Stamina–CoronaLife Day 607

Every day at bedtime, my daughter complains that her legs ache. This is not a surprise. After 18 months of mostly being home, combined with being on crutches all of August and in an ankle brace all of September, she is tremendously out of shape. That 40 minutes of exercise in gym every day has her muscles balking.

I sit here watching her swim laps, working on her endurance with the rest of her class…and I realize she is not the only one in need of more stamina.

My daily fatigue has been with me since the pandemic started, and I attributed a lot of it to my anxiety levels being through the roof. My anxiety often manifests as deep fatigue. Add to that the fact that I often only get about 6 hours of sleep a night, and it made sense.

But now I think there is another factor. As we move back to a more normal-ish existence, I am going out more. Socializing more. Interacting more.

And my mental and social muscles are flabby. I have no stamina.

The 45 minute drive to my folks’ house, which used to be nothing, is a grueling trek.

Going to a meeting in person makes me want to hibernate.

Focusing for 4 hours at an online conference drains me.

I need to build my stamina again.

I find myself working in bursts, trading spurts of productivity with times of scrolling mindlessly online or napping.

Concentration and socializing skills need exercise to stay in shape. This is the “learning loss” I have experienced during this upheaval.

While my daughter works on her swimming endurance, I will continue to work on getting myself back in mental shape.

I hope I can, because I am tired of not feeling like myself. It will take work, time, and patience–which is just another way of saying stamina.

Polish Editing and Potty Training

This month I’ve been neck-deep in revisions, trying to get my manuscript ready for the editor by August 1st. I added about 20,000 words to my middle grade WIP during “big picture” edits, and now am in the process of trying to pull out 12,000 to get my word count back to where it should be. (For the record, I’ve cut a little over 7,500 words so far.)

Some of those cuts have come in large swaths, where I deleted large amounts of words by restructuring a chapter or two. For example, it occurred to me suddenly that my entire first chapter was window-dressing. Aside from about 200 words, I didn’t need any of it. So I cut the entire chapter and moved the 200 words to other places in the book.

Unfortunately, most of my word-pulling has not been so effortless. And since I am a mom as well as a not-yet-published writer, this intense editing is not the only thing on my plate. My two-year-old announced this past weekend that she wanted to wear big girl panties. Great for her! Bad for me.

My productivity drops like a stone when escorting a toddler to the bathroom every 20-30 minutes.

But I found that potty training and this level of intense editing have a lot in common:

1. Both are painstaking processes. Often success seems almost impossible, but each small victory moves us one step closer. Toddler has a Potty Chart. I have an Editing Progress Chart. Hers has flower stickers. Mine has color-coded squares. It’s all good.

2. Both require constant concentration. Toddler has to pay attention to her body. I have to pay attention to every single word and see if it deserves to live.

3. Both are best accomplished by taking them in small increments. We set a timer for 30 minutes for Toddler. For 20 if she’s been drinking a lot. I focus on one chapter at a time. One paragraph if I’ve been drinking a lot. (For the record, I don’t drink.)

4. Both have their share of accidents. Toddler—well, you can guess. As for me—Did I really just delete half a chapter?!? UNDO! UNDO!

5. Both will be successfully accomplished. Toddler will eventually stay dry all day. I will get this manuscript polished and ready for the editor. I will likely reach my goal first, but I will not complain if Toddler beats me to it. 🙂

Working on two very intense yet completely different projects saps my energy, but I am managing to muddle through.

As long as I do not become potty-mouthed in my writing or try to delete my daughter, things will work out fine.

Oops, there’s the timer! (I feel positively Pavlovian.)

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