Talking With My Mouth Full

The other day I was talking with a friend at work-

Actually, talking isn’t the best word I’d use. Complaining, whining, or flipping out would be more apt. So. Allow me to start over.

I was flipping out the other day at work. See, it’s May. May is the month in which if I request time off, my supervisor will laugh hysterically and then tell me to go back to my cubicle. The BF knows about May. That’s how bad it gets. Although so far, it’s not been so bad, work wise. So why was I flipping out/complaining/whining?

I do believe I’ve bit off a bit more than I can chew.

Once I made the decision to start doing more book reviews on the blog (and attempting to acquire more advance copies for review), I had to start setting up reminders on my calendar to prompt me to start a new book. The notes would include when I intended to post the review, when the release date was, and if I was reviewing for this blog or Vampire Book Club. Handy, yes?

Handy means there are six books I’d slated for review that are all releasing within a week of each other. One will be getting an early review (Dan Savage’s American Savage will be reviewed next Friday, May 17th). One will go up whenever Chelsea, head review guru for VBC, decides it’ll go up. One won’t have advanced copies (damn you, Heart of Obsidian!). The other three…well, that’s a puzzle. Because I’ve got a rapidly growing stack of library books I’d like to get to rather than having to put them on hold again.

Here’s my problem: I feel guilty. When I request review copies, I do my best not to go full tilt and request everything in sight, knowing there’s no way in hell I’ll have time to read them all. This cuts down on the possibility that one will fall by the wayside and not be reviewed for months, or worse, ever. But that’s exactly what happened here. Two of those three books weren’t on my radar three weeks ago, and then I got distracted by the ooh pretty shiny and snapped them up. Oops.

You’re probably thinking, “But Amanda, that’s not so bad. Just a ton of reading.”

Riiiight. Please allow me to point out my other May obligations to you, all of which normally fall under the heading of Amanda’s Funstuff Free Time Fillers:

The Seattle International Film Festival begins next week. This year I’ll be seeing eight films (instead of the nine I’d originally planned on seeing). Plenty of reading time while standing in line to get in, plenty of reading time while waiting for the film to start, and some hopefully fantastic movies to boot. This DOES mean I’ll be forgoing Hollywood releases for a while. So no Gatsby, Fast 6, or Star Trek for me just yet.

While there’s reading time built in to film-fest going, this does take away…

…from the writing time. And stupid me, I set my writing goal (to be met by June 1) of finishing the novella I’d started a few weeks ago, polishing it, and submitting it. In theory, this is a smart idea. I’m doing it as part of a special call by Entangled, called One Night In… The idea is to take a romance trope and stick it in an exotic locale, and have it be a one night stand or a vacation fling. Fun, flirty, and sassy, no? Yeah, not so much. Came up with an idea right away, the characters, the location, the premise…and every word on the page so far has been like carving my eyes out with a dull knife. It’s easily the worst thing I’ve ever written, but I’m not giving up. I can’t! I promised! I put it in the damn goal bowl! The bright side: I’m almost done. One more chapter, possibly two, and I can move on to the editing process.

Let’s not even mention the part where the BF said to me last month that it was time for us to start house hunting. Or the baby blanket I’ve yet to finish for my now two-year-old nephew. Or the birth announcement I haven’t even started for my now one-year-old nephew. Or catching up on Sherlock Holmes, which everyone continues to insist I watch (I’ve yet to see any episodes).

Trying to accomplish the major goals for this month means letting other things slide. I get up earlier on Saturdays than I used to. Netflix movies sit around, lonely and forlorn, for weeks. TV shows get backed up, and the unread books on my shelves cry for attention that I lavish on my ARCs and library books. It means I can’t indulge my writing ADD and jump from project to project just because one isn’t holding my attention. And I really need to stop buying new Kindlecrack books and reading them right away because it’s a) interfering with those reading goals and b) it’s bad for the bank account.

I am trying, desperately, to stick to some semblance of a schedule for my evenings. You know, my version of GTL (oh, go Google it, why don’t you?). Gym, an hour to an hour and a half of writing time, then the rest of the evening is reading. Has this worked? Eh…sort of. I’m getting better at shunting aside the writing when the words aren’t coming, instead of squeezing them out like blood pricked from my finger tip. I had to return a library book unread the other day because I simply didn’t have time to read it before it was due, and it’s likely I’ll be doing the same today, even though it’s not due for another week. And really, as long as I don’t think too hard about the so-called “fun” things I’ve piled on myself, I’m fine. Then I reach for the wine and toast myself and my ability to not completely freak out. I wrote an 85k word novel during one of the worst open enrollment periods in my career. I can do this.

That’s it. I’m done bitching. Thanks for listening. Got something to bitch about? How do you manage all your crazy obligations?

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