Goals from Last Week – How Did I Do?
- read and take notes on the final chapter of my old version of Moonchild – DONE – this was a pretty easy, one-time thing that I did Monday morning.
- journal every morning, contemplate what I want to do with Moonchild and where I want to go writing-wise, from here – Did 6 mornings (all except Monday, when I did the first goal) and it was more fruitful than I thought it might be. More below.
- work on blog at least five days – this doesn’t mean I’m going to post five times, more just wanting to find chunks of time to work on this site – DONE
- practice guitar every day – DONE
- get up through song 78 of book one of my guitar book – DONE but struggled with the new material a lot (alternate strumming)
- practice piano every day – sorta done? I skipped one day but made up for it the next
- get up through page 47 in my piano book – DONE
- sleep without my phone (this will put me at 133 nights in a row) – DONE but it was a struggle
- read parts One and Two in All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, which I’m reading for the NOAH (National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation)’s PWA Book Club – DONE and I’m really loving the book!
- write Morning Pages every day – yeah no. I only wrote them 4 days, and two of those were were “evening pages” where I wrote something at night to say I’d written something, so technically only 2 days of true Morning Pages
Reflections on the Week
Journaling about Moonchild, my mess of a book manuscript, and really multiple versions of said manuscript, turned out to be fruitful every day I did it. I got a lot clearer on my own vision for the book in ways I never would’ve expected. I was skeptical going in if this would really be worth it or just twiddling my thumbs but it surprised me every time and proved so useful in digging into my own artistic intuition. I don’t want to bog down this post with too many tangents about all that, but there may be a future one coming where I can dig in deeper.
The best thing is I got some clarity not just on the more abstract things like vision for the arc of the story and what elements need to be drawn out more, but also on concrete next steps. One of those is that I need to go into my storage and bring up the original (handwritten) writings, as well as any journals (or Morning Pages or Evening Pages) from the time period covered by the book. It’s a memoir, and accuracy is so important to me, so doing the work of confirming my thoughts now, especially so long after the fact, with what I recorded at the time is an important step even if it feels overwhelming at the outset.
There’s also a ton of references within the manuscript to the relationship I had in my senior year of high school, which ya know, was awhile ago since last year would’ve been my twenty year high school reunion. Let’s call the guy Nick. Even though he’s mostly absent from the present day of the story in Moonchild, he, and the relationship, and its aftereffects play a huge role.
But not all of these versions completely agree with each other, or I’m not totally sure if they do or don’t, since the references are scattered all over the place. I find myself getting a little confused and turned around. Again, going back to caring a lot about accuracy, I want to do an exhaustive deep dive into this, use my journals and construct a straight-up timeline to use as a reference.
After that major project, I’m going to get into going through it chapter by chapter. I think my goal is to get to the end of all this preliminary groundwork by the end of the month. It could be a lot shorter than that (or longer), it’s hard to tell because I don’t know how much material I have to dig through or how long that’ll take, so trying to be generous with my timeline, and assume a longer time-line like a month, to keep it realistic.
I also want to keep journaling about Moonchild and where I want to go with it, in order to stay in touch with that true inner artistic vision for the manuscript. I’m thinking once a week makes the most sense. And also once a week journaling about this blog and related projects to keep myself grounded there too.
I’m hitting a struggle point with guitar for sure. Everything in this book so far has been all downstrokes when strumming chords, and now they’ve added in upstrokes. It feels so weird and unnatural to me, and sounds bad. I feel sorry for my neighbors. Not that I sounded great before this but this part just sounds loud and bad and awkward.
I’m trying to remember that a lot of things, like certain chords, or changing between them, also felt stilted at first and hope that by doing it’ll start to feel more natural, as other things have. I’m going to add some alternate strumming patterns to songs I’m still practicing from previous chapters in order to build in more strumming practice.
This week’s lesson is the Em chord, which I’ve known for forever and think is one of the easiest chords, and I thought about rushing through but I think it might feel like a bit of a respite to work on something that doesn’t feel as hard or new or challenging and give my focus to things that do, like building on those strumming patterns.
Keyboard is swimming right along. I’m coming to the end of a unit on eighth notes, which has been fun. This book goes much quicker than my other one and has already incorporated the black keys, so now it’s mixing that in with rhythm.
I did notice that there was a section of some chapters that I’d been missing (I’d lumped it in with a part that relies on a teacher playing complex parts, which I’ve been skipping since I don’t have a teacher or other person to play along), so I do want to go back and weave those in.
It may make more sense to count practice sessions instead of days, because there was a day I couldn’t fit in the keyboard practice but then made up for it the next day.
Sleep has been a struggle and all out of whack. I was on some real crappy sleep cycles this past week. I slipped into some slippery slope behavior that if I don’t curtail, could lead to a fall off the wagon in terms of sleeping without my phone, which is something I’ve long struggled against and am now on my longest streak ever. Poor sleep and crazy cycles are also part of why I didn’t write Morning Pages several days this week.
I think there were several reasons for the crazy sleep patterns. I’ve definitely been on edge in general since the federal troops arrived (and thankfully they’re withdrawing now) and one night last week, Monday, for the first time I could really hear things from my apartment. So that’s been adding to a general sense of unease and probably just a more anxious baseline.
Also, and this is a real struggle for me, a little bit even to write about, I started the week off with a long and late phone call with a friend. It was a great conversation. We both have so much going on and I really enjoy talking to her, but I lost track of time, big time, and by the time I got off the phone from what we’d said would be a ten-minute call but ended up being several hours, it was so late. And that kinda threw off my sleep cycle, and then I started napping during the day a lot of days to try to make up for weird sleep patterns, and it all just spiraled.
This is something I’ve struggled with for so long, and probably will continue to–the desire to connect via long phone calls that I really enjoy and get a lot out of vs maintaining a better schedule and routine. I usually choose the phone call, and often it’s great, but I have a hard time putting on limits. I value the conversations and connections so much but I feel like I can take it too far, and often. It’s something I’m sure I’ll continue to revisit. Hey, I was a teenager in the ’90s, talking on the phone was life, and it still feels that way to me sometimes.
On top of all that, I’ve upped my workout game recently, which is great after sitting like a log for the first couple months of quarantine, but sometimes after upping my game like that, especially on bodyweight workouts (which let’s be real, my upped game is…not so impressive) I sometimes woke up hungry in the middle of the night, which also set everything off.
Goals for this Coming Week
- journal about Moonchild project at least once
- collect all relevant old notebooks from storage and bring them up into my apartment
- start constructing Nick timeline – find all existing references in Moonchild
- work on blog at least 5 days
- journal about blog at least once
- seven guitar practice sessions
- get up through song 83 of book one of my Hal Leonard Guitar Method Complete Edition book
- seven keyboard practice sessions
- get up through page 52 in my Keyboard Musician for the Adult Beginner book
- sleep without the phone (this will put me at 140 nights, aka 20 weeks, in a row)
- read through page 226 in All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
- write Morning Pages every day
All right, time to get to it!
You can check out other posts about goals (goalposts?) here.