State of Things: June 2017 in Review

How is it July already? That just went by too quickly! After tweaking the format for the State of Things last month, we now return to something akin to the format I used for the first part of the year. This monthly address, or report, or whatever you want to call it, will always be evolving to reflect what’s going on in my life at the moment. I’m trying to hit the same points, but broaden the topics to be more inclusive of varied tasks and events.

Manifesto of the Moment

I’m opening the comments back up. This is not a permanent thing. My new policy is that while I do want to be more open and connect with people, I also need to protect myself against the effect rude, cruel, and willfully ignorant people have on my mental health. Which means that I will open up comments when I feel that I am able to deal with knuckleheads, and close them when my anxiety, depression, and general patience can’t deal with people who want to be mean and stupid. It’s not a consistent policy, but it’s an honest one, and it means I will be less closed off than I have been. We’ll just have to take things one day at a time.

Risks

We’re still waiting on our residence permits. Migri (the Finnish immigration service) is still backed up. Which means our status is up in the air. It’s hard to make plans when you don’t know if you’re going to be allowed to stay where you are, or have to look for something in another country, or go back to where you came from. I’ll hit some of the fallout from that further down, but it remains the source of most of the risks in my personal and professional lives right now.

Productivity

SpoIler for the “Health and Self-Care” section below: I have an ulcer. This has had a negative impact on my productivity and thrown my entire production schedule into a cocked hat. I haven’t been able to compile the 7 Day Setting Design ebook, nor have I been able to implement the A/B week writing schedule experiment. I’m about a week behind on the important deadlines. I’m doing as much as I can, as I am able, but my days of being hyperproductive are behind me, at least for a while.

I did not hit my unofficial goal of a “double NaNoWriMo” (100,000 words) per month. The only reason I still have an average daily word count above my goal of 3,500 words per day is because of the egregious amount of word count I turned out in May. And yes, the final count was the month was 77,777 words. I am not superstitious, but I will take that as a positive omen with all good humor.

Dancing Lights Press

Everything in development is still in development, but very little new has been released. My physical and mental health has always been my stated reasons for not announcing firm released dates — if I fall down, I don’t have a staff to pick up the slack.

I can’t do anything with print-on-demand products at the moment because I need to order proofs for review. If I order them today and Migri tomorrow that they’re not going to renew our residence and we have to more, I might not be here when the proofs are delivered. It’s an annoying holding pattern. I will keep plugging away at the PDF and ebook versions of new releases, and keep queueing up the print-formatted files so the print products can start flowing fairly quickly after residence is resolved.

Podcasting

I have come to the conclusion that the only reason I’m still doing the podcast is that Katie and I sit down for coffee on Sunday morning anyway, and it takes very little effort to record it and throw it on YouTube. Other than that, I really have no idea what purpose it serves to me. It’s not a revenue stream, it doesn’t promote a specific product or the brand in general.

The single episode I’ve done of the Dancing Lights Press podcast got murdered in the feedback, because people care more about production value than content. Some people would rather listen to an NPR-quality recording of a professional announcer reading a phonebook than a low-res recording of someone providing useful information. Or I could just be cynical and burned out. Or both.

Health and Self-Care

This is the biggest impact for the month. The ulcer. Caused in large part by the uncertain immigration status, and trying to plan for every possible contingency should they say no and we have to leave. Trying to emotionally gird myself for dealing with the political situation in the United States right now, not to mention the joy of airport screeners and airline policies and an international relocation on short notice.

Again, if I have to travel into that darkest timeline. Too much uncertainty. I have not been sleeping well, which is as much the ulcer as the anxiety and stress at the root of the ulcer. I cannot drink coffee to excess or take my pain medication, so I’m tired, in pain, and generally cranky. I haven’t been getting things done to my satisfaction, either in terms of quality or quantity, which makes me even more cranky and eventually just makes me depressed.

The good news is that I am on medication for the ulcer, and it is getting better. I can have some small amount of coffee, and some painkillers, which takes off some of the edge. It will take 4 to 8 weeks to heal, but I will still need to manage my stress level and what I ingest better than I have been of late.

Looking Forward: July 2017 and Beyond

If Migri says no, then every plan I currently have gets thrown out the window and I’ll be flying by the seat of my pants and making things up as I go along for a while. If you know me, then you know how much I hate that. I need to have a plan, and structure, and consistency. If they say yes, it takes a lot of pressure off, and I can deal with things that have been put on hold pending a decision.

For now, all I can do is proceed as if Plan A will be in effect. There are obviously things that I can’t do, plans that I can’t make. I can hedge my bets in the event we have to resort to Plan B, but I don’t even know what that looks like and the timing and process are entirely beyond my control.

All I can do at this point is nurse my ulcer, make my word count, pay my bills, and continue trying to be a good person.