April 30th, 2020 – 582 – Day forty-five

Post 451, so bring on the book-burning I suppose. I have a confession to make that I still need to finish reading Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, but figured it might be better to read the other 450 books in the series first. Nah I’ve just been bad at reading fiction, which is a long-standing problem for me. I read a lot – though as people seem to delight in pointing out Audible isn’t quite the same. Congrats, it’s not like I have the disability by choice but whatever makes you feel smug I suppose. The issue is I am often more drawn to reading non-fiction for pleasure.

On that note, I’ve been reading Willpower by Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney, a book I’ve waited for ages to get on audio. It’s helped me make sense of quite a lot of the things that have fallen apart in quarantine, not least my drive to get writing done earlier in the day so I can sleep on time. Spoilers: it’s me not eating right or recharging as I should. It’s a great book I do recommend if you’re like me and fascinated with getting the most out of your brain.

I still need to get some more words out of my brain for TFS, but I’ve written 2,500 words today of a story commission for a friend. Should they like it, I might be writing a private novel over the next few weeks. That sounds, insane I’ll grant, but it’s a sign of how productive I am able to be. I can start whole other projects and still get at least 1K of main-story out each day. Still need to be careful of course, as with 1K+ and Clockspinning this kind of endeavour carries risk. But it’s nice to feel I have the capacity for 2/3K days. Work has to come first, but I don’t want it dominating my whole life.

Payday and I decided to take the plunge on the chess set. Amazingly, they’re delivering it tomorrow. Chess I have to say is helping in a myriad of ways, as a confidence boost, a mental stimulant, a new hobby to take pride in and a fallback activity for when I don’t feel up to anything else. Gotta get that estimated Elo up from 1400. A productive month all told, and 35,000 of a novel is pretty great to have in the bank. I do hope I get a bit back in control of everything else in May though.

April 29th, 2020 – 581 – Day forty-four

It’s funny. Since 1K started I’ve not really had a month that was a blur. This has been a funny old one for sure, and to be fair my birthday isn’t a blur. Part of it is how threadbare my bullet journal has become. When every day is near enough identical it’s hard to get any foothold on the passage of time. It’s much more of a slope.

It’s strange too that it’s a blur in spite of how productive it’s been. Well over 30,000 words of a new story, tonnes of support for the college and the flourishing of learning tech. But I guess I’m also exhausted and cooped up so it’s not that surprising. I just tried to spell ‘that’ with a 5. It’s time to sleep…

April 28th, 2020 – 580 – Day forty-three

Starting to level out. I hot target at 23:35, so later than yesterday but with a lot more ease. I also like today’s writing more, but I like both better than the weeks proceeding them. TFS had hit a great point to enter Act 2, and I have a better idea of my B-story and how I’m going to set up the false defeat/victory in about 7-9 chapters time. I’m also pretty happy with Kim’s character development, and how she both shows vulnerability and is still as badass as ever. She’s a joy to write.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how the fun and games part of the novel is going to go, and I’ve got some nice twists to up the stakes and give the audience a kick planned. Whether I’ll use those or not however I don’t know. The ploy I set up to make them work I only came up with today, so that is liable to change. But it’s great just trusting myself to find a route. It’s not like I did no planning for this novel, but the barebones approach is a lot more fun. It also makes me feel a lot less blocked.

My chess game is improving, but I’ve still got a way to go. I did some tests, and I have an Elo of about 1400 at the moment. That is much higher than I thought I would, but still not quite where I’d like to be. I want to get to 1600 and start feeling confident enough to join smaller events. I don’t know why chess stresses me out less than Magic, but I think it’s because I enjoy making silly plays in the latter, whereas I love hunting for optimal moves here. So more puzzles, more games, and in time more reaching out. But for now, time to sleep.

Oh one more thing, I have now included actual emoji- two to be exact – in one of my stories for the first time, so yay for polluting literature!

April 27th, 2020 – 579 – Day forty-two

Feel a bit better after last night’s lows. Today I hit target much earlier in the day, got lots of work done and even managed a 63% accuracy chess game. I’ve really fallen in love with this game even if I’m not all that great at it yet.

TFS is now 32,000 words. That’s still a little trippy for me. When I wrote TUS version 1.0, I was chuffed writing that much in 42 days, and that was after extensive planning. Now I can turn that out as a third of a story in 3/4 of the time without much more than a vague idea of the plot. It does wait to be seen if the story is any good when it’s all said and done but all writing is practice.

I just hope I sleep better tonight…

April 26th, 2020 – 578 – Day forty-one

I really need to exercise more. I had that nailed before this mess, a walk every day, healthy diet with extra exercise instead of comfort eating. I’m not moaning, it’s my choice that I stay indoors and don’t take advantage of the one walk a day allowance because I don’t want to put m grandparents at any added risk, but my head is not screwed on right anymore. The stress is taking its toll and I don’t have many outlets for it. Doesn’t help that it’s got me falling behind on the new bloc of emails.

I am one of those people who works best when my ‘work’ environment isn’t in the same building I sleep and relax in, so lockdown has been hard enough as it is without also losing my exercise, control of my schedule, privacy and flat, social life and plans. I’ll adapt, I always do, but I could really use a holiday. I keep getting told ‘not to bother’, by people who I don’t think quite realise I am never allowed to switch off from my job. Still, I’m lucky said job doesn’t put me in harm’s way, or that I still have a job at all. In that sense, I am biblically lucky.

I’m exhausted, and at some point working round the clock is going to tank my heath a lot further. I need rest, and it’s not possible when I end up answering emails over the weekend. Even then I haven’t managed to reply to all of them. I’m probably going to bite the bullet and stay up until 3am working, again. The fear of losing my job is greater than the fear of losing my health, not least as I think the latter is a lost cause at this point. And have you noticed how I haven’t even talked about writing? It’s Sunday, and this whole post was about work. Just imagine Monday…


April 25th, 2020 – 577 – Day forty

I’m pretty out of sync and burned out, so today I tried to have a rest day. For the most part that went ok after some minor hiccups early on, but I think I’ll need another one tomorrow to really get back on my feet. Not that there’s a ton of point being on my feet when I can’t go anywhere but hey, analogy smalogy. So I’m going to go to bed soon and try to get my head on straight. Apologies for another naff post but suffice to say I’m not in a great place right now.

April 24th, 2020 – 576 – Day thirty-nine

Today was a bit of a mad rush. Work mostly but that’s ok because it’s the weekend and I can switch off for a bit. Also only a week until I can justify ordering my chess set which is nice. I managed to get my full roster of dream Animal Crossing villagers with Pietro as the final entry, so in pretty good spirits all told.

Still need to write but about to do so. Wish me luck!

April 23rd, 2020 – 575 – Day thirty-eight

There is a slim chance that if I keep up my current pace, May could become a 40K month. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but the 40K month is a sort of soft-goal for 1K at the moment, requiring a level of efficiency that I do not feel confident forcing at the moment. 1K+ and Clockspinning are good examples of how easily pushing things too far, even for a day can upset my system. “1K is Enough” is sort of an unwritten rule for that very reason, but if I go over without much effort or thought then it’s fine. That’s how today I near-enough hit 1,500 words.

It still amuses me in a way how a 1,500 word day is now a pinnacle for me. In the same way I would have once looked at 1K as magical-Christmas land, I used to see 1,500 word days as meh. This was when I felt sure that if I was ‘able’ to write, I should be pushing for as much as possible. Now I recognise I had that skewered: I’m always able to write, but the more I push myself, the more I risk burnout. A simple goal each day means I make a lot of progress even at my worst.

Writing is helping keep me sane in lockdown, and chess continues to as well. In 8 days I’ll be ordering my own set and I cannot wait for that. I’ve always loved weighted objects, pens especially, and the marble pieces are going to be so satisfying to use. I’m also hoping – perhaps forlornly – that heavier pieces might encourage me to move slower and with more care. A lot of the mistakes I make at the moment are not me blundering into lost material, but failing to take time to look for the ‘better’ move. Kinda ironic in a way given my other main hobby calls for the opposite approach. An impatient push forward will churn out novels, but it’s also a surefire way to miss a clean checkmate.

April 22nd, 2020 – 574 – Day thirty-seven

If it wasn’t for my writing, I don’t think I would even know what day of the week it was. I work most days, and it all blends into one puddle of fug in either case. But I’m doing ok in either case. I need to sleep now but I’m pleased with how my writing went. I’m conscious the writing is super unpolished, but it should be fixable. Anyway night night.

April 21st, 2020 – 573 – Day thirty-six

The majority of today I was in training for a new system for exams at work. That meant that I didn’t have much of a break to squeeze writing into, and in the end I pushed it right back until now. That’s kinda ok, I like the scene I just finished and it brought the novel to the end of Act 1, in quite dramatic fashion. My heroine is well and truly thrown into the story now and past the point of any doubts on proceeding. I’ve done so with a bit of a premature false defeat because I want the whole story to feel like an ascension, which is what it is from here on out for the most part.

My rowing machine is going to be another 8 weeks from now, as I wanted a specific colour, and given the eye-watering cost and the fact it’s for a lifetime, I can stomach 8 weeks. Even so, I have put on so much weight in the last 36 days. I don’t look too bad, but I hate having a gut, and even growing my beard out hadn’t hidden the change to my facial shape. It is what it is, and I’ve shed way more weight than this – in much less time on a far worse diet – so here’s hoping I course correct soon.

25,000 words of TFS, and I quite like the story that’s emerged. It needs a lot more work than say WHY or TSS, but it’s a story I feel is worth that attention too. Going in with only a rough idea works now I know I’ll write it every day, which old me wasn’t so reliable at. But right now I need to go collapse in bed and rest. Well, I’m in – or at least sitting on the edge of my bed, so time to finish my descent. Ok, that sounds far more ominous than I meant it to…