July 31st, 2019 – 308

5,000 to go, but last night while I managed to write target with WHT, I ended up staying up far too late playing Minecraft. At the same time I’ve been desperate to get back into playing more games for, years really, so I am more than ok with that as a problem. Also, I am no longer playing it by myself, but with a bunch of other people on my own Realms server. That feels pretty sweet.

I like being in control of the server because it means I can set the tone, which is one of share and share-alike. I have found 12 diamonds so far and given away 6, with three still there for people to help themselves to. I enjoy playing the game like this because it encourages people to get creative and not worry about stepping on toes. Pretty happy with how the group has come together.

So onto writing. I am going to write a scene today that I’ve mulled over in my head for years now, one of the first concrete scenes of the whole story. That should make it a little easier to do, but at the same time, it could also make it tricky to find the right words. While I disagree with anyone dense enough to say “planned writing isn’t real writing”, especially as I’ve yet to meet a writer holding such exclusionary views whose work wasn’t hot garbage, when you’ve mulled a scene for too long it can make it hard to tie all those thoughts together.

The good news is I have only 2 days of work left this week, so getting to that Sunday finish line should prove well within my powers to do. The question then becomes how fast can I type up the 40,000 words of VOL? I think if I really focus, I can do that before the 13th, but I won’t be too hung up on it. If I blow past that deadline I’ll just aim for the 28th or Hamilton day as its fast becoming known within the family.

So 28 days to finish one book and type another. If you told me a year ago I was planning to do that, I am sure I’d say “hell yeah”, but my mind would fill on the spot with doubts, scepticism and premature frustration. Now, that’s not even a huge stretch for me. Sure it’s 2K a day, but I type so fast that if I did all my first drafts in digital form I’d already have switched to “2K a Day”. But handwriting is fun! If painful.

July 30th, 2019 – 307

If I isolated myself for a day and put my full focus into doing so, I could finish WHT in a day at this point. That’s pretty amazing, but I do not intend to finish up the story that way for a few reasons, as from my experience that is a sure-fire way to burn myself out. It’s so tempting to ignore reason and go for it, but I know if I do that I will end up losing time to a recovery period.

Right now I can’t afford to do that. I want to see if I can get all-of-or-close-to VOL typed up before that August 13th deadline. In between and after TSS I want to get WHT typed up too, as there is one person who is alarmingly keen to read it. It’s a bit nuts that I am slowly putting together a mini fanbase.

Ok, “fanbase” is a stretch. It’s closer to friends who only know me through my writing who enjoy my work as part of their reading habits. Sam you literally just described a mini fanbase, but ok there is a small difference. As of now, I am personally cultivating each of my fans and persuading them to read my work. “Fanbase” will be more like I have too many to individual cultivate. Also can we please stop using so many adverbs in this post?

I did not end up doing any extra fan cultivation yesterday, and today is RP so I am more focused on hitting target before the evening ahead of all else. I need to change this up though. If I want my readers to snowball then I have to press the digital flesh a little more than I am right now. I’ve now got the “Regular Customer” tag on Discord so that will help, but I need to take it up a long way from there.

But for now back to work, and here’s hoping I can keep the WHT chain going.

July 29th, 2019 – 306

Can I just say how nice it is to no longer have to use Twitter? It’s been only a handful of days since I decided no longer to bother with the wretched thing and I feel like a new person all over again. I think it was – at least right now – a pointless extra weight on my mind. If I ever really need it I’ll go back, but that place is so unpleasant to even look at.

So I haven’t written yet today, but I am quietly confident I’ll hit my 11th consecutive day in a row of working on WHT, which if I do brings the remaining word count down to 6,000. At that point, I really could write the entire rest of the story in a day. I don’t intend to do that unless something goes bad in the next few weeks, but there is a chance that if I pulled off a small miracle and chained this whole week, I could have the story done by Sunday.

So I’ve been giving some thought to the process for working on TSS, and I think I have a good model. I am going to print off my final beat-plan for the story and put it in the front of the annotated version I have at home. I’ll then take this with me best I can wherever I go, and type the story with reference to the original. That means I’ll be changing just about every line as I go.

TSS sits at 41,000 words in that printed form, which on paper (heh) means that it should be a slam dunk to finish it well within the deadline. The only problem with that optimistic outlook is I haven’t touched the story in earnest for something like 5 years. That should be a good thing, as it will allow me to be ruthless in remodelling it. But it will also be gruelling to wade through my old prose and cringe at the many, many errors.

But for now, that and the typing up of VOL and WHT are off in the distance. I have a goal in front of me to focus on and I feel ready to tackle it. If I really knuckle down, I may have four typed 75,000-word stories by the end of this year, where at the start I had one that required tweaks. Still boggles my mind.

Yesterday I bid goodbye to my personal journal. For the last 301 days until last night, I wrote one private entry every single day of 1K starting from the 5th. I numbered the pages yesterday, and flipping through, it was funny to me how with a few tweaks, certain days written out as 3rd person perspective and a pinch of creative licence, you really could make that journal into its own novel.

I’m on the fence about doing that right now, but it is a heck of a story. Guess I’ll see what new challenges lie ahead first. But it’s nice to look back and see that I finally became the person I wanted to be.

July 28th, 2019 – 305

Today marks ten days in a row of WHT, which I just got my 1K entirely from, and the final day of my old private journal. That’s pretty emotional for me, and I’m still not sure what that final entry will be about. But I’m in no rush, I’ve finished in good time.

I feel a great sense of inner calm, and thankfulness for this journey so far. So much has changed in my life since I started this adventure almost a year ago. I’m now sharing my work, and getting recognition for it. I’m making writing friends. I have control of my life and my heart.

Life just, has a way of working out some times. And who’d have thought it’d just take a thousand words?

July 27th, 2019 – 304

Sorry sorry, yes I know it’s gone midnight but it’s been a long day. I’m ditching Twitter so you’ll note I’m now tracking days of 1K in the title. That’s because Twitter was just spam and it wasn’t doing me any favours. Plus I disliked having to open Twitter at work full stop. To be honest, I disliked having to open Twitter.

So I hit target with WHT which is great, and I won a freaking writing competition which is even better. Today went super well and I had a blast, but once again a late Saturday blog entry.

Well on that note, I’m now thinking of doing the blog differently. For starters ditching Twitter of course, but then with that gone there’s no reason to keep the 10am model or worry if I haven’t written before I blog. On that note, I’m going to start writing this as soon as I feel like it. Screw it right? It’s only really for me anyway.

Right I need to go sleep now…

July 26th, 2019

The WattCafe Discord server has a Minecraft server. Oh my, did that end up swallowing my evening or what? I ended up still doing WHT, so that’s 7 days in a row of 1K being exclusively that story content, but I am knackered now. I do not regret it, but it was still a little risky to do. That being said, I managed to build the beginnings of a giant library for the server, and a WattPad logo to boot.

It’s Friday, and I am going to push back on all my weekend plans to make room for rest. Today, I am also going to try and make contact with an artist I really like the work of who goes by Onzuka88 (DeviantArt page https://www.deviantart.com/onzuka88/gallery/). The works Onzuka did for me before – my 5 core characters cosplaying as Planeswalkers from Magic – are stunning. I do hope commissions are open, but even if not that art is well worth the wait.

Right, so now begins the slow countdown to lunch. I am so hungry right now, but I want to use some restraint so that I can have a big lunch. At this rate, it’s debatable I will make it that far. But here’s hoping.

July 25th, 2019

I’m feeling pretty out of it today, despite being on track with my sleep, exercise and diet. My guess is that I am suffering from the heat, which is great because it’s not like I can do anything at all about that. Sigh.

I have chained 6 days of WHT, which means if I manage to write a thousand words of that today, I have a full week in the bag. That would be pretty sweet, but while I am feeling like this there is a high likelihood that I will fail to do so.

I’ve found in the past when I get to this point in a project writing becomes a whole lot easier, which I hope offsets the slow-down from the heat, but suffice to say this would be a whole lot easier if I didn’t have a day-job in the way. Just another incentive I guess to keep working towards a goal of writing full time.

The good news on that front is that TUS is on 300 reads and 100 votes, which is a pretty insane ratio. I do need to push that higher though, as I am not going to climb the tags on WattPad without nailing this. What I also need to do is review my tags, and which are the most popular tags on the site as a whole. I’m hoping that I will still be able to benefit from those kinds of changes changing the tags this far in.

I should go do another review binge too, I have not done one in a while, and I have a couple of things to review in my backlog which I promised I would do. That could be a Saturday job, but it’s grim that – yet again – huge chunks of the time off I’ve earned has been poached without my consent. But such is life; at least I can shame those people here, my imaginary readers are on my side.

July 24th, 2019

Today is interesting. Over the last few weeks, I’ve had good periods and bad, and right now I am in a positive productive phase. As a result, I am writing WHT most days, and on several shooting over the 1K threshold. Well, right now there are 11,631 words to go, and I have had at least one 1,600 days this week.

That means WHT might drop from 5 digits to 4 by the end of today, or if I chain two good days from tomorrow. That is nuts, and the idea that I have this story almost complete when I worried a historical piece would stall me out makes me feel pretty darn good. Not much comes close to finishing the first draft for me.

Right, back to work, and here’s hoping I can keep up the pace. I’m feeling in control.

July 23rd, 2019

300 days. By the time I hit target today, 1K will have lasted for three hundred lots of my thousand-word minimum. Doing the maths that – funnily enough – adds up to 300,000 words in the last just under a year. In reality, there have been plenty of days – including yesterday – where I wrote far in excess of that total. Last night I hit exactly 1,600 words, which with the 400 or so I had floating since my last count up, brings WHT to 62,000 words in length.

I started WHT from scratch in late April, so in just under three months to have that total, I’ve averaged over 20,000 words a month, with the remaining 10k~ from each of those being short stories, VOL and TUS additions, and various smaller pieces. I sound like a bit of a broken record, but that is still insane to me.

This time last year, I had one “finished” novel with too-long chapters, one 40k mess that needed tidying, and a bunch of ideas, and that was the sum total of what, 6 years of half-hearted work? I would write in bursts for a few months and then, nothing. And now, I have a 45,000-word encyclopedia of my extended universe, one fully edited novel, and two ready or almost to type up.

That 40k~ mess though, that’s still here and is what I will be picking up as soon as WHT is done. That is The Spectrum Sings (TSS), a novella in its current form of that length, but will be getting the same treatment as all my other books. What will make this one interesting, is how I will be developing it.

Any long term imaginary readers will remember months ago when I got this story all printed up in a form I could annotate. I’ve chipped away at this bit by bit, though not much of it so far. Come August 13th, I will be typing this whole previously typed up story again from scratch, and extending it as I go.

This gets particularly interesting when you consider this likely won’t take anywhere near the full allotted time of 120~ days. In fact, it should all be done by November. So I have a question to mull: given I’ll be on track, and have a free month, do I jump right into my next story – The First Stroke (TFS) – orrrrr, do I attempt NaNoWriMo?

My gut says the former. I imagine there is so much noise around NaNoWriMo that it’ll be tough to stand out for it. Also, I don’t like rushing stories. I give myself four months at the moment, and my goal one day would be one month, but that’s for if I ever do this full time. At that point to make a livelihood I’ll need to do one a month.

So why torture myself for a sub-par first draft that won’t be part of my main series? Unless I come up with a great answer to that question, I cannot do NaNoWriMo. That, and I don’t want to. But I do need to raise my profile. The Discords are a good start, but there is a level of toxicity that wards me off. You know where this is going, so let’s load the forums now and try, try, to make sense of them.

July 22nd, 2019

Yesterday I messed up. I wrote a 5-word blog post and never bothered to hit publish. The disclaimer I wrote when I published it late – earlier this morning – was longer than the darn post. But none of that matters to be honest, as given the state of my mental health the last few days, for that to be the one mistake I made is nothing short of a miracle.

I made a pretty stupid mistake before my mini-breakdown happened. There’s a book – well no, there’s more than one, but this one is the worst offender – that I am not supposed to look at. I know this, yet sometimes I forget how important it is to not touch the wretched thing. I assume that I’m being silly and if I read it this time I’ll be fine.

And every time I do, I am a wreck within minutes. In the past, touching this book has been enough to throw off my mental health for as much as weeks at a time. This time, however, I had 1K on my side. It threw me out of whack, but I didn’t drop a day of 1K, and only failed to write WHT on the day itself. By having a neutral goal to focus on, I was able to rebuild at a time where in the past, I would have been too busy falling apart.

So yesterday, the strangest part of this whole weekend was I forgot to hit post on my blog, because I was busy working on my stories and busy with family and friends. Given in the past, breakdowns have seen me isolate myself and stop doing anything, it blows my mind that the one mistake I made was for the opposite reasons.

I now have 14,600 words of WHT left to write for the first draft. It’s surreal to reach this point with any novel of any length, where I know I could finish the whole thing in a day if I chose to. I have no intention to do something that jarring, but with 23 days till my deadline, I feel pretty great about where I am.

I am still not being active enough on WattPad. I am doing bits and pieces and thanking new followers when they pop up which is something I didn’t keep up with very well when I started out. I have one series on my to-read list, but it’s 10 books long so that will keep me busy. But I need to tackle those forums, as much as I really do not want to.

One day I’ll stop moaning about ^ that and do it. Probably not today.