Triage My Life


David wrote on Monday that he had nothin’. Then Misty came up with wonderful fanggirl squeee stuff, all full of excitement about the con. I seem to be following in David’s footsteps, as I got nothin’ today either, maybe because today I overslept and woke up with a sleep-hangover. It *is* 09-09-09, which seems important from a numerical standpoint, but it isn’t, unless some terrorist somewhere thinks it is important and uses the date as an excuse to kill people. (Knocks wood and squeezes farting dog on monitor. [A stuffed dog. Would never keep a live one there.] )

Okay, I have to admit that my mind isn’t empty. It is too full of deadlines, things I haven’t done that I needed to do. Things I needed to do and, rather than work, I spent time on rivers. *Trying* to relax.

AH! Now I know to blog about. Usually I’d edit out the first couple of paras and just start here, but I’m not today. I have been a total workaholic for nearly 20 years, working upwards of 90 hours a week, which resulted in a digestive system torn to shreds and other adrenaline-based health problems. To take my life back from the adrenaline addiction of an A-type personality, I am learning to relax. I am learning to stop and, well, just stop. And sleep. And be calm. Which means I have to allow myself to spend time on rivers, letting nature heal me. I have been working at this for about three years now, and my body is still confused. Wait. Yes, I heard that I am *working* at it. Dang. Mental hangup. (This blog is going somewhere, now. Really. It’s about how to triage a life. See? It’s even in the title.)

Anyway, today I wake up, late, very late, and I have a panic attack going because I have page proofs coming today for Blood Cross. I have the Rogue Mage Role Playing Game with unanswered editorial questions. I have 20 pages to rewrite of the AKA’s new-shiny she is working on with a co-writer. I have the AKA’a old-dully I am rewriting and it *really* needs it. It is taking as long to rewrite as it now takes me to write a book. I have the next Jane Yellowrock novel percolating in the back of my mind and it hasn’t even been started. It is due Feb 1. I have this blog to write. I have the next Rogue Mage novel in the back of my mind and am taking a class on the Minor Prophets for that. And I still have a family and life and the demands that issue from it. The hubby wants to go kayak roll practice today *and* spend tomorrow at the whitewater center in Charlotte, NC. Mama needs a lunch date. Dad is facing major surgery next week. I *must* exercise, walk or yoga or both. We are totally out of groceries, and the hubby will want a sandwich for lunch. I have three necklaces and two pairs of earrings for friends on the jewelry table that I am dying to get back to. And all that is banging around in my head, demanding attention. So, today I will triage my life and will share with you how I do that. Most of it comes by being able to say *no* to my family, my work, and myself. It is the way self-motivated people (meaning all writers, and most other self-employed people) cope.

Triage is why you wait for four hours, without pain meds, when you go to the emergency room with broken arm. Why do you wait? Well, a nurse takes you to a little room, checks your vitals (BP, respirations, pulse) and circulation in the arm distal to (farthest from) the injury, to make sure you are not in shock and the circulation in the hand isn’t compromised, and then he sends you back to the waiting room, so he can deal with the bus wreck and the three acute chest pains and the anaphylactic shock that came in after you. In other words, the most life threatening stuff gets done first and the merely painful stuff has to wait. I do this will my life every day, but some days it seems harder, like today.

1. The least life threatening thing today is groceries. Though I hesitate to send the hubby to the store almost as much as I hate to ask him to fix a meal, I will send him to get a loaf of bread when he makes a post office run for his business. (Yes, he’s a workaholic too, but he applies his workaholic tendencies to his play too.)
2. There will be no roll practice today. I will say no.
3. And there will be no jewelry worked on today.
4. and 5. After I get this blog done, I’ll go for a walk and blow off the panic attack. (Very important. Though it doesn’t seem essential, this is my acute chest pain event of the day.)
6. I’ll call mom and then (7.) dad and tell them I love them. No visiting today.
8. Having skipped breakfast, I’ll eat a late lunch and
9. I’ll answer the RPG questions and work on that for 2 hours. (Last month this was my broken arm event; it had to wait, as it wasn’t life threatening. This week, it is my bus wreck problem that I am behind on. Never have enough hands or brains to get it done, and it comes at me from every direction.)
10. The new-shiny with the co-writer will be next, and I’ll devote two hours to that. (This is the thing I’ll get done before I concentrate on the broken arm problem that has been waiting all day and part of last week.)
11. Nearly two hours will go to the to the Jane Yellowrock novel proposal. (This is like a stabbing with an arterial puncture. Impressive and deadly if not treated right away, but not life threatening as long as it gets medical [writer-ly] attention.)
12. Out for the Minor Prophets study, which I would do later in the year if I could, but it is offered now. So now is when I take it.)
13. Back home for a quick supper. (It’s Wednesday so I am going for scrambled eggs and a huge salad, all fast and easy.)
14. Work on the AKA’s old-dully until 11 p.m. when I’ll go to bed.
15. Somewhere in there I’ll get a shower, while beating myself up for sleeping in and wasting three hours in the sack, though I needed it dreadfully.

Every writer has to triage his life. Some days what I *need* is rest, though it’s hardest to actually stop and find quiet and respite from the disasters in my brain. Tomorrow is rest day. I’ll go with the hubby to the whitewater center in Charlotte, putting aside all the work and the triage disasters needing my attention. I’ll go relax. Even if it kills me.


4 comments to Triage My Life

  • I spent the better part of the last two weeks doing nothing at all (and I mean that incredibly literally), in part because what I desperately needed was rest. I could do with a lot more of it, but I’m a little better now. So, yeah. I feel where you’re at. *hugs*

  • Thanks Catie. BTW I am page 377 of The Pretender’s Crown. It is brilliant, dark, and the main character’s journey is painful and engrossing. My fav lines, however, occur early in the book, on page 16, and set the stage for rest of the action. I’m goign to quote it here as it fits perfectly with today’s post.
    “Nothing in the world was fair or unfair; those were expectations born of a belief that things should be easy, and nothing was, not even for a queen.” Beautiful. Now. Back to work. Me, not you.

    Oh – I just finished number 9 on today’s list.

  • Yeah, hugs from me, too. As you say, we all do this. There are the things that simply cannot wait or be skipped. I always put “Picking up the kids from school” under this one, because I don’t want Child Services going all judgmental on me…. There are things I’ve been shunting to the back of the line for far, far too long. But work on the books has to be first professionally because . . . well, just because. We’re writers. It’s what we do. But it sounds as though you have far too much in your professional ER and I hope you get through it all without it taking too great a toll. Thinking of you.

  • Thanks, David. I have to admit that Wednesday was awful because I wanted to play today. I spent all day at the whitewater center today. I had my lunch handed to me on a platter…er…a kayak. It is the first time I’ve had my knees scrapped since I was 12. Now I’ll work till midnight to make up for playday.