October 17th, 2019 – 386

One more day. The funny thing is that could apply to two things at once. The first is a gurantee, that when I finish work today I have a mini holiday to try and get my life back within my control. Unlike the last one, I have no plans that should risk my mental health this time. Then again I didn’t view the stuff I had a month a go that way either. I’ll do my best to rest and recover. What else can I do.

The other situation that may be complete in one more day, is the typing up of VOL. I have a small amount left to go, and at a guesstimate I’d put it at about 2,000 words. That means if I did write VOL as target today, I would at last reach my goal. Today marks a whole month since my first “realistic” deadline passed. If I’ve learned one thing from this, it’s that I have a choice on future projects:

Option one, I write all my stories to 75K like this, and accept that it takes three to four months to write them up. When I write full time that won’t be an issue; I can do fresh content with half the day, typing with the other half. I can do tweaks and outreach inbetween. This is what I will end up doing for sure, but is it what I should do now?

Option two, I write my stories up to 60K, and let the 15K or so I seem to pick up along the way get me to 75K. This is such a tempting option, I am not going to lie I would love to write like this. I could have a first draft done in two to three months. And at the same time, I know it would be a huge mistake. I am sure when I type up TSS I will see why. Adding more, is a lot more work than cutting down. 

But all these are problems for another day. For now, I want to get to the end of today, and try and focus on recovery.

October 16th, 2019 – 385

I got a lot done yesterday, both at work and in my writing. I realised today how out of it I’ve been when I spotted I left chapter 44 of TUS on draft by mistake; oops. I have corrected that now, but it’s a symptom of how worn down I have been. Still, I ended up doing the right thing at long last yesterday: I booked Friday and Monday. So now I have a chance to get back on my feet. I may even have VOL done before then, and be able to have a hyper-relaxed four day weekend. That’s the hope.

I get stung by this each time I say it, but learning from your mistakes is overrated: I seem to be climbing out of my 7 month rut. Took me long enough if so, but let’s be honest, it’s not like that’s the first time I’ve said that. A combination of factors seems to have caused this dip, from my dieting to sleep interruption. But fingers crossed I’ve corrected for these now. So now it’s time to start to look ahead.

I’ll start writing TSS soon, and my deadline is the 31st of December. After that, I will dive right into the WHT type up, but I need to try and do this a lot faster than I did for VOL. That does not mean 1K+, only that I try and have a few larger days as and when I’m able. But I need to be careful to not overdo this; you can trace this month of low productivity right to that experiment. For now, I want to get through the next few days in tact, so it’s time to get back to work.

October 15th, 2019 – 384

Note to self: getting soaked through and sitting in wet clothes for several hours is bad. Also, turns out my back up coat is nowhere near waterproof enough. I’m not in great shape, and while I’ve managed to clear my work queue I’m feeling awful. You might think it won’t matter too much, what with booking off Friday and Monday. After all with a four day weekend I would have plenty of time to recover.

…Yeah I, haven’t booked them off. I know that I said that I would. I also know that I should book them off. But I doubt that I will. Call it stubbornness, or cowardice, but I can’t. I need to, but a mixture of worry about running out of holiday and dislike of booking short notice holiday is in the way. It is what it is, my mental blocks as much obstacles I must compensate for as work hours and nutritional needs.

The good news is, if today becomes part two of gutting VOL, then I have an easy path to quota. I’m going to purge 15,000 words, and in the process no doubt I’ll add at least a thousand. I’ll track my new additions in a seperate Google Doc as I go to track when I’ve hit target. With luck, I can use my break now to get the majority of this done. Time will tell, but I hope I’ll finish by 5pm. Last night, having target done helped so much.

Wish me luck.

October 14th, 2019 – 383

Last week was a bit of a mess. There are a few factors involved that I could point to, but lets talk about the elephant in the room: 1K+ was a mistake. As much as I hate to say it, this puts the last nail in the coffin for NaNoMineMo. It pains me to say that, because I know that has the potential to launch my writing career. “Guy writes entire novel in a month inside Minecraft Hardcore mode.” or some variant has viral potential if done right, and I would curate it to that end. But it’d kill me at the moment, and my mantra does kinda say “Don’t let this task destroy your health.”

Before I could even consider a project like NaNoMineMo though, I need to finish VOL. The question is though, how? I have two options, one which isn’t working for me, and one that goes against a fundamental rule for me. The former is write the last 3K now. The latter, is skip to editing it, then write the ending. I’ve spoken in the past about old – and lets be honest here, failed – writing mantras. The main one I talk about is “don’t get it right, get it written.” That’s because it’s become amalgamated into 1K by proxy. You get more words from new content than tweaking after all; the latter even reduces word count a lot of the time.

So here’s why I’m throwing all that out and skipping to editing: gut. It’s that simple, my gut tells me I should edit and weave in the exact ending I now want, with the pieces in place. As it stands, there is a realistic chance VOL would hit 100,000 words if I kept it as it is. It might be that this is the correct length, but it is a monumental 25K over my normal threashold. I guess I should mention back in 2012, my threshold was 35K, so it’s not like I haven’t moved the goalposts before. But for now, I’m going to focus on work, then on my break go through the manuscript with ruthless vigor. It’s time to cut some fluff.

October 13th, 2019 – 382

Wrote another part of this throwaway grim dystopian cyberpunk heist story today. It’s helping to have a project like this I don’t care about, letting me get some distance from VOL before I tackle the next rewrite and ending. Short one tonight, but suffice to say, efficiancy wise this week has been a grim one. Of the 7,000+ words I wrote, only 1,300~ were of VOL. But it be that way sometimes.

October 12th, 2019 – 381

Got Shandalar working on my PC at last, only took me what, 11 months? A year? Whatever, glad it’s working and I can go back at last to sucking at 90s Magic.

Long, good day, but time to rest. Gonna go stick up the latest chapter of TUS and sleep.

October 11th, 2019 – 380

This month so far is my worst for efficiancy this year, edging out the 55%~ rating for January. That’s less than ideal, but we’re only a third of the way through the month. It’s still likely that I won’t write a full day of VOL today, and if I do not, I drop below 50%. I’ve maintained that effeciancy is not the be all and end all, but it’s not a great feeling. I need to use this weekend to recharge and ger back into control. 

The good news is that I will have a nice relaxed evening tonight. Don’t have to cook, get to see family, and I may go grab something special for lunch. You have to throw a few little glimmers in when your head gets screwy. I’m determined to turn this week into a positive no matter how difficult and intense it’s been. As hectic as life is right now this is temporary. It will pass. And then, I get back to work.

I’ll be moving TSS’s deadline to the 31st of December, so that I don’t have that looming over me as I get VOL ready for release. That gives me plenty of time to focus on getting the story right. Efficiancy is great, but words are cheap. What gives them magic is not quantity, or their speed written. Words gain their power from thoughtful choice. I always used to say “don’t get it right, get it written”. That’s still true. But then you gotta take the time to get it right.