December (and the latter half of November) in the office is always weird. People take vacation time. A lot of people take vacation time. Business slows down. Even the tech support lines get quieter. At the same time, any issue that comes up always seems to be urgent. I think the increased urgency is in part a consequence of the people being gone in our company, and the vendors’ offices, and the customers’ offices—either the person who knew who to call when something goes wrong is out, or the person who was covering for someone else who was out didn’t recognize the seriousness of a problem, or there are just longer gaps of time to get approvals so by the time a go-ahead comes through it was needed last week.
So it’s always weirdly quiet, some days to the point of making you wonder why you bothered coming into the office, with random moments of frenzied activity, leaving a lingering hint of impending calamity in the air. It’s just fraught.
For the last twenty-eight years I’ve worked in the telecommuncations industry, and in the early years some more experienced co-workers said it was typical for our industry in particular and tech industries in general. I don’t know if it’s really just us or not. But I have gotten a lot better at not getting as discombobulated when a director or veep calls me directly to tell me to drop everything and work on this, or to ask why this thing that I have heard about only seconds before the call isn’t done, yet. But knowing that the stuff I’m already working on is due at a date that is not realistic, and that some of the people who I need to get information from are not going to be available for significant stretches of time during that interval, and then getting a call from a Senior Director saying he needs help with this thing—that uses up a lot of spoons.
Which is a long way to get to saying that I haven’t been in a good place mentally at lunch time to get writing done for a few weeks. And while it never seems as if the amount of writing I get done at lunch is that much, I recognize that spending that fifteen-twenty minutes thinking about the current writing project in the middle of my day goes a long way toward getting me to a productive space by the time I get home.
Because I usually walk home from work (it takes just a bit over an hour), I’ve gotten used to having that time to think and process. When I’m in a good writing groove, most of the walk will consist of characters in my head having lively discussions about things. I’m noticing that if lunchtime writing isn’t good, then the walk home doesn’t involve those character conversations.
I don’t know how to fix that, right now. I’ll just have to keep muddling forward.
But you can help. If you haven’t already, go to Which Christmas Ghost should I write? and take the poll. Seeing which things interests people does help. I may not wind up finishing the story more people vote for this time around, but just seeing people voting gives me at least a bit more motivation.
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