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Because I can’t meditate (I am a trauma survivor and get jumpy if I feel myself losing conscious control of my body), I had to find a way to dump stress after the New Year’s heart attack. So I cut back my hours at my day job down to one day a week, and that will stop in May. I will be picking up more editing work, and that will fill the financial gap, but belts will be tightened around here.

I made this decision about a couple of months ago, and have until now been too busy with the editing to do much else–somewhere along the line I acquired the Protestant Work Ethic, damn it to blazes. But now there’s a lull, it’s a gray Tuesday morning, and I’m here in my sweats debating getting another tea so I can finish this post in one sitting instead of going back to bed for a half hour: Now what?

Above my desk is a copy of a Batman meme: It is the crisp and elegant Batman from The Animated Series, pointing his finger at me. The caption reads, “Quit Procrastinating/Work on Your Art.” I’ve put in a decent word count recently–finished the sequel to Long Leggedy Beasties!–and so this Lent I decided to do an hour a day working at visual art. Like most of my Lenten disciplines through the years, it’s most conspicuous for its omission. I did complete the T-shirt design needed for the day job, but that was because I had an external deadline. Other than that–

–I’m blocked. You don’t know how happy I am that I’m at least finding words to put on this screen. I started a weird little story about an autistic girl on a bus, who has just met a mage and his familiar, although she doesn’t know it yet–and I’m stuck. I listened to my beta reader and tore out half of Max’s sequel because I sorta went off topic and threw in the kitchen sink (an age-drenched failing of my work in all media), and now am doing the stare–write a sentence–stare–write three more–stare–wander off method, known to writers everywhere. And don’t get me started on Damascus. I’m just glad I have a solid beta reader to point out the screamingly obvious. Sigh.

I also have to self-pub Max and get him out of my system. I tried finding an agent for him, and nobody bit past the can-I-see-three-pages stage, and those were the agents, I discovered, who reply to all queries that way. (I wish they would just put that in their requirements; it would save a lot of raised hopes.) At least a few people have read Beasties and been kind enough to compliment me on it, so this way Max will get his chance to do some people-pleasing.

I just wish I didn’t feel that doing so means I’m a failure. The market has changed, that’s all, and the good thing that it brings is that some people will read my stuff. Maybe not as many as would if I had a big publisher doing advertising and whatnot, but some.

So much for going back to bed. The 18-pound cat is stretched out on its bottom half and she has a stronger character than I do in terms of my getting up the gumption to remove my loving pet who just wants to be near me. Time to soldier on, watch closely, and try to see what life is saying to me.

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