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…

April 20th, 2020 – 572 – Day thirty-five

I made 57 moves in my last game of chess. 12 were the BEST moves. Ok, so the chess.com app tells me 13 were outright blunders, and four were outright lost opportunities to win on top of that but, hey, one of my twelve was checkmate. Aye. I still suck at chess. But I’m getting better! Ish. Still got my eye on that beautiful chess set in marble, and if I get it you better believe I will be aiming to do better than 17 god-awful moves out of 57. 10 is quite enough.

In a stunning move in my writing, I managed to figure out how to inject a bit more excitement into a scene I was worried was ‘death of the novel bad’ at the time. Now I think I’ve set up a far more interesting conflict than the one I had initially planned, and one that is going to bring more of the horror elements I wanted to evoke front and centre in the plot. I should relisten to one of my all-time favourite books for inspiration in that vein: 14 by Peter Clines. His is a style and pazazz I aspire to, and I love the way he balances intrigue and horror in this book.

My routine is a total mess at the moment, but I am at least heading off to bed at half 9. That if nothing else is an improvement. Got to be bright and fresh for all my chess blunders tomorrow. And, well the hours of training at work too, that’s going to be interesting over Microsoft Teams. Here’s hoping the internet here is up to it. I’m quite interested to check it out. Get it, because I was, talking about chess two paragraphs ago? I can write humour right? Right?

Sad day when even your imaginary readers disagree with you.

April 19th, 2020 – 571 – Day thirty-four

I’m a bit out of routine at the moment yet again, not least because my writing has yet again slipped late into the day. I hit target some 5 minutes ago as I write this, and I never like it when it slips into the last hour, but the last 15 minutes of the day? That bodes for a bad night’s sleep, on a work night no less. I will keep this short so I can go sleep, but suffice to say my writing these past three days has been weak. Chapters 10/11 of TFS are pretty meh, and will need a radical overhaul or to be cut and replaced in whole when it comes to the rewrite. That’s ok, at least I recognise that. Doesn’t feel great though.

Here’s hoping tomorrow goes smoother. At least I think I’m getting better at chess…

April 18th, 2020 – 570 – Day thirty-three

Good news! I have found a new way I love procrastinating from writing my thousand words and ruining my sleep pattern: obsessive chess. Wait is that good news or bad news? I’m too shattered to know the difference at this point, but I have made it to level 5/10 difficulty on the app I play against so that counts for something. I feel I brute force too many games though; I should be looking to do clever checkmates and ruses, not eliminating all the pieces and promoting a couple of pawns. I’ve got my eye on a beautiful chess set to save towards, but not until I’m good enough at the game to justify it.

So why am I procrastinating so much? Well believe it or not it isn’t writer’s block, an ailment I do seem to have found the cure to – ‘charge head long and don’t worry if it turns out awful’. No to be blunt it’s because I am in a restless mood, not one to do with writing but more the realities of not being able to get out and about. I did 10K steps two days ago and that was a mistake in hindsight. It burned me out, and now I have a mind racing and a body slowly failing, given it wasn’t expecting me to put it through the mill. When my rowing machine arrives I need to remember this and be careful or I will hurt myself.

TFS is over the 20K threshold, and I think we’re breaking into act two at the exact point I wanted to. That suggests this is another 80K story rather than a 90-100K one. I am more than ok with this – wanting to keep my non-high-fantasy work to below six digits where possible – but I hope it proves substantial enough for my eventual readers to enjoy. I think it’s shaping up pretty well so far, action sequences, devastation, intrigue and mystery come thick and fast, though I think on the rewrite I might go for even more. Got to make that opening sweet.

I was so out of it today that I put water in the kettle, then poured it into my coffee granules. Nothing out of the ordinary there, except I forgot to turn the kettle on, let alone give it time to boil by magic. Turns out I love it like this, so I’m switching to cold coffees in the evenings. Should I really be drinking it at 23:21 at night? Well, probably not, but I should also have target long done by now and I’m playing chess. Still not quite got the hang of this ‘new lifestyle’…

April 17th, 2020 – 569 – Day thirty-two

So you know how I said I will hit 20,000 words today in my last post? Well, I will, but I need to not jinx myself like that. The words are coming, but it’s sludge not water, and that goes for the quality as well as the ebb and flow. It does not help that I seem to be burning out at the speed of bleugh. Ok, that time ‘bleugh’ didn’t make any sense. It was enough effort working through the Friday wrap-up, which did need to be my focus. At least on that front I have got close to my old work flow.

Even the coffee isn’t getting the creativity flowing. It likely doesn’t help that we watch TV every single day; I used to watch maybe an hour a week, but now it’s closer 11 hours. The days seem to be blending together in weird ways. We have ‘clappingday’ which was once known as Thursday, ‘vegetableday’ which began life as Wednesday, and the rest is one large splodge. I need to try and distinguish the days from one another, but that’s proving a lot more work than it sounds. I don’t exactly get much alone time. Kind of ironic for a lockdown but there you go.

I wrote the above when trying to psyche myself up to write. As it is, just over an hour and a half later, I’ve banked 1,400 words, though I feel they are ‘passable’. If bad is ‘ok’ the ‘passable’ is great news given how lethargic I was feeling, but they might be awful and I delusional with fatigue. In either case that’s enough for today. I will journal, and then sleep. Lord knows I need it, even if it appears not to help…