September 30th, 2019 – 369

I am not doing so great. Last night I ended up on 2 hours sleep, and you better believe I am feeling the harsh reality of that today. It’s frustrating, but it happens. I burned out pretty bad, and need sleep. I’ll go to bed as soon as I get home; as soon as I have done my writing that is. I didn’t write any of VOL for 1K yesterday, so feel pretty bad about that. You know, despite how my entry yesterday was all about why that’s not a problem.

I would love to write more VOL today. As it is, I doubt I will, or that I should. I am struggling enough to focus on writing this blog after doing the majority of my work today. So what I need to do is write something, anything will do. Outside of work content of course as I do not count that. Or this blog, an important distinction and one that I lement on all these intense days. But for now I’ll cut this short and get on with work. Here’s hoping I find time – and willpower – to write.

September 29th, 2019 – 368

This weekend was meant to be a reset button. I think it’s worked? But I am not in a great mental space at the moment. Yesterday, only 138 words of 1K were VOL. That’s normal; when I talk about efficiency percentage, that is days I write all of 1K as my main story vs those I do not. 80% efficiency is great. 70% is passable and sustainable. I have missed 4 days in the last 29, where 1K ended up as a project or short unrelated to VOL. At first, doesn’t sound great does it.

That’s an 89% efficiency rating. Why am I beating myself up when my pace this month is my fastest, ever. I have never had a month with this many words. And that’s if I only count the words I wrote of VOL. Those four days, I wrote a total of 3,900 words of non VOL words, taking this month to new heights. And on zero of these days did I miss target, nor in the 340 days before. So why is it, that I feel like I’m not doing well enough?

So an aside here; earlier this week, I was so hacked off with my stress at breaking point, that I ordered take out. I know right, shocking. But really it did have implications. It meant that I had to shave £10 off of my weekly food shop this week, and as I walked around the shop I felt like an abject failure, not because I couldn’t buy the little things I like, or had to ration out what I buy out of routine.

I felt awful today, because I felt I’d let myself down and wasn’t trying hard enough. This despite managing to save well over a thousand pounds in the last nine months. I spent hours today feeling glum because I caved into a £20 take away. Big whoop, why get so down? Well, it’s the same thing. I look at those moments of weakness the same way I look at minor story burnout. But there is a key difference. I should feel a bit dumb for wasting that £20. I can’t help story burnout. It happens. It passes.

I’m still going to try and write some VOL tonight. If I do not, I’ll write something else and move on. I need to. Know what else I need to do? Write earlier in the day. I’ve gone over this time and again, going as far as writing a mini essay weighing up the pros and cons of earlier writing. Pro won in a landslide. In hindsight, of course it did: if I write earlier, I can relax the rest of the day. If my willpower reserves are higher in the morning, why wouldn’t I want to capitalise on that?

*sigh* I cannot focus tonight, so I should give in and write something else. You know what happens to my efficiency if I write less than all of 1K as VOL? 86%. If you took the gross number of words written, divided it by the number of days, and assigned that to target, it clears 100% with ease. But if I have one reason to push for VOL at all costs, it’s the fear of creating a new norm, where I drift from the story. Question then is, am I meant to let that happen…

September 28th, 2019 – 367

So now I’ve blown past my deadline again for VOL, I think it’s time to accept the fact that – whilst I work a full-time job – it’s unrealistic to type up an existing story and write a whole new one side by side. I could for say, a few days, but the burnout would hit me like a freight train. That does alter the pace I can work on new stories, though if I can get just a teeny bit more efficient then in time I think I can write a new novel every two months. That efficiency would also come from letting the first draft sit at nearer 60,000 words though.

So why is that? Well when you rewrite a book by typing up the whole thing, you find yourself going off script a lot. You riff, rewrite, move things around and sometimes look at a whole page and go ‘Nah’. It’s a lot easier to kill your darlings if you’re forced to type them up for a second time, and even more so when you then plug them into Hemingway. But what I’ve found time and again, is when I type up an existing work, no matter how much I try to be ruthless and cut stuff, it ends up longer than the original.

I’m glad that VOL is now two paragraphs off of being 90,000 words long, even if that is 15,000 more than planned with more left to go. It means I can cut more without worrying about going under-threshold. Of course, if I had more time, I could re-read and decide if adding words might suit it better after that step. There is nothing stopping me doing that after uploading it to WattPad though and adding 10K makes a book eligible to enter the Wattys for a second year in a row.

All the same though, while I do enjoy reading 100K, 200K and even the odd 500K story, I love keeping a tight narrative. The story feels like it has less waffle, more focus and deliberate choices. I can’t speak for you my imaginary reader but I know I prefer prose to not go off on one and get so lost in the B story it may as well become the main plot. That could be a bias I inherit from film I’ll concede, but even so, I’d view it as a positive stylistic choice rather than a flaw. And yes I am well aware my favourite book Jane Eyre is the total opposite to what I’m describing yet I love every second of it.

Still surreal that we’re on year two. Given 1K took until February – three months – to hit its stride, and it was not until WHT took off in May that I got to a workable pace, I should turn out at least three novels between now and September 27th, 2020. If I do decide to do NaNoMineMo, then it could be four. I’ll be honest though, in my current health that might be an awful idea that will backfire on me for months afterwards. I’ve got a month to decide, so guess we will see.

September 27th, 2019 – 366

One year.

On September 27th, 2018, I was lost. I felt my most alone in years. I was exhausted from moving home – again – moving job – again – and feeling I had no control of my life, no matter what I tried. I was a billionfold more organised than I had been years before, and it meant nothing.

Today, I’m stressed sure, and I have my dark days, as we all do. But I’ve never felt more alive and in control. The only difference between now and then, is the 400,000~ words of content I’ve written in the meantime. I’m going to write this first day of year 2 soon, and it’ll be a thousand words.

Regular imaginary readers will look at this with some confusion. After all today I was going to try and shave off tonnes of words wasn’t I? You’re not wrong, but I realised if I did that, I’d invalidate the whole point of this lifestyle. On any given day, I could push myself to write 5,000, 10,000 heck even 20,000 words as once I did almost eight years ago.

But 1K isn’t about writing loads in a day. Dates are a lifelong obsession for me – hence this anniversary is special for me – but if the project has taught me anything, it’s that what I write today doesn’t matter. It’s what I write in the next month. In the next year. In the rest of my life. So to honour 1K no, I won’t sprint to the end of VOL. I’ll write a thousand words. And then, I’ll sleep, with today a resounding success.

Here’s to many more to come.

September 26th, 2019 – 365

When I write target today, I will have done it. 1Y1K is tomorrow, but today will mark 365 days in a row of a thousand words. I can’t help but wonder how many words I’d have if I’d started this years ago. Then again, I may not have been able to do this until last year. It was a long journey to get to the point I had the self discipline to do it, and even now I still have a lot to work on. Earlier targets, better efficiancy, more outreach to the community. There’s a long way to go yet.

Speaking of a long way to go, I was only able to write a thousand words yesterday, as I am burned out from my ‘1K+’ project. That was a dangerous experiment, but if I keep stress training it in bursts like I did last week it’ll get easier. My tolerence will grow in time, but I won’t be raising target any time soon. That said, I would like to see writing a novel in 3 months becoming the new norm. At least I’m close to this now.

One area I am doing a lot less well is my diet, which got screwed hard this month. I blame work. Heck I don’t care if someone from work sees this because it’s a fact: stress causes weight gain. That said, I am getting to the point where I am dominating my job rather than the other way round again. I’ll get back in the driving seat, but I’m going to need to run a calorie defecit soon to correct for it. But not yet, last thing I need is even more stress.

Back to work. One more day.

September 25th, 2019 – 364

Long, long day. This won’t be a long one, but suffice to say I managed 1K of VOL yesterday and my mental health is near to breaking point. It’s a good thing I have 1Y1K booked off work because my emotional exhaustion has reached peak. I’m gonna have a short nap and then write. Keeping things slow.

Will all be worth it.

September 24th, 2019 – 363

In spite of the hectic world this week has fast become, I am for now still on top of my work queue. I’m a little amazed to report that I am also for the most part on top of my writing. Another two and a half thousand in the can from yesterday and I’m confident of a repeat performance. The only part that has slipped for now is the final edits on TUS’s last ten chapters. That’s not a small task, and I do need Chapter 39 at the least done for tomorrow afternoon.

It looks as if VOL’s final wordcount is going to be about 95,000 words, where I aim for about 75,000. That means I will be ruthless in cutting the less entertaining or essential content. I want the finished product streamlined and fast paced, and should manage it if I shed about 10k of content. I’m happy to shave up to 20k. That’s not a task most authors enjoy, but I love hacking huge chunks out to get closer to the sculpture beneath.

Health wise I was a bit dicey yesterday, and by about 4pm I was in a rough state of mind that see-sawed for the rest of the night. I do not want that to happen again. It shouldn’t, as I am on enough sleep and have a workable plan to survive the day and get all my tasks done. Even so, I have to be vigilant that if burnout approaches, I have to ease off until it passes. The last thing I want is to back myself into a stress-related sick leave corner.

My Trello has seen better days. I have a lot of temporary columns that need trimming back, and a whole queue of “to tidy”. I already lost my chance to send in a meter reading when it fell into that abyss. I want to minimise the further casualties in any way I can. 1Y1K will be a day that I hope sees me get my home ecosystem in order. Who knows, Trello might follow as a natural next step.

I have neglected my food tracking a lot this month, and I need to stop that. I’ve already seen my average move up two kilos and I want to stop that ascent as soon as possible. I’ve wondered for awhile about a food diary or online version where I record not what I eat but when I’m hungry. Fitbit already tracks the former, but I want to know when I’m struggling to concerntrate. I have a sneaky feeling it’s going to say 3-5pm with big warning signs. If my imaginary readers know of an app or site for hunger tracking please ping it at me.

That’s all for now. VOL should get close to if not its final chapter tonight, and then with luck clip off some of the next too. The project is coming together well, and I can’t wait to share it with my audience on WattPad. Then I can sit back, relax, and type up the other two novels waiting for this treatment. Then I can write the other ten in the series. And I guess the 86+ I need after that. They say 99% of novels fail – a monetary concern I don’t care about. If I want to make money out of this one day though, guess I have to write 100.

September 23rd, 2019 – 362

So here’s where we are. By my estimation, I have 14,000 words of VOL to go. On my board at home, I have 7,500. This disparity comes from the extra content that I’ve added as I went through the rewrite. That’s ok, but I need to take a moment, even this far up against the wire, and find the story I want to tell. Yes, I can pull this out in further rewrites, but in the same vain as “measure twice, cut once”, I’d rather not have to rip it apart. 

If it’s not clear from my fractured sentences, the office is full of noise today, so my focus is a bit fractured. It’s a good thing I have the Epic Rap Battles of History to block it all out. I have a hige workload to get through and I don’t know how I’d do it otherwise. This is going to be one of those weeks that I apply the rule of “What phone? Oh sorry I missed your call…”, though if I had things my way that would be every week.

The other reason this is reading a bit too much like stream of consiousness is I slept pretty darn bad. I’m taking ‘clearing 6 hours by a few minutes’ bad. On my second coffee, but I guess we’ll see if that’s enough. Given I want to plough through a lot of words as well as my paid work and, well a lot of other stuff, this is a coin flip. Heads I fall short. Tails I fall short. Edge, then I may have a shot.

September 22nd, 2019 – 361

So ‘1K+’ hasn’t been the worst thing ever. I’m a bit drained, but I’ve gotten a lot done. That all said, there’s a bit of a problem, and that’s I don’t think I should rush these chapters I’m writing now. There’s bits and pieces that I keep finding and going “Oh, so I have to cut that now?” My gut says they’re a bad idea to get rid of.

Well, the crux of it is I have 7,500 words to go by the breakdown on my whiteboard. But it’s more like 14,000. Maybe 13,000 if I’m generous. I can get it to nearer 10,000, but as I said above, that cuts quality content I like. So I’m gonna say it now: I don’t care about the deadline, I care about doing the story right. Therefore, screw the deadline.

Almost. See I’m going to work as if I need to hit it, but focus on reading the first draft more and try to be smarter in what I save. And on the 27th I can write a bit more if I need to. It’s a day to celebrate writing, I doubt I was ever gonna just write 1Ks worth. I wrote 1.5K tonight so I’ll need at least another 500 somewhere.

I think deadlines are great, but they can mitigate the whole point of a total rewrite. So I’m going to prioritise getting this right over starting TSS on time. On that note, if TSS has to have its deadline moved to December 31st then so be it. I want to work fast, but if a book’s worth rewriting it’s worth rewriting well.

September 21st, 2019 – 360

Super tired, long long day. I would like to start doing actual posts and at a reasonable time on here on the weekends, but considering I slept till 1pm it’s not that surprising that I didn’t kick that off today. Is what it is. Here’s hoping I get a better night’s sleep tonight.

I’ll do a bit more writing now first though. With luck, should get pretty close to having 1K of VOL for every day left soon enough, and bring this project in for a smooth landing as a result. I’ll try and update more tomorrow.