May 6th, 2021 – 953

It’s weird to be sitting here at the end of an election day I’ve not done any work on. True, I’ve never worked on a European election – and guess I never will now – but yeah, I feel, guilty? Sad? I don’t like elections but it’s not as if that’s why I participate. I just need to accept this one was a bit different. I hope we did ok.

Writing is still pretty slow for the low mood. I ended up putting on Minecraft a little while ago and I’ve just been fishing to try and relax, listening to The Wandering Inn. Is what it is.

May 5th, 2021 – 952

I bought the most adorable little chess table today – I’ll append it to the end of this post – so that alone makes today a success, even if I already achieve that via 1K anyway. It’s not in great condition and needs, a lot of TLC at some point if that’s even going to make a difference, but I don’t care because it’s cute and I love it. I also managed to do my last leafleting batch for this local election cycle, which feels weird as I have done three delivery routes, no canvassing, no work in Langney at all in fact. This is the most alien election I have ever felt involved in. In terms of votes only the referendum really beats it out.

MAL is going well, I think. I’m a bit wary that the last couple of chapters don’t need-need to be there, and they’re mostly fluff. I may need to rehome or adapt them in some way to make them fit the narrative better and allow for a proper break into 2 moment, but that’s future-me’s problem. I can practically see him shaking his fist at me now for my hubris. But whatever, a draft is a draft, and I haven’t enjoyed writing a story like this since I wrote TFS, which is kinda sad because that was a year ago. Looking back, writing WAN, TWR and then TWO twice one after the other was a horrific thing to do when I was already feeling lousey; they’re not exactly cheery books.

Right, imma go pass out now after my row. Oh on that note, today will be my 11th day in a row. Heh, row.

I’ll see myself out…

Also have table:

May 4th, 2021 – 951

Well today was a little less successful than the last few, but that’s ok. I’m actually glad to only just hit target as oppose to blasting past it, as that makes a worrying precident to live up to. But today I also feel I have an excuse to be a little out of it tonight too: vaccinated. Arm hurts for some reason, but to be honest, I’m in a great mood. Things are looking up. Staying optimistic, getting on and getting by. All I can ask for really.

May 3rd, 2021 – 950

Fifty days to go until the big day, and on my current pace, it’s not out of the question I’ll finish writing MAL before I reach that milestone. And I’m writing this at twenty past six, so I’m working within reasonable hours. I feel pretty darn good all in all, and I am stoked that things are going as well as they are. Mum made me a cauliflour curry for tonight and I’m celebrating this home stretch to 1K1K and successful bank holiday weekend with good food, good cake, and some peace.

But the best part about today came in a text a few hours ago: invite for a vaccine. I’m getting vaccinated at last, and man, even if it’s just part one that’s such a good feeling I can’t stress enough the joy it brings. I’m getting vaccinated, and after that just one jab seperates me from being able to live without paranoia of long covid or any of the nastiness that can come from catching the wretched thing. It’ll be worth feeling naff afterwards and I’m all here for it. But all that’s to come, so for now, I’m gonna rest and relax. Things are going alright.

May 2nd, 2021 – 949

Really sorry about the short and late post yesterday. Ok I don’t know why I’m apologising, but, well I guess I feel I should post more than that, and on busy days it’s not all that viable. Sure I could have, but I find it more authentic if I blog before midnight and don’t then add to it. But it’s just about to go 5pm as I type this, so I have all the time in the world. And that’s after writing 1,750 more words of the new book today. I’ve hit 1,100 extra words for May and we’re 2 days in. Now I won’t, but if I did keep that pace, this would be a borderline NaNoWriMo month. Again, not aiming for that, but it’s nice to hit that stride without trying to. When I saw my wordcount for today I actually swore out loud I was so shocked.

I was doing a lot of delivering today, and that helped my general mood too, because I love walking around. I miss going on long waks and just, feeling relaxed and carefree. I put on an audiobook and just lost myself in the experience, and it’s been a long time since I could say as much. It matters, it matters more than just as exercise because it’s a form of freedom. It gets you space not only around you but inside your head, and I have been starved for that these past few months. Still feel shaky on some things, but on the whole, I feel stronger, less overwhelmed, and more optimistic. I hope this is a more permanent shift.

There is one thing that makes me feel a bit more sad though. Yesterday, Southend United were relegated from the Football League 2, and thus out of the professional leagues. I haven’t talked much about sport on here, but I’ve been following Southend since my dad first took me to see them on August 24th, 2002. Southend beat Oxford 1 – 0, a feat that sadly didn’t happen either times they played this season. It’s sad too because the idea that not all clubs survive that kind of relegation setback isn’t lost on me either, and I don’t want to lose that important part of my life. Trying to stay positive though. Focusing on the optimism best I can.

April 30th, 2021 – 947

April comes to a close with a final wordcount of 38,200 words of main story content, 3,500 of journals, however much I rambled onto here and a few odds and ends meaning this was a great success of a month. January finished on 38,800, but with the addition of an extra day in that month, April is by far my best of the year, and my best in the last twelve months at that for a different reason. If you look at my daily totals – which you can’t as I don’t have anywhere I publish them, but I guess I could do that – you’d see when I sprint to the finish, I often bank 4,000+ words in a single day, which throws off the month by making it look more productive as a whole than it perhaps was. This month, I didn’t sprint to the finish on TWO, the last day being just 1,400 words, less in fact than I wrote today. Take out each month’s best day in fact, and only one month beats it: February 2020.

February of 2020 was the last time I was truly ‘ok’. Work and home were kept away from one another on pain of cruel and unusual torture, I was sleeping and eating well, banking 6,000+ steps a day without effort and socialising regularly. And then the world ended. It was a bit like four years of progress in all walks of my life were erased overnight, and I’ve barely advanced back one year of that since in the last few months. And yes, 1K held, was the one thing that did to be honest, but I became less healthy about how I banked higher monthly totals. Even the idea of a sprint to the finish went from a ‘nice to have’ to a taken for granted boost. This month, I learned why a little each day is better than a frantic dash for a better overall score. I learned to stop thinking about those higher totals and just, enjoy hitting target.

So while April might not be my highest total for 1K in a month, this was without question its greatest month. It was enough, and it was good.

April 29th, 2021 – 946

So for the 4th day in a row, I broke 1,350 words. You might expect this to be a wonderous occasion, and I guess it is in a way. I haven’t made this kind of pace in ages, and to be frank it’s only 300 words or so off of NaNoWriMo pace. That’s great, right? Well, kind of. I do not mind extra productivity – lord knows I feel mine took a major hit in the last 13 months – but there’s a term that I have for this kind of scenario that sums up why I am reticent about it. That term, is ‘1K+’. Longtime imaginary readers will know what I mean by that without any explanation, but for those of you I’ve made up who don’t know, allow me to explain.

So the year is 2019. You can go see loved ones without fear of giving them the plague, Dogecoin trades for about 1/5th of a cent, and a certain naive young writer gets cocky. He’s on the verge of the unthinkable: a thousand words a day for a whole year. I know right? Insane. Unthinkable. I mean yes plenty of people do it and a lot of them write more but, if you knew this guy, this is uncredible. No not incredible, this beggars belief. And yet, in his heart, there is this faint dark desire, the word that inspires the most suffering in this modern age, even if people don’t realise it.

More.

He gets an idea. As he’s not writing main story content every single day, and would like to increase his pace, the only logical solution is to move the goalposts. He’s already done this in fact, on day 120 putting his diary entry post-target so it’s never used to hit target – though never explicitly ruling this out as to future proof himself – and then on day 133 starting a blog that would in time amass a mindblowing 18 likes. This blog he also decided didn’t count towards his thousand words, and so, he thought ‘hey, what’s moving the goalposts on target after all that? Why not 2K for a week?’

This was a mistake.

Oh he did it, he even wrote 3K days. And then, his body stopped working for two weeks and he ended up bedridden. This is because he probably should go to the doctor some time and get an actual medical check up done but he’s only asked for that three days before today-today’s post so good luck doing that in 2019. The moral of the story was that 1K was enough for a reason. It seems arbitary, but when you delve into 1,000 words you realise it’s just enough effort to matter, but not so much it burns you out. And so, less than a month after the crash, he started writing main story content every day for target instead, and wouldn’t you know it that actually worked.

Happy ending. But, here I am, chaining if not 1K+ numbers then at least stretched ones. It’s more akin to the journal leap I suppose, but I am hoping I don’t get stuck in a rut where I feel I have to hit 1,350. I don’t. 1K is Enough. There’s something satisfying about hitting 4 digits that the extra 350 words adds no value to. Also 1.35K does not roll off the tongue. So yeah, this is an achievement, but one that gives me pause for thought. At least the story is going well. Also I swear every character in my universe is LGBTQ+ and, I do not have a problem with that, but it does amuse me.

April 28th, 2021 – 945

For the first twelve years of my writing ‘career’, I had one surefire tool that I used when I needed to focus on writing a lot. I’d plug in my earbuds as far as they’d go and all but gurantee a loss of hearing in less than double my years by blasting intense music as loud as it would go. I have no idea why I was so reckless, though I must admit that self preservation wasn’t a concern I had in my late teens and early 20s. I am a little less dumb now, still doing that but rationing out the tinitus-inducing sessions. But what’s curious is what happened when I intvested in my over-ear bluetooth headphones, and to be more specific, what kept happening when I forgot to hit play.

So the pair I own are cheap. I dropped £50 on them so not cheap-cheap, but for audio quality and build strength they are very much lacking. That’s ok, I’m a cheap person and even then I still agonised over buying them, but for the last close to three years they’ve served me well, and aside from a little wear and tear they show no signs of stopping. Of far more interest however, is the feature that I actually bought them for: noise cancelling. Ok so they’re cheap so it’s not blackout, but it’s a significant improvement. I felt I needed that for working in a busy office, and saw a close to immediate improvement from them. But then, I started forgetting every now and then to hit play on my song or audiobook, and discovered the blindingly obvious: dulling all noise really helps concerntration when you’re sensory-sensative.

And then over the last month or so, I made a more staggering discovery: I write far faster if I have the noise cancelling on, but nothing playing. I can write with any noise in the background: other people, music, heck I sometimes listen to an audiobook while I’m writing. But dulled ambiance with the low hum of the budget headphones blocking low level noises, that it turns out trumps all. I think while I can write with distractions, I work best when I get rid of all of them. And you know what’s most embarrasing about this discovery? I already made it over two years ago.My little 1K mantra poem literally has the line:

“Remove distractions one by one”

So yes, this post is me calling myself dumb for not noticing this sooner. But hey, if any of my imaginary readers would benefit from inproved concerntration, turns out cheap noise reducing/cancelling headphones do improve things. I’m sure someone could benefit from hearing that. You know, if they can hear it, if they’re wearing, you know what that joke is so half baked and I’ve worded that so bad imma abandon that one before I begin. Also on the subject of imaginary readers, it’s a little, weird, how unimaginary you’re all starting to become. But if you’re reading this, hi. Also why?

April 27th, 2021 – 944

Well today marked a turning point of sorts in my recovery. Yes writing late, though I actually finished up pre-11pm. Yes I still had super bad fatigue, and also felt ill a lot of the day – no not that. But something happened today that hasn’t happened in, a long time, pre-Covid really. For the first time, I got to the end of target, and I had to hold myself back from going on and on. I hit 1,350 in the end, but, I feel like I could have turned out 3,000 words without too much effort. That would mean a late night and it’s not worth it – I’m in no rush. Even so, that drive to write more than I need to, not just to bump up numbers or sprint to the finish, but because I was having fun, it’s, been a while.

To be clear, I enjoy writing. I didn’t used to enjoy it before 1K, because I had this mindset that it was a Foustian bargain: I could turn out a bunch of words, but I knew in my heart they weren’t great, and that I wouldn’t be able to write again for weeks or even months as another depression cycle began. The writing didn’t cause those cycles, disorder did, and that’s part of why the depression came back with such force when the world ended. I may be resilient, but I do not like change. Never have. That I’m finding enjoyment hints that, on some level, I’m finding order again. I have suspected it for a while, and you can see that in the last three weeks of posts but, I think today was even more proof.

There is of course a catch. I am tired, very tired. We all are right? It’s a slog right now even as the world unends around us. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel but, funny thing about hope, seeing it just out of reach can be worse than not seeing any at all. That holds true even as it grows ever closer, as rates drop, as treatments at least seem to work. The fog of the future is dense, and hope won’t be within reach until it lies in the rearview mirror. So while I’m less interlectually drained after my week off, earlier this month, emotionally I’m still on fumes, and that could see the whole new world order fall apart for me. I’m working hard to make that not happen but, it’s not like that has its own energy reserves. Energy spent keeping routines afloat untul they become automatic again is not spent on writing sooner, or on leisure.

But I want to stay positive. All that above, that’s me trying to be a realist, but in my heart I want this to be over and I think there’s a chance it might be sooner than I thought. I’m even rowing again, and my foot isn’t hurting too bad, which reduces the likelihood of a fracture. Bit by bit I’m fixing my head. I just need to stay the course, and keep my eye on the light at the end of the tunnel.