52 Weeks of Writing: Week 20—Facing procrastination with the help of AI (part two)

52 Weeks of Writing: Week 20—Facing procrastination with the help of AI (part two)
Photo by alex varela / Unsplash

Wow, where did that week go?

Here we are again for another review, and finally I get to stick a bit of a word count goal up there because I actually did some writing. This post will therefore not be all about me whinging about health issues. I have new, exciting job issues to worry about this week. Yay.

What went well this week?

This has been a strange week, because my routine has changed. Last week, the teaching part of the semester came to an end, so I didn't have to teach this Tuesday. I'm waiting for marking to come in both for essays, long essays, and exams. In the meantime, I've been editing for my editing job.

Why does this matter? Well, this is the situation in 2023. I still need to make sure I earn money, and I'm a fully paid-up member of the gig economy right now. It was nice not to have to go rushing off to campus on Tuesday and then spend the rest of the day feeling exhausted.

However, I think the big achievement for this week has to be that I spent a lot more time writing than I have done in some time. I pushed hard to get through Camp Nanowrimo. I reached just over 50k words then stopped writing. That was at about the point where my health issues suddenly became much worse and I realised I might have to take time off.

Once I stopped writing, I started procrastinating. Why sit and do something stressful like writing when I could be watching video updates on the latest YouTube creator drama? It's taken until this week to fully come out of the emotional mess of an unknown illness combined with the push to get through Camp Nano.

Now I'm out the other side, and I've been writing more and more each day. I'm enjoying it more as well. I am about to hit the midpoint break, and the action is really starting to flow now.

Other things that've gone well include learning to use a new form of editing software for my job, applying to a different freelance post and to a regular run-of-the-mill full-time job to help pay the bills.

Were there any strategies or coping mechanisms that helped you this week? It's important to recognize and acknowledge the things that are working for you.

The big thing I've been learning about this week is autistic shutdowns. When I get overwhelmed, I tend to drift, cope for as long as I can, then disappear and hide in a corner because I'm overwhelmed. I've never given these symptoms a label until now. Having a label for an experience feels important to me. When I don't know what's going on, it makes everything so much worse.

What's been working is my schedule. I'm not getting up too early, I'm adjusting to my new health circumstances, and what's more, I'm finding space to write.

The other strategy that's been working well is a meditation for procrastination on the Balance app. I don't get money for saying I use it, by the way. I used it three times in order to kick-start writing again. I also found that free-writing made a big difference.

Based on your experiences this week, what can you do to improve your situation next week? Are there any adjustments you can make to your routine or habits that might help you better manage your health issues?

I'm going to keep writing on a regular schedule. I've been doing that thing where I decide whether or not to write based on my feelings. If I feel the slightest bit put off, then I don't write. I find an excuse. It takes some degree of effort and willpower not to cave in to that temptation. There's always another reel on Insta.

Coming back to it at about the same time every day (or night) has been working well for me this week, so I'd like to expand on that next week.

What are the biggest lessons you learned from this week?

This is not a writing-related lesson, but it is an important lesson. I've had a lot of interactions with healthcare professionals in my life, and most of the time, I've gone along with what I've been told to do. This was regardless of how I felt about it.

This was the week when, after having talked to two different GPs and a nurse, I summoned the courage to say when I wasn't happy with a recommended form of treatment. It was the easy way out for them, but it would have put me in considerable pain, both physically and emotionally, with no actual sign of it being helpful. So I politely refused. We have another option now we're going to try before anything more invasive is attempted.

Did you discover any new insights about your health or your abilities to cope with challenging situations?

That's a work in progress. The best I can offer right now is that I am learning, painfully slowly at times, that sometimes you just have to accept that things aren't going to go your way. I was supposed to be running a half-marathon this weekend. It's not going to happen, and I'm 99% sure of that.

Sometimes, things go your way. Sometimes, they don't.

Looking ahead to next week, what are your goals and priorities? Given your health concerns, what are some realistic and achievable steps you can take to move forward?

Next week looks like this: waiting on the outcome of job applications and freelance applications. More writing! Can I get past the midpoint break in one piece? Can Io? Can the city that she loves? Will I ever finish reading R F Kuang's Babel? Find out next week.