Countdown

Writing is a discipline.

It’s true. The simplest distractions or interruptions can all too quickly rip you out of the moment. I was having another one of those days. I slept through my alarm, my back was killing me from a bad gym tweak and a morning spent helping my wife move out of her classroom, and on top of everything it was storming like a biblical apocalypse movie outside so it was pretty easy to decide that today would not be a running day. It was time to listen to my body.

Fine, well then I was going to get to work and write extra hard. I want to get this novel finished next month and this was a golden opportunity. That was until I had a fight with my wife about something stupid. Point is, the shouting scared my little creativity critters back into their trees. It took a while to coax them back down and I was finally chugging away but then my phone would ring or somebody would come in my office or they’d need me to catch a pokemon or … OK well that last one might not have been true, but it was pretty close.

Anyway, it just reinforced the whole concept of you can’t always choose when you write. Something will always come up that either sounds more appealing or is actively trying to stop you. Unless you make a living by writing and your personal time is also your work time, time management is pretty freaking huge. This goes beyond turning off your WiFi or whatever so you don’t get sucked down the internet rabbit hole. This is sentences flowing freely and then – oh something shiny! – the well literally drying up a moment later. This is where the discipline part comes in.

Yes you can’t always choose when you write, but its hard to go in cold too. Prewriting, brainstorming, anything that’ll keep me thinking about the plot in between writing sessions is huge. As I type this post, my phone is buzzing out of control as my wife keeps texting me. See? Distractions can come from anywhere.

I got my words in today and at the end of the day, that’s all that matters. Kind of like the first goal of the last Women’s World Cup game. It wasn’t pretty, but I’ll take it. The longer these distractions go on, the less I write. The less I write, the less I like the book, the less I like the book, the harder it is to finish. You get the picture.

My life has become a ticking clock and in a month and a half – maybe only a month?! – it’s going to explode and reveal two baby dragons. That’s a good thing. An amazing thing. A thing I’ve been looking forward to for almost 3 years. But if I already have all of these distractions vying for attention, I imagine that shit’ll increase exponentially with the onset of babies.

Everything’s Amazing and Nobody’s Happy

This morning has just been one big comedy of errors.

I was going to go for a run. I love running. I need to run. It burns off all the excess stress and worry and even pent up excitement. I feel so much better throughout the day if I ran that morning.

So I woke up ready to go at 6:30. Then I heard it was raining. OK, not running anymore. I take the dog out. Rain dies down. OK, running is back on. I figure what the hell. I’ll wear a hat and a poncho and feel like a superhero. I finish eating and get ready. It’s 7 am. I spend the next 15 minutes stretching. Then I can’t find the poncho. That takes another 10 minutes. I could run without it, but I’d get soaking wet, probably ruin my phone and with my luck, catch a cold. And seeing as how I’m the only able-bodied person in my household right now, I kind of need to stay healthy.

Grumbling, I give up on running. It’s now 7:25. I can still make the gym if I hurry. I throw work clothes in a bag, tramping through the house for the umpteenth time and figure my wife probably hates me at this point as she tries to sleep. I take out the trash and head off to the gym.

It’s still raining, but a light rain. The kind of rain you don’t mind running in. So naturally everyone around me is driving 10 miles an hour under the speed limit. This isn’t snow people. It’d been raining for hours. Going 35 isn’t going to cause your car to hydroplane …

I finally get to the gym. It’s 7:42. What should have been a 12 minute drive took like 20. My membership expired. Well, turns out it expired at the end of April but the machine was down and nobody caught it. Until today that is. So that took a minute to renew. I go to the locker room and somebody’s claimed my locker. It’s a small room but there’s a core group of regulars. We use the same lockers every day. This is inexcusable.

I race through a 45 minute workout in under 30, rush off to shower and change and discover the jerk who took my locker. It’s an elderly gentleman who’s always there. I talk to him all the time. He should know better. Meanwhile, I get a frantic call from my wife who thinks I’m out running and never came home. I explain my misery.

I get to work on time, but today I got roped into conducting an interview for our open GA position. Thing is, that’s not my job. I have nothing to do with this. Someone else in the office is supposed to handle all of this, but somehow it ended up on my shoulders …

It’s just one of those mornings.

So I know what you’re thinking and believe me, I’m thinking it too. These are totally first world problems. Oh boo hoo I was late to the gym. Oh my god I had to renew my membership when I got a month and a half for free! And how inconvenient to interview somebody when it could land them a job and literally better their future. Yeah, I get it. These aren’t real problems. I’m kind of mad at myself for being such a whiny baby about them.

Thing is, it’s good to vent. With my wife super pregnant, most everything falls on me. I’m starting to crack a little. Don’t get me wrong, what she’s going through is so much more important and I’m not mad at anybody in the situation, it’s just some added pressures in life. Normally, I’m fine dealing with everything. Hell, I welcome it. But that’s because I run. I can run out those stresses and I feel better about life. Puts things in perspective.

Everything that happened this morning could have been totally manageable, I probably wouldn’t have given it a second thought if I’d just gone running …

EDIT: I’ve been dicking around for 45 minutes so I wouldn’t get caught up in something before the interview. Just rediscovered(?) the interview is Monday at 10, not today. It continues!

Assemble

It’s been a rather momentous couple of days …

First and foremost, this morning, my wife and I went to the doctor’s for the monthly ultrasound. Although, this is the last monthly as we’re heading into biweekly territory from now on. Everything is great. Both of the little dragons are coming along nicely. Adequate limbs and digits. Hearts and spines. It was funny. I was watching the flickering images of the ultrasound, looking for the ghostly visages of my future children’s faces and it occurred to me that if I spotted something else: wings, horns, a tail … I don’t even think I would have blinked. That’s the kind of head space I operate in. Bat wings on my kids? Sure. That makes sense.

I’ve made a couple of deadlines for myself … things to accomplish before the babies are born in August. These are in addition to the usual house stuff: Fix the nursery, retile the kitchen floor, clean up the mess so we don’t look like hoarders anymore … you know. I’ve decided that I’m going to finish my current novel and run a half marathon before the babies arrive. I’ve worked it out with myself. I don’t necessarily need a sponsored event. I just need a day where I go for a run and end up hitting 13.1 miles.

I’m an avid runner and I’ve done it before, but I’m not really in half marathon shape anymore. So with the weather finally nice again, I’ll be out there more often than not. Actually, on Saturday, I hit a milestone. Since I’ve been keeping tracking of my running miles over the last couple of years, I hit my 1,000th mile on Saturday! That’s like running from New York City to Daytona Beach, Florida! (Yes, I Googled that distance. I tried for Orlando because I thought it sounded more impressive, but that was like 1077 miles instead … soon.) It’s only taken a few years and I know I’ve missed some runs in there, but seeing the number laid out like that makes me feel pretty damn good about myself.

Lastly, I saw the Avengers: Age of Ultron over the weekend like the rest of the world. I don’t need to post a review here because, hey, who didn’t see it, right? But I wanted to say that I liked it. I liked it a lot. And I’m glad I did.

A few months ago, a good friend of mine, David, had a heart attack while running. He was 51 and as far as I knew, in pretty solid shape. He was actually actively reforging that shape into something better. He loved running and he loved Marvel. My god, did he love Marvel. I’ve been reading Spider-man and his buddies for almost 20 years now, but David rekindled my inner fanboy like noone else. He was just a passionate guy. Every little snippet, tease, image or rumor just made his day and he loved to talk about it. There were other things going on in his life and Marvel was exactly the wish fulfillment and escape he needed. He’d been counting down the days for the Age of Ultron release.

It may sound silly now, but after his accident, my first thought was that he’d never get to see how this grand experiment ended. He had so much emotionally invested in this franchise that this revelation actually hurt. Time has passed and the blow has softened, but watching the newest Avengers movie in the same weekend I hit my 1,000th mile got me thinking. If he’d been around, we probably would have grabbed a beer and engaged in a discussion along the lines of:

David: Dude … Awesome!

Me: And when he-

David: So awesome! God and when-

Me: Loved it!

Rinse and repeat.

I miss ya, buddy, but I’ve read comics long enough to know that no hero is every truly gone. Even though I couldn’t share the events of the weekend with him directly, I know he would have been both proud and excited. It really has been a great couple of days.

Until next time. Excelsior!