In My Copious Spare Time…

Wayne Blackburn Happy Crow threatened/promised that on Wednesday all of you would do posts on “in my copious spare time” and link to mine.  I’m fairly sure he was joking, but I thought just for the heck of it I WOULD do a post on all the stuff I’m supposed to be doing, all the stuff I’d like to do and the stuff that’s waiting my “copious spare time.”

Is this whining?  No.  It’s a bit of a complaint, because with all these things to do, I often end up not doing anything all day.  Or rather, I do a ton of little things (like today) but nothing of what was on my to-do list.  And then I get upset, but mostly at myself.  And my main reason for getting upset at myself is how easily I get ill.  Like, right now, I’m battling a sinus infection, which is a ridiculous disease that should not make you feel this low.

However, for some reason, my sinus’ being out of kilter just makes me want to sleep the day into the night.  Which is also why you’re getting this excuse for a post today.

And in case it does sound like whining…  It’s not because if I had to choose, I’d much rather and by a great amount be over-busy than not busy enough.

When I first got married, I came from a situation in which I had been teaching, going to college full time, and taking four language courses at other institutions.  There were days I left the house at seven thirty am and didn’t come home again till nine pm at night, at which point I’d eat dinner in solitary splendor and do whatever homework or studying was needed for starting at seven thirty am again.

I was perfectly happy in this routine.  I squeezed in a social life around the edges and usually took Sunday afternoon and just slept.

Then came my first two years of marriage, when I had no job, no car, and was stuck in the house all day.  I went so nuts I started trying to write for publication.

Then I got a job in which I got paid normal amounts, but had to work unpaid overtime.  We were so busy I often bought clothes because I hadn’t had time to do wash.  In the end we realized that we were spending more money with me working than we did with me not working.  Even though I was being paid decently, it didn’t compensate for the sheer amount of work which meant I didn’t cook at home, or wash clothes, or… and besides it was really interfering with the infertility treatments.

Then came the kids, and Robert’s first three years of life I moved three times, and I was sometimes so tired I couldn’t think.

Then came the crash of my writing career in 03 and days when I had nothing to do but clean and decorate.  And then it took off again, and I’ve been writing multiple books a year and unable to take the time to breathe.

I’m not sure what this means except that there doesn’t seem to be a happy medium, (possibly because he/she keeps getting struck) and if I had to choose I’d rather be insanely busy, because it seems to give the opportunity for things to get better.  Also, as grandma used to say, “to stop is to die.”

If that’s true I’m going to live forever…

Right now, on the plate and getting more overdue by the minute:

Five short stories.  One isn’t due till June, but the rest need to get out there.  These are proving a small issue because I haven’t READ short stories in too long, and what you read absolutely affects the habit of mind you get into.  Yeah, I can probably write shorts without reading them; I have enough practice.  But actually sliding into them would make things easier.

Through Fire: technically not due until August, but I’d like to do an extra book this year because it’s pushing at me, so…  Well, it’s started and I am actually working at it.

The subscriber space: It hasn’t been updated this week, mostly because all I did was editing.

Finishing A Flaw In Her Magic for Naked Reader Press before my editor crawls out through the monitor and beats me.  I have maybe three days of work in it, but I need to get back into the head space.

Ditto the second vampire musketeer’s book – and here’s the craving belief that I should just let it slide till the rights revert to the first next year.

Getting a sketch to the artists doing the cover for Witchfinder.

Finishing editing Witchfinder.

Finishing editing Shadow Gods.

Finishing editing Musketeer’s Seamstress.

(The problem with these is that if I get interrupted, I get popped out, also for things like the musketeers, I need to immerse fully.  I THINK I need to take a few days and do them sequentially.)

Picking cover art for a few Naked Reader Properties.  (Why am I the cover director?  Ah.  Well, the person doing it had a death in the family, and things got weird, and… yep, I was the one who could squeeze it in.)

I have to read a couple of friends’ books for quotes.

I’m doing an introduction to the annual collection of someone who will eventually be a friend and is right now an online acquaintance of whom I am a – squee  type – fan.

These are all things (except for writing the WHOLE of Through Fire) which must be done by the end of the month.

Then come the things I’d REALLY like to do:

I’d like to write the first Orphan Kittens mystery, before Everitt Mickey physically crawls through my computer to get it.

I’d like to start cleaning the room in the attic we call “the beach room” because it needs to be empty before we can even start preparing the house for sale.  (It has a gross beach mural from the seventies.  And we use it as a storage room, which means you can’t even get into it.  And some of the stuff that’s in there, like my good sewing machine, I need to fix other stuff.)

I’d like to go to my hairdresser.  I’ve been overdue for an appointment since JANUARY.  My hair is becoming too long to manage easily, but I have yet to have the time.

I’d like to do some research I’m going to need for Darkship Revenge.

I’d like to read a few books that have been waiting patiently.  This is not just for fun.  When I’m this busy I just re-read, but you need new input, now and then.

I’d like to finish the re-do on my website, but unfortunately it will take a bunch of figuring out ways to make the interface behave, so I need about a week.  I ain’t gonna get it, so I have to cram a week’s worth of work in the spare hours.

These are things I’d like to at least have started in the next couple of months.

And then – in my copious spare time –

I’d like to learn to use the new art computer, and poser.

I’d like to read the three books I got for Christmas on interstellar travel.

I’d like to start studying Latin and Greek again.

I’d like to finish putting up all my trunk short stories and organize a listing of the future history stories, in order, as well as revise the thirty or so that need serious revision, so I can sell them to webscriptions and also make collections for Amazon.

I’d like to start writing a short story/novella a weekend again.

And I’d like to go somewhere for a week and just sleep…

I could get rid of this entire backlist in a couple of months if I could just take it one at a time, but life doesn’t work that way.  So…  I try to make plans, but it’s like making a budget when we were newlywed.  It always showed we couldn’t possibly be surviving, and yet we were.

So I go on.  To stop is to die.  And I’m not anywhere near stopping.

Different post over at Mad Genius Club.

Oh, yeah, and my novel in thirteen weeks thing is up at PJM.

114 responses to “In My Copious Spare Time…

  1. Your writing an introduction for Pournelle?

  2. Would like to write something, but next week is Finals Week…

  3. I need to make lists, because in my copious spare time I end up doing whatever is in front of me/catches my interest, at the moment, and forget half the things that really need done. Or I remember them when I’m not in the right place/don’t have the right tools to do them. I have needed a couple of oddball sized metric allenhead bolts for two months now, I remember that every time I am in a big town with a Fastenal that would actually carry them. Unfortunately I don’t know the size of the bolts and need to have the old ones with me, and they are at home. By the time I am home I always forget to remove the bolts and put them where I will actually take them with me the next time I go to town (probably in the truck, otherwise there is no way I’ll remember them)

    • The problem is I make lists, then forget them.

      Oh, and I forgot to add, I need to figure the size of screws the guy who sold us the sound booth couldn’t find, so I can assemble it. I might have the guys paint it as a tardis. (What? It’s going to be in he middle of the room!)

      • “The problem is I make lists, then forget them.”

        Yes, making lists works for me for about a week, then I forget about the list. I’ve ended up using GeekTool to display the list on the desktop of my Mac. That actually works.

        It took a while, though, because doing that was also on my list 🙂

      • Yes, there are two fail points for me, making the list is one, remembering to take the list with me is two. I usually stick the list to the fridge while it is in the process of being written, if it is an add to as needed list (oh, getting short on peanut butter, better add that to the list, etc.). I have found the best way to actually have it with me is to put it in my checkbook, then if I remember my checkbook I’m golden, but that’s only about a 50% chance there. I would put them in my wallet, since I always have that with me, but everytime I stick something like that in my wallet I end up falling in a creek or being out in a downpour or something and obliterating it. (I can go two years without getting my wallet wet, but the day I put something in it written on paper that I need, it will go swimming).

    • Dorothy Grant

      Are you home right now? Put the bolts in a ziplock baggie, and toss ’em in the change tray in the truck. I always feel silly when I go outside in my bathrobe to do things like that – but it’s often the only way to set myself up for success.

      • Did that a week ago, then I drove a different truck to town. 😦 I’m assuming by the ‘change tray’ it means you use the ash tray in your truck for the same thing I do? It has highly irritated me that they quit putting ash trays in new vehicles, not only does it mean I have to find somewhere else to throw change, but it doesn’t stop anybody from smoking, it just means EVERYBODY who smokes will flick their cigarettes out the window, instead of only half of them.

        • Dorothy Grant

          Not quite everybody. I once caught a ride with a Blackhawk pilot, who had a mostly-empty soda can he used as an ashtray. He hated the smokers who littered, too – with more passion than most nonsmokers, as he felt he was being tarred by their bad behavior.

        • Robin Munn

          Did that a week ago, then I drove a different truck to town.

          You said “old bolts”, plural. I assume you only need one for a size comparison, right? Separate them, and put one in each truck. 🙂

          • You know, I do this stuff constantly. Actually my problem is not so much overworked as “under-organized.” I’m almost eerily organized for someone raised in Portugal. The qualifier is the killer. Turns out some stereotypes exist because they tend to be true.

            • I’m about as organized as a train wreck.

            • Dorothy Grant

              I understand. My mother is extraordinarily prompt and punctual… for someone of her south american culture. Which drove me to fits when I was a child, because I had no perspective on where she was coming from.

              Worse yet, you’re in a profession where disorganization and lack of ability to make deadlines is considered “normal”, and it seems artists get more excuses and enabling, wanted or not, than encouragement to organize from those around them. I remember reading of a group of writers arguing over whose story had delayed an anthology the longest. “Mine!” “No, mine!”

              A couple of years ago, I sat down with a friend after he’d gotten home and recovered from a trade show. In one hand I had a large handful of business cards, and in the other, a blank journal some well-meaning soul had given him “because he’s creative.” He gave me a puzzled look as i wrote the trade show title and year on the front of the journal, and then “projects due” on the top of the first page. I set the business cards in front of him, and said “Make piles of these by the ones that you need to get something to, the ones you need to contact, and the ones you don’t care about.” As he did, I started taping them to the journal, a business card a page, with a note about what he needed to do with that contact.

              The next three weeks were, to him, a blur of constant phone calls, emails, receiving tons of product from FedEx, UPS, and DHL, and taking pictures of same. Eventually, he got a handle on it all, but business hasn’t slowed down since. The spine broke on the journal from so many things being taped inside, and cryptic notes started filling up pages around several business cards.

              The next year, he came back from the trade show with a half a shoebox of business cards, many with written notes on them, and scraps of flyers, contact information written on the sides of menus and napkins, and a bit of swag mixed in. The next time I came over to spoil his cat and steal his chocolate, he gave me a hopeful look. “Do you know where I can find another business card book? I’ve got them sorted and am ready to help you put them in!”

              • I NEED someone to organize me, but Dan has a “full time’ job and the kids are busy.

                This is why when people say “you just need to rest” I say “I can’t. I’m already late.” And I have blowing deadlines, which I’ve been doing for ten years. Though in my defense that has more to do with weird health (weird even for me) due to the inevitable fact that females hit a certain age and their hormones go nuts.

                • Dorothy Grant

                  It’s a good thing you don’t live more, and my husband doesn’t make enough for us to live on comfortably alone… otherwise, after spoiling my photographer friend’s cat, stealing his chocolate and cheese, doing his dishes, opening and organizing his mail, and chasing stray model releases and product invoices / lending terms around the house until they’re all herded back into the folders I set up…

                  I’d come over to your house to spoil your cats and steal your tea. (What do you drink? My friend has started to stock my tea to lure me over, but he keeps trying to spoil me “good teas” with import labels slapped over the Cyrillic. Unfortunately, I’m not fond of flower petals in tea, so I keep trying to make the next pot before he can.) And you’d be lucky if I left without doing your dishes, mopping your floor, organizing your mail, sitting and talking with you and gently drawing out a list of everything you need to do, finish, start, or contact someone about, and later presenting it to you with lunch I’d cooked…

                  While I think people’d get very tired of me doing this, my friend instead occasionally expresses regret that I went and got a job on him, and only do it every couple weeks, at random.

                  • Do you also walk dogs?
                    A friend of mine had a job as an online scheduling clerk for a high end real estate business. She did the travel arrangements, online hotel accomodations, and kept the appointment books for several partners in the firm.

                    • Dorothy Grant

                      Good Heinlein reference!

                      I do walk dogs, and have helped train a malamute. However, as I explain to friends – if I feel like doing it, and I do it on my own schedule when impulse strikes me, it’s free. If you want me to show up regularly and without fail, on your time table and do whatever you need even if I don’t feel like it, you’ll pay what I think my copious spare time is worth.

                      I have to be careful, though, about saying that… like when I told a friend that gun manufacturers really don’t pay attention to what adult women want, or they’d market guns in purple and green, not pink. One midnight run of an injured cat to a vet later, and I got thanked with purple AR furniture.

                    • 🙂
                      Seriously, I have seen AR furniture in lavender, but not purple. Hot pink actually makes some sort of sense, they are very easy to spot and find quickly when you need them. I had a friend that was a gunsmith that told me about the ‘ugliest guns’ he ever made. A guy was a firewood cutter in coastal Alaska, in an area with a very high Brown Bear population, he made him two 45-70’s, stainless, 16″ barrels, and blaze orange stocks. That way the guy could set them down around where he was working, if he ever needed them he would need them quickly, and he didn’t want to have to look around and try and remember where he set a wood stocked rifle in amongst a bunch of sticks.

                  • Makes note — move closer to Dot. 😉 Only Slinky McEvil and the Fuzzball would never let you or your husband leave.

              • I remember reading of a group of writers arguing over whose story had delayed an anthology the longest. “Mine!” “No, mine!”

                It may just be my jaded self speaking, but of course part of this argument boiled down to who was the most important, i.e., so that the publisher would wait the longest to receive their story, and not just cut them out of the project.

          • Actually need three of one size and one of another, problem being I have one old bolt of each size.

  4. Wayne Blackburn

    Well, it wasn’t me who said it, but that’s ok.

    In my copious spare time, I’m still working on that website, trying to clean my mother-in-law’s junk out of storage so I don’t have to keep paying for it, get a garden tilled and planted, fix up the chicken house so I can try raising chickens again (didn’t seal it well enough originally, and something got them all), and figure out what to do about finding out who has been stealing stuff from my father.

    • Wayne, have you looked at Marko Kloos’s chicken coop? His has info about it on his blog. It seems to be fox, hawk, and skunk proof thus far.

      • Wayne Blackburn

        I have something that should have been good enough already, but screwed up a corner around the door in the back where I had it set up to access the laying boxes. I didn’t make a solid box of it there, and whatever it was pushed the wire aside to get in. All I need to do is box it in properly, and I’ll be back in business.

    • Oh, thanks. 😦 Now I feel guilty for being here. We had rain and the soil is soft and willing to give; I should go pull some weeds. Then maybe prep another bed or pot some more of the herbs. No, wait I have to be in the house to pay attention to the laundry. That’s it, I’m not being self-indulgent, it is the laundry for the moment. 😉

    • Yup. That was me. I’ve written-and-linked as threatened.
      My list would be twice as long as it is except that I’m starting to say to myself “I don’t have time for that, wish I did, I’ll get to it….. in…my….copious….”

      • I couldn’t possibly do it, except that I DO write very fast.

        • Yeah. I JUST NOW potentially solved a longstanding issue in the production of soft leathers which would make the process notably more efficient.

          Testing that, of course, would be a project, and therefore could only be done in my…..

          • You shouldn’t write stuff like that! It tempts Fermat! (ie, not Murphy, but that guy with the wonderful proof, which is too large to write in this space. 🙂

            • Wayne Blackburn

              Ooh, I nominate Suburbanbanshee for the obscure reference award. Fermat, indeed!

              • what do you mean obscure? My husband still says guy who got the prize solved it wrong and this is theme for conversation at least once a week.

                What do you mean that’s not normal?

                • Hmmmmm, how to break this to you …

                • Wayne Blackburn

                  Heh. I do wish I had been able to stay in long enough to tell. I could ask one of my college friends who got his PhD, then promptly went off into Comp. Sci. and now is a professor at a local college.

                • I don’t know what most people talk about. Yesterday in the hour before dinner: I was given a prolonged explanation of Japanese Ghosts in relationship to their mythology by The Daughter. The Spouse and I had a discussion prompted by a comment I made about an article I read considering the moral world of The Girls compared to that of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park. This are pretty common for us. What do ‘normal’ people talk about?

                  (I had not considered the posible reference to Austen’s MP in the name of Filtch’s cat in Harry Potter, how appropriate.)

                  • Since I walked right into a Japanese Ghost story when I was in Japan– another story– just say that I do believe in ghosts when I meet them. lol

                    • Ooo. (Gets out popcorn.) I want to hear a good ghost story.

                      On Thu, May 2, 2013 at 8:05 AM, According To Hoyt wrote:

                      > ** > Cyn Bagley commented: “Since I walked right into a Japanese Ghost story > when I was in Japan– another story– just say that I do believe in ghosts > when I meet them. lol” >

                    • It has to do with a bunch of man-boys who had brains but no common sense. They disturb an altar in the woods that was close to the base. If you have read any of the literature of the Japanese ghosts– they are scary and bloodthirsty. They are not like our ghost stories. And a rescue, by me of one of the participants. Two words to describe people who disturb things they don’t understand– dumb shits. Oh yes, it was a stormy night and one of the friends came to my barracks room and dragged me out into the night because –I was the only one who could rescue him. Those kinds of adventures sound fun in stories but in reality, not so much fun. 😉

                    • I was in Japan in the spring, early March, the time the plum trees blossom. All but one day we had clear weather. It was unusually clear, I gather, for I could see Fuji out my Tokyo hotel window every morning.

                      The day we went to Kyoto it changed, that morning I awoke to a heavy cloud cover. When we got to the city it broke loose. I have been in some pretty fierce storms in the States, but the way the rain dropped that day was impressive. The best way to describe it was to imagine that someone clumped all the fire hoses in the world over the city and then turned them on at full force.

                      If I had been in the woods at night in that kind of storm that would have been enough to give me the willies. Add to go out in that in the company of stoopid, well … no thanks. You’re a better man than I am Gunga Din.

                    • LOL– It was around Misawa so we had a lot of those rains and I could just see the headlines– one dead, three in the hospital. I was pretty grumpy.

                    • When I was in Panama, I didn’t have the same types of experiences, but I did babysit a bunch of 19-21 year old man-boys. (around 1992-1994). I was noticing then that many of these guys were pretty immature and even though they were smart, they couldn’t connect actions with consequences. It was my job (I was the E-5, to those in the Navy the Second Class Petty Officer) to teach them and if need be rescue them.

                    • you want to know
                      whether i believe in ghosts
                      of course i do not believe in them
                      if you had known
                      as many of them as i have
                      you would not
                      believe in them either
                      perhaps i have been
                      unfortunate in my acquaintance
                      but the ones i have known
                      have been a bad lot
                      no one could believe in them
                      after being acquainted with them
                      a short time

                      don marquis

                    • Don Marquis was a wise man.

                  • You know, my family could very happily talk to your family?

                    I realized my family wasn’t normal when the waitress in our favorite diner, eight years ago said “I can tell you’re all massively smart just from your talk” — I was shocked. We usually go to the diner while on “vacation.” This means on the way to museum or zoo or aquarium and on our way FROM (we learned never to eat first) the amusement park. I can’t remember ever having a serious conversation in those circumstances and with the kids that young. Now, of course, we talked about piranhas and can they really skeletonize a cow, etc. But all you needed to follow as Disney comics culture.

                    • On this blog one meets the most interesting people 😉 :

                      From Water, Water Every Hare:

                      From Hair-Raising Hare

            • 😀 I know the issue (but not the answer!) to the Fermat thing. But LOTS of people are interested in Fermat’s…. easily softening rawhide… not so many people. 🙂

              • Simple solution: Relaxed cows. Otherwise try massaging them with Aveena or Corn Huskers. Explaining Fermat’s theorem to cattle justs tenses them up.
                I have to go get a tiller for the garden. Thank you for reminding me.

                • You’re twisted, Bob, but that JUST MIGHT WORK!!

                • I’m confused, how does Fermat remind you to go buy a tiller?

                  • Short telegraphic answer, I want to plant a plot of indan corn. I shell it by wringing the cobs which play hob with my hands – hence the corn huskers’ lotion. My thought processes was nothing that simple, however.

    • trying to clean my mother-in-law’s junk out of storage so I don’t have to keep paying for it

      You could do what we did and call JunkBusters or whatever the equivalent is near you. Yeah, I’m sure there were some real treasures in there but our house is full and JB was cheaper than keeping 3 storerooms for who knows how long. Some of the stuff in there came from the mother-in-law of my mother-in-law so it was in there for decades. I was NOT going to pass it down to my sons’ families.

  5. I’m savoring a week without family. If all goes well, I will finish the draft of Vol 2 of the work in progress tomorrow. I need to take last week’s research and jam it into the non-fic manuscript and get that off to the press. And I have three work-related tomes and several German books I need to read, because I have to be back to professional speaking fluency by June. But the house is quiet, the dust that is blowing is all outside, not inside, the cat has not had a hairball or asthma attack yet this week, and I got a nice walk in this AM before the dust storms started.

    Yeah, Sarah, you win. 🙂

    • And the draft of Volume 2 is done! Wheee!!! A new villain has appeared, a romance might be in the air, and Snowy the Mule gets another chance to eat the laundry.

  6. I have other friends with your problem. They get real busy, and then things start piling on. And one is particularly gifted in that she’s very musical as well as a good writer. So – she teaches music, is involved in a local symphony, continues to write (just had a double come out shortly before the publisher folded) and somehow makes time to visit with family and friends. Every once in a while her husband sets his foot down and she shucks activities. And she’s a cancer survivor, with the quite justifiable concern of a relapse.
    The point is, Sarah, you can only do so much, and pushing through fatigue and illness only makes the fatigue and illness worse.
    I can’t in all honesty tell you what you should or shouldn’t do. I’d be way out of line. But as a virtual friend (I’d like to think we’d be actual if we ever met) I have to tell you that This Can’t Go On. As no doubt you already know.
    Maybe you can arrange to put off work that is not contracted, or even re-negotiate the contract for a later completion date.
    And maybe some of the readers here would be willing to guest-blog for 1-2 days every week. Either using their own ideas or pre-approved ones.

    Or maybe you’ll end up in a hospital and everything will be forced to come to a crashing halt. No one wants that, especially your friends here.
    To reference Heinlein, you have to decide what YOUR duty and responsibility is, not what someone imposes on you. Your family obviously comes high on the list. But your health has to come right next to it, either leading or following.
    And everything else will simply have to take a number. And heaven helt the one with #597!
    And as for me, I’ll duck out and go mow the lawn. It’s been growing way to high for my allergies.

    • You know Louise Marley?

    • … I have to tell you that This Can’t Go On. As no doubt you already know.

      And as Glenn Reynolds is so fond of repeating: things which can’t go on forever, won’t.

      Oh, and about that sinus infection? Illness is often nature’s way of forcing you to take the break you need. Stress tends to break down the immune system, so when you get an infection that your body should have been able to fight off with no sweat, it instead ends up laying you low for several days. I speak from personal experience on this one. I won’t go into details since I don’t want to hijack your blog, but after 2006-2007, I learned never to feel guilty about taking the breaks I need.

      • My complete idiotic body has never been able to fight off any infections (possibly the result of being born severely premature.) IF I gave in every time my body buckles, I’d never have done anything, including elementary school.

        • Robin Munn

          Ah, then the “I’m getting sick more often” signal is completely useless to you since it’s flooded with “noise” from a poor immune system. I’m blessed with a pretty robust immune system, so that works as a “time to back off and rest” signal for me, but given your history I can understand why you’d have learned (correctly) to just ignore sickness and plow ahead with what needs to get done, as best you can.

          However, that just means that you should look for other signals that you’re doing too much and need to slow down for your health’s sake. One of which is when all your friends start shouting at you to take a break. 🙂

          • Ah, but that too has been fairly constant my whole life. Including but not limited to “you can’t write that fast you’ll hurt– Oh, the whole book? Okay then.”

  7. Sarah, you lost count. I know of at least two more projects you didn’t name – bwahahahahahahaha

  8. Like, right now, I’m battling a sinus infection, which is a ridiculous disease that should not make you feel this low.

    When I was a teen I cracked a bone in my ankle when I twisted it badly; it ballooned, turned funny colors and hurt like anything. Sleeping was difficult, no comfortable position to be found. Do you know how heavy a sheet can seem? Getting around on crutches was clumsy; I was used to taking up far less space. Also, crutches don’t play well with a shoulder bag. And, with the exception of a particular deep purple, not one of the colors the ankle turned was the least bit attractive with my complexion. ( 😉 ) On a whole I wouldn’t recommend it. But I think I would take it over another sinus infection.

    Sinuses are right up against your eyes and brain … and if the pattern of your infections are anything like the ones I had, a lean forward leaves you feeling like something large kicked you in the face with force. Ever think about how much day to day stuff requires one to lean forward? I bet you more than have, in excruciating detail. It is hard to scrub a tub without leaning forward … or your own foot, for that matter. The problem with a sinus infection is that there is nothing glamorous or romantic about having one, just exhaustion, distraction and discomfort.

    Sarah: Take care of yourself. Get well soon.

  9. Pingback: In My Copious Spare Time… | Happycrow's Eyeball Factory

  10. Wayne Borean aka The Mad Hatter

    You need a bigger monitor, so there’s room enough for all the people crawling through it…

    Actually your position sounds familiar. Got two contracts this week for short stories, which I’m bugging my wife to print because she’s got the printer buried, and I’m not allowed to lift anything that weighs more than ten pounds, a bunch more are in progress, a half dozen websites to set up when I finish negotiations with the hosting companies (it’s complicated), a pile of editing, articles on politics, business, technology, never mind walking the dogs.

    Who has time to die? And really, would life be worth living without the rush?


  11. Take care of yourself– I have been stopped on two of my projects because of illness and then I am having a problem getting back into writing stories. 😉 You might need to slow down a little, take a deep breath, and prioritize.

  12. Well, since I blogged this morning before reading yours, and it was about stealing a moment to read… I’ve been working mostly at school, with a side of work, packing for my move ( I leave here May 18) and trying to spoil my kids like mad since I won’t see them all summer. Also, writing a novel, short story finished recently and another in the works. A novella and another short to edit and publish… sigh. Right now, sorting balloons for tonight’s gig. So: my blog, where I talk about my guilty pleasure read of the week.

  13. Paul Duffau

    I’ve gotten to the point where I never do a to-do list (reading a James Scott Bell book and he suggests the A,B,C system with A1,A2…) My problem with lists is that they get blitzed by spitballs, fireballs and large rolling boulders. So I blow them off, focus on a couple of core projects – beating the day job with a stick to keep the hours reasonable so it doesn’t swallow my whole life, getting some writing in, a run if I don’t have a gout flare ongoing, reading, reading and some more reading since I have so much to learn.

    A whole lot of little things never happen this way. The floors are a mite dirtier, dishes sometimes stack up (I joked with my wife the other night that I did not use every pot in the house but only because I ran out of burners). The garage is a disaster and I have house repairs that really need to be done – and being low on ‘spare’ cash, need to be done by me.

    I’m still practicing the art of saying “No.” I find it difficult to say when someone needs my services and offers cash. When I master the art of “No”, some of this will improve dramatically.

    But probably not the housework or garage, not while I have stories in my head going ‘me next.’

    • Garage and house are complete mess. I think the neighbors think we’re the most shiftless couple who ever lived. And you should see Dan’s list. The boys are going to be on vacation and I intend to make them do stuff, but part of this is they too are doing demanding degrees, running/starting businesses because they don’t trust the economy to have jobs for them when they graduate, even with STEM degrees and because they’d like not to have debt, trying to have at least miniscule social lives…

      This is why it’s such a great treat when the family goes to Denver for three/four days and hangs out and goes to museums. We’re together, and none of us is very busy.

      I THINK I should have about one of those every quarter — the problem is affording them both money and time. Ah, well.

    • Brings to mind two sayings:

      Life is what happens to you while you make plans. and You make plans, Hashem laughs.

  14. As the master once said: budget luxuries first.
    And while money is a necessary tool, time is your most precious commodity. You can by hook or crook always get more money, but time is the most frangible of resources.
    Far be it for me to tell you what to do, but just as an observation it would appear that you are at or near a point where far too much of your precious time is wasting away in transitions between mindsets for your various tasks. Break things down into too small parts and you’ll spend much too long churning between profitable works. Those transitions are a necessary step, but need to be tightly controlled or they eat you alive.
    Much like someone who finds themselves in a financial mess, it becomes necessary to grab oneself by the scruff of the neck and force one to budget, schedule, and prioritize your expenditures. Were it me I’d get a chalkboard/whiteboard, put it on the wall with a prioritized plan for the coming day/week and then do my level best to stick with it. Won’t happen of course, but it will help give a bit of structure to the chaos.

    • Yikes. Blogged about copious spare time . . . discovered I didn’t have any. Or _ought_ not have any. I have a lot of things that slide a day or two . . . week or three . . . ::sigh:: will take the dog to the vet today. Some things don’t slide.

  15. For what it’s worth, here’s at least one person who envies you. I’m stuck at a day job for far too many hours a day, dancing to somebody else’s tune. I only wish I could be overworked on my own creative projects. As the line from Fiddler goes: May the Lord smite me with it.


    • That’s Dan’s thing. One of us still needs to have a job, but he’s doing almost as much and working full time…

      • Don’t you read Women’s Magazines? You are supposed to resent his having the comfortable structure of a regular job instead of the ad hoc chaos with which you deal. And it is a fundamental precept of modern American womanhood that a man’s “help” around the house is insufficient, misapplied and less significant than the woman’s.

        Take care, lest ye be branded gender traitor, stricken from the rolls and denied benefits of membership in the ranks of the oppressed, thus to lose all privileges and benefits derived therefrom.

  16. After blogging for many years, I began to think that I might be getting pretty good. I kinda toyed with getting a regular column in a magazine or something, but nothing turned up. Then I noticed that I was putting out over two thousand words a week almost effortlessly… and I had a modest audience that kept coming back. So… *in my copious spare time*, I started putting out a weekly news-magazine of my own. (I effectively promoted myself to editor!) And I thought about it: if I can write 2000 words a week “in my spare time”, then surely I could double that… or even triple it. But what would I direct it towards…?

    Join me on my blog to see where it all leads. I keep experimenting with new things to see what the possibilities are….

  17. Dorothy Grant

    We will understand perfectly if you don’t respond to comments!

    I myself and commenting because I am currently in a doctors office, freezing and waiting. Once I get out of here, it’s back to busy.

    When make a list, I break it out in four sections, from critical and urgent to noncritical and nonurgent. It helps me realize what is urgent but unimportant, and can actually be ignored. (Something I have a hard time recognizing in the heat of the moment)

    • Again to quote Heinlein:
      Avoid making irrevocable decisions while tired or hungry. N.B.: Circumstances can force your hand. So think ahead!
      Having a prioritized schedule, if only in your head is what I think of as thinking ahead.

  18. Robin Munn

    And on an off-topic note, I want to say this while I’m still thinking about it.

    I just watched Iron Man 3. Very fun overall, but one thing bugged me. (No spoilers here, don’t worry). There was a line one character said about a fictional oil spill: “Remember a couple years back, the (name of ship I don’t remember)? Ten million gallons spilled off the coast of Louisiana. But not a single fat cat went before the courts over it.” It was almost a throwaway line in that particular conversation, but it bugged me the instant I heard it, and after a few seconds I figured out why. It’s the “things should be perfect” idea again, which Sarah blogged about a little while ago. (The “The Perfect Is the Enemy” post, I think it was.) The assumption behind that line is that all accidents must be somebody’s fault — that if only everyone had done their job right, things could have been perfect. Which leads to scapegoating and all kinds of subsequent problems. But it’s 11:30 PM here and I can’t think straight enough to type out the rest of the implications (I’ve already deleted a couple of attempts that were turning incoherent), so I’ll just hand over the job of following that logic chain to its natural conclusion to the rest of Hoyt’s Huns.

    • It is worse than the “things should be perfect” myth, it compounds that stupidity by adding in “The Rich must pay.”

      Forget that the problem may have been due to some flunky doing his job half-assed because he was hung-over or perhaps cutting corners because he thought he knew better how to do the task than the desk-jockey who wrote the procedure manual.

      No, if something went wrong we must punish The Rich for the crime of having more than the rest. Because that will ease our resentment of those who upon whom our economy depends for investment capital (see: “Various Degrees Of Resentment” at the blog of S. Hoyt.)

      • And the thing is, Iron Man is a “fat cat.” In real life, people would be suing Stark’s butt every day for wrongfully saving their lives, or scratching their paintjobs. So movies about him ought to be a bit sympathetic to the difficulties of businessmen and venture capitalists.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          Thinking of Tony Stark as being anything “fat” reminds me of an older SF series (IIRC Phoenix Legacy) where a Noble is attacked by a commoner who is claiming to be “fighting against the fat cat Nobility”. Since the Noble (who is one of the better ones) has easily fought off his attacker, the Noble points out to his attacker that a “fat cat” has just “wiped the floor” with him. Oh, after giving his attacker a truthful lecture on his own actions on behalf of the lower classes, the Noble has his attacker released.

        • Actually, the opening scene at the Congressional hearing for Iron Man 2 was one of the better defenses of property rights I’ve heard in any form of mass entertainment.

  19. When the urgent and the important conflict, Steven Pressfield (author of The Legend of Bagger Vance, etc) says to do the important thing first.

    When I read that, my first thought was that I already knew it. My second thought was that I constantly needed to be reminded.

  20. “To stop is to die.”

    I like W.H. Auden’s comment:

    “As poets have mournfully sung,
    Death takes the innocent young,
    The rolling-in-money,
    The screamingly funny,
    And those who are very well hung.”

    Going by those criteria, I may well live forever.

    As for lists/prioritizing/planning, learning the habit of using planning tools has been difficult for me. I’ve long charted out complex task flows in my head and even spent a year jotting brief notes in my daytimer every 30 minutes to aid in making sense of my use of time (THAT was a difficult habit to learn, but not all that difficult to unlearn *heh*), but when my mental task lists become truly overwhelming I have had to view my life as one big project and apply a PERT analysis to get a handle on things. Yeh, when things become that complex, I have to take a day (or two) and really put EVERYTHING down on paper and find my critical path through the jungle of tasks. It helps to like math, but a PERT-like approach can benefit almost anyone. Surveying one’s path ahead out of a thicket of tasks and laying down waypoints and ancillary tasks, necessary resources and personnel requirements (“Honey, I need help getting such and so done by X date. Will you be able to do X-subtask by Y date to help me get it done?” 🙂 By the same token, I serve as my Wonder Woman’s go-to when she’s overwhelmed as well. Sometimes neither of us can spare time/energy to help the other machete a path through a thicket of tasks, so we do anyway, and it seems to work. ;-)): all Very Helpful when I’m being overwhelmed.

    Different strokes.

    • I have a nasty habit or prioritizing and planning _instead_ of working. This tendency was at its worse when my boss and I disagreed on the priorities. But it did make quitting really easy.

    • snelson134

      Scene from Babylon 5: Preacher talking to Sheridan in Shadow Dancing(?) Season 3: “My girlfriend whose now my wife asked me ‘Why are you here helping me; your floor’s as messy as mine?’ ‘Because when I sweep my floor, all I’ve done is… sweep my floor.’ Didn’t get my floor clean, but the company was nice.”

  21. Pingback: In My Copious Spare Time | Head Noises

  22. What do our congresscritters do in their spare time?
    Come up with inventive new effects from Global Warming…. Like increasing female prostitution.

  23. I too am a member of the overwhemled club.

  24. Why not just do as most people in America do: switch to sweatpants or give-up belts for braces. That normally accommodates a copious spare tire very comfortably.

  25. Having suffered my share of sinus infections: Yes, a sinus infection will wipe your ass *out*. Being unable to breathe effectively; constantly coughing up small furry animals (or, as during the most-recent one, thinking “How the fuck did Sergeant Schlock get into my lungs?”), plus the occasional bit of blood (ruptured blood vessel in sinuses); various pulled muscles from said coughing….

  26. Well, I don’t feel half so bad that I am working slowly on that story I mentioned to you. Not that I really enjoy being behind the schedule I set for myself and I certainly wouldn’t use you as an excuse not to work on it, but I’d feel guilty adding to the reasons you don’t get important things done. D:

  27. Might I note that nowhere in my copious spare time did I find any to celebrate May Day, discarded because it has been coopted by a political philosophy which I will only cheer the rejection thereof.

    • I feel asleep at ten p.m. the night before so no Mayday celebrations 😉 and no ghosts.

    • If any of our local neo-pagans tried to jump over or around bonfires yesterday or last night, the wildfire risk is so high that the entire tri-county area would have beaten every thought of fertility out of their heads. It would be a most ecumenical gathering, I assure you! And the WX was too bad for the “anarchists”/anti-capitalists to get outside and protest. They prefer temps in the low 70s and light wind.

  28. Also, surprisingly few people are interested in the life of St. Walpurgis. In case you were wondering.

  29. Speaking of copious spare time:

    The Freeman website, from the Foundation of Economic Education is having a monthly thing called the Thorpe-Freeman Blog Contest. Basically they are asking bloggers to write a blog touching on one of the items their monthly magazine touches on. The award is $250, and they generally talk about the things you already write about….so there.

    Actually it sounds like they are doing an “idea bomb” like Larry Correia’s book bombs.
    The information on it is at the website for FEE.

    I like the site, it is a nice place to read when even PJ Media makes me depressed.


  30. Pingback: And in my copious spare time I….wait what?! | Scratches on a Page