Immathical

I’ve been putting the idiom that there’s not enough hours in the day through its paces, lately. And quixotically, instead of trying to learn anything approaching balance or some zen shit, I just continue making things worse for myself.

Some back of the napkin calculations would show the inelastic demand of work consumes the lion share of my time. I have a little more leeway with sleep, but, you know, biological processes can only be circumvented for so long before you start to see a massive decrease in returns. So that’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 18-20 hours taken off the top. I also need to put in some time with my wife and kid, since I’m attempting to not appear as some sort of unemotive monster to the world at large. So, all in all, I’ve got maybe two hours a week at home to myself to do stuff.

Two hours.

Maybe.

And in those two hours, I need to figure out how to cram all my varied interests: Writing, editing, updating my websites, catching up on shows and movies I want to watch, video games, podcasts, etc. Oh, and recently I’ve been trying to get more reading in on top of all that and recently finally got around to trying Audible, so now Kindle and Audible Daily Deals are getting tossed onto my backlog like so much cordwood. Clearly, something’s got to give.

Which is weird, because the first quarter of 2016 has been ridiculously productive for me. I’ve written and edited more words and some of my best reviewed work than I have at any time outside of NaNoWriMo, I’ve gone through four books, I’ve increased the frequency of updates for my websites (two sequential months on my blog site? Madness.), I’ve started campaigns for both a D&D group at work and a play-by-post campaign on a forum, and I’m submitting to markets again. Obviously, not everything makes the cut in this, but otherwise I’ve been on fire.

Much of it is as simple as multi-tasking. The commute to and from work? Any drive to the store? Going to do so while listening to an audiobook, and catching up on my podcast subscriptions between books. If I were still going to the gym instead of spending three nights a week at the pool (because oh yeah, I’m doing that too), I’d be squeezing it in there, too. Lunch break at work? Writing, editing, reading print books as time allows. Get up early before work to hit the markets with some submissions. Stay up late to brainstorm new projects. I’m finding time wherever possible, and even when I don’t have time I’m thinking about other stuff.

Also, I’m pretty sure I’ve spent this first part of the year in the throes of a hypomanic episode.

Now when this possibility was first raised to me, I wasn’t so much incredulous as asking if it was really that bad of a thing to be suffering from. All the extra energy, decreased need for sleep, and increased creative output of a full blown mania, only without the psychotic symptoms. I was feeling fucking fantastic (and still do, to a lesser extent with treatment) for the most part, so it was difficult for me to see the downside to this as someone who had previously spent much of his time dwelling in the other side of the emotional spectrum.

The thing about being on fire, though, is that it burns you out in a stop-the-ride-I-want-to-get-off sort of way. It’s a great feeling to just tap the mainline and spew forth all my ideas and thoughts across a slew of projects, but it also leaves me feeling creatively exhausted, floundering like a fish in a dried streambed as I try and work up the means by which to keep going. Because the ideas, the ideas never stop. And while I certainly didn’t seem to need as much sleep at first, it just papered over a growing deficit, leaving me tired, anxious, and irritable.

These days I’m feeling less strung out and needing more sleep. I don’t feel depressed, but I’m definitely not hitting euphoric highs anymore, either, so instead of crashing I’ve just come down a sort of baseline emotional state. On the upside, though, my chief fear that treating this would somehow dampen my creative activities hasn’t materialized. I’m still keeping pretty much on pace with what I’d been managing, and I’m feeling pretty good overall.

We’ll just see how long that feeling lasts once the rejection letters for my submitted works come rolling in.

–Mike