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.

March 21st, 2019

Whenever I have a good day, it gets followed by a bad one. I wrote words to that effect five years ago, when a good day had to be 2,000 words plus, and was often followed by multiple days of no writing at all. I still held onto that sentiment for a long time, even after I started 1K, with “good” coming to mean I hit target in a reasonable time frame. By that logic, yesterday was a good day because I hit target at 8:35.

So today I haven’t written much of anything right?

8:37. Two minutes behind, but I started ten minutes later. I am not a slave to good and bad days. I am not bound by internal entropy that forces me to fall into disorder after a taste of what could have been. I smashed my exercise targets yesterday, was in bed long before 10, kept my food intake to a healthy level and didn’t rush myself.

So you know what? That isn’t a “good” day anymore. That is my standard. I may not hit 1K before 9 every day, but I will in principle keep up the front-loaded model. I will keep the fitness routine and expand it. I will find a source of protien that doesn’t make me gag.

I can do this.

Oh and I will get published. At some point.

March 20th, 2019

I haven’t done any writing at all at work today. I haven’t needed to.

Hitting target before I even leave the house for work is a goal I’ve talked about for a while, and for a long time it’s been more joking than real; how was I going to achieve that?

I did so at 8:35 this morning. For good measure I made it to work with time to spare. And here’s the kicker: I did this after I started my intense work out routine yesterday, on top of a trip to the shop and back. Far from exhausted, when I treated all of this like a work out – on top of a proper work out routine back at the flat – I felt great.

I think I’m on to a big change here.

March 19th, 2019

Starting to get back into the swing of my morning routine, which means from the evening that disrupted it – March 15th, with some additional disruption on March 16th – it took between 3 and 4 days to almost get back to normal.

I am still kicking off ten minutes later than I would like, at 7:45 as oppose to 7:35. That sounds pedantic, but when I can write a hundred words in that ten minute gap that makes quite a lot of difference to how much work I have later in the day.

As it stands, 606 is a good place to be at for this time of day, though I’m reluctant to call it ‘Par’ as I find benchmarks like that tend to leave me in a comfort zone where I’m less inclined to push myself. The more I can make the morning productive, the more I can do with evenings down the line; if I write full-time one day, maybe I could be doing 2K, 3K or even 5K, and this will be a vital part of that.

On that note, I have slowed in my submissions. Really I’ve stopped, and that’s because I find the act sets my anxiety on edge. I have to get used to it, and it’s not like I get that anxiety when pitching to loads of people; it’s trying to pitch to an individual, when it’s so hard to get any support from those around me to check my work first that is nerve-wracking. I’m confident I have a professional product, but I can’t help but worry.

So today, I need another 400 words for target, I haven’t done any more of that commission yet and I would like to keep that to ‘in addition’ like these blog posts and my private journal, and assuming I get all that done before 7, I can relax and enjoy RP without outside pressures.

I’m hoping that once I right the ship, I can start looking at the next step I want to do better on: diet and exercise. Allow me to ramble for a bit my non-existent reader on this topic so I can get my own thoughts straight:

I am debating investing in some scales. This is probably a bad idea as I am liable to become obsessive about getting my weight down, and to be honest I’m not out of shape to start with so that could end in bad ways. However I do want to experiment whether I can push my healthy lifestyle up a notch to capture some more energy.

Some context: I have a condition known as hypermobility. It is a common condition, but for those unfamiliar among my imaginary audience it means my joints are way, way too flexible. This means I have to make a lot of conscious effort when it comes to posture, general movement and exertion.

I’m fortunate that I do not suffer dislocations like more extreme sufferers, but for me the main symptom comes from the exhaustion that I am left with from frequent tensing, and in addition muscles that are so tense that my movements are restricted. Think a body builder but without the nice body to go with it. Go me.

So my diet is reasonable; I eat three times a day, with breakfast being a new addition only becoming regular in the last month or so, and only consistent for about a week and a bit. I take my own lunch to work, and this includes an apple, low-fat crisps, and a dark chocolate Kit Kat. That much I feel is fine, though I could ween out the crisps.

Here’s where the question marks appear. So in addition to the above, I try to bring a baked bean curry to heat up. It’s a simple recipe, madras paste, baked beans (duh), potatoes, spinach and rice. The issue is I end up not making this on Sundays, and then on Monday I have to supplement with the canteen’s food. Which is poor. Which also leaves me poor.

This is unfortunate, but the real problem starts in the evening, and is a bit of a catch 22. I end up being exhausted in the evening, which is far from a rare problem, and like many people I struggle to find the willpower to cook. I do still do it, but I end up eating later, which is less than ideal. The food I cook isn’t unhealthy, but here we hit the elephant in the room.

I’m cooking for one. ONE PERSON. And if I’m honest, when I was cooking for two, I was making enough for FOUR. So my portion sizes are, well, awful. I should say that I’m being a tad hyperbolic here, and that I tend to at worst have seconds, eating maybe 1.5 times the amount a person should eat. But 1.5 is still more than I should, so I have to fix that right?

Well, yes, except remember I said it was a bit of a catch 22? Well the reason for that is the only reason I end up with energy at all is the large portion sizes. I burn a ton of calories each day, and if I try to cut back, I hit the brick wall so fast I’m more or less out like a light.

So I think what I will do is hit my 400 for today – words now, not food calories, I’m not starving myself – and then use any downtime I get afterwards to look at how to ween myself to smaller portions, whilst still retaining enough energy not to pass out. That seems like a great goal to move on to now I’m confident I am nailing the sleep routine.

Wish me luck.

March 18th, 2019

Hot-desking is one of my least favourite things to do with a PC, and a favourite without. It’s unfortunate that my job kind of requires the PC. It’s more so that there’s no PC for me to hot desk onto in Lewes.

Work woes aside today has been a good morning. I’m still struggling to recapture a 7:35 start time for writing, but I am 480 words into target and that’s pretty huge. Long may it continue, and with luck I’ll also do another thousand on a commission I’m doing for a friend later too.

I’m tired of trying to do my job off my phone, time to go beg to get let into my old office…