November 30th, 2019 – 430

Stayed up far too late last night, as I knew I would. That kind of screwed up my plans for today a little. I wanted to write at 9-10am, nail target, then go out and see friends. Alas, I failed. Now I’m setting off at 12 instead, because I wrote 11 till just now. But that’s it, I wrote a thousand words of TSS, and with that, achieved the perfect month. Sure, it’s not NaNoWriMo 50,000, but 34,000 without breaking a sweat is pretty huge for me.

It also means if this pace keeps up – no guaranteed thing remember – then I will finish TSS before the year is out. If you’d told me that in October with how badly I stumbled I think I would have slapped you. I mean yes, I might not finish before year’s end, but I’ve put such a huge dent in the project that there won’t be a metric ton left to do by that point. Even now it’s only 30k~ off completion.

I’m keeping this short because I want to go and see my friends now, but man can I just say, I have not had a great November, or even a good one really, since like the mid 2000s. Even with the GE BS looming, and the heartbreak that I see as all but inevitable, I’m feeling empowered. This is a great feeling. And when I read an old journal entry from January this year saying “I wonder where this will end up”, I could never have dreamed of this. This, is worth so much more to me than publication ever would be.

November 29th, 2019 – 429

Today was a bit of a special case. Before work even started, I wrote target. In part a good night’s sleep helped that, but also a feeling of mellow calm. I found it from taking all the worry, all the dread, all the angst, and dropping it for more pleasent thoughts. That sounds stupid and simplistic, but it worked. I focused on some new cards for the cube I have on the way, and put the rest of the world out of mind. Doing that banked me 8 hours 47 minutes of sleep, and a thousand words before lunch. Can’t argue much with that.

This weekend will be busy, but if I can do this again – which requires an early night to do so – then I should be fine. Given I only have to do my journal entry and that I can do that on my lunch break, this should be easy to coast to. It also means I can leave work on time, which is a big deal on a Friday as I have to leave the building sooner anyway. The only question then is, do I go to the shop? The only acceptable answer to that I can see is no.

If I go to the shop, I have to pay up about £12 for travel, entry, and food. The latter is because I don’t want to be making food when I get home at like, 11pm and I’ve already talked myself into going. Damn it! Whyyyyyy? I knew writing out my thoughts was a stupid idea! Ok so that’s BS, its always a good idea but  now I have to go. Well, more I now have to accept I want to go, but you get the idea. I mean, at least I packed my bag I guess? I’ll go get it at lunch. Damn it…

November 28th, 2019 – 428

The funny part of this month is my total word count across blog, journal and TSS is going to be well over 50,000. Accidental non-traditional NaNoWriMo I guess. Well, not really, NaNoWriMo isn’t about the wordcount it’s about the draft. Even so, it shows that were I able to devote more time to writing, I could sail the challenge without breaking a sweat. That does not mean I will attempt it next year. I’m thinking about it, but as much as November has changed its tune, this is still a dicey topic.

TSS is coming out a lot better than I expected it to. I re-read the early chapters last night because I couldn’t sleep. To be honest aside from some needed extra detail and evocation, it’s good stuff. Since I started 1K my writing quality has gotten a heck of a lot better, thanks to tools like HemingwayApp. I’ve trained myself with good habits, and made a lot of progress in how I world- and character-build. There’s still polish needed in my drafts’ approach, but it’s starting to look like actual book prose.

I could not sleep because I keep getting hung up on the election. It’s sapping my energy a lot more than it looks like it is. Even when I’m not out doing campaign stuff it’s draining my health because, well it’s horrid. I will make my peace with whatever the outcome is, but the uncertainty is what messes with me. Of course I want us to win, who doesn’t want their side to? But I can deal with whatever happens. It’s the heresay and muddle of the wait that keeps me up at night. It’ll be ok, but I need to try not to overthink it.

November 27th, 2019 – 427

Despite finishing target at 5pm yesterday – a big deal – I slept bad. Well, not bad-bad, so much as I should have banked a 10 hour night with a lazy morning. As it is, I had a normal morning and scraped 8 hours by the barest margin. A mix of my head being screwy and medicating it with gin, rum, whisky. The trifecta if you will, if you wanted to bet on three things that would make me feel better, and sleep much, much worse. Well I, in that metaphor I don’t know if I’m winning the bet or losing it. Regardless, I’m feeling like I lost, which is not a great feeling at all.

The good news on the work front is I’m still on top of my queue. I’m getting the work done and not taking it home in my head, so can’t ask for much more than that. The specter of the GE is what’s making me need to ‘medicate’ when I go home. I’m being careful not to burn myself out with it, but its presence is like a mental chest infection; it keeps me pinned. If I had a coping model that ever worked for the GE I wouldn’t swear so much when they get called. What can you do though; if you care about having decent representatives you can’t ignore it. 

So writing, kinda came up above in that mess, but TSS banked another 1,600 words yesterday. 600 of those were after I got home, and felt like putting a dent in the next chapter. I’ve found if I leave myself either mid scene or even mid sentence, it’s easier to jump back in. I still do about half a chapter a day with my thousand words, but if I chip off a dozen from the next chapter: no blank page. In this case, I kept going. By doing so, TSS hit without my intention to do so, 40,000 words. That means it’s now longer than the first draft in 2014, so a pretty special milestone. This is even moreso when you consider only a handful of those words are post-midpoint. 

There are four days left this month. I don’t have an urge to sprint to those days, because that’s the beauty of 1K. When I’m on a roll, I feel motivated to chain days, not sprint for more and more and more each day. It keeps me balanced and stops the more obsessive part of my brain from running amock. Sure I have blips, 1K+ being the most notable example and kinda the final boss of year 1. But on the whole, I manage to keep myself chipping. And when I have a day like yesterday with 600 extra words, I smile, nod, then move on to do a thousand. Just a thousand.

November 26th, 2019 – 426

Had my work account migrated today. It’s funny, the only issue I’ve had is so benign that any outsider would call it a huge success. That is, any outsider who can stomach a fixed homepage. Not only that, but the most hideous blemish on the modern webscape. I’m being melodramatic, but I like clean. I don’t set homepages. I like the new tab landing page on Chrome, and even nice websites look tacky in comparason to that. And this, well it looked tacky in a vacuum. ‘But Sam, what if someone at work read thi-‘ GOOD. Fix it.

Sorry I needed to get that off my chest. UX is a big deal for me, and my training sessions all emphasise the same message. That is, workers are more productive when they are in control of their workspace. Fixed homepages are the antithisis of this. It’s the equivilant of replacing family desk photos with little posters that say “WORK. MORE. FAST.” Again, hyperbole but to prove a point. The one saving grace is that I can set my background to whatever I like, so at least that is within my grasp. This is all cosmetic, but it makes a difference. 

Wow ok so borderline dangerous rant about work aside, I’m good. I stayed late last night to fix the little gremlins that come with a network move or new PC set up in general. That meant I wrote at home instead, which I did, at 11pm. I’m not on a full night’s sleep, 6 hours 45  minutes is a pretty grim total but it is what it is. There’s an open event tonight at the college, but I’ve put in several hours overtime this month so I may give that a miss. Better to focus on my actual job and get that done to a high standard. That’s a hill I’m willing to die on, or at least kinda pass out.

Even with the late night writing, I still turned out 1K of TSS. I was in a foul mood though so I don’t know how good the writing itself is. I’d have to reread it, and I try not to do that until the whole work is in the can for the next stage. You can get a thousand words by tinkering, it’s not even hard. But it does not bring you closer to the end of the story, no matter how much it may feel like it. That’s a rabbit hole I do my best to avoid. It won’t have been that bad, but all the same it’ll get fixed, so better to focus on the road ahead instead. 

I’m under a lot of pressure at the moment inside my head. I should focus more on how in the real world, I’ve dismissed almost all negative pressures. To be blunt I am in full control of my life, to the extent anyone in my bracket could be, and more than that in some respects. But until I have this term, this election, and this year in the metaphorical can too, I won’t find it easy to switch off. That finish line is in the headlights as of the end of this week. 

Old and dear friend’s birthday today. Hope they are ok.

November 25th, 2019 – 425

Last week of November, so if this month is going to be sneaky and trip me up, this is when it will do it. Yes I know that I am putting my paranoia on show, but in fairness I got it down to pretty much this without medication. Trust me, it was far, far worse in the past; the joys of an obsessive mindset. But as things stand, I should be fine. I’m not even letting the election get to me now I’m more involved. I’m still pessemistic as all hell but I’ve made my peace with what I see as the most likely outcome. What’s left of my supersitition keeps me from putting that in writing here.

What is proving easy to put in writing continues to be TSS. I wrote yesterday about how if I got a 1,500 word day between then and December, that November would end up my best month. That is assuming I also write a thousand words of TSS each day. Well guess what, as soon as I finished writing that entry, I wrote 1,500 words of TSS. So, go me. Yes this is the one month that even those with a lot less experience and routine than me will write 50K words. Even so, writing 33K without breaking a sweat is pretty neat. And who knows, I may write 10K today and pull off an accidental NaNoWriMo. I doubt it, but it would be funny.

So what’s the plan ahead? Well that does not need to change too much. If I miss out on TSS by the 31st by a few thousand words then I will still drop it, move on to typing WHT, then resume afterwards. If I finish TSS sooner than that, I will do PNG. What’s that. you can’t see that project in the list? That’s because that’s A Planet Named George, and well, it’s a short story so it’s not going in that list. I have not decided how to display those kinds of projects. Could be I decide to jump into WHT instead too, so we will see. That is a story I want to write though and well, no time like the present. Or near future in this case.

November 24th, 2019 – 424

No last minute blog entry tonight. I hate when I upload at the final moment of a day, and it manages to tick over so that the date on the entry does not match the date in the title. I know I am the only person who even sees these posts but it feels bad. Kinda like I do right now if I’m being honest with myself. I couldn’t even make myself actual food tonight, so just ate the top up snacks that were meant to last the week. Way to go me.

This is to be fair the reason I don’t buy biscuits. Or, well any real junk food for that matter. If I do, I’ll eat it all right away and feel even worse than I would have mixing it in throughout my week. I have no one to blame for this except myself for chaining two late nights. As to why I had two 3am finish lines, well I don’t know. Stress I guess? Stress at having to deal with an election and my dip in health, though I feel for the most part past the latter. If I keep eating trash that won’t last long.

Haven’t written yet. I still haven’t dropped a day of TSS, and yesterday made that four weeks straight. That means that it became my most productive month-equivalent ever, if we work on a 28 day minimum model. As it stands I see a fair chance of a second 1,500 day this month so if that happens, November 2019 claims the title of most productive month ever. Sure I have written 5k, 10k and even a 20k day in the past, but those bursts were among no-words lands of silence. I do wonder if my stress is linked to this but honestly I don’t see writing as stressful anymore. If anything it’s one of my luxuries in and of itself.

So we reach an interesting point today: I like my stories to sit at 75K, and that would put the midpoint of TSS in today’s writing, which actually matches up quite well with what I’ve written and the chapter I’m midway through. I feel pretty confident this story is working in a way that I don’t think the original did for me. It’s nice to feel the plot and characters come to life, and to feel a lot more emotional investment. I hope when I do my Showtime edits of TUS and VOL that I can sprinkle some of that fairydust.

November 22nd, 2019 – 422

It’s been a long week, but I managed to keep my head on straight. I’m writing this a few hours later than usual as I have engrossed myself in task to task today. If I get that flow going I don’t like to break it. It’s the same reason I write 1,056 words or there abouts most days I’m writing main story content. When in a total sense of swing I can sail past 2K. I get that pretty often at work, which is why if I write full time one day my estimate would be about six to eight novels a year. I intend to get to that point anyway in time, but you can see why that would maximise my capability.

TSS is still going strong. I have a decent idea what I want the new midpoint/false victory to be and I’m not far off writing it. That all said, I do have some anxiety that I’ll end up in the weeds if I make it what I’m planning to. That is because it’s a somewhat mellow midpoint. For this story though it kind of needs to be, a major theme of the story is escaping chaos and the overwhelming. Still, this is subject to change as I rewrite it again nearer to publication. But for now I’m happy with the story, and enjoying the flow. 

When I do get around to doing a Showtime edit, discussed in an earlier post, I have a lot of work to do. I’ve been rereading VOL as I  upload, and while my writing is readable and flows well, I need to evoke a lot more. This is one of the last big hurdles I need to clear before I can call myself a “good” writer. Until I do, I see myself as an ok one, a step above amateur but not by a huge leap. This whole process is about getting better at the craft, but I hope I get past this obstacle soon. My fear of purple prose means I don’t delve anywhere near deep enough for the stories I want to tell.

November 21st, 2019 – 421

This week has been a challenging one from a personal and professional standpoint. New systems at work mean teething issues, and me needing to internalise new routines. On this front I’ve been exemplorary. That’s not big headed, I stuffed well over a thousand envelopes in the course of one work day, got them all posted out. I also did so while managing the helpdesk for those letters as requests flew in. It’s been hard, but I can hold my head up high.

And on my writing, well pretty much the same story. I still haven’t had a single day this month where 1K wasn’t 1,000 or more words of TSS. When considering November’s boogyman status for me in the past it gets better. It also goes to show I need to be a lot less superstitious. I’ve been this way my whole life, but 1K showed me any day can be a good day, and a Month is a collection of days, nothing more. I don’t have to fall apart because it’s November.

In the space of a month, with 10 days pinched from the end of October, I have written 33,000 words. That’s a new 30 day record. It’s not NaNoWriMo or anything, but to be fair, that’s only counting my main content. My total word count including the stuff I either exclude from 1K or otherwise comes after is about 48,000. I’m not aiming for 50k months, not while I have a full time job anyway. But this is heartening. The great news is it isn’t burning me out to keep this chain up. In fact, it doesn’t feel like a ‘chain’ at all. It feels like, well, 1K.

Today is a bit of an odd one. I want to write target on my lunch break, because I am going to be out tonight with dad. Going out at 5 takes away my prime 5-6 writing window, and while that’s not a problem, it does set up a potential one. Each night I have managed to get enough sleep as I am pushing myself to shut down sooner. That is going to get a bit pushed back tonight anyway, but if I also have to write target when I get home? I’ll burn out in an instant under those conditions. So rather than headspace I’m putting writing into that bloc today.

I’m combining this with a housecleaning time at work. I have a queue of tasks that for whatever reason have pushed further and further back in my workload. Several of these tasks are so called “quick wins”, and I need to get them done to maintain professional face. So as well as remodeling my lunch break, I am also pushing all incoming work to next week. This is, well something I dislike doing. I like to try and get tasks done as fast as possible, so I dislike even the most necessary pushback. But of course, oh irony of ironies, that is what I have done to these tasks. So for now it’s time to get my head down into some markbooks and assorted requests. Gonna be an intense day. Wish me luck.