July 10th, 2020 – 653 – Day one-hundred-and-sixteen

Ok, new conclusion: if I crave take out late at night, an intense row cures it. That’s the good news. The bad news is if you’ve got a big calorie deficit and haven’t drunk enough water, it also knocks you for 6. Aaaand I still need to write. I’m about to right now, but damn do I feel rough. Even so, the row did help lift my mood.

Sorry for the short one. My mood on that note has been pretty awful all day, and I think I’ll go curl into a ball for more than my 8 hours sleep after my 1K duties are done. One week of my personal lockdown left. I’m gonna be ok.

July 9th, 2020 – 652 – Day one-hundred-and-fifteen

I’m debating getting up at 6:00am tomorrow. That’s probably a bad idea, but it would mean I could tune in to watch the Australian Speedrun Marathon as they do Simpsons: Hit and Run and Futurama the Game back to back. I mean yes I watch these games every single day or close to, but it’d be nice to tune in for that event and hear a different side to these people I follow. Also, Friday has at least one meeting I feel pretty bleak about, so I would kinda like to start the day on a high. All depends if I can get enough sleep.

Sleep has been odd as of late. I haven’t got a rhythm in the way I would like but for the last few nights I’ve managed 8 hours or more. I don’t function on less than that, and I do seem to have improved with earlier targets and the like. 9pm isn’t the earliest target’s ever been by a wide margin, but it’s better than after midnight. All well and good, but my big worry is how will this be affected when I transition back to living at the flat, which right now is 9 days away on the amended plan.

WAN continues to make me feel wretched, but hey it’s over 30K words now so not far left to wade through this figurative cess pit. Given how much lockdown broke my mental health, I never imagined I’d find something I was this much more desperate to get to the end of. I have also decided that whatever happens with WattPad and the Wattys, which I’m debating uploading all my books to at once to get 5 entries, I will never upload The Wanderer. If it goes anywhere, it’ll be this site, behind a password.

July 8th, 2020 – 651 – Day one-hundred-and-fourteen

Ordering pizza as it turns out can be healthy. Ok so it’s not healthy healthy but mental healthy, I think getting an 18″ chilli and pineapple – haters gonna hate – from Pizza 2 Night helped me find some calm in what’s been a rough old time for me. My work might be getting under control but my brain has been in freefall for almost a month, almost as if I decided it was a good idea to work on a project I literally despise in the middle of a pandemic that upended my life. Yes I’m moaning about The Wanderer again but hey, joys of imaginary readers: no one complains! Taking away the comments section was also a good move.

One thing I will say, I am turning out this book even faster than I expected. I did think disliking the story would perhaps encourage me to write more and faster, but I turned out 1,800 words at the end of a busy work day just now, and well, that don’t normally happen. I used to write a lot at night, but that was in the hazy 2-3am time-slot, where delirium waters down self critique. I hope that this is less about wanting to get through the book – or god forbid some level of affinity to it – and more me getting faster with practice. Really hoping on the latter bad thing.

So the Wattys open in a matter of days. Heady me of a year ago proclaimed I would ‘win the Wattys!’ this year. Closer to the time, I was getting less and less sure of that. It wasn’t just I was starting to be more realistic about how hard it is to stand out in a packed field, but also that I have drifted hard from the platform. You have to be willing to do a lot of self promotion, and while I can do that, I keep resisting it. It’s a flaw I need to get over; in my bio on this site largely unedited since February 2019, I said not shoving my work down people’s throats was one of my biggest flaws. Now, I’d argue it is my biggest.

This goes beyond issues of editing or publicity though. The Wattys announced they are only taking completed works. That is huge, because it gives me a gigantic leg up on the 2019’s. I have two completed works live and ready to submit with a bit of powdering up. My question now has to be, do I submit 2, or do I submit 5. I can with about an hours work have five finished novels live on WattPad. I could do that tonight; yes TSS and TFS need some work, but hey so do the other 3. If I’d known about this, I would have started The Whispering Rail and not The Wanderer, so that I could serialise the former as the new weekly content. The problem I face, is that I really, really don’t want to serialise The Wanderer. I’m either uploading the whole thing at once, or not at all.

I need to make a decision soon, but this could be a chance for a big break. I’m torn. And, if I do this, then I will need to have something to serialise weekly. Short stories maybe?

Guess we’ll see…

July 7th, 2020 – 650 – Day one-hundred-and-thirteen

I am not in my happy place, that much is for sure. Once again I’ve churned out in excess of the number of words for WAN that I set per day, and I even made up all the time I lost with int internet outage over night, albeit afterwards in a bid to raise my mood playing video games and watching YouTube until the small hours, which was, well a bad idea as I was on 4 hours sleep today. So yeah lack of sleep, horrible writing project and my toe still looks like a horror movie prop. Not a happy bunny.

On the plus side, I’ve been mulling my ‘year of editing’ idea a little more, and had a thought about how to approach it. It’s a little radical, but not too crazy all considered. I say radical, because it’s a big step backwards on where I am at the moment, by which I mean an all-projects migration into Scrivener. Without cloud saves the software faded from usefulness for me a long time ago, and I have no idea if or how easy they are to do now, but it is still the best editing tool out there. It also lets me divide up works into bitesize chunks I can focus in on in iscolation.

Not right away, but at some point, I’ll move all 6 novels: TUS, VOL, WHT, TSS, TFS and the 27K of WAN into one big document. From there, I’ll go one chapter at a time, reading and rereading them one by one to perfect them. I’m thinking if I can get into a discipline of a chapter per day, I can grow this into a sustainable addendum to 1K. The focus is on reading and tweaking, not adding words, but I’m still not sure how my willpower will enable or prevent this as a model. I guess I’ll have to wait and see. And hope that my key for Scrivener still works…

650 days. When I hit 500 what feels like a lifetime ago I knew covid might be coming to disrupt life. In my earlier entries, I talked about how I knew my mental health would deteriorate. I’m hoping at this milestone looking ahead, that I’ll be spending the next 150 recovering. This isn’t forever. I will have routine and agency back. Give it time.

July 6th, 2020 – 649 – Day one-hundred-and-twelve

Long day, made, oh so much worse by the internet. For once I don’t mean that God forsaken hellscape Twitter, which I washed my hands of – by which I mean I deleted all my tweets – a few days ago. Not because I had any dirt, even if the player blow by blow commander game in 250 tweets was weird. I just hate Twitter.

No today, our internet went out. Ikr first world problems, only it’s a bit more of an issue when your entire job uses the internet. As you can guess, I have internet back now. And yes, I’m still working to make up for lost time, and no I’m miserable about it why would you think I was ok? Why would you even ask me that imaginary reader? That kinda schtick is why the comments are off.

Anyway I’d love to stay and chat about how the Wanderer is now 26k of unadulterated sickness but I need to get back to work. At quarter past eleven. At night. Thoughts and prayers people. Always the night before team meetings…

July 5th, 2020 – 648 – Day one-hundred-and-eleven

I’m not quite ready to take the leap. While I’m not one of those writers who talks a lot about writing – outside of this borderline-narcissistic blog I hurl into the ether each and every day – I do occasionally talk about in in the real world. When someone is a painter or into drawing or to an extent music, these conversations normally follow a ‘what are you working on now’ trajectory, but if you’re a writer, the same question takes all the fun out each and every time, at least for me.

A variation on: “So what are you doing to get published?”

Let me be clear: I dream of living off my writing. At my current pace and assuming I live into my seventies I will write well in excess of two hundred books in my life, and that’s assuming I have to juggle that with full time employment. If I went full time, double that number, at least.I would love nothing more than to grind to become the best damn writer I could be. But, I am also a realist, and I know that making a living in entertainment of any sort is as close to impossible as a real-life job can be. Yes, astronaut is harder but they’re both in the upper 99th percentile of jobs that are hard to get.

But, if you never try you never succeed. So, why am I ‘not quite ready’? In a word: editing. I can now turn out a new novel every 75 days, and I’m only getting faster. I may hate The Wanderer – and edge closer every day to never publishing it in any form – but the numbers don’t lie: I am 18 days into the book and well over 1/4 finished. My average is moving from 1,100 words a day to closer to 1,250 or even higher. It is possible a year from now, 2,000 a day will be the new norm, though of course, only 1,000 is required: I never know when I’ll need to fall back, and it’s better to keep that minimum safety net in tact.

The problem is, that while I can turn out a first draft in 75 days or fewer, it’s a first draft. First drafts are not only bad, they’re awful. If you’re both stupid talented and stupid lucky, perhaps you turn out one decent full length manuscript first try in your late career. We mere mortals have to edit, and while I have no pride of authorship – remember, favourite review opened with ‘Nothing of interest happens in the first three pages…’ – I suck at editing. No that’s not quite it, I suck at making time to edit. Even putting a draft through HemingwayApp which is a start but can only provide robotic not emotive, powerful or compelling edits, seems beyond me most days. And my work suffers for it.

WattPad is a sticky example as I stopped being jazzed for it by the end of Unreachable as a platform and lost engagement that way. Even so, you cannot hide from the statistics: Unreachable swept up a ton of likes for a new author; VOL and WHT, have next to zero engagement or reader retention. Now, TUS also suffers on the retention front, but bear in mind that book needs a ton of editing too. And if I ever want to be published in the mainstream, I have to up my game on those edits. I’m putting out a ton of content, but it’s web-novel tier content, and I am better than that. So how do I make the time to get better here?

The answer is I don’t know. But that’s what I have to tackle next. Nail that, and I might have a chance at that dream after all. 1K is great, but burns up all my motivation each day. So whether it’s by somehow making more motivation, or adding more incentives to edit each day, or selling what’s left of my soul to whatever demonic force isn’t preoccupied destroying the world right now, I gotta think of something.

July 4th, 2020 – 647 – Day one-hundred-and-ten

Sorry about the stub post yesterday. It was a long week, and my mood has not been in the best place of late. Work is busy but it’s not a problem; lockdown is still stressful but big whoop, it’s bad for everyone, and I feel I’ve dealt with it quite well outside of failing to save a penny because of comfort spending. No, it’s because of The Wanderer. That book is eating my mental health and, well, ‘passing’ the remains of it back into my mood. I toned that down by about ten degrees and it’s still the most grim thing I’ve written on this blog.

I’m going to need to come up with better ways to handle my mood. The opportunity to save is gone, but I cannot keep medicating my mood with a bank balance that wasn’t bursting to begin with. My feet ended up a blister-pocked mess which killed my walks, and I’ve become super lethargic as a result. I have to get on top of that or the weight is all coming right back, and the stone I lost in the last month will come back with a few friends. But I have to find a way to make this book more palatable at any cost.

I’ve been watching Hasan Minhaj’s Patriot Act on Netflix, which I’ve fallen head over heels for and do recommend. Finding stuff like this, like Hamilton, like Liquid and streams in general. So it’s not all bad. But whether it’s more stuff like these or a new source entirely, I need to level out my head and get back on stable footing. Somehow…

July 2nd, 2020 – 645 – Day one-hundred-and-eight

Long day; not a bad one, but as you might guess by the hour I have not maintained my chain of early targets. It’s a little infuriating, but it’s as much to do with not wanting to write the story as alack of discipline and carving out time. Is what it is though. The good news is I’m writing WAN in the face of that dislike, and another 1K closer today. All the same, I cannot wait for this story to be over with.

Tried taking my mind off things with some glitch hunting in an old video game and getting my old laptop working again. The latter is important as it fits in my satchel, meaning once I’m able to go outside later this month, I will be able to write on the go, maybe being one of those insufferable coffee shop writers. I could get behind that. It’s nice to have things to look forward to at the moment.