No excuses for slackers

Last week sucked.

I got this new super-high-priority project at work, and it’s got us running around like mad trying to get things done in a compressed timeframe. Now I don’t mind challenging work, but it’s draining; by the time I’m on the road home every day I’ve developed a massive headache, and writing – spending MORE time in front of a computer having to think – when I get home has just seemed insurmountable for the last week or so.

And to add insult to injury, beating myself up over being a slacker is making me feel even worse about it. And I know, I know; there’s no sense beating yourself up about it. But as Eminem says, “I bully myself ’cause I make me do what I put my mind to.” With you there, dude.

This week is better, sort of, although today was a whopper of suckage. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a Scorpio, but I’ve always done some of my best work under a tight schedule, when it’s down-to-the-line, all-or-nothing and high stakes. But not everyone is like that – and when other people panic, it makes me very edgy, because people in a panic are people who by and large are not taking the time to consider, to process, to formulate a response. They’re dashing off emails left and right as if volume is a good substitute when there is a lack of control. (This is true of people in all kinds of situations, not just in a workplace environment.) And I’ve been guilty of panic in my time, too, make no mistake. But I feel like I’ve kept myself in control and done good work – it just costs a lot of energy to do it in a nervous environment.

Another part of my frustration last week was with my computer. I have an 11.6 inch Acer laptop, cheapy but serviceable, that I use as a travel, on-the-go machine so I can work wherever without (a) having to lug my expensive laptop around, or (b) having to worry that said expensive laptop will get stolen. But that poor computer…out of the box it had an OK processor (Pentium, could be better, but it does the job) and adequate RAM, but OH MY GOD you guys, the hard drive. I kid you not, that thing was maybe a half step above an ATA/IDE (for the non-geeks, SUPER PAINFULLY SLOW) hard drive. It took the computer 6-8 minutes to start up and let me do anything because it took 100% of the computer’s processing power JUST TO RUN THE HARD DRIVE. Even once the screen was on, opening a program, even an internet browser window? Hope you want to wait another 15 minutes.

Not. Even. Kidding.

So as my last purchase before no-spend August, I bought a Samsung solid state hard drive. Matthew swapped them this past weekend, and oh my lordy. The thing starts up in 4 seconds, and it’s READY TO GO. Program? ZIP. Internet? BOOM. It’s the most amazing thing; nobody else seems to hear it but I swear to you angels sing every time I start that thing up. So the lightning-speed of my writing computer is definitely helping me get back in the groove, because the only thing worse than coming home exhausted and forcing yourself to write is to have 10 solid minutes of startup nonsense happen between the two.

As far as the current WIP itself goes, it’s coming along. I did have a breakthrough this week with regard to someone who has to die – I know death always sounds awful, but I promise in context it makes sense. And death actually features very heavily in this story, but it’s not a depresso-fest. It’s more about doing the job that’s in front of you, while also finding ways to grow, break the cycle, question the job, and fight for freedom from what’s pinning you down.

Kind of like life, really.

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