March 24th, 2020 – 545 – Day eight

So there it is. The UK is pretty much in lockdown at last. Were we right to wait? I guess we will see. For my own part, I’ve been in isolation, only seeing delivery drivers at a distance and mum twice to drop off supplies in the same way, for eight days. I am starting to get over the weirdness of the whole thing, and regaining my past productivity. I got a lot done ‘at work’, and also a lot done in my writing too. Today was, well quite a big day. How big? 3,700+ words big.

I do ‘sprint to the finish’ with most projects, but with this one, I was eyeing the March 31st ‘mid-deadline’ that I want to hit and decided what the heck, one intense day won’t kill me. It also helps make up for a long series of near-enough exact 1K days, where I like to try and average 1,100. I will not be ‘chaining’ days like this, and maybe it was not even a good idea today, but the advantage of finishing long before the 8th of April is under my new schedule, that gives me several free days.

I intend to spend those free days outside of work and being there for relatives doing one thing: hitting target by editing. VOL is ok in its current form, but it needs a lot of polish. WHT is much the same. I want to spend that week-long stretch polishing the word-I-don’t-use-on-this-site out of both. I’m itching for that chance and looking forward to re-reading the stories because, hey, I enjoy the story. I’m biased, yes, and I need to be careful of that, but it will be nice all the same.

I’ve no idea what lies ahead from here. I may move on Saturday as planned; I may move today. But As of today, I have spent an equivalent of one week in self-imposed exile from the world. I’m not presenting symptoms, and for the most part, I am not insane. Yet.

March 23rd, 2020 – 544 – Day seven

A busy and long day at work, and yes yet again I am writing this quite late. I will be keeping this entry short as I am exhausted, need to sleep and it is almost midnight. On the plus side, I had a large word count by the end of today for WHT and am on the cusp of 95,000 words. With a week to go until the end of the month, my ‘mid-deadline’ looks like it will be achievable after all.

It appears lockdown is now pretty much a thing for the UK. I’m ‘moving’ in less than a week, but with the new restrictions, I may need to move my timetable up significantly. It could be I am on the move as soon as Wednesday, which still means I isolated for a period equivalent to a week, but is a bit tight. We will have to see how the new rules roll out. Needless to say, it’s another added stress for me, but I have it easy compared to most. Ok, I do also have a mile-long work queue out of nowhere but hey, at least I appear indispensable.

Mental health hasn’t gone down as bad as I thought it would after almost a week by myself. I was worried because in my worst days at Sussex University – and I am not allowed to go off on that topic because a) I will probably swear and 2) it would probably be libellous – I ended up having alone stretches about this long. They were never pleasant, and what little I remember of them was a pain I do not want to ever return to. But no, I seem to be holding up fine.

When I get my sleep under control again I will feel a millionfold better. But for now, I need to go to sleep and brace for another rough night and day. Wish me luck.

March 22nd, 2020 – 543 – Day six

When I said I was thinking about doing these posts a little later during the quarantine, this is not quite what I had in mind. However all my writing is done, so this is a good way of making sure I wrap this up in 10 minutes so I can still post it today. I spent most of today on Animal Crossing and Magic Arena to be honest, and in doing so tried to switch off and have a day of relaxed fun. On any other day of the year, today would have been perfect. I ate nice food, watched cute foxes from my window, and had an aimless wander through the things I enjoy goofing off with.

But right now, it’s hard to stay lost in things. Don’t get me wrong, I am not in a panic over Covid-19. To be blunt I am far more worried about the slippery slope of giving Boris Johnson emergency powers but that’s not something I want to go into here. I managed to write a great scene tonight, fix a slight issue I had with wanting a slightly cheeky scene but not wanting to make it tasteless, and all in all, I feel accomplished. But with the world falling apart, I struggle to feel much of that right now. It’s there, but it’s being drowned out.

I just wish the paracetamol wasn’t running out, because the stress has been setting off my headaches, and I am a little worried about this one turning into a migraine. That probably wouldn’t hurt my immune system, but I’d rather not test the odds. If all goes well, in a week I’ll be moving in with my grandparents, and we’ll all get through this with a lot less drama. Work is going to be surreal tomorrow. I don’t know if any work people read this – I doubt it – but those non-techie types don’t worry: it’s just as weird and uncomfortable for me doing my work at a distance as it is for you. Stay safe my imaginary readers.

March 21st, 2020 – 542 – Day five

Darn maths in the title. I ended up getting confused because I know the page number of my personal journal is 4 behind the total days of 1K, as I only started it on October 1st, 2018.  But I found out I duplicated the number 532 in the page numbering and only just spotted the irregularity. It’s fine but I forgot how to add 4 to a number, so was convinced this was meant to be 543. Four days away from college and I’ve already forgotten basic maths. Ok, that’s a lie, I forgot basic maths years ago.

I wrote another 1K of WHT today, bringing it to 93,000 words. To think I used to believe I’d only ever write 75K stories. I’ve learned my lesson: a novel is as long as it is. I imagine TFS will be a 75K story, in the same way that WAN – as much as I hate it – is probably a 90K story. Those are rough guesses, but they speak to the way each story only needs so many words, but does need that many too.  Moreover, I actually really like the words I’ve written these last few days, which is nice as I was in a rut of dislike for quite a while.

I just put up the two missing VOL chapters just now. I feel better now that’s done, but still knackered. I spoke to my mum and granny on the phone today, and I have got to say if you are in isolation too, call people. You will not believe the difference it makes to your mood. And also, if you have a Switch, download Animal Crossing. It’s been such a weight off my shoulders to have that world to escape into. To be frank, if you don’t have a switch but have one of the older games, dust off that. You can’t put a premium on distraction of any kind right now.

March 19th, 2020 – 540 – Day three

I think in the absence of a normal routine, I might make a switch to doing these posts in the evening. Granted I only hit target some 16 minutes ago so it kinda stands to reason I’m only doing this now, but I think as a reflection of where my mind is at during this weird time, end of day > start of day.

So what did I do today? A lot. There is still a long queue of emails I need to get to in my workload, and to be blunt, I think it’s time to accept my job is one that needs Trello. I plan on relaunching that tomorrow. Of note, all my BuJo notes for the last few days are still on there too, since Saturday. Boy how a world can change in a heartbeat. I mean, I kind of saw this coming, but only in the vague ‘I guess this could happen’ sense, and only for the last two weeks or so. At the start of March, I would have scoffed at the idea of twelve-to-sixteen weeks of isolation, which is the reality I’m now facing.

So, why so long? Granted some places will lock everyone down like that with no exceptions at this time, but not the UK. I am 27, and not deemed ‘at-risk’, so why would I isolate at all? The answer ties in why I have been so cryptic for the last few weeks about why I was feeling so down. I have an elderly family member who is potentially unwell. Not coronavirus, and they’ve been in isolation for a few weeks now. They are strong and independent, but everyone is struggling right now, and I see it as nothing short of family duty to help out. When I was asked to I didn’t give it a second thought. I imagine most people would be the same.

So, I’m in solo isolation until next Tuesday, and then I’ll be looking after them, even if it just ends up being as company. Grammarly is telling me I’m being imformative but gloomy, so let’s focus on a lighter note. I’m lucky to have a job I can do in tandem with a task like this, and that I have a new Animal Crossing game arriving in the post to help give me some escape from the world being on fire. But most of all, I’m lucky I have my writing. I do not think that the me of yesteryear would be coping right now at all.

March 18th, 2020 – 539 – Day two

This is already so weird. On the face of it, today has been a pretty normal work day. I’ve taken phone calls, completed tasks and I’m working on some Google Meet guides for the college. Incidentally, Google has made all its premium features for Meet free to support home working during the virus, so if you’re looking for a good solution I do recommend it was being one of the easier platforms to use.

I am still chipping away at my writing, but in the short term I’m doing it after work hours instead of before, if for no other reason than I’m out of my normal routine. The good news is WHT is now at 87,000 words, and I am confident I can have the novel’s second draft finished by the end of the month. Lord knows I am going to have a lot of spare time on my hands now I can’t go see friends or loved ones for a while.

Got to relax, stay positive and keep working. Work is helping give me a focus point that stops my mind wandering to the screwy parts of this whole situation. I’m sure if anyone is reading this you probably feel the same way. My guess, it’s only going to get weirder.