Things Distracting Me From Writing: February 2024

This is a photo of a copper-colored wind sculpture that is spinning around in circles in a garden.
This spinning sculpture at UNC Health caught my attention.

Happy Leap Day! I hope you have some weird and fun to do today. After all, we're not going to see this day again for another four turns around the sun.

As for me, I'm trying a new thing today. Something I talk to my therapist about a lot, and my fellow Americans who just "get it", is the guilt and shame I feel whenever I spend time on a thing that is not "productive". In the United States, in particular, we are conditioned from a very young age to "hustle" and squeeze as much efficiency out of our days as much as we can while we can.

Some of this ambition is worth keeping. Life is a precious one-shot deal with no do-overs. So, the drive to make as much of each moment isn't inherently bad. It's when we start beating ourselves up for resting or recharging or taking time to have fun that hustle culture becomes toxic. I mean, look at how many Americans take vacations that have days overbooked with activities and nights filled with binge drinking. It's like we want to have "did all the things" inscribed on our tombstones.

I struggle with the hustle culture mindset whenever I do things that aren't related to my writing. I tend to beat myself up for not investing all my free time into pursuing my writing dreams while conveniently forgetting that limits on energy and time are real. I totally deserve to enjoy some down time in my life. So, I'm going to try sharing my biggest distractions with you each month in effort to get the little hater in my brain to settle down a bit as well as to share a bunch of things I'm enjoying that you might enjoy yourself.

Good Things


Yeah. I'm dating again. For the first time since my traumatic legal ordeal in 2017. Starting with super simple things like coffee and desserts. But I'm hoping to put myself out there and find more adventure partners.

Making a wood paddle

I rent, and certain hobbies don't mesh well with apartment living – like woodworking. When an impromptu wood paddle-making class happened at one of my favorite kink places, I was like "why not". Outside of drilling holes for wall hangings, I haven't operated power tools in at least three years so it was fun to get some sawdust on my hands. The paddle still needs some hand-sanding and a good finish, but I'm pretty happy with how the shape came out.

A hand is holding a wooden paddle shaped like a giant curved knife.
Not bad for someone who hasn't done woodworking in decades...

Parties and friends

I got to go to some fantastic parties this month and catch up with some friends who I haven't seen in a long time. Two of them recently got married, and I was so happy to see their gorgeous faces. A friend also took a very sexy picture of me at a party that I'm super happy with and will treasure forever and ever.

Not-So-Good Things

Medical crap and dealing with doctors

I'm struggling a lot right now with some misbehaving nerves and body parts. So I spent time with more doctors this month, even though I'm beyond tired of the healthcare system from last year's healthcare escapades. I also caught one of those colds that just kind of latches on and lingers for weeks and weeks.

Anticipating fat shaming and overbilling

Whenever I interact with healthcare providers, I have to prepare for inevitably fighting with them. As a plus-size person, every new provider means a new chance at having my issues be ignored or downplayed because of my weight. In the past, I have had to end appointments early, refuse bariatric surgery that was offered to me unprompted, and argue doctors into corners just to get half-way decent healthcare. Also, in America, every new provider is a chance for your insurance to be overbilled for weird office charges. As a result, vetting new providers is a significant time investment and I spend a lot of time on the phone trying to ensure that when I show up, the appointment won't end with me stomping out in a fit of rage. That's why I hate seeing new doctors.

Day job ups and downs

The economy is improving, but it's not improving quickly enough for my industry. We have some tough decisions ahead and while I'm not too worried about my own job yet, it's still weighing on my mind. I also may decide against going to the Writing Excuses retreat in Scotland this year out of an abundance of financial caution.

Things you can borrow or buy

That time I Got Drunk and Saved a Demon

This book was so wonderful. It actually made me laugh out loud, which is REALLY hard to do. As someone who writes comedy and who spent a fair amount of time around comedians in a past life, I have a pretty high bar for laughter. This book definitely cleared it.

I also loved how kinky the intimate scenes were. I would categorize most of them as light bondage and domination. The kink flowed pretty naturally through the scenes, and folks who enjoy scenes from a female submissive perspective will definitely enjoy them. The banter and sexy talk between the characters was also silly and fun while also being delightfully hot. Kink-curious or vanilla people will enjoy the sex in this book without feeling like they are in over their heads.

My only quibbles with the book include a problematic "take charge" streak in the male lead that sometimes has Fallon hauling off Cin without checking in with her on whether that's okay first. She's a well-rounded and powerful character but he occasionally treats her like more of a pet than a partner, and that just doesn't work for me. Also, the ending was rather abrupt. I blame the editor for that though. It seemed almost like they were trying to squish the book into a certain word or page count and the happily-ever-after was rushed a bit.

Overall though, highly recommend this book for anyone who wants a romance that is funny, kinky, and hot.

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The last video game system I upgraded to was a Nintendo 64. Ever since then, I have been repeating playthroughs of my favorite games mostly because video games are things I do not choose to invest a lot of my time and money in.

However, I couldn't ignore all the hype about Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. People in my life who aren't even video game people were raving about it, so I decided that once I finished my first manuscript for this series that I would treat myself to a new Nintendo Switch and a copy of Breath of the Wild.

I'm glad I made myself wait. Because this game. Is. DENSE. There is SO much to do in this game that once I started playing it, I knew that I would be a spending a minimum of three months on it. I'm not obsessed enough to complete every single tiny activity in a game (like I'm not going to collect all 900 Korok seeds), but I am enough of a completionist that I have played the game well past defeating the main boss.

Everything in the game is gorgeous and encourages exploration unlike any game I have ever played before. I have no doubt that I will be replaying Breath of the Wild over and over again just like I have replayed Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask. Highly, highly recommend this game and the Nintendo Switch.

I may be behind the curve when it comes to video games but this game was well worth the wait I put myself through. I also discovered that video games will likely be good motivation for me to write, so I'm already planning on rewarding myself with the sequel, Tears of the Kingdom, after I finish the next manuscript I'm working on right now.


If you're a fan of action films, kung fu movies, or Chinese action dramas, then you need to be watching Warrior on Netflix. This show should be, in my opinion, a leading drama on HBO. It is epic and definitely on the same level of other gangster-focused masterpieces like The Sopranos and The Wire. But because it was picked up for two seasons by Cinemax (which I had no idea did original content), and for one season by HBO Max, it hasn't really gotten the attention it deserved.

Fair warning: Warrior is intensely violent. While their violence isn't zombie-massacre-level horror, it gets gross. I definitely found myself fast-forwarding through a few parts because I don't have much tolerance for on-screen gore. The beautifully choreographed fight sequences made up for a lot of that though. Imagine the same amount of blood and fight choreography as Kill Bill, but with much more realistic consequences. That's Warrior.

Warrior has a much deeper story than Kill Bill does though. It's set in America in the late 1800s when racial conflict was setting the country on the path to the Chinese Exclusion Act. The writers deftly showed how the industrialists and politicians manipulated racial groups to lash out at each other rather than at them. It's a little sad that not much has really changed, and similar struggles with racism are still here in America today.

The balance and depth of the characters was simply amazing. Warrior is a masterclass on writing for such a large ensemble cast. Similar to The Wire, even the minor characters had intriguing stories attached to them. The worldbuilding was also superb with unique in-world slang and a decision to give the viewers a universal translator of sorts so that a modern American audience could more easily connect to the Chinese characters at the center of the story.

Warrior also handled female and queer representation very well, which are two things that gangster stories often fail at. Women in Warrior aren't just sexy pawns for the men to pass around. They are leaders, they are fighters, and they get to be on top in sex scenes. Ah Toy, a bisexual sword-wielding madam, was by far one of my favorite characters in the whole series. She got to be beautiful and a badass, while also still being vulnerable and aware of the limitations she faces operating in a world built for men.

Other queer characters in warrior were also similarly empowered. The Hop Wei gang quickly move on when they learn that Hong, one of their new recruits, is gay. Aside from one scene where Hong is confronted by a homophobe, the story normalizes Hong's gayness and he becomes a trusted lieutenant while still getting a chance to fall in love with another guy.

Warrior falls short when it comes to ableism and disability representation. There are only two characters in the show with visible disabilities: Father Jun with his "dead eye" and Buckley, a power-hungry white politician who had a leg amputed during the Civil War. Buckley at least gets a couple sex scenes and is a fully rounded villain. But this is one area where Warrior could have done better.

Who knows, maybe the show will do so well on Netflix that one of the streamers will order another season. I hope they do, because three seasons of this brilliant show definitely wasn't enough.

What's next

Even with all these "distractions", I did hit my writing goals this month for the next manuscript while still finding some time to edit the first one. So overall, even though my inner hater is trying to tell me otherwise, February was a good month. Maybe not great. But definitely good.

My birthday is coming up in March, so I expect there will be more than a few distractions. One I'm really looking forward to is this workshop on inclusive sex scenes hosted by Writing the Other. I also have an extra-long Easter weekend and may use that time for a writing and hiking retreat in the North Carolina mountains. It's been too long since I've spent time up there.

Feel free to leave a comment and let me know how your February went. Hope you have a fantastic Leap Day!