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.
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.
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.
Focusing on a more positive message in today’s post after yesterday’s heavier entry. I stand by talking about topics like that in a discussion – albeit with myself as all my readers are imaginary. But that is a topic I will likely enter into more if people read WHT. I want people to query my decision to discuss ‘views of generations past’, and if I handle it in a mature way. On the flip side, I slander Woodrow Wilson a lot as he was by several accounts I’ve read downright nasty.
Workflow is going well. I have a new Aloe Vera plant for my workdesk, and I must say: best decision ever. It makes me feel a lot more relaced to admire it from time to time. It’s my favourite plant and by extension favourite cacti variant. I hope it’s able to thrive in the office with the lighting and warmth on offer. With that addition my desk has come together in a satisfying array of decor, without clutter. It’s important to have a nice desk to work at, at least as I see it. Only issue now is minimising cables even more. I wanted to use my wireless mouse at work, but the old one did not respond well to the networked laptop. Here’s hoping a more advanced one down the line will.
So my routine sees me channel into writing early, then sweep up work and get into bigger tasks, and then update the bullet journal. That’s not a problem so much, as Trello captures all my notes to add to the journal later. It is a bit weird though, as notes should go into the journal straight away. In the morning that is impractical, as I haven’t had a coffee, don’t otherwise get anything from having one. It also takes time to write by hand – that’s kind of the point – and I like to get to work not long after waking up. But that’s ok.
What’s a bit more odd is I end up updating the journal around 11:30. That is what I want to break out of the habit of doing. Food for thought. But food isn’t until 11:50 today so I am going to get back to work.
Target done and it feels so good. I had a bit more of a rushed morning today and work comes first, so I didn’t journal yet, but feel like I have a good handle on the day. I’m on my way to Lewes for a few Google tutorials, so I had a moment to update.
So I wrote 1,100 more words of WHT, but it’s a scene I’m going to write later that I want to talk about today. This is a bit less of a fun entry. How much less fun? We’re going to talk about eugenics. Yeeeeah.
There is a scene in WHT where Taft is confronted by his assistant on his stance when it comes to civil rights. I read far too many books that feature historical figures and whitewash their less desirable characteristics. I believe flaws are what make a character interesting, and Taft has a couple of huge ones, though some not revealed until years after the story.
He waved off early civil rights activists telling them to paraphrase to wait for their time, which is a bit dubious. However eugenics was his worse problem. I won’t go into huge detail here, as I’m no expert on the minute details, but to see how flawed Taft was, look up Carrie Buck. It’s a devastating story of what humans can do to one another.
I wanted to mention this here because I saw Doctor Who – a show I grew up on – whitewashed their portrayal of Nicola Tesla in this exact way, which I find a bit disappointing. People are products of their time. It’s not about going ‘oh look how horrible this person’s beliefs were’. It’s about taking a hard look at ourselves and thinking where we might be in the wrong, or hold ‘normal’ views that cause harm and suffering. Taft had bad opinions, and the Carrie Buck case caused severe harm. He was also human, and the story is at its core about how far from infallible humans are.
Sorry for the more bleak post, but I wanted to put this in writing because I’m so sick of the argument being between ‘they’re a product of their time so it’s fine” and “this is unforgivable and means they were a horrible person“. Call this, a call for empathy and reflection. Anyway that’s all for now. Catch up tomorrow.
Slight correction to an earlier piece, 1K turns 500 days old on the 8th of February, the day after this blog hits 1 year. But hey that’s still uncanny. Ok, so I listen to The Improbability Principle when I sleep at night so I know I’m using the law of ‘near enough’ to say that’s a coincidence. But then again who cares? Side note, 1K turns 500 days old in 20 days! Like that seems the cooler milestone anyway.
Another cool milestone is today is the second day of this weekend in a row that I hit target before 10am. This weekend is going about as great as I ever could have hoped for, and I am working on getting the whole flat set up just how I like it by the end of the day. With target, blog and my personal journal all done, I have a real shot of finishing with time to spare and doing all my shopping to boot.
I’ve not much more to say today than that, except that it is a nice feeling having control of my weekends again. I want this to be the new norm from now on, and I think I’ve a good shot of managing that. It’ll take discipline, but now I have the strongest organisational methods I’ve ever had in my life, I’d say I have some of that to spare.
Wow, a blog in the morning on a Saturday, never thought I’d see the day again. Well, I am now using my weekday routine as my weekend routine, so it makes sense that I am able to post at the correct time. Doesn’t make it any less surreal of course, but it’s neat. Plan for today is to upload Chapter 24 of VOL, tidy the flat and otherwise get on with a normal Saturday, safe in the knowledge I’ll be going to bed at 10pm as long as I’m dropped home in time. All in all, I can’t understand why I let myself live any other way.
WHT is going super well. 406 words off of hitting the big 20K-typed mark which means if I do write it tomorrow I’ve got a 1,600 word lead on my baseline thousand-a-day. I have the option to write more today, but my priority right now is getting the flat tidy. It’s not bad, but I want to get it super nice. I like having a spotless house where everything is in order, and for a while last year the morning on Saturdays was when I took care of that. I liked that routine, and I want it back. Thanks to bullet journalling it’ll be a bit easier than last year too, and next week even more so because I’ll have heating again.
Can I just say, a freezing flat over Christmas yet again makes you appreciate how horrible it must be for the people who don’t even have a roof over their head at this time of year. My dad is active with a handful of local homelessness charities, and to be honest, I think I should start considering something similar. These last couple of years have been about getting back on my feet – can’t help others until you’re functioning, or you’ll risk letting them down. I don’t want to commit to anything just yet, but some kind of charitable endeavour would be nice. When I worked at Mind I used to volunteer every Saturday before my paid shift on Sundays. Food for thought, that kind of model could work again.
Right back to work! Wish me luck! And, heating, for the love of god wish me heating.