroine is newer, but I feel like she’s well flushed out. I really get her personality, her background, and her desires. The plot dancing around the romance isn’t as robust as it could be. I’ve spent some time thinking it through, and I’m closer to having all of it nailed down without pigeon-holing my characters.

Remember, the moment I write an outline, the story is dead. But I do know where it’s going. Mostly.

Yet, I still haven’t been applying bottom to chair and making the first draft words happen. Why is that?

Honestly, I’m not sure.

I did recently get a new laptop so I don’t have to be cut-off from the family while writing. Perhaps that’s my issue. I’m less inclined to isolate myself to put words on the page. Apparently, being around other humans, even small ones, steals away my ability to write.

Maybe it’s something else. Something a little deeper.

After two years and three novels, I still have nothing published. Nothing ready to publish. My plan had been to finish the book I’m currently working on and then go back and make the final(?) round of revisions to Crowned Prince before trying to get an agent for it.

Perhaps I should contemplate working on a revision for either of the other two novels I have completed instead. I just don’t want to forget how to write fresh words. It’s a skill, like any other, and must be practiced. And it’s easy for me to get sucked into editing, letting the more analytical side of me take over.

Maybe it’s something else entirely.

Not the doubt demon, not exactly, but sometimes I feel like I’m spinning my wheels.

Demon
I haven’t forgotten you.

I’ve devoted a lot of time to writing for the past two years. I even worked on Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving. At the end of that time, I have some pixels on a screen, but little else. No agent. No book deal. Not even a manuscript that’s truly ready for an agent.

I’ve worked hard at it, and it feels like I’ve accomplished nothing.

I know me. I know making things happen motivates me. To have spent so much time on something and feel like I have nothing to show for it makes me rethink how I’m spending my time. Makes me question if I should be spending time on this.

I have to remind myself I haven’t really failed yet. I’ve barely tried. A handful of query letters a year ago barely counts as a full effort. And yet…giveup

 

Have you ever found yourself lacking motivation? What did you do to get your motivation back? Did it work?