I had a first session with a counsellor this morning, and she’s going to talk to the testing person about whether it makes sense to have me tested for ADHD; we’ll talk about it more next week.

The main things we identified in an hour are that I am overall doing pretty well (family, friends, work, etc.), except when it comes to writing novels. And the main things that are getting in the way of my novel-writing are:

a) intense anxiety about doing it badly (leading to avoidance and/or rushing through the writing), and

b) a tendency to switch quickly from little task to little task, being super-productive at those, but avoiding anything that involves deeper thought.

Is the latter linked to ADHD? We’ll see. We’ll probably do a couple talk-therapy sessions before we even seriously revisit testing, just so she can get a sense of where we are.

I am delighted to discover, though, that a weekly session with her will only cost me $20 each (hurrah for insurance), and that her office is a three block walk from my house. Anything that makes it easier is good. It felt, I admit, a little weird walking into a therapist’s office. Mental health stigma, bah. Silly society. Silly brain.

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Kavya turns out to be excellent company for a long shopping day (it was a bit of a task, finding her choral concert outfit in white and black at this time of the year, when the stores are full of short sleeves, floral prints, and bright colors — should’ve planned ahead and ordered the clothes online, but it was too late for that, and I hope the lace detailing is okay, but if not, someone please tell me now so I can cut it off before Thursday), full of charm, jokes, and thoughtful comments. I’m a lucky parent.


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ICFA Day 2

Went to John Kessel‘s GOH talk last night, which was lovely and charming and funny and erudite and made me wish I’d had a chance to take a class from him. Maybe someday I can talk him into coming to Chicago and doing a weekend seminar for the SLF or some such. Andy Duncan also did a very sweet intro for him. I love this field and its people.

Today is my panel from 4:15 – 5:45: Panel. Power, Politics, and Speculative Fiction. Should be interesting! But before that, Roshani is arriving in town for a little mini-vacation; she’ll stay with me and I’ll introduce her to lots of SF/F writers. I may have sent her a long reading list before the con, which I’m sure she hasn’t had time to actually read yet, oh well!

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ICFA Day 1

The nice thing about having a free day at a conference is that you can just hang out in your hotel room for hours, eating room service breakfast (which is big enough to also cover room service lunch, the portion sizes in hotels are way too big for me) and pounding through backlogged e-mail. I’ve gotten a lot done!

The thing to watch out for is that you can easily get glued to your couch, since there’s nothing else you actually *have* to do. Going to get up and go for a run (by which I mean, do Zombies Run! Couch-to-5K, which means mostly walking with a few little running sprints to train me towards an actual run eventually), just to stretch my legs. Then probably some more work, and hopefully I get to check out some panels and papers. I just need to clear away a little more of the backlog first, so I feel a little less panicky.

Inbox: 337

(Can I get to Inbox Zero by the end of the con? We’ll see.)

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Reading through Anand’s IEP in preparation for tomorrow’s annual meeting. Just wanted to note how much I appreciate the care and effort all of his teachers are putting in to helping him succeed. We are very lucky that they appreciate his quickness, creativity and humor.

(Sorry about his tendency to resist following templates and his continued eagerness to argue with his teachers. I understand that it’s frustrating when you would like to just concentrate on teaching twenty second-graders reading, writing, and arithmetic, which I’m sure is a hard enough job without Anand ‘helping.’

We’ll speak to Anand again about how right now, he should sometimes just try help the teacher out and follow instructions, even when he’s sure he knows a better way to do it.

We’ll also remind him that there will be plenty of opportunity to exercise those argumentative character traits in the future, when he’s speaking truth to power as part of the Resistance.)

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I have cleared away a bunch of e-mail, thanks to my assistant, Kay. Woot. Goal: Inbox Zero by the end of ICFA? That may be unreasonable (given that I still have about 350 messages), but damn, it would make me happy. Better than therapy, I suspect.
We also set up a bunch of filters and labels today, which should help with keeping things organized. No, I haven’t been using filters or labels all this time. Yes, I am a dinosaur.
I feel that I should perhaps clarify that this is a different assistant (a virtual one, working remotely from New York) than the previous assistant, Chris. Kay is just working for a few hours here and there to help specifically with some tech things. It feels ridiculously luxurious to have two assistants, but different people have different skill sets, who knew? My original assistant is still with me and still fabulous at the things he does.
Treating my writing like a grown-up business is weird.
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Assistant question: If anyone has an assistant who actually helps process e-mail, tips would be welcome. I’m honestly not sure how to organize this with my assistant in a way that would be helpful.
I’ve also been a little startled to realize just how much time keeping my (pretty big) house neat takes (even with a fortnightly housecleaner for the intensive cleaning of floors, kitchen, and bathroom).
We’ve been doing the daily chores (dishes, laundry, cooking, groceries, errands, picking up, yard work) ourselves for 8 years in this house, but when my assistant took over a lot of it, we started actually counting the hours. It’s significant.
Since outsourcing that, I’ve made a lot more progress on the writing work (including the business parts of writing), which I hope will soon be making enough to cover the cost of the assistant. Right now, it’s an investment in the future, like taking out a loan to start a business — but it’s surprisingly difficult to think of my writing as a business worthy of investing in.
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FogCon Redux

Oof — that’s a tired me, taken just before my flight landed in Chicago at midnight. And now I’m home at 1 a.m., with fond memories of FogCon. My panels went reasonably well, reading ditto.

I got to have conversations with wise mentor people like Pat Murphy and Debbie Notkin, which help me sort through all this novel-writing stuff. I got to see old friends and meet interesting new folks (including enthusiastic readers of mine, which is obviously the BEST). And a couple rounds of Terraforming Mars, teaching it to new people, and trying out Pandemic: Rising Tide, which is about the Netherlands flooding, and was fun.

My only complaint is that somehow I planned both sleeping and eating every poorly and got no exercise, which was sort of disastrous in terms of how I felt for most of the con — I really need to be more rigorous about convention travel and healthy habits going forward as I am apparently just not young enough to eat and stay awake the way I used to. Well, I’m home for three days and then off to ICFA, so I suppose I’ll get a chance to hopefully do better.

Now, off to sleep. In six hours, I have to be up to get the kids off to school, and then it’s a doctor check-up followed by a teaching day…

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