August 22nd, 2019 – 330

I’m on 6 hours sleep as I had to go into work early again. The good news is no more of that will happen for a long time now. This was also the last of the time in lieu I needed to bank, so we’re all square once again. The bad news is I am exhausted and good luck getting any more work done today. It’s a good thing I’m so far ahead of schedule.

I’m a little peeved that my sleep schedule got torpedoed time and time again over this month. But I have plans to square that debt, all in in good time. For now I will concerntrate on keeping my tasks afloat and getting through to Friday. I would do my usual “book holiday on the Friday of a bank holiday weekend” trick, but no one is able to book holiday. 

Even though I’m feeling frustrated and a teeny bit vindictive, I’m in control of all the strands of my life. That’s true at least for the time being, and touch wood I’m pretty sure we’re climbing out of the crater now, not falling. The enrolment period will test that in a multitude of ways, but there’s no huge causes for concern yet.

I wrote another 1K of VOL last night; for now it’s proving a simple exercise. How long I’ll keep this streak going for god only knows, but I have to write in the moment, not fret about the future too much. I can at least gurantee that I have all my content to upload ready to go minus last minute tweaks right up to Christmas.

I need to start planning Christmas gifts on that note. That sounds super organised, but that does not gurantee I’ll have presents sorted soon. I’ve been trying to plan mum’s birthday present for months and I still haven’t found the right gift. This is something I get far too hung up on, but I do like to get it right. Not like with writing where I can redraft it later.

Got to survive two and three quarter hours and I can rest. I don’t have a ‘quiet’ evening, but it will be a tad less stress inducing. At least I have this blog to help organise my thoughts in. Funny in a way, as even though it’s a ‘break time’ thing, it’s one of the most impotant tools I have for focus and control of my work. Who knows, maybe someone will read it one day too.

August 21st, 2019 – 329

Keep chaining 7 hour nights this week, less than ideal. It’s not the worst chain I’ve ever had, but I did notice a quirk when reviewing my data for the last month. I have not managed to fall asleep before 11PM once since the end of July. That is, less than ideal. It also matches in perfection with another certain event. Put this way: since starting the WattCafe Minecraft server, I haven’t slept before 11 once.

Do I need a stricter curfew? So far as I can see, that is the only option at this point. If I could do my writing before the evening I’d be able to sleep much sooner. That’s easy to say, harder to implement. I do this blog in a quick 10-minute session near the start of the day. Then I use my lunch break as downtime, though only about 15 minutes. That leaves a slither of time I could appropriate to write, but I get engrossed in work and forget.

VOL is going well. A lot of the writing in the last few days has been brand new content. I knew I was not happy with this chapter when I wrote it first, and you can see that by scrolling back to the start of this blog. That would be a neat activity for you to try if you weren’t figments of my imagination, but hey ho. I’m sure you still appreciate my foresight.

I keep having evenings where I say to myself “heck yes, I can do 5k tomorrow!” and then I wake up and I’m dead. I do not cave and let myself write late into the night, but man do I wish I did. Heck, I do that with Minecraft. Thing is I shouldn’t do that for anything, as much as I crave to complete VOL and jump into TSS full time. I need to start focusing on my health in the same way I do on my writing again.

One week until Hamilton. I’m glad I’m not trying to finish VOL’s typed draft before then. It’s a day I can look forward to and not overthink, which is how it should be. Slow and steady, the finish line is in sight. For now, that’s September 17th. Or, whenever it is ready.

August 20th, 2019 – 328

Touch wood, am back in control. The last four months have been, unpleasent to say the least. I have not had my act together and to be honest, it’s showed. WHT still got to 100% in less than three months work. But my writing has time and again since the 1K project began proved the exception, not the rule.

That’s not to say I don’t have other parts of my life together. My finances are in incredible shape, my publicity work might be off at the moment, but it used to be non-existant. My appearence is doing well, and my mental health is far above the extreme lows that for a decade proved the norm. I’m not quite as willing to accept base rates as I was a year ago though.

In 37 days, 1K turns 1 year old. In that time I have written two books, may have one typed up in full, and have a growing online profile. My writing career is taking off, even if – ok I looked at the double f again *shudder* why does it look like that? It’s so gross. Sorry, ignore me. Well, ignore that, keep reading.

Ahem, my writing career is taking off, even if unpaid right now. The trick now is to use that to lift all ships. I’ve done a great job of that so far, but I need to redo some of the little victories that have slipped in recent times. I also need to figure out how to make my baseline a lot more stable, so that I can climb above base rate. Can’t run before I can walk.

As I predicted while writing it, I’m doing a lot of the current chapter of VOL from scratch. That’s ok. The story is a trippy one, so even a small tweak involves reworking huge chunks of how the multiverse works. There’s a reason after consolidating all my stories into one series VOL became a priority. The layer the characters sit on is the most complex for several reasons that are too spoilery to share.

Right, back to work. 

August 19th, 2019 – 327

Despite a weekend that pushed my mental faculties to the limit, I am fine. It’s rather embarassing when you consider how little happened how stressed I got. But then again, it’s not what happened over the weekend. No, it’s the stress that I’ve accumilated for weeks now without any real attempt at defusing. I want to figure this out, but I’m a little stuck in the middle of events.

Enrolment begins at the college this week. I have most of what I need in place for it, but I need to get my head on straight if I don’t want to burn out in the first few days. I’m closer to that point than I would like to admit, to the point typing this blog entry is taking more work than it should. That doesn’t bode well for typing VOL, and only gets worse when you consider what I’m typing.

The current chapter of the story is the one I am the least happy with. It’s a complex one to get right, as it’s a different take on the featureless room like the first chapters. The actual events are in theory the most spectacular of the book, but the trick will be capturing that. A lot of the character’s actions are passive, and I need to ensure the dramatic tension stays ratcheted up.

I checked our online markbooks today. As it stands, I am the only participant on the writing course. I hope that more people sign up, I do not want to lose that as a thing to look forward to. This is not least because if all goes well, I will make the day of the course starting the deadline for VOL’s type up.

A lot going on in my head this week. I need to dwell on options and outcomes less, and focus more on not drowning. Being able to breathe is good.

August 18th, 2019 – 326

My mental health suffered this weekend. Today I consumed three times my daily calorie allowance. That was from a mixture of stress and trying to avoid smashing things, so to be honest it’s for the best this way round. Still I’m not gonna lie, today has been a mess, and I may book a week off in the new holiday allowance period to get away.
 
Except, that’s the rub. It doesn’t take much observance to look over these entries and spot a pattern. Even without my private diary – more or less this, with more expletives – it’s hard to ignore the obvious finding. I get super stressed out by weekends. The reason is simple: I became obsessed with playing Minecraft. I have an obsessive personality, and once again it’s lowered my quality of life.
 
The other day, I did put on a 2 hour timer and limited my playing to that. But to be honest, I need a few days away from it to get my head on straight again. This is a great analogy for writing to be honest. I used to write in the same manic all day bursts, until my stress levels broke me. I’m not even enjoying the game anymore, and that when it came to writing led to long breaks.
 
Taking a break from a game means I have to find other sources of downtime. Doing the same from writing set my work back years. Ok, sure my work had time to improve, and I’m glad I found 1K when it reached a high quality, but still. While yes I am super stressed out, I’m grateful that I never have to feel this way about writing.
 
I’m annoyed I wasted my weekend upsetting myself like this. It’s going to be a long and grueling week and I needed this time off bad. Flat isn’t as tidy as it could be, and I need to do some clothes washing tonight as I’ve kicked that down the road a bit much. This is the stuff that suffers when my obsessions latch on. I’ve never managed to control them, except for 1K.
 
Applying everything in moderation to my life as a whole would do me a world of good, but that’s a ways off. I’m shattered, but once I’ve done my writing I’ll sleep and recoup best I can. Won’t lie, if I ever do manage to go full time with my writing, I do worry a little it about the loss of work as an anchor point. I do not want to slip back into the days of old.

August 16th, 2019 – 324

 

When I get home tonight, I will set a timer on my phone. That timer will be for two hours, and in those two hours I will play Minecraft. This is not a preward. 

I’ve not gone into a lot of detail on here yet about why I dislike prewards. Suffice to say, an indulgence before you do a meaty task does not increase willpower. Now on the face of it, what I’ve described above sounds like the definition of a preward. Up until last night, I would have 100% agreed with you on that front. That’s not least because I lost track of time and hit target in the early hours a lot of the time.

It turns out the distinction is subtle. I – ok sorry, real quick side note here. I just noticed that when you put two fs next to each other, the font I’m using to edit this adjusts the height of the first f. I assume this is to improve readability but it is triggering me on so many levels. Time to change the third word of the paragraph to distinction. 

Ahem. Turns out the distinction is subtle. I am not prewarding the writing. I’m rewarding the eight hours I spent at work doing my job. It never occured to me that I don’t care about money – despise it in fact. When you combine that with not getting paid until the end of the month, and it’s no wonder I’m burning out. You have to reward hard work in some form.

Willpower is a finite resource. You have to find ways to work with the stress of the mundane day to day if you are to have the mental space to be creative. Sure, I’ve gotten by so far without that, but why? Why force it when I can make this so much easier, and improve my wellbeing?

If I produce 1K between TSS and VOL each day, I will reach my last deadlines of the year with time to spare. I’ll make this much more pleasent if I treat myself with a smidge more compassion in the process. Right, back to work for now. Gotta earn those mining sessions.

August 15th, 2019 – 323

Sorry for the late post. I know, I know, I post at gone midnight some days, so 1 isn’t that late, but I don’t like to post late. I had to go into work for 7:30 today, and my brain is in such a fuggy state that I’m struggling to get my tasks done for the day. I am on top of my workload and haven’t fallen behind anywhere, but the dread is there. 

So I did the maths, and worked out a neat little fact: if I treat VOL and TSS as one project, I need 114K to finish them. I have 120 days until my deadline. That means if I don’t want to work on one, I can work on the other. That’s pretty sweet, as the two projects could act as release valves for each other. Also, I suspect when my health bounces back, I’ll do more than a few multi-K days of TSS.

On the subject of my health, this obnoxious early start messed that around, but on the whole I’ve been doing great. My only major problem is a small amount of drama I’ve had to deal with within the WP community, but that should pass now. It’s not a big deal, but it has been an unneeded drain on my mental health. 

I want to rest, but I also want to write, and I want to go play on my PC at home. While I’m sleep deprived, those three are messing with my head and making it hard to concerntrate. It’s frustraring, but that’s a fact of life. None of those are that suprising. This is a pure annoyance rather than legitimate grievance.

I’m going to quarantine Sunday so that I get some time to myself. I’m knackered, and as much as I’m doing by best to stay positive, I am getting close to the f$@% it moment. An early night tonight will help a lot, but it does also mean I don’t get to go on the PC for as long. And, it’s all for naught if I don’t get my writing done before the late evening. 

Right, back to work. Oh, and I realised that I want like 200 bells in Minecraft. That would be fine, iiiiiiif you could craft them. Le sigh.

August 14th, 2019 – 322

My brief time off helped me gather my head again more than I realised. I had two days off, and in truth due to a degree of drama beyond my control I lost one of those days, yesterday to be exact. That’s a little annoying, but it happens, no sense getting upset over it. I’ve learned getting frustrated over even the recent past makes the present harder.

So onto writing, and on that score all is on track. I figured out the compromise I needed to balance TSS and VOL, and it is deceptively obvious: why not both? It sounds a little convoluted, but letting myself switch between the two in a more freeform way means a lot. For one, I can take steps away without losing productivity. If not more important then indespensable, it also means I can ditch the 28th deadline. 

Let me clarify what that 28th deadline was all about. When I wrote in the past, I found having an event that I must finish before made the motivation much easier to come by. Back in late March, I found out that we as a family were going to London in the evening of the 28th of August. Sounds nice right? But why the long term notice? That, was because we were going back to the room where it happened.

It shouldn’t come as too much of a suprise that I am a huge Hamilton fan. Given the characters in WHT and the fact I’ve gone on about it before now this shouldn’t be news. Getting to see it for a second time is a huge deal for me. This came as I felt myself stalling at the end of VOL, so I made a promise to myself, and that’s where this deadline emerged.

I would finish VOL and WHT before Hamilton. This one deadline spawned my release schedule, my dive into WattPad, and much more. One day I may look back at this Hamilton event as second only to September 27th in significance. But, it’s not infallable. I bit off far more than I could chew, but not in what I challenged myself to do that first day. After all, WHT and VOL are both long since at the 75K threshold.

No, later when I came up with my schedule, I told myself I could also type VOL before the 28th. If there’s one lesson I seem incapable of learning, it’s that I do not type fast. That’s where I am right now and I accept that I have this flaw. Sure, in future I will work on this a lot more, but that will take a long time. So I’m revoking on that commitment. 

I will though be releasing VOL on October 26th. If it takes me up until that day to finish the typing so be it, but I will endeavour to finish long before that point. But rather than burning myself out on VOL attempting that and then switching to TSS, again, why not both? Yes I know, on the surface that sounds more intense and stressful. In reality, dualing projects done right takes pressure off both. 

Yesterday I wrote the first sub-1K of TSS – 986 words, with 250~ of VOL too. I’ve, dreaded this project for a long while now, but on the prologue at least, it’s flowing smooth and clean. I will have to wait and see if that continues, but my confidence shot up when I started. Goes to show the old addage in all its forms is true: the easiest cure for fear of a blank page is words.

August 13th, 2019 – 321

Today was the deadline for WHT. I of course finished the story about a week and a half ago, so that’s great. Saying that, I now have a choice at this time on what to do next. I have two avenues, and I’m not sure which is the best option. Both are typing projects, and both have to be done soon. Interestingly enough, both deadlines are quite close.

TSS has a deadline of December 13th. That’s baked into the “new 75,000 word book every 4 months” model I’ve set myself as a lifelong goal. Oh and for the record, I’ll write longer stories one day, but alongside 75k ones. This won’t include collaborations.

Oh on that note, I really want to do a collaboration with someone on the WattCafe server. Not sure how that would work; it’d need to be someone else with zero pride of authorship. I can’t stand that trait in writers, and am glad I never succumbed to it.

Anyway aside over, the other option is typing VOL. Now here’s where that gets interesting: VOL is due at the tail-end of October. Now if I worked on VOL up to that point, I’d end up with only one month or so to do the entire TSS rewrite. But, VOL does have to be done by then.

At first glance, this decision makes itself: VOL is the priority. But that’s not the whole story. See, VOL needs to get done, but TSS needs far more work, and all the time I can give to it. But here’s where that gets interesting. I think that TSS won’t take me all that long at all, because a lot of it is going to be free-typing.

One to think on, but my gut tells me at least for the remainder of the month I should work on VOL. But one to think on.