May 31st, 2020 – 613 – Day seventy-six

There is nothing quite as satisfying after a long day of work as sitting back to write a badass action sequence for your favourite cult-busting journalist heroine. I like all my characters for different reasons – The Wanderer aside – but few are quite as fun top write for as her. No matter what gets thrown at her and how hard she falls, she always gets back up. I don’t feel as a writer I should be pushing my own wish fulfilment, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to be more like her.

I worked through the weekend on various college tasks and commitments. I’m still buried under a mile-long queue but I think I can go in – not literally – tomorrow and present the big tasks with solutions. Lockdown has seen my mental health decline to lows I’ve not faced since the darkest days at Sussex University but I feel I can hold my head up. Or I could if my exercise routine wasn’t knackering my back. I need to take a rest day.

See, that’s the thing. With my writing I don’t take rest days. I don’t think I can handle routines that aren’t ‘daily’. I either do it each and every day, or I don’t do it at all. Work is a quasi-exception except I work through work problems and elearning ideas in my mind all the time, so go figure. Problem with exercising each day is twofold. First your body gets used to it and it stops burning off the fat, switching to carbs. And the second is it kills you. Just to be clear that second one is the problem.

A week tomorrow I move back to the flat. That is a strange, kind of unnerving thought. I don’t know if I should be happy, sad, or just numb. Think a lot of folks out there are numb right now and they’re going through a lot more than I am. We’ve all had to find our own mental space to cope with covid. I’m just glad I had my stories. Stay safe my imaginary readers.

May 30th, 2020 – 612 – Day seventy-five

Busy weekend, spent it working on a lot of stuff for the college, but I did at least bank an earlier target. I’ve nailed my ‘All is lost’ beat though I do need to take it up a bit in the rewrite. I want the reader to feel as thrown as my protagonist. Audacious goal but you have to aim big right?

I need to go pass out now…

May 29th, 2020 – 611 – Day seventy-four

Another hyper busy day at work, and as I feared I’m going to need to work through the weekend in spite of the big push. In a way I’m ok with that because I do at least know what it is I need to do, it’s mere quantity that makes me feel a bit drained. I’m going to need to make sure I take my week off I have planned as chill and slow as possible. In the meantime I’m so knackered that I expect to spend that week bed-ridden. I’m not far off of that now, so it’s a good think my work desk is my bed. Not great for sleep though.

Words are sluggish today even writing this. I’m on the cusp of that bottom cut off point for a novel, the 70K mark, and to be frank I think it’s a tight 70. I need to redo some set pieces, reorder or redo some other events and scenarios and just un-£$%#-ify it a bit, and it’ll be ready to shove in a drawer for a year and not look at. I’m not kidding, that is my legitimate plan. I’m already doing it with TSS for another 5 months or so. This is why I like to stay so ahead of schedule.

On a positive note to finish, I managed to pick up the Historic Anthology III on MTGA today, and Maze’s End is such a fun card to play. So I do have some small escape. Even if I have to play that in bed as well…

May 28th, 2020 – 610 – Day seventy-three

Today was a rough one. I’m knackered, and my head has been throbbing for a good 4 and a bit hours now. I think it’s dehydration, I am not drinking enough water at the moment. I also ended up in a heated debate tonight, which was purely interlectual in nature. Problem is, I despise debate. I understand the need for free discussion of ideas but there is little that stresses me out and winds me up more. There is a reason I’m not following in my family’s political footsteps.

So yeah, two mistakes, both my own fault – it’s not hard to remember a water bottle or disengage from a discussion. Problem is now, I know I will be ill this weekend. When I get this kind of double whammy it knocks me out of commission. It’s so frustrating that it takes so little to burn me out, but what can you do. Here’s hoping I figure out a fix for it. Or you know, stop putting myself in positions where I drain myself for something pointless.

I want to down some painkillers but I have a similar policy to them as I do to alcohol – not until target. The first draft may suit being treated as mud – both in taste and sculpting potential – but there’s no reason to make it worse. I mean, drunk writing has its charm, and I would love to live stream drunk writing if I ever have an audience, but I’ll never have an audience if I don’t focus on improvement. Hard to focus on anything when you’re off on painkillers.

As implied, I’ve not finished target yet today. It’s annoying that it keeps ending up so late, but I’m so busy round the clock at the moment that it’s not really a suprise. I could force it out earlier in the day, but ‘forcing’ target at all is a bit like the problem above. It is worth saying though I can barely see through this headache and keep missing the keys, so I may still cave on that point. But forcing it where that’s avoidable defeats the point in a way.

I was thinking of doing some work on a small idea I’ve been toying with for this website, but I’ve been a mess more or less since getting back from my walk today and used what energy I had for work. No regrets there with payday tomorrow. Realistically it’s more the weekend I’m focused on now, even though I’ll likely be working through it again. Just have to remember this isn’t forever. Just feels like it.

May 27th, 2020 – 609 – Day seventy-two

I have a plan. Plans are great; not sacrisanct by any means and they have to be flexible, but it’s a ground zero. That plan at present centres on three dates, and relies on college approval, logistics going as expected, and my sanity remaining in tact.

The first date is the 5th of June. I will be booking this day of work off and the entirity of the week afterwards. Whis is this you ask? Well on the second date, the 8th of June, I move back home. I’ve helped my grandparents out, but now I have to face the reality of needing to show my face at work so they can see how hard I’m working. Cynical? To the extreme, but I can’t afford to lose my job after all.

The third date, is the 15th. Assuming I get the go-ahead, that will be when my little suffix counter on my posts above, ends. I will no longer be in lockdown, and will go back to, what I guess will be in a way, normal life. In another way, it won’t be normal at all. In fact next to none of it will be – look point is, major change. Maybe good. Maybe not so good. But it’s a plan. All I got.

TFS is now at 66,000 words. Now well past the 2/3rds mark, we are in my third act and building towards what I hope will be an explosive, surreal and shocking climax to the story. I cannot tell you how little I want my own little journey to end in the same way…

May 26th, 2020 – 608 – Day seventy-one

My wordcount’s been going up a lot in the last few days, even as my mental health plunges. I know a big part of that is my writing slipping too late in the day, me not getting enough sleep, and then trying to get through the 9-5 on reduced batteries as well as dealing with less than ideal conditions. I mean, everybody has a version of that right now, so I expect no sympathy for that, but it’s a reality that I’m strained at the moment.

When I’m like this is becomes a lot harder to remember that the words I write don’t have to be – and likely won’t be – great. 1K is about pacing myself not just for consistant output, but because no word or sentance is above cutting if it is mediocre or supurflous. The first draft is the raw block of marble, which you haven’t yet carved anything of note out of yet. And somehow I’m able to write that andbeat myself up for ‘eh’ progression at the same time.

I’ve been suffering some serious imposter syndrome at work of late. I think it’s just the sheer number of things slipping through the cracks. I do recognise that’s more to do with the volume of tasks now whilst in inideal circumstances, but I don’t want to do a bad job. I want people to feel confident knowing someone has their back, and I worry I’m not doing that as well as I’d like right now. I guess, writing this out, makes me realise my work and my writing problems may be the same problem: my self confidence right now is shot.

Gotta rebuild that somehow on top of everything else…

May 25th, 2020 – 607 – Day seventy

I have to open with an apology. Yesterday was day sixty-nine and I didn’t throw out a ‘nice’. If I forget to do that in 99 days time (169), or 350 days (420) then you have permission to stop reading my blog. And you know how serious I’m being about that.

I wrote another day above a thousand words today, making three in a row. Can’t help but smirk as I write that as I’ve been watching a lot of Fact Fiend today and Karl Smallwood ripped ‘Writers Twitter’ apart for how worthless being proud of wordcount in public is, which I could not agree with more if I tried. There is a reason I write drivel on here; if I thought I’d have actual readers, I would write something far more interesting than this tripe.

I’m watching his videos right now and man I don’t know why I didn’t binge him sooner. I’m a huge Simon Whistler fan and knew I liked Karl Smallwood’s style from the clips I’d seen of him and the scripts he wrote for Today I Found Out, but he is genius. I wish he and Simon did a podcast because I swear I would listen to almost nothing else if that existed.

I’d still listen to Audible of course. I’ve now sailed over 14 months of listen time on the platform now, and on my daily walks I’m finding that I take in the story and can visualise it so much easier when on the move. I may up my step count to 15,000 steps a day just to get more time to listen, or some other form of exercise. Anyway this is a rambling mess and I have a team meeting in the morning so Imma sleep now. Night.

May 24th, 2020 – 606 – Day sixty-nine

Today I wrote 2,000 words. After scraping target for so many days, it’s strange that I would have such a spurt now. I wrote a chapter that had my heart in my throat and upended the whole world, giving me an anxious weight I can’t even shift now. I can’t claim it’s good writing because what auther can ever be an impartial judge of that, but it sure got an emotional response. I just hope that holds up on the other end.

I’ve been working on my next steps planning for the new phase of the lockdown today. I will likely move back into my flat in the middle of next month, and take a week and a bit of annual leave when I do so. After that, I’m going to ask if I can start working in the office again, as I find it so much easier to work like that, and I am desperate to get back to full productivity. I just hope work are ok with me doing that. If not, I’ll just have to figure something out.

There’s a route out of this fug. I will find it. This has been the hardest two months of my life, which is odd as I dodn’t really have to do much outside work. I guess, when you finally have your life together and you’re at a high point, the fall hurts even more. I do at least now know how to climb back up.

May 23rd, 2020 – 605 – Day sixty-eight

Another day, another chip. I have beenreading a lot at the moment, a mixture of literary, sci fi and non fiction made up today at various points, and on top of that I took a new walking route, decreased my calorie defecit and let myself rest. And for all that, I’m still stressed. It’s a nightmare getting the human brain to shift gears for the best of us, and I am still not anywhere near ‘best’ as a category.

I got into a detailed discussion of plot in literature with grandad today, and to what extent it is needed for good fiction if at all. Fiction as so often is its role in life has become an escape from even the quiet days, because in a perverse way it’s the quiet ones that make the most noise. Nothing seems to drown it out, even acknowledging the deafening claxon or drowning it out with reminders that those on the front line have it so much worse. All that seems to do is make me feel selfish, and wish I could be more help from here.

Rage has always been a driving force in my mind whether I like it or not. The target of said rage is most of the time irrelevant if it adds no baggage, which keeping it to myself often does. Not a lot of people seem to see that it’s what drives me, even though I don’t exactly hide the fact – I’m writing it here aren’t I? The issue right now is that I’m under so much stress and have so few outlets or controls over my routine that it attaches to everything. I don’t do well locked in, even if functionally I’m no more so than I used to be.

One day when this is all over, I don’t know how I’ll look back on myself and how I’ve coped. A foolish part of me hopes with pride, but I often regard past-mes with distain so that’s not the bookies odds. I have done that less since 1K began, but I’ve struggled a lot these last few months. If there is something I could or should be doing different though I sure as heck can’t see it.

Sorry for the self-focused post. I know it’s a blog about me, but this kind of reflection isn’t of a type I like to post a lot of the time. Guess it comes back to the lack-of-ego problem again, so I guess yay for me for this minor breakthrough. I’m going to bed.

May 22nd, 2020 – 604 – Day sixty-seven

You can be amazing
You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug
You can be the outcast
Or be the backlash of somebody’s lack of love
Or you can start speaking up

I have an ego problem. Unlike most writers – just about all of the ones I’ve ever known – it’s the ‘not enough’ problem I’m dealing with. Contray to what a blog like this might appear, I do not feel the need to shove my writing into people’s faces. I wrote that on my bio when I set this up fifteen months ago, and I still havent managed to overcome it. I have to change that.

‘Have’ is a tricky word. I have to write 1,000 words every day because it’s the one thing that makes me feel complete. I don’t have the empty void in my heart that can only be filled by others affirmations, and boy do I need to take an ice cream scoop and dig one. Know where I have got a void? My bank balance. If I ever want to get the career of my dreams – doing just this – I have to start selling me more.

It would make sense if I wasn’t sure I was good enough. I think I’ve been – editing permitting on VOL, WHT, TSS and TFS – publishable for a long time. I am now efficiant enough to pump out a novel every quarter. Soon it’ll be every 60 days. One day I’ll write a novel a month and have people pulling their hair out trying to figure out how I do it. But I need to minimise distractions for that. ‘Remove distractions one by one’ is a central line of my mantra. Well, my current job is one.

It’s weird, a bit tone deaf, to talk about my job like that in this current crisis. But what’s the point of this blog if I’m not honest. I love my job, but it’s not writing full time. That is my calling. I need to start forcing this world to make it a reality. It’s time to become obnoxiously pushy. Somehow…

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave