January 31st, 2020 – 492

Today I am doing something wild and crazy. Ok not really, but for me it is a little. I am going to go out after work. I know right, shock, horror. How dare I attempt a social life? It shocked me too, but there it is. I haven’t been to the shop since the 3rd of January, so four weeks to the day. Part of that was money. Most of it was wanting to protect my sleep routine. I’ve been such a ball of stress this week though I need the pick up. And as much as I could wall myself off and play Stardew Valley, this is healthier.

WHT hit 35,000 words today, It’s actually 35,003 words, though as that’s an approximation I can’t know for sure. Funny side note, this is why I write 1,056 words on a typical day in Google Docs. Letting my private journal count ensures I write at least 1,300 each day, but it’s added security. Only writing it after target means I’m no longer tempted to write 700 words of content. So that means I got an extra 4,000 words this month. When we count TFS and WAN – the latter I’m tempted not to – I hit 37,000 this month. That is within scratching distance of my next milestone.

As far as I am concerned, 40,000 word months are fast enough that I am outdoing the average writer. Yes it’s not a contest but if I am going to make any money doing this a large catalogue is my friend. Plus I like writing novels, why wouldn’t I want to write the equivilant of 6 a year? While I still have a full time job that is my cap. If I ever got paid to write – I know right, how scandalous – I could get that to 12. That would work out as 6 first drafts, 6 rewrites a year. That is the goal, but we are a ways off that yet. Still, good to have stretch goals.

On that note, I am going to chip at WAN more often. Yes I loathe the story with a passion, and that is why I will chip at it. The more I write ahead of its scheduled time, the less I have to work on it in one go. I’ll thank myself for that in time. It’s funny in a way to work on a story at all that is going to have the description “Don’t read this book, all the important extended universe stuff is below.” But I can’t airbrush the Wanderer out of the story any more than I can Heather, Lewes or even William Howard Taft. When I paint at home, I don’t buy in new paints; I work with what I have.

Oh and happy Brexitmas. Because that’s a thing. Make of that what you will.

January 30th, 2020 – 491

This morning I wrote one of the toughest scenes in WHT. There are a few reasons it was a difficult scene to articulate. One was conveying mood with sincerety whilst not being melodramatic. Another was the topic itself. This was a scene that shines a spotlight on the racial insensativies of the early 1900s. That is something as a white well off modern day writer I can never grasp. I can never know the pain of those who fell under the tyranny of Jim Crow. It’s also something I have to talk about. The America of the early 1900s is a story of a country equidistant from two civil wars, both fought over race. It would be wrong not to discuss.

I have no doubt I’ll rewrite the scene in question a few times before it ever sees any kind of print, even WattPad. But I’ve done my best, and can only do that. My workday has been a busy stream since 9am, and I’ve got a queue of some 70 emails since yesterday afternoon. They’ll have to wait as none are prioriry compared to what I am already working on. If I catch the wind I should clear most if not all of it by 4pm though. Having a breather to write this inbetween is prety darn invaluable. For now though it’s back to it. Wish me luck.

January 29th, 2020 – 490

I’m renaming ‘The Long Goodbye’. This was always a bit of a strange placeholder title – lifted in part from another book with the same title. There were reasons for that, but as I became more serious about pushing my work out there, this title rubbed. I’ve been trying to think of a title that still encapsulates the story. And then today as I was consoling my closest friend, I found the title. It needed to speak to the dark undertones of the story, the desperation of its two protagonists. It needed to resonate.

‘The Way Out’ does this on several levels, and is the story’s new title. TWO for short, which is interesting as it was once book three. There is an eerie simple ring to it that reflects a story of escape, and the impossibility of it. So there we go, and another title stolen from, well myself. Time to update some documents on this site.

I have not written yet. I usually do so in the morning, then get to work and focus on that. Today work invaded home life, and the stress of it ruptured my routine. It’s lunch now, so I’m going to plough through target and get the ship righted. I’ve been letting myself get a bit buried by my old nemesis stress, and I need to halt that advamce before I begin to slip. I do though feel confident I will.  1K is so much stronger now than it was a year ago. I don’t wish to tempt fate, but by now 1K is capable of pulling me out of just about anything.

January 28th, 2020 – 489

Late blog today, but that’s because it’s been an unusual one at this end. I like most days to blog before getting into bigger tasks at work because it makes for a good warm up activity. I was a bit more out of my usual order today though, so by the time I was at my desk, I chose to dive right into my bigger have-to-dos. As such, this is one of the furthest times I’ve blogged since writing – which I did several hours ago by now – for a while. 

It’s funny that this blog isn’t the warm up for writing itself a lot of the time now, given that was half the point of it. Don’t worry my little imaginary readers, I’m not going to stop my pointless little blog. I like the routine of this and it’s useful to hold myself to account. At some point I will write that article about “Accountability – Action – Reflection”. The model is the same, but I’m now doing it more like “Action – Reflection – Accountability”. It’s a shame there’s no good synonym for reflection that begins with a G. Then again, I don’t want to get sued by an oven manufacturer.

I am going to get back to work in a minute. But before I do, I need to take a moment. I’ve been going flat out between writing, working, talking with the engineer, running to work and working some more. As shattered as I am, I’m ok. Just need to take things a little slower for a few minutes.

January 27th, 2020 – 488

So yesterday I posted chapter 26 of VOL to WattPad, but with a difference. That weekend was a slog to get through, which to be honest most weekends are. Because I am sick of late uploads, I put up the chapter without doing a final edit. That was not a great idea, even if it got the job done on time. It did however help me figure out how to fix my publishing schedule.

I blame Christmas for preventing this fix sooner. Also New Years. Both occured on the same day, and that obfuscated the problem quite a lot. Each made me jump through faffy hoops to get content out on time – or as close as feasable in the end. As a result, the meme of ‘I can never upload on time despite the book being 95% done’ came about. I assumed it was a problem with my willpower and such, and not the day.

No it’s entirely the day. If you treat those holidays as ‘honarary weekends’, then an obvious pattern emerges. I can do the edits at my work desk next to no problem. On a weekend though, I am not in the right headspace to do that. Sure this means if I edited it all in advance I’d solve the problem, but I’m starting to think even that isn’t a good idea. I do edit in a more granualar way when I do it chapter by chapter and spread out. So how do I fix this weekend willpower?

I don’t. I edit on Fridays instead. And if I do that I may as well upload on Fridays too. If I do that, and shift my other upload to Tuesdays, then I end up with both upload days on weekdays. I always feel more motivated in the office, amd on my breaks I need to take advantage of that more. But for now it’s Monday, so I’m going to get back to work and have a think on this. Chances I will, but I have time to reconsider if needs be. Not as if anyone is reading it yet anyway, this is all for my benefit.

January 26th, 2020 – 487

I have this odd habit where I now write this entry after target, which was never the goal. That’s why I didn’t write it at 10, or 11. I have 2,000 words now, but I refuse to count 1,350 of them. I was in a foul mood, and the only thing I felt like writing? Well, you might have heard me slandering a little book called¬†The Wanderer…

I’m going to write 400 words of WHT and go to bed. I am disgusted in myself. Imagine how I’ll feel when I’m writing that book as my main story…

January 25th, 2020 – 486

Today was interesting. Heating is broken again, and I had a slog in the morning, but I kept to my routine. Target finished at 12:50, journal at 1pm. Still need to bring the BuJo up to date with Trello notes but on the whole, I’m doing pretty well despite the setbacks. Glad all the same that I’ll be uploading VOL’s next chapter tomorrow not today. The only real issue I have right now is the cold making my muscles feel pretty weak. It’s making typing quite arduous, but I’m going to switch to Stardew Valley which is much less so.

WHT goes well, and I say that despite the words not coming so easy earlier. That was, for the most part, the stress of the heating, but now that’s getting resolved, I’m confident tomorrow will flow a lot smoother. I’m going to switch to Stardew now and try to relax. Wish me luck.

January 24th, 2020 – 485

This has been one heck of a tough week. The heating in the flat going haywire again wasn’t fun, but thankfully I have really great landlords so that wasn’t much of a problem. Should be fixed today. My mental health took a nosedive, but my new more structured routine pulled through like a champ and prevented any slide into negative patterns. So tough yes, but a resounding success.

Today my focus is on making sure I go into next week without any gaping problems in my work queue. For the most part I’ve already ensured that, but today I’ll sweep up a few lingering tasks that I’ve struggled otherwise to shift. I try and have a policy of “start nothing new” on Fridays, queuing that instead for Monday where it belongs. So far that’s mostly worked.

WHT is now over the 1/3rd typed threshold which feels great. I’m making great pace to finish by mid March, but if it spills into April that’s ok too. I’d rather it didn’t, but I don’t think it will either. Like my day structure, my project timeline structure is pretty robust now. Target is done for the day and now I can focus on bringing things in for a landing. For now, fingers crossed, all is well.

January 23rd, 2020 – 484

Keeping this short today. I had a rough night because my boiler broke, and something inside me did with it. I’m fine now, but ended up screwing up my budget in a way I haven’t done in a long time now. Fixing that too today. I knew days like this might happen, but it doesn’t make me feel better when they do. Even when it all works out, I have to deal with my head being like this.

Wrote target this morning. Wrote a thousand words of TFS yesterday too, and might do another 1K at lunch. I’ll be fine.

January 22nd, 2020 – 483

So I looked up writing competitions yesterday. I know that’s a bit out of nowhere, and it was for me too if I’m honest. I’ve started listening to Stephen King’s On Writing, a book I’ve wanted to devour for a long time now. After getting through most of it yesterday, I now have a burning urge to do a 180 and start chasing for agents again. Yes that’s a much more uphill battle but why aim small? This feels, weird to write about because it goes against my usual ‘write because I want to/may turn into career one day’ approach.

A lot of why I avoided this route in the past has to do with my discomfort at the idea of agent schmoozing. It is for all intents and purposes job hunting, and I do not like job hunting. It doesn’t matter if my back is against the wall or I’m perusing to see what else is out there at my own pace, I hate it. And, well that’s super immature of me. I’m throwing away potential oppotunities because of my anxiety and insecurities. That makes no sense whatsoever, and I need to cut it out. Self esteem is a part of it too, but how else am I going to build that?

Work is going well, and I should stress none of this comes from a desire to stop doing what I’m doing. On the contray, I imagine I’ll keep working at the college no matter what happens with my writing, because I enjoy what I do. Why would I stop? That’s a good thing because I stand next to no chance of making a living off of writing any time soon. But I stand zero chance at all if I don’t start taking the oppotunities out there in the world. I have to stop holding myself back for no reason and get on with this career.

I’ll be sticking VOL’s next chapter up a bit later today. That’s the other reason I’m apprehensive about a publishing deal: I like giving stuff away for free. Asking people to fork over cash or they can’t read my stuff rubs me up the wrong way. I like the idea of the Patreon route or similer, where people can donate, and those who can’t get to enjoy the works anyway. Yes nobody is reading at the moment, but I’m talking about down the line. These are all branching pathways, and I have to live with whichever I choose. It;s not a decision I take lightly.