One of my better ideas, if I do say so myself….


You know that thing? Where I moved a day from the DayJob category and put it into the writing-or-related-activity category?

That works really well.

Result number one:  I got my brain back.

The kind of work I do at the DayJob is absolutely non-intellectual, but requires intense crazy focus, because it’s the sort of thing I’m naturally bad at.   A person who was actually good at it would be able to do it with one hand tied behind their back.   But I have to do two things to get it accomplished: first, stop my natural mode of thinking, and then, do pretty much the exact opposite — for hours on end, without making any errors .   The most effective way to keep that level of focus?  Sheer panic -  I needed the job, and could not afford to lose it.

(How I ended up there  is a long story; let’s deal with it another time.)

It was stupid, and yet exhausting.   Trying to accomplish anything creatively useful on weekdays was extremely difficult.  I could manage incremental advances — until the next day, when I would have to fracture myself again.

And weekends were just too damn short.   I felt like it took a day to disengage from DayJob mode; and by Sunday I was busily dreading the upcoming week.

But now: it takes less time to disengage.   I just does.   And I load up all my peripheral chores onto Saturday, as early as I can manage them.  Leaving me the rest of Saturday, all of Sunday and — well, hello, Monday!

So… my brain is working a lot better.   Seriously, I feel like some recognizable version of myself.  Plus: freakishly happy.

Result number two:  I have a much clearer view of exactly where my several projects stand, and what it will take to accomplish them.   Each of them can be done — and yes, this does include the next volume of the Steerswoman series.

Amazing, the difference a day makes.

If I could, I’d cut my DayJob hours even further… I could probably survive on the reduced income until other income streams develop.   However, I’d never be able to afford health insurance, and 32 hours is the cutoff for insurance at my company.

So, I’m going to go for a couple of more months of this, and then re-evaluate where I stand.

Completely unrelated thing: here’s my favorite stay-awake-and-creatively-focused tea!

Take some Lapsang Souchong.   That’s the smoky-scented tea.  Hu-kwa is a milder version of the same thing, and much more civilized.  I’m opting out of civilized.

Use a lot.  Make it strong.   I generally use one and a half tablespoons per 8 -ounce cup.   Yes, you read that right.

Add some Celestial Seasoning’s Bengal Spice.  One bag per one-and -a-half cups.   Which makes it hard to make just one cup of tea.  So, make a whole pot!

Steep for eight minutes.   This is absolutely contrary to what any sane and cultured tea-drinker will tell you.   But long experimentation has proven to me, for this tea: yes, eight minutes.    Be sure to use a tea-ball  (or several, or some other infuser of appropriate size), so that you can take it out when steeping is done.  Because, you don’t want that stuff to keep on brewing in there.   It’s already been eight minutes!

Sweeten with honey.  Why not?  You’re going to be so wired that you’ll burn those calories right off again.

If you like (and I do) lighten with powdered milk.  Not real milk — that would a) dilute it, and b) make it cold.   Powdered milk adds milkyness without actually weakening the tea.


I can’t drink this during the week, after work — it keeps me up.   Coffee, I can drink up to 9PM and still get a good night’s sleep, but not this stuff.

Love it.

Free (small) prize to the first person who correctly identifies the quote contained in the hovertext (tooltips) for the picture above.  Unless you're my sister.  Or Jo Walton, who first directed me to the book from which the quote is taken (sorry, Jo!).

Free (small) prize to the first person who correctly identifies the quote contained in the hovertext (tooltips) for the picture above. Unless you’re my sister. Or Jo Walton, who first directed me to the book from which the quote is taken, so it’ll just be too easy for her (sorry, Jo!).


11 Responses to “One of my better ideas, if I do say so myself….”

  • Esteban Says:

    Yay! Good luck with your projects. I’ve been looking forward to the next volume of the Steerswoman series, so I’m hoping this may mean that we can expect it in the not too distant future.

  • Nonesuch Says:

    Nice to find you freakishly happy. May the freakish become the standard in times to come.
    And the quote is from Shirley Jackson’s THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, which I reread late last year, after reading WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE.

  • Yves Meynard Says:

    This is very good news indeed! So glad you’ve found a better balance between your job and your art. For selfish reasons too, if it means more books sooner…

  • Lindig Says:

    Yay! Your own hours make a big difference, don’t they? I used to work as a typesetter for a journal publisher, normal 9-hr day, 5 days a week. Total deadline driven job. Spent the whole weekend sleeping, just to get relaxed enough to get up and do it all over again. Last two years at that job. Makes me tired just thinking about it. Enjoy yourself!

  • Lindig Says:

    *lasted* two years (yes, my nickname is fumble fingers — why do you ask?)

  • Brian Says:

    To identify the quote you can either:

    1) Be erudite, steeped in literature, have an encyclopedic knowledge. Or,

    2) Hop onto Google Advanced, enter “insist on your cup of stars” as a phrase, and read off the result in the first search result.

    Guess which of the two I am.

    Don’t do it, Eleanor told the little girl; insist on your cup of stars; once they have trapped you into being like everyone else you will never see your cup of stars again; don’t do it; and the little girl glanced at her, and smiled a little subtle, dimpling, wholly comprehending smile, and shook her head stubbornly at the glass. Brave girl, Eleanor thought; wise, brave girl.”
    ― Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House

  • Jason Cleaver Says:

    8 Minutes?

    When I was at my last position, my morning cuppa went as follows: two Assam (or english breakfast teabags in a medium sized mug not filled up all the way, left to steep for 10-15 minutes. Once time is up, take out tea bags and dilute with a little cold water. Add one and half/two teaspoons of Xylitol sugar (made from birch trees), stir and drink.

    It woke me up alright…

  • pointoforigin Says:

    I’m so excited to learn that you have put your dastardly plan for ruling the universe into action, and that it’s working much better than the Death Star! This is brilliant–yay! Let’s hear it for momentum.

    But I’m afraid I have to rain on your parade a little and say that tea sounds quite abominable to me. Yeah, it would keep me awake, but–aack! ptui! Powdered milk?? SRSLY?

    • Rosemary Says:

      Pointoforigin —

      I KNOW! I normally abhor powdered milk, but somehow, in this concoction, it works.

      Use the good stuff, though: Carnation, not the local store brand.

  • Ha. You thought I was joking…. | Rosemary Kirstein Says:

    […] … when I said that whoever identified that quote would get a (small) prize. […]