September 20th, 2019 – 359

I didn’t write the extra 1,500 words yesterday that I have on other days this week. That was because I could not do that, and get to sleep at a reasonable time. I was preparing to write it anyway, and then it hit me that I was letting my former bad habits get the better of me. That I used to rush as many words as I could and then burn out is not a reality I want to return to. Sleep must always come before any extra words.

The good news is that I have 13,300 words left and 8 days to do so if I want to stick to the 27th as my deadline. I should manage that if I manage a handful of plus-days. If I don’t hit that deadline, I will still be more than close enough to finish before the end of the month. Having a whole other novel ready to go, or at least ready to prune rather than build is a great feeling. I love tinkering and improving a lot more than the actual act of writing.

Funny thing is, that love is a relic of one of my other old bad habits, the other side of the coin. I’d rush thousands of words in a short space of time, then pick and prune those words for months, at times even longer. It would give me some level of satisfaction, but no real progress. But I’ll be able to indulge this a little once VOL is ready. I will need to focus on TSS, but tweaking VOL will be a nice downtime action.

I’m pretty busy at work, so I’m going to focus back on that now. Wish me luck. Man do I need the weekend.

September 19th, 2019 – 358

Today has been a day of people asking the wrong people. The wrong people in this instance, is me. Given the sheer levels of chaos all around at the moment, this is both inevitable, and hard to untangle. So all in all, today is one of the most stressful days this week and it’s only 10:22. That’s a good start.

Today is going to be a test on all fronts long beyond the working hours of the day itself. I have yet to start 1K for the day, and we’re still in ‘1K+’, the little experiment to see if I can still finish VOL by the 27th. Again, have to stress, that deadline is not set in stone. If I miss it I miss it, and the current chapters do not get uploaded for months yet. All the same, it would be a huge weight lifted if I did get this banked long in advance.

So why is today any different? I hit at least 2,500 words each day so far this week beginning Monday, and I’ve found a good rythem: start at 9PM~, go till 11. Well, tonight I’m at dads, and there is at least a reasonable chance I’ll only be at home at 9:40, and may not jump into writing. It might be 11PM before I even start. That’s, a problem. All that adds up to a two hour delay to sleeping, and I was asleep at gone-Midnight last night. So, 2AM…

I’m not sure what to do. I’m not bound to ‘1K+’, so today could be an exception. That’s all well and good, but there’s no gurantee I’d have the motivation to start again on Friday. I could write after 5PM as I’m not at dads until 6:30, but my willpower will have depleted to unusable levels at that point. Getting to a thousand words in that timeslot is hard enough, and then motivating myself to do it again? At 10 it will be like doing the whole thing again from scratch. 

This isn’t helped by the fact I’m hungry and tired as it is. I’ll have a small thing for breakfast after I finish this, but man do I wish I burned enough calories to have a proper one. But raw economics nips that, eating in the evening is much cheaper than eating in the morning, simple as. I may need to reevaluate this though to find a better solution, as working hungry saps a lot more willpower. Of course if I were more aggresive in finding a path to paid writing, this whole problem becomes moot. But that’s a whole other problem to get to later.

September 18th, 2019 – 357

So far the ‘1K+’ week is going, spectacular. Like, beyond my wildest expectations. Even if the last two days stood alone and I now went back to only 1K, I’ve given myself a huge boost on where I was. 5,650 is a great word total for the last two days, and when you add the 1,000 I banked on Sunday, that’s close to a weeks total. Not shabby at all. That said, I’m not content with patting myself on the back. There is no reason I cannot do it again tonight.

In a funny way, having this arch goal to focus on is making this week – one I expected to be painful – much less so. I’m not fixated on all the work that I have to get done in such a small space of time. That’s, also funny as my response to that situation was to pack more work into that small space. Never let it be said that I am a creature of logic. Either way I don’t care all that much, if it works it works. Making sense is far from a priority.

I’m close to writing up the easiest scene in the entire book soon too as a bonus. While I’m tracking as if I have 16,800 words left, it is in fact only 15,800. When you read the book my imaginary reader you will see why as soon as you reach it. A little bit of fun with perspective, but also indicative of how important one of the characters is. Anyway that’s enough being cryptic, but suffice to say 2K will be easy when that day comes. As the scene is within my grasp, I may be doing so today.

Right that’s enough daudling. Now back to work. May take a break later and see how many extra words I can crunch out, but only if it won’t add to the stress of the day. We’re on top of this.

September 17th, 2019 – 356

One of the skills I have managed to hold onto to my credit is my tolerence for monotonous and repetitive work. This week is that in a nutshell at work; today will be all VLE imports, and then the rest of the week all Markbook building. I’m ignoring my phone and only responding to urgent emails. That’s a good step, but it hasn’t blocked out all the noise. After all, everybody’s priorities are the most important things in the world ever to them. To me, 5% might be above ‘this isn’t even me, why are you asking me about it…?’

But hey, nature of the job. I’m doing my blog entry today as a bit of headspace to break it all up. I’m also listening to The Knife of Never Letting Go by Partick Ness to get away from it all. The narrative devices and use of unreliable narration is a real work of art. I still haven’t listened to the 2nd or 3rd book because the first one, well it kinda messed me up when I first listened. But I need to stop letting books do that, and I like the book so I’m giving it another try.

On VOL, I managed to write 2,450 words yesterday. If I do manage a week of so called ‘1K+’ then I’ll finish on time, and I should be able to. All the same I do need to be careful about burnout. I do have a plan to break it up though, and it involves the job. By about 3pm I should have all the VLE imports done, and at that point I’m going to the library and do a bit of typing. I’m hoping it will prove theraputic.

On VOL itself, I’m toying with the idea of breaking the story up into Parts above Chapters. In specific I’ve added them at the end of this post. This could count as a spoiler so don’t scroll down if you don’t want to know.

For now, I’m going to get back to work. Wish me luck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Proposed story parts for VOL:

  • Part 1 – Outer
  • Part 2 – Inner
  • Part 3 – Meaningful
  • Part 4 – Visual
  • Part 5 – Physical
  • Part 6 – Fundamental
  • Part 7 – Heart
  • Part 8 – Home

September 16th, 2019 – 355

Ok, this is a hard one to write. I’ll cut to the chase right away, and say that I do not have 8,000 words to go. I have, a few more. That’s not the most awful news in the world, I wanted to have excess so I could cut the story down to 80K at most. Well, I’ve got that. Turns out VOL’s first draft wasn’t 75K or even 80K. It was 89K. I’m, I have mixed feelings about this. On one side I’m thrilled, as that means all those scenes I’ve fretted over I can just cut, and can be more ruthless cutting as I go from here too.

On the downside, good luck hitting the deadline of the 27th. I have said, time and again, that that’s a deadline I can move at will, and I’m not hung up on it. Even so, I was within grasp of it, and fell short. Or, I risk falling short. The odds of me hitting that deadline are slim to none. But there is a way I could do it. I do not like this way, but I could pull it off. That is of course, that between now and the 27th, I write 2K of VOL each day.

That’s no small task. Eleven days of sprinting is a tall order at the best of times, and I may feel in control again, but that’s got “BURNOUTwritten all over it. I do not take a notion like that lightly. I have to write a thousand words each day, but they can be whatever I like. I have resisted ever telling myself “for Y time it has to be X” because that’s going to push me to my limit, at a time where it’s not like it’s the only thing in my life doing so.

You know me by now though, I wouldn’t be writing this if I wasn’t at least considering the idea. Here’s the opposite side: If I manage somehow to pull that off, TSS ends up asĀ less of a sprint. Also, if I pull it off, I will feel more confident about my possible NaNoMineMo challenge that could be on the cards. It’s a tricky one, as I can see pros and cons to even attempting, but tonight I need to get started. I’m on 0 and need to reach 1,000 before bed either way. Question is, if it’s not too late, do I stop there?

 

 

September 15th, 2019 – 354

This weekend is a tough one to unpick. I feel a lot more rested. Then again my anger issues have had random and unfortunate spikes. Then again again, I have gotten the pressure of VOL reduced with a few days away from the project. It’s been a major mixed bag and I feel plain mixed.

I’ve not decided if I’ll write any VOL today, though I’ve used a lot of lifelines. Id rather not burn out. On that note, I know this is pretty short, but I’m going to wrap up target and get back to it.

September 12th, 2019 – 351

Today is as hectic as can be. I cannot as I would love to turn off the ability to recieve emails. I still have people who can’t read sending emails despite my out-of-office saying in a polite way: don’t. It’s a small thing, and I should close my emails and ignore them, but that’s easier said than done. One day when I control my own workflow in every sense, my out of office will send malware to repeat offenders. That will end well.

Anyway empty threats aside, as you can imagine I haven’t written anything yet. That’s fine, I wasn’t even going to blog until after work, but I needed a breather so this made sense. What is less ok is my FitBit has decided to fail. It may have gone as far as deleting all my sleep data, which is just dandy. You can bet I’ll take the gloves off for that complaint email. This is the latest in a stream of minor inconveniences that don’t stop me per say, but do add extra frustration to my day.

All this aside, I have some positives to report. As of yesterday, VOL has less than 10K words to write up. The story also feels as if the pieces are falling into place. There is a hitch that there might be a lot more than 10K words to go with all the new content in the rewrite, but that’s ok. I’ll be cutting a lot of content, and I know exactly where from: the visual and physical layers. They are the weakest parts of the story and I can still do them a lot better. So I’ll cut at least a few thousand from both.

All that is to come though. For now I will focus on getting to 100%, and then jumping into TSS. The headspace I have from the latter means I’m feeling pumped to jump into it, and excited for a whole new story to work on. I’m also rearing to go on typing up WHT right after, and may even aim for a New Years Day deadline for this. I doubt I will as that will be a living hell I kick myself for down the line, but it’s fun to think about when not dealing with it.

 So in the words of King George III, what comes next? Well I have a provisional timetable for 2020 which is, ambitious to say the least. I want to start serialising a collaborative project – one is in the works as we speak but that’s under wraps for now. Is it under wraps? I’ve only ever heard that spoken. One of my imaginary readers should correct me on that. 

VOL kicks off in October and finishes around my Birthday. WHT runs into September, and then TSS takes us into 2021. For now I want to keep things to “one story at a time” because that lets me build up a sizable buffer. This is less for content creation and more for more editing time. Aside from the above collab, I want to also make 2020 a year of a lot more short stories. And when I say short stories, I mean published short stories.

Oh and we’re going to win the 2020 Wattys but we’ll get back to that nearer the time.

On days like this, a pile of work threatening to bury me, struggling for relevance: planning helps. It helps because it gives me stretch goals. It helps me to figure out what short term things I need to work on. But most of all, it helps because it’s fun to daydream about. If 1K has taught me one thing, it’s if you enjoy daydreaming of success you should. All I have to do is make sure to write the stories as I do.

September 11th, 2019 – 350

Ok, I’m starting to feel a little less out of it, which should be a given after three weeks of 8 hour average sleep per night. What’s that you say? I said I haven’t chained two weeks in a row of that, so how can I claim three? Well funny you should ask – well, you didn’t, but I’m asking for you, and you’re imaginary anyway so who cares? On paper I haven’t chained three, but last week my average worked out as 7 hours 59 minutes. So 8 hours.

I’m starting to feel much less drained, but I am aware that my anger levels are still, well they’re not that great. I’m not angry at anything per se, but that’s not unusual for me. There’s always a background level of rage that I cannot get rid of, but I hope some level of that is normal for everyone. The issue is where it’s spiking, such as when talking to friends who I may have snapped at. Yeahhh…

So how do I fix that? Holiday, done. No really it might be that simple, I have Friday and Monday booked off work, I’m going to tidy the flat, and I’m going to relax. No “hey why don’t I push for 7,000 words today to finish VOL by the 17th!” nonsense, I do not need that. No, a nice, relaxed break, and yes 4,000 words across four days, on whatever I want them to be on. 

On that note, If I write at least 750 of 1Ks words today as VOL, then the story reaches 10,000 words left to type. It’s a bit odd. It feels like only yesterday I finished the first draft, and yet in the inbetween time I wrote a whole other novel. Goes to show how much time I used to waste not writing. The hype for VOL is building slow and steady, and I’m hoping to see people latch onto this one in a big way. Exciting start, explosive, different but familiar where it counts. VOL should tick a lot of boxes. More important, it should hit people right in the feels. 

So I’ll try to take my breaks today at work, do a few sprints, and see if I can hit target by 5 so that I get the evening to myself. Last night I  was such a wreck of rage that I would have gone to bed early if I had target in the bag. Tonight, I want that option open to me, and if I end up in that state you bet I’m going straight to bed. Yes leisure time is important, but not if it activly degrades my mental health. I’ll make up for it on Friday. You know, after I’m on top of tidying the flat.

…Oh, ok maybe I should acknowledge the elephant in the room. Today is the 350th day of 1K. In 16 days the project turns one year old. It’s funny rereading what I’ve put above. I would have killed for this work ethic and efficiancy, not to mention self control a year ago. Now it’s, well, normal. The flat needing a tidy and me wanting to make sure I kick start my next novel on time, this is still all so freaky and new. Feels like I’m not even related to the person who sat here – well, a quarter mile / that way – this time last year. That’s a happy feeling.