To-Done Lists

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I still believe in to-do lists – they’re very helpful in organizing and not forgetting things you really ought to do – but during the last few months I’ve discovered and embraced to-done lists. Since embarking on (f)unemployment, they’ve been a sanity-saver.

Side-note: I’m a little addicted to productivity. If I write a to-do list and only do half of it – or worse – instead of realizing that perhaps I had way underestimated the time commitment, I beat myself up. Productivity and my perception of whether or not I’ve achieved it factors in greatly with my anxiety.

Knowing this about myself, I recognized that I would have a really hard time with my days if I couldn’t look back and point at all the things I’d done, but using to-do lists could (would) only make that worse. Enter the to-done list, where I write down everything I did, instead.

So far, I’ve had several days where I felt bad about my productivity, only to sit down and write out my to-done list and realize – oh wait! – I’d actually done a lot! I hit my personal goals and even did a little errands and life stuff on the side. It really helps me view my days as successes instead of failures and likewise keeps my anxiety at bay.

Do any of you use a similar system?

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Filed under happy things, helpful tips, simply informative

TTC Cycle (Not?) A, DPO 5

It looks like we really did end up missing out on this cycle by only a day or two. Mostly, I’m just glad I ovulated within a relatively normal time frame. It means that my worst fear* – that the metformin wasn’t working any longer and my cycles were about to shift into crazy mode again – was unfounded. Considering the stress I was under the week before – even if it was happy stress! – I’m actually a little surprised it wasn’t further off.

Maybe I shouldn’t have upped my met dose, then? Oh well, too late. Like I said before, the RE wanted me to get to 2000mg/day anyway, I just stopped at 1500mg because it seemed fine there.

I’m already through the worst of the initial increase symptoms. I’d forgotten how bad it could be. I lost most of Friday and Saturday to a complete lack of energy. I don’t mean the lethargy that comes with depression; I mean outright blacking out when I stand up and then being too dizzy to move for several minutes. Then, when I finally can move, I only have a limited number of minutes I can be active before I have to sit back down again. Scary, but this has happened with every met increase.

But hey – 29/28/31 day cycles? Worth it.

Edited to add: Oh man, I probably shouldn’t have googled anything about our potential chances if we did get within 4-5 days. 8-15%, says Dr Google. Well, there goes any chance of getting through the next ten days without wondering.
* Go me – I developed some more fears after all the others were realized!

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Filed under gaybies, TTC, two week wait

Release

A year ago was when everything really went tits up with our TTC and my depression started in earnest. I still believe that the TTC process wasn’t the sole cause of that episode, but it certainly didn’t help. The eleven months that followed were some of the darkest of my life.

A recent blog post reminded me just how dark it had gotten. That I let myself get to a very, very dangerous point before I sought help. And I just want to say to my future self and anyone else reading: don’t. Don’t let it get that bad.

The very first time you have to go home early and/or call out of work because you can’t stop crying, that should have been when you got help. When you feel like the world is choking you, that’s when you should get help. When you’ve apologized to your partner for the umpteenth time about not being able to do basic things because you just don’t have the energy anymore (and that’s not at all normal for you), that’s when you should get help. When you’ve written how many? posts about how awful everything is and how awful you feel, that’s when you should get help.

I made that first appointment for my wife when I should have made it for myself months before. I’m still too afraid to talk about the thoughts I was having during the worst of it, but I want to learn and never, ever let it get that bad again. It doesn’t need to be the end of the world before you ask for help, or as my therapist phrased it – you don’t have to shatter your leg before you see a doctor.

Life is so much better now, in part because I sought help, and in part because I started changing things and kept changing things. Now I need to let go of those months that still feel like a chain around my neck. Breathe deep and be free.

I don’t quite know how to do that, but I have help now. I know it might take a while yet – I spent many months there, it’s not going to disappear overnight. But here’s to never having to live the past year again.

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Filed under depression, helpful tips

TTC Cycle Not A, CD18

There’s been such good news in my life lately that I’ve almost forgotten about TTC, which has turned out to be for the better. I’ve been so distracted and happy that I haven’t had a chance to be frustrated and bitter that another TTC cycle has passed us by.

It seems petty to whine amongst all the excitement, and to be honest, I’m really quite fine – it feels like a trade-off. I can have the one thing, I can’t have the other. And that’s okay. I got the better option. Writing is my life, my passion, and when I play that game that all couples invariably do, the what-would-I-give-up-for-you game, the I-love-you-more-than-game, I’ve told my wife I’d give up anything and everything in the world for her – except writing.

So yeah. If the universe is only going to dole out a few good things and I’m not allowed to be greedy (so greedy), then I will take the agent any day.

But I can’t help but feel a little bit frustrated and a little bit “well of course.” The last two cycles were perfect 28/29 days. I made the assumption that this one would be too. Our donor wasn’t going to leave until the end of the month.

But then I didn’t ovulate and I didn’t ovulate and our donor bumped up his leave date and we missed the window again – like last time – by only a few days. Well – of course that would happen. Of course.

Anyway, I’m not going to dwell. Thank the gods I quit my job, so I no longer have endless hours to sit at my desk and do nothing but dwell. And I’m going to be less stressed now and maybe all that sugar at work the last two weeks didn’t help and I’m also going to up my metformin to the full, doctor-recommended, 2000mg dose and we’ll just see how August goes, hmm?

We have two more cycles to try, at least.

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Filed under gaybies, TTC

More About the Offer

Now that I can actually write (and think) coherently, I’m gonna answer some of the questions I’ve been getting (mostly elsewhere) all in one place:

What does this mean??
It means I have someone who will champion my novel to editors and publishers and who is personally invested in me succeeding with as much of an advance as possible, because she’ll get a cut – then and only then. It means much, much higher chances of getting published, but no absolute guarantee – even the best agents are unable to sell all of their projects.

Wait, you’re not getting published yet?
No – getting an agent is an important, but not absolutely necessary, step though. You can get published without an agent, but most of the big publishers don’t accept un-agented work and an agent would know to whom to submit and how to negotiate the best advance/contract. They’re also, ideally, where the editors are – in NY – so they can meet with them face to face.

How long until you’re published???
I don’t know! It can easily take up to a year to sell a novel to a publisher, or even longer, and then another year until an actual publication (pub) date. And this novel may never see the light of day. But now that I have an agent who specifically likes the way that I write, she will be my agent for future novels, too, and one of them will likely sell. Unless we part amicably at some point, which can happen for various reasons.

Wait, what about the other agents who are still reading your manuscript??
I’ve reached out to them, giving some a week to get back, and withdrawing from others. I have a really good feeling about this one, though, but we’ll see. This is a business relationship and it’s best to give others a chance to find the best fit for you.

Which book is this again?
The Impossible Contract, which I started in June 2014 and began querying last April. I’ve talked about it before, but to refresh: it’s an adventure fantasy about an assassin who must work with the necromancer she’s supposed to kill to stop a greater evil from returning. It features undead camels!, queer ladies!, and sandstorms!

Just how excited are you????
Honestly? Right now I’m still pretty numb. I don’t think I really feel this until I sign the contract, which will be next week at the latest. Waiting on those other agents, remember?

What now??
I need to keep writing! If this novel doesn’t sell, then I’d better have another one ready to go. I’m working on that one right now.

I have other questions???!
That’s awesome! I’ll answer anything I can.

Thank you for all your congrats and support!! <3

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Filed under ardent wishes, goals, happy things, simply informative

Best News of My Adult Life (So Far)

What elder god have I so thoroughly pleased? Apparently the kind one, because all I’ve had to pay for it so far is this really awful hangover this morning from one (!) glass of celebratory wine last night.

Protip for anyone taking metformin: don’t drink. Just don’t.

Also no, I’m not pregnant. Honestly, it looks like this cycle is bust (ov is late and donor is out of town). But right now, that’s okay because:

I got an offer of representation!!

Ya’ll know I’m a writer, an aspiring author. It’s been my dream career since I realized it could be a legit career, and although I’ve written my entire life, I really buckled down four years ago and decided I was going to Make This Happen. I started treating it seriously and since then I have written and queried three books. The first two had major flaws. But the latest one I was super stoked about.

My queries started getting answers from agents, not just form rejections. Then partial requests. Then full manuscript requests. And now, just this weekend, an email from an agent asking if she can give me a call. To say I didn’t sleep at all after that is a bit of an understatement.

I tried not to get my hopes up because I’d read horror stories about agents who called just to tell a writer to revise and resubmit or what all exactly was wrong with their book. But I shouldn’t have worried. She was sweet and excited and we talked for a bit about my current and future projects and then she said the sweet words and I think I’m still in shock?

I asked for some time to consider and contact the other agents who had partials/manuscripts, because that’s what you’re supposed to do, so it won’t be official for a week at least, but guys, I really like her and and and

I just seriously leveled up as a writer. ;.;

Anyway – what’s next? I’ll sign a contract with her (or, less likely, one of the others) and then she will wine and dine editors and publishers until someone is as excited as she is to publish it, a process which can take a year or longer.

In the meantime, I keep writing something new, in case no one picks up that novel – which is still a very real possibility, no matter how talented she is.

Omg you guys though – this is such a big step. I still can’t wrap my mind around it. So I’m just going to go drink some coffee and write.

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Filed under goals, happy things

First Day of (F)Unemployment

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No more cube farms for me. At least, for now. If all goes right, hopefully forever.

I’ve been so, so much happier these past two weeks than I have been at work in over a year. It was to the point that not only did my coworkers notice, but I wondered whether leaving was such a good idea. Everything was finally okay! I wasn’t crying at work or lugging around such a heavy feeling in my chest, feeling like I was wasting every precious moment of my life.

Thankfully, no matter what HR says, there are no take-backs regarding a two week notice, so I wasn’t sorely tempted to stay. But I mentioned this feeling to my wife on the way home after my last day and my thoughts about staying and she said, No way are you going back, I haven’t seen you this happy in a long time, and it’s because you’re quitting, remember that.

Then at writing night, I mentioned the feeling to another friend who happened to have worked in HR once and she said, yeah – that happened all the time. People would put in their two weeks and then start waffling on the last day. At first, I wondered whether I would even tell my coworkers until the last day, but now I’m really glad I didn’t wait – they knew I was leaving and they prepared for it, making it absolutely impossible for me to back out.

Not that I would have. But it was helpful.

So, here I am. In many ways, I feel like we both just threw a deck of cards into the air and we’re waiting – impatiently – for it to land. France, employment, TTC, agents – what’s going to happen? Our lives are in a massive state of flux and I’m too weary to plan for a week from now, let alone a month or six.

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Filed under depression, goals, happy things