Journal: The quest for temperance and other things

I bet you’re all wondering how I’m going with getting stuff done? I mean, it’s been over a month since my last post (sorry), so obviously I’ve been far too busy kicking goals. Right?

Er, no. Not really…

Well, actually, yes, I have kicked at least one goal.

I have, for instance, revised almost half my novel in progress over the past three months. It was the ‘easy’ half, alas. Beginnings are so much easier than middles and ends. But it was satisfying to inject some of my Mongolian experiences into the early scenes involving horses.

Yep, the writing is going OK. It’s other parts of my life that still need a bit more focus. A bit more temperance.

I’ve already confessed my reading addiction. I tried to put limits on it over the past two months, but not entirely successfully. So now I’m taking more radical action. (Oh God, I can’t believe I’m doing this. I could still edit this out of the post…) My plan is to go kindle-free for the rest of April.

That’s right. April is kindle-free month. (I think I might go throw up now.)

Let me hasten to add that I am allowed to read, however. I have a gazillion paperbacks on my to-be-read pile. I’m hoping to make a little headway with these instead. Just not quite as much headway…

I’ve decided to give up a couple of other things in April too. The first is sugar. (Yeah, everyone is trying to give up sugar. The new poison.) The other is wine — or at least, limiting my intake to Friday – Sunday only.

So far, the sugar thing isn’t going so well. It’s really hard to give up my evening chocolate fix. But I’m trying to reduce the quantity.

It’s day 3 on the wine front, and so far I’ve passed. (Arrrgh! Give me wine NOW!) I’ve found that a glass of red at about 4pm (i.e. now) is a great accompaniment to the last work remnants of the day — one of the benefits of working from home. But, judging from the number of empty wine bottles I’ve been accumulating… Too. Much. Wine.

My motivation for reducing wine consumption is threefold: 1) I’m having trouble keeping up with stocks, 2) I’m suspicious of its possible/probable role in my expanding waistline, 3) Consuming wine in the late afternoon is a psychological barrier for me working out on my elliptical trainer…

(Oooooh, and just now, right this second, I received an email from my wine company telling me my ‘wines are on the way’. Ironic much?)

Additionally, the kindle ban will hopefully improve my sleeping patterns, which may or may not also be contributing to the waistline thing (because apparently sleeping patterns play a role in weight loss/gain). Plus, it would be really awesome if I could get up earlier and do the elliptical thing in the morning instead.

(Then, maybe, the wine habit could be re-initiated?)

I’m a little reluctant to post this… Mainly because it feels like I’m revealing a bit too much about my terrible habits. And (let’s face it) who among you really cares? But hopefully a public declaration will help keep me in line.


In other writing-related happenings, I spent Easter at the 2016 Australian National Science Fiction Convention (Contact 2016) in Brisbane. It was a delightfully intimate convention at Hotel Jen, with some interesting programming and I was able to catch up with many friends as well as meet new people.

I particularly enjoyed listening to fantasy authors talk about their researching experiences (Real Fantasy); discussions about female heroism and what makes a hero (Female Heroism: the either/or argument); a panel of bi/pan-sexual women talking about Queer SF; and the challenge of keeping characters sympathetic to the reader when you make them do bad things (Kill or be killed – The role of hard choices in writing compelling narrative).

I also attended the Aurealis Awards, which are Australia’s premier jury-voted literary awards for speculative fiction. It was awesome to see my good friend and writing buddy, Deborah Kalin, win two awards (Best Young Adult Short Story and Best Horror Novella) for her novella ‘The Miseducation of Mara Lys’ out of her collection Cherry Crow Children. (See this post from a year ago with some thoughts from Deb about the collection.) Yay!


Finally, on a more whimsical note, I have adopted a couple of new mobile office ‘tools’ this year. My Crumpler ‘green bag’ is being rested, and I’m using a new Crumpler bag, which is designed to look more like a handbag. Aside from the fact it doesn’t have as many internal pockets (in particular pen slots, which I am missing greatly), my new bag is proving ideal for carting my laptop around — or not.

To protect my laptop, I went looking for a funky laptop sleeve and found this awesome website called Society6, which sells a host of very affordable stuff featuring the work of independent artists. I liked their stuff so much, I bought two laptop sleeves.

This saves me from changing bags all the time for those (admittedly rare) occasions when I’m not lugging my laptop around. This new bag is just a bit smarter and more practical for everyday use — although I really do miss the pen slots!

12 comments

  1. Those conference presentations sound fantastic. I wish I could have been there! And I love the foxy laptop sleeve. And as to giving up sugar, wine, and kindle all in the same month….wow. You do set the bar high!
    πŸ˜‰

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    1. I kinda wish I took more notes at the convention – I usually do. But, yes, they were very interesting and helpful discussions.

      As for temperance month — kill me now! Of all those I suspect the kindle thing will be the hardest. The only reason I’m not howling right now is I’m reading a paperback copy of Heidi Cullinan’s Carry the Ocean — We’re doing it for my reading group tonight and I ordered a bunch of paperbacks for my friends (including one for me!).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m with you on the giving up some stuff. I’ve recently given up beverages with caffeine in them. Eventually I’d like to get to the point where I mostly just drink water, but that’s going to be kinda hard to do. Diet soda is my go-to drink when I’m at home working on stuff on weekends.

    Cool setup for carrying your laptop around. I have way too many backpacks and bags. I need to sell off some of them and keep only my favorites.

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    1. I admire your water sentiment, Mike, but don’t you think it would get kind of boring? This is the thing I’m struggling with regarding wine. I really enjoy the taste, and after drinking herbal tea for much of the day, I’m craving something different.

      I too am a bag hoarder — I did get rid of a stack a few years back, but I still seem to have too many, most of which I rarely use. But it’s only the last few years I’ve been carrying a laptop around most of the time, and that calls for special tools. πŸ™‚

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      1. It might get kind of boring, but I could always allow myself to make an exception when I go out to dinner or to the movies or something. I’ve mostly been drinking diet soda over the years, and lately I’ve been thinking water would just be better a better choice. I never really got into tea or coffee or anything, so it’s not like I’d be missing out on a huge variety of beverages if I started to drink mostly water πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Kudos on making such positive changes! Not sure I could ever give up wine though I’m fairly moderate on that front.

    Sugar on the other hand…
    I gave it up 4 years ago and I’d like to say it gets easier…
    On the plus side, I feel much healthy and generally better so I highly recommend it πŸ™‚

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    1. Yeah, seems like giving up sugar is the way to go. And the plan was only to give up wine Mon-Thurs. Not that it’s worked. At all. Nor has the kindle ban.
      You could say that temperance month… isn’t really. Oh well. It was a good plan!

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      1. If at first you don’t succeed… give up sky diving!

        jk, just like writing a novel, expecting to succeed on the first try might be too optimistic, even if other people have done it. Just look at this month as practice for when you do achieve it! πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

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