March 31st, 2019

I’m exhausted. I have written nothing yet. I will later, but right now I need rest. I think I may be pushing myself a little too far, not in my writing but the fact I don’t feel up to writing as much is a knock on effect.

I’m having the rest day I sort of got screwed out of yesterday and doing my fitness and words later. For now I will lie down and wait for my neck to stop hurting.

March 30th, 2019

I apologise for the late entry today. I had a restful morning – still up at 7 but much slower – in a bid to fight off the burnout I’ve been experiencing the last few days.

I hit target today a minute before I started to write this, which was 11:50, so this was a morning target. I’m not hung up on always getting target by midday, but it’s so much nicer to. And I can spend the rest of the day thinking about tomorrow’s bout.

On a related note, Chapter 8 is nearing its climax, which will lead into the final chapter of the story. It’s exciting to think I am this close to another finished first draft. That feeling doesn’t get any less satisfying, even if the first draft is the easy part.

Time to try to relax for the rest of today. And I swear to god if I have sit ups in my workout app again waiting for me later I am going to riot.

March 29th, 2019

This has not been a great last 24 hours since yesterday’s post. I’m emotionally exhausted and feeling screwed around, and that’s reflected in my writing, or the lack thereof.

Oh I hit target yesterday, so no worries there, six months of a thousand words a day in the bag, and I should be pleased with that.

Today I have written – outside of this post – nothing. Not a single word. I think I need to take things a little easy for today and tomorrow. I’m still going to write stuff for Volcano, but I might take a breather and explore Commaful or a different style like that.

I’m at work so won’t be writing a ton until later, but I will hit target. I’m just having a low time of things.

March 28th, 2019

One of my weaker weekdays on recent record, but I am ok with that. It would be unrealistic of me to assume I could always hit a thousand words within a far more limited timeframe than one day, though had I not needed to leave for work I would have kept going past 8:28am and would have hit target with ease.

So why was today a bad day? That’s not a fair question as I would argue it was not a bad day, but there were a few factors that impaired it:

  • My vision for the ensuing scene wasn’t as clear as it could have been. I had my plan for the scene written out on my whiteboard, but there was a lot of vague language. The real problem was…
  • The ‘scene’ I wrote up turned into at least 2. That’s a good thing as it gives me a lot more meat to work with – an odd thing to crave as a vegetarian but hey. The issue is I didn’t expand on the component parts enough, so the chase sequence started, and I had the familiar voice go “now what?”. The scene calls for a tension that I did not have a good enough framework to accommodate. That’s no big deal, I’ll rewrite the whole sequence when I type it to make it more intense.
  • I got to bed past 11. This one was because a friend was feeling vulnerable and I stayed up to chat to them. I stand by the heart of that action, but I should be being stricter about not looking at my phone after 10. However that will not always be possible and I accept that in this case, it was the right thing to do.

This continues to uphold my “asleep by 11 = easy target by 8:40” hypothesis, which I am keeping vague track of but might write-up in neat later if I start tracking my sleep schedule. All the same, it wasn’t a bad morning. I got 700 words, I’ll easily add 300 at least on my breaks, and if not I can pick that up in the evening even if this is not ideal.

I’m trying in a loose sense to twist the part of my mantra that says “finish up by 5 each night”, which was meant to refer to caffeine intake more than word count to be my goal when hitting target, but this isn’t a hard rule.

As today at work I am trying to figure out a complex SQL document with my limited self-taught coding skills, I think I appreciate the chance to get away and solve an easier problem like a high-speed snail boat chase with krakens. SQL confuses me more than that for some reason.

March 27th, 2019

Yesterday I hit 2,000 words, over that even, so my conscience is clear about the nonsense thousand I had to write for Chapter 8. I also started doing my clean up of Chapter 1, with a mind to upload to Wattpad and – if I figure it out – Commaful.

This has involved nailing down once and for all the size of my layers of the multiverse that now must be set in stone for the series. I had a few options:

Option 1 – The layers of existence are TINY

In this, the outer layer of existence is about the size of Mercury. This one had a lot of appeal – who wants to see the protagonist wandering an empty wilderness for a whole chapter after all – but it gave me no room to fill said space with anything interesting or fun. It also messed with horizons a lot more than I wanted to.

Option 2 – The layers are HECKING HUGE

This is what the latest draft has at the moment, and sees the outer layer being the size of the sun. That seemed like a lot of fun on paper, until I started playing with the maths and found I was pushing suspension of disbelief too far. Ok so the story sees a man fall through existence with a – future – talking garden snail, but in a way that’s why the reader has to be eased into the nonsense a little. Also this made my final chambers a little too big for the “final layer” feeling.

I should explain at this point I’m modelling the multiverse on Fibonacci numbers, so it gets smaller by half between most layers, with the “1, 1” being the outside and inside of the heart of existence respectively. This is because I like Fibonacci numbers and it’s my multiverse so I’ll build it how I darn well want to.

Option 3 – The layers are, reasonable?

The specifics of this model are that the “Inner” layer – the one that looks like Arthur is home – becomes Earth sized. This takes away from the trippy nature of this layer, but is a nice segue into relative size within the layers. My thinking is that the layers size is reflective of Arthur’s perception, so is not really any size at all. He sees it as having size, but he is within what is for intents and purposes a singularity, so screw it, easiest solution wins.

This makes the “Heart of the Multiverse” a bit smaller than the dwarf planet Vesta, and I think that works for now. This is the size of the final battle chamber from outside and from inside, and the small orb that is the Heart itself will be about the size of a small gothic church. Don’t ask why I’m using that as an example, I drew a blank on what Heart-sized objects exist in the world. Tweet me a better example my non-existent reader.

Back to my day job now. FIngers crossed I post later today.

March 26th, 2019

I’ve hit 1,656 words so far today. That sounds really impressive, but for reasons that won’t become clear unless you read Volcano one day – and my future editor tolerates my sense of humour – 1,000 of those words do not count. I could count them, they are normal words and they are part of the story. The issue is they are all a little too, similar.

Turns out even when you have every word already planned out it’s harder than you’d think to write 1,000 words. In fact, I found out an interesting potential hypothesis: not knowing what you’re going to write, and thus needing to think as you do, reduces your brain’s focus on the physical actions required to write, meaning your hands hurt less. Weird if perhaps one day useful factoid to test.

So today I will have 2,000 words of Volcano to show for my troubles, and 3,000 total of the penultimate chapter. That’s surreal and wonderful in equal measure, and feels pretty sweet. That also means I am 15,000 words off my minimum requirement for finishing Volcano, so that gives me immense satisfaction. It’s a first draft, and even when I type it and it becomes a second, it needs a hell of a lot of work. But I am proud. Today is a good day.

No surprises, but I got to bed at 9:30/10. I think my theory is holding its own.

March 25th, 2019

My theory is getting more and more evidence by the day. I never respected how much impact the time I went to sleep had, fixating on the amount of sleep far too much. I think this added a tension to when I woke up, and meant even if I got 10 hours, if I was sleeping at 2am, I was anxious on waking how much I had to do in the time I had, with no routine to act as comfort.

Writing that out makes me think, well, “no sh-” but I avoid swearing on my blog because, professional image and all so I’ll let you complete that one imaginary reader. Getting an early night on its own was never enough because where was the motivation to do anything with it when I woke up? It was an excuse to lie in until 8:20 anyway, then roll out of bed and into work. Given my size at times, ‘roll’ might not be a metaphor.

Today I hit target at 8:22, a new record that I will smash tomorrow. That’s not over-confidence, I have the dumbest scene I will ever write to do, and it is 1,000 words long. I have the entire text already written in my head, which sounds a lot more impressive than it should. When you read Chapter 8 one day you can see why for yourself. But it is the closest to a rest day I’ll ever have with 1K – excluding when I later type it up, but I do not think I’ll count it that time as it will take 2 minutes to do, if that – so I’m taking it.

March 24th, 2019

Yeah my little theory that later nights mean later writing and it gets a lot worse even with small pushes, is holding up. I’m under half way to target and it’s 11:10am, so I’m even writing this late. I was at 0 at 10am and for a while afterwards too. Was for a good reason – I was keeping a friend who is going through a rough patch after a break up company – but the disruption of getting to bed at 11:20pm was real, and brutal.

I’m able to recover from this by being efficient with today, and it is Sunday, which has become my favourite day of the week. It’s a relaxed day like Saturday, I feel more rested because I let the tension subside on Saturday, and I have Linda McCartney Vegetarian Crispy Duck as my Sunday dinner, which has become one of my favourite foods. It might even be my favourite at this point. Plus it’s got a metric ton of protein, so great veggie food.

Despite a rocky start I feel energised to finish writing Chapter 7 of Volcano today. The next two chapters are a bit like one long action sequence, so it’s going to be an exciting bit of writing for me. My target is to produce at least 20,000 more words of Volcano spread across these two chapters and an epilogue. If I manage to do 1K of Volcano a day, that puts the finishing line for the first draft right on my birthday. I am fine with not managing this, but if I did, it would be amazing.

No harm in shooting for the moon.

March 23rd, 2019

Had a slower Saturday. I started writing around 10 ish, and I’m going to get into why in  a minute. I have hit target for today, and did so at 10:55, so still a good day, but there’s some useful data I wish I could track easier which I may attempt to now, for a hypothesis I could assume is true without testing, but may as well.

The time I go to bed affects how much I write and when I write in the morning the next day. This sounds obvious, but I think it’s more drastic than I ever imagined. If I go to bed at 9, and am falling asleep around or past 10 by a small amount, I wake up and write 1,000 with ease before 9am. If I shift this by an hour, I can do the same, but I end up struggling to start on time and end up spilling over, like I did on Friday morning.

If I shift it another hour still, the change is huge. I can’t write at 7:35, or 40, or even at 8am. I push too much fatigue in the way to wake my brain up with a coffee and breakfast. I end up playing catch up and hit target if I devote all my energies to it at about 11am. The key word there is “all”.

This is why on work nights, I need to aim to be in bed at 9. That valuable morning writing time is locked off to me if I do not, and if I push myself to 10 I add unnecessary stress to my morning. If I push myself to 11pm to sleep, then from 9am the next day I cannot devote all my focus to writing. I have a 9 to 5 job and until or if I ever make writing my main source of income, that 9am to 11am time slot is locked off to me.

I write my blog post at work, and I keep that to a ten minute exercise while some reports are using up the RAM on my laptop. I cannot justify writing more at work mentally because I care about giving my all to my job, and doing any less affects me on a deep level. My work is a passion, not a mere paycheck.

So I will try to track this in some way, and see if my theory holds up. Either way, what I can say for sure is I feel far better after an earlier night, so for that alone I need to start doing more of them.

March 22nd, 2019

I didn’t hit target before I left the house today. I only made it to 957 words. I just want to savour that moved goalpost for a moment, I only wrote 957 words this morning. I am well aware that I could slip back into late night writing, but far from being hard to stick at, my exercise routine has made it easier to motivate myself to write in the morning. The evening is now for a specific use.

My diet has been reformed from the ground up. 15g of protein powder in the evening and 600g of fat-free cottage cheese now make up the backbone of my intake, including the 300g of the latter that has now replaced breakfast.

All told this adds £70 to my food costs per month, but it also reduces costs in other areas that I’ve cut because of it. For one, and it pains me a little to say this, I am cutting cheddar and tortilla chips from my diet. My favourite part of the pasta bake is no more. RIP. Same goes for crisps at work, falafel, and a handful of other persona non grata. But baked camembert survives the purge, as it turns out it’s super good in my new plan.

This whole health revolution might be on the scale of 1K. That’s a pretty fitting celebration of the 6 month mark.