February 19th, 2020 – 511

I wanna write a web novel. Ok back up, aren’t all my novels on the internet? Well, no, there’s at least one that is not and never will be, but besides that that’s not what a web novel is. A web novel is a serialised ongoing story. It is less concerned with traditional structure, though it contains arcs. In technical terms, my books are web novels, but their design, edits and formatting are in line with a print book. That’s rewarding, but it is quite a lot of added thought. I want to write an open ended story that I can keep adding to for a long time, with no pressure to make it printable. Also, a bit more cynacal here but may as well be honest, they’re easier to monatize. I’m talking Patreon and the like.

I have a concept that came to me out of nowhere on my walk into work today. I am going to sit down and start writing it as soon as I can. No planning, no thought of where it’ll go, this is an experiment in creativity. There is every chance this goes nowhere, as my ideas often do, but that’s ok too. I like this idea though; it’s part wish fulfilment, part horror, and just a bit of fun to top it off. I may abandon it by tomorrow or this might become a tandom to the main series. This will not replace the main stories though. Still, it might be fun. I’m not going to write any of it until I’ve written at least a thousand words of a main story each day. That’s the same restriction as my private journal and seems to work quite well.

Right, back to work.

February 18th, 2020 – 510

Ok so this has been, unpleasent. I woke up today in a hell of a lot of pain. Not as much mind you as the migraine in October last year, but enough to hurt. I have no idea why I am in pain, or what happened to my head. Best I can think is I slept wrong, but it feels like I slept on everything wrong. Even now my head is in a whirlpool and I’m falling deeper and deeper into it. I almost blacked out on the walk to work, and yes, I recognise I shouldn’t be at work at all, but I’m stubborn.

The good news is I managed to – somehow – write 1,000 words of WHT in spite of the wooziness. I got a little lucky there as the content I wrote today was all original, not from the first draft. If I’d had to focus on my god-forsaken handwriting I wouldn’t have made it. Now that’s all done I am tackling my work queue, but my vision is starting to conk out again. If I can avoid going home you better believe I am going to try. I have a sinking feeling though this resolve will last for an hour at most, if that. I hate being ill…

February 17th, 2020 – 509

Starting to get back into the correct routine. I got lucky this morning as it is quiet over half term, and was able to chip off target inbetween emails. I didn’t have to switch my attention around that much, so I got the whole thing done super early. I decided to wait until close to lunch to write this up though as I don’t like using up all my break at once. If I space it out throughout the day I end up feeling a lot less burned out by the end of the day. Ok, so granted I don’t take my breaks in the usual sense. Even when I do a pinch of writing I’m monitoring emails and the like, but hey I like to keep on top of my work.

WHT is now 7,000 words ahead of 1K a day. That means that I am only a handful of good days away from putting the 11th of March into contention as a deadline. If I go over I go over, and it doesn’t solve the 120 day defecit if I pull it off; doesn’t grow it at least. On that score, I still don’t have much of a solution for that problem. I keep see-sawing between not handwriting the Horizon series, and writing it as one book in a 100 day sprint. That latter option is an odd one. If I still have my 10K in 9 ratio by hand – not guranteed – that’s 110,000 words. I then type that into 240,000 words? See it does not make sense, and I know I can’t do that. 

So why not type the Horizon books in first draft? Because it makes the end result much worse. Retyping a whole book is the same as writing the whole thing from scratch with more of an idea of the key moments. It makes the end result much deeper, and lets you explore whole new ideas that didn’t make it into the original. It also means you strip away a lot of the chaff that came along for the ride the first time round. That means less work in the 2nd rewrite, which is the one I do as I upload the book, but that’s the problem. If I type, that’s no longer the second rewrite at all. At most it’s a skim edit if I’m that pressed for time.

So option 3, is I cut my losses and move the deadline to April 13th, 2024. That is still a milestone, and yes, I like my birthday and despise New Year with a passion. But, it also means I’m waivering on my stretch goal. That in theory is a big no-no, and if I had done that before now, I would have never bothered making the improvements I have. As much as wedding myself to an arbitary goal feels awkward, it’s the price I have to pay. But if all those options don’t work, I need to do something to get those 120,000 words on top of a thousand each day. 

February 16th, 2020 – 508

Last night¬†was a late night after all. No regrets there, but I got home late enough that even with my writing done I slept close to 2am. Grim, and preventable. But, I got up today at 8:14, walked around a bit and thus preserved that record. I then went back to sleep until about 5 minutes ago. The weather outside is frightful, but the central heating is so delightful. No morning walk today, and despite how little sense it makes at a glance no morning writing today. I am still shattered, I need to wake myself up but slowly. So I’m going back on Magic Arena for a few hours and listening to The Wandering Inn. I will try not to write¬†too late, but I need to have a bit of a release valve day to be ready for work next week.

Wish me luck.

February 15th, 2020 – 507

I have not written a single word yet today. Chained two days of god-awful sleep and it is catching up to me big time. I’m feeling pretty grim and less than 7 hours last night did not help that. So when I sat down to write this morning, no dice.

I first moved to the lounge, where I enjoyed a few minutes of screaming obscenities into the sofa cushions. It’s an old pastime of mine. Then I played Magic Arena for 4 and a half hours, went food shopping and now I’m off on a date, and I know what that means: Late, Target.

I hope it’s not at 1am…

February 14th, 2020 – 506

WHT is 50,939 words in length as of today. I have now worked on it for 45 days, which means that I have averaged 10K every nine days almost to the word. That kind of pace is great, far faster than I was this time last year, even after pushing for more story content. It does still put me on pace for 80K by the 11th of March, which sounds great until you consider predicted length. Right now, evidence suggests WHT is a 92-95K story. Even on the lower end of that, we’re looking at a finish line of March 22nd at the earliest.

So I have a resoviour of 40~ days over the next three and 3/4 years that I can dip into for extra time. This would take over a quarter of it. That means that despite my pace being about as lit as I could ever have dreamed, I’m not blazing a fast enough trail. I’ll be honest, I have no idea what to do about that. I care a lot about finishing the series before the end of 2023 because long term goals are vital motivation for me. ‘1K is enough’ is not something I want to amend any time soon, but even adding a hunded words to that does nothing. That’s because I already do add more. I am writing 10K every nine days, that’s an average of 1,111. In fact it’s more even than that, closer to 1,131. I would need an average of 1,300 at the start of a project to hit 92K in a sprint.

There is a part of me that wants to go “screw it lets do that!”, but that part of me has a short memory. 1K+ is still burned into my mind, and 300 extra words feels arbitary until you end up doing it. This is all ignoring a more glaring problem: handwriting. While a more unnerving issue though I do have an answer for this one: I’ll write the story for 71 days and finish it on the last day. If I plan what day I need to hit what beat of the story then that will keep me on track. Even as I write that though it feels too prescriptive. Letting myself have 80 days to write each story fixes the problem, but now it’s time for maths, which I know is what you all came here for!

Including typing WHT, I have 21 sprints between now and the end of 2023. This is 1,416 days excluding today. There are 26 days in this sprint left, so that leaves 1,390. Now, if we allow 9 extra days, that gives 1,381 days left to fit 20 sprints into. 80*20 = 1,600. That’s 219 days more than I have, or the equivilant of 60% of a year. It also equals a little under three sprints. Now, we can already take 80 days off of that, because screw The Wanderer I am writing that once and never again. That one is lucky if it gets edited after I finish it. That leaves 139 days over. If I push myself, I can cut sprints from 80 to 79 days; I always run to the finish line anyway, so why not embrace that?

This gives 120 days, or one and a half sprints. On the current model, at this point I have 32 spare days, or 41 if we factor in WHT. But if I keep that old model I gurantee that I will overshoot, as I can’t gurantee 120 2K days. Even if I could, some of those would make up the ’10K-in-9′ model I have at the moment. So, I would have to as well as The Wanderer type the first drafts of two other novels. I’ll come out and say it: if I typed all of them the quality would suffer. Forcing a total rewrite is a pain, but such an important one. But I have to make up that defecit somewhere. Either that, or I move the goalposts to my 32nd birthday. Even then that only gives me 104 extra days. I need to think on this more…

February 13th, 2020 – 505

So I wrote the first draft of the eugenics discovery scene, told from a point after Willow finds out about it. She wrestles with the idea that a man could hold such views when there is a good chance he’d seen the future. It fits in what I hope is a natural flow in the prose leading up to Taft’s first future trip. I have no doubt I will at some point re-rewrite that whole scene again because it is so hard to get acorss what I want to here. It’s not a call to pitchforks, and it’s not absolvement. It isn’t even between those two. When discussing historical figures, we have to accept dark sides and talk about them.

So yeah that was a fun morning. It made the 50 or so passwords I reset yesterday all breaking this morning delightful by contrast. I have a steady queue of work to get me to the weekend so I am at least kept busy at work. I’ve got a floating Audible credit I was about to give to the third I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue Treasury. That was until I realised I already owned all the specials it contains on CD. Not sure which book I’ll bless with that. A friend of mine reccomended The Wandering Inn which sounds delightful. Also it’s 43 hours long so that’s a lot of content to enjoy. 

For now though I’m reslistening to the Clue Treasury volumes 1 and 2 again. I’ve had so many obsessions in my life, and so many things that were important to me and then drifted. The only thing in both categories that has lasted for 20 uninterupted years is I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue. It is to this day the one thing that can cheer me up no matter what, without fail each time I engage with it. And I guess it goes without saying, I’ve needed that more than I have let on in my last few posts. 

February 12th, 2020 – 504

Today marks the end of a sort of unofficial holiday period for 1K. On the 7th the blog hit one year, on the 8th 1K hit 500 days, and today my personal journal got its 500th consecutive entry. It’s funny that I have a clear snapshot of every day of the project but not those first four. I remember bits and pieces of those early days, but not much. I remember that on the Thursday I wrote close to an exact 1,000 words, the Friday nearer 1.400 and the Friday was a 4-5K day. The Saturday was another 1,000 and I was starting to feel the strain by that point. When I got to the Sunday I wasn’t thinking of this as a lifechanging project, more a nice to have. But I wanted to keep it going.

I grabbed a blue journal I picked up on a whim the week before. In an attempt to work through the mental sludge wrote a page. I called it ‘Stress or burnout’. That has been the big question whenever I’ve hit a mental roadblock ever since. Yet on that first day I still don’t know which it was. If I had to guess, it was stress, because my life was a trainwreck back then. Today I wrote the 500th entry, and focused it on pushing myself further. I’ve gone from clinging on to rushing ahead in the last 16 and a half months for sure. Now with the bullet journals too, I have a near enough perfect catalogue of every day of my life.

Which does beg the question of, why? I answered that in my ‘Action, Reflection, Accountability’ post, but it is still a fair question. In a way it’s a bit narcissistic. In another way it’s the opposite; I don’t force anyone to read these posts and I don’t let anyone read my journal. Keeping a journal does change the way you look at yourself though. For me, I started to care about myself a lot more because nothing is quite as draining as endless sad entries. It made me look out for patterns, something the bullet journal had pushed to a new level. But longform journalling is more valuable than the bullet journal. That’s because it gives a clearer picture of my thoughts, at length, and closer to the way they come to me in the real world.

It is a bit strange that I maintain this blog, two bullet journals and a diary in tamden. But then it’s weird that I write a novel either from scratch or in a rewrite every two and a bit months. If it works it works.

February 11th, 2020 – 503

I’ve had a busy but productive morning, and the rest of today I imagine will be much the same. Work tasks aplenty to knock off and some good news from HR in that I might have an opportunity I’ve wanted for a while: running more productivity and workplace “feel in control” sessions. So all in all a good day, if one where the jobs are flying from all angles.

Writing is going well, another 1,150 words added to WHT today. I think I’m 500 words if that off the midpoint. That would give a final word count of 95,000 words. That’s not bad, but I’ll be looking to cut about 15,000 of that if so. I’m nervous that anything above 80K will ramble on too long, but that is probably unfounded. I have to trust myself to write at length more.

February 10th, 2020 – 502

Keeping this one short too today, as this is going to be a busy day and I want to make sure my work-house is in order. That is what I use Monday as a day for and I find it a lot easier to keep in control of my world if I define what needs what now. It lets me argue my corner if I get asked to do a large task by a less than reasonable deadline, though that is rare. I cannot remember the last time I had to do that, maybe when migrating the VLE in the last term of the 18/19 academic year.

The office is a lot more noisy today than normal. I am not the ‘open office’s biggest fan. In fact I would love nothing more than to see it dismantled, as it creates so many problems in this workplace alone. It’s a shame that the real reason we have open offices is ‘walls are expensive’. Still, what can you do. I don’t like listening to things too loud but I will do it if I need to. It’s annoying that it is slowing down my workflow. Even writing this post is tough. But hey, plenty of writers work under much worse circumstances, and I managed to hit target before the work day began.