May 21st, 2020 – 603 – Day sixty-six

Strange how values shift over time. This time last year, writing main story content 2/3rds of the time for target was a big deal. Now I’m annoyed because May in comparason to previous months has seen my average daily WC fall 20 words to 1,080 words of main content, every day. I was keeping track at one point, then stopped when it became the norm. I hope that doesn’t hold for my little quarantine tracker in the title.

The words today were awful, weak little waifs, but they got me to target. This is the part of the novel I have the least confidence in, not because ideas are harder so much as I’m risking absurdity to keep up with the pace of the story. I might have to tone down some of the events in the rewrite to make the narrative more believable.

I keep having to remind myself that first drafts are meant to be bad. If they’re not, then you haven’t explored deep enough. A first draft that is ‘ok’ by definition is shallow. And yet it still doesn’t feel great to commit weak prose. Doesn’t help that I’m tired of course. Sleep is a factor I need to fix and soon. On that note, goodnight.

May 20th, 2020 – 602 – Day sixty-five

Same shtick, different day. Trying to write earlier, sleep more and somehow get my work queue closer to single digits than the triple it’s currently threatening. My temporary mantra has been ‘rememberĀ everyone is going through this, you’re not screwing up’. ‘Course that would have more weight if I hadn’t messed my budget up and bounced my phone bill by mistake. Cross with myself for that one; no phone for a couple weeks except for WiFi.

My fictional world is going a bit better, except I have to come up with a great idea for my character to have in time for tomorrow’s writing session. So no pressure. I find in seriousness that if I put myself on the spot like this, I find either the idea pops out, or I start writing something that can placeholder for it until I get an actual eureka moment. Either work, I’m going to rewrite the whole thing anyway so what’s the harm.

Coming back to finances again, I need to stop treating my mood swings with retail therapy. It’s not healthy and seeing as I have a job right now, saving is a great idea. The tricky part is that well, it has worked to keep my spirits up. So I need to find new pursuits that can do the same thing. I’m hoping that as my exercise routine grows that will perform this task. It’s either that or coming out of this mess with meagre savings.

May 19th, 2020 – 601 – Day sixty-four

I hate doing short posts. They feel cheap, as while I always do 300~ words of journal they’re not visible, so I feel less accountable. Here, yes no one reads but they could, which as I stated in my Action, Accountability and Reflection post is the point.

Well I wrote 1,000 words of TFS, and get a lot done today, but I have to fix my sleep. I’m losing between one and two hours every night, and that is not sustainable. Wish me luck…

May 18th, 2020 – 600 – Day sixty-three

I debated doing some kind of Imgur karma harvest with a feel-good post on hitting this milestone. I might before I go to bed, but it seems less likely now. That’s not because I’m not in a good mood; I’m feeling pretty great all told, even if it took a while tonight for the words to flow. I guess, it’s because I don’t need validation, even as I recognise that other perks come with such things. Enticing potential readers comes to mind.

54,800 words is TFS’s count as of tonight. I’ve noticed I only seem to get attached to wordcount as a whole past the 40,000 mark. I think that might be because of TSS’s first wordcount being that figure, so it always feels like an achievement to best it. I’ve been pretty introspective about that today though thinking back. Again, not in a low mood, but I can’t help but wonder what if I’d done all of this sooner.

I don’t think I was mature enough for a lifestyle like that of 1K back in the Autumn of 2011. I wasn’t for university that is for sure. In the closing days of the season, I finished writing ‘The Service to Ore’, polishing off the last 20,000 in a single night. That sounds impressive, but the book is not great. It’s also too painful to revisit, so much so I deleted the final 1/3rd when that trickled out in the ensuing years. I was a mess back then on a level that lockdown me isn’t even close to.

Jump forward a year, and I write 32,000 words of my first fictional novella, The Unreachable Star. Unlike the novel before it, this is a story I fall in love with, and one I’ve escaped to over the 8 and a half years since writing that first draft. But while I was more in control, university was still killing me, and I was still determined not to throw in the towel. That’s one of my largest regrets, financially and emotionally. Don’t think I ever got over it.

Jump again another two years, and I’m on the other end of university, and fresh out of a relationship that turned sour. I wrote the story I’d wanted to share with her, and even sent it to her on a USB. Never did hear back. Losing contact with her ranks up as another of those huge regrets; the relationship wasn’t right for either of us, but I never stopped wanting to be her friend. The feeling wasn’t mutual. As you’re only getting my side of that, I encourage you take my words with a pinch of salt.

Then two more years later, I double Unreachable’s length and then some. It’s such a rush, to call it a novel at last and not a novella. That is not to claim the latter is less worthy; a story is as long as it needs to be, and length is not everything, it’s what you do with it. Heh. But I was proud of it nonetheless. Still am, though the version you can read on WattPad is a vastly different one to the 2016 edit. A 2018 rewrite saw to that.

That’s maybe the earliest point a ‘1K’ could have taken root. I don’t think I was read though because my organisation skills were god awful still. I hadn’t started reading things like Getting Things Done and The Power of Habit back then, so I was on less than stable ground. I was in a new job, new relationship, but was still making mistakes that caused tension in both. That’s life.

So then we jump a final 2 years, and maybe then is the earliest 1K could have happened. In an ironic way, despite the whole point of the lifestyle being I make myself write at least 1,000 words a day no matter what, I don’t think I could or even should have forced it sooner. My life seems to work in 2s. 2012 was footing at uni but the beginning of the end, 2014 was a fresh start after falling low, and 2016 was its mirror image. 2018 saw my whole work team gone, my new relationship about to implode – and I knew it – and me feeling like I needed to break the cycle.

And then, we have 2020. I don’t need to tell you what defined this year; we all got sucked into the two-year cycle on that one, though I would hope this isn’t my fault. Every 2 years since about 2008 for me has featured a moment or period like this that changed the game, and a variety of new me’s came out of that. So I guess it’s testament to 1K, that I don’t feel corona did that. I’m bruised, my routine is shot and I’m stressed out. But business as usual continues, like it has for 600 days.

I’m not audacious enough to call 1K bulletproof, but it’s pretty darn robust. Don’t know where I’d be without it right now.

 

May 17th, 2020 – 599 – Day sixty-two

I haven’t decided how or even if I will celebrate tomorrow. Don’t get me wrong it feels like a mini Christmas to hit this milestone, even if 100s in this context are an arbitrary benchmark. I guess I like round numbers, like a lot of people I imagine. Since all my readers are imaginary I say all of you do too, so there. It’s a strange thought that just over 1 in 10 days of 1K have been spent in this quarantine. That makes it seem both longer and shorter somehow.

Last night I was a bit out of sync, hence my short post. It always feels wrong to make paragraph-or-less postings, but needs must a lot of the time, and my head was screwed on all kinds of wrong. I didn’t even get to sleep until 6am. A lot of that was getting lulled into playing too much Arena, and I should have known better than that. The prereleases did at least go very well.

TFS isn’t doing too bad either. I’m only 1,550 words up on a 1K minimum for the month, so this won’t be a radiant example of my productive best, but then a lot of my energies are going to my job right now so it’s not too surprising. At my current pace, I’ll have this draft in the can on or by the last day of June, with for the first time no deadline shift. As the story is more compact than VOL and WHT that’s not too surprising, but welcome nonetheless.

Right, imma go crash now. Here’s hoping I can sleep over my loud PC fan as it installs GTA V. So many games. And yet I haven’t visited my Animal Crossing village in over a week…

May 15th, 2020 – 597 – Day sixty

Phew! That was a long day! Late target this evening but that’s alright, I’ll just sleep in a bit and try to do target as soon as I wake up. I just finished up the Ikoria Prerelease, and came 5th! Ok, out of 6, but hey low numbers make me look great! Actually, I think my best performance was a 5th in a 17 person event, so today was, less good on that score. Eh, whatever, I had a blast, got the legendary creature I want to build around a Commander deck from the set, and then in the random draw at the end won a playmat box worth more than the draft!

Ok so that’s my Magic rave over, but only in part because the main reason I took part was to support my LGS. Mana Gaming is a great shop and a great community, and its places like that which need all the love they can get in such uncertain times. I will be chucking some more of my paycheck their way as a donation on payday. It’s important to fund worthy causes, but as far as I see it a good LGS is one. People with social difficulties or who find it hard to make friends always find a welcoming home, and that’s what we’ll need more than ever after this.

So on writing, TFS is still at more of a trickle right now, but that’s pretty normal for these stages. Breaking into a new section – in this case, ‘bad guys close in’ – always does seem to see me hit a bit of a rut, but less so now I’m of the mindset of you can always write story content if you will it. The quality isn’t always great, but the second line of my mantra is “and if [the words] are bad then that’s ok”. No use being a perfectionist if it just means you don’t create at all.

Right, I’m knackered, so I’ll leave this and get on with tidying the bedroom. So many empty card packs…

May 14th, 2020 – 596 – Day fifty-nine

Touch wood, I am starting to reach ‘normal-ish’ now. It’s still a bit bumpy, and my work queue is a bit of a mess to be frank, what with the incoming volume vs what I’m able to do with all the distractions that come from home duties too. If I were living alone I doubt it would be that disruptive at all, but family does come first. Even so, I am starting to claw productivity back from the jaws of covid.

On a more positive note, TFS hit 50,000 words today as expected, which is a huge milestone for any project as far as I’m concerned. Along with that I now have more idea of the story itself, the themes I want to explore, and to an extent, the way the plot will play out. I’m pleased what I’ve achieved with a tight cast, and glad I decided to go into this one direct with minimal planning. I think it’s helped me grow as a writer.

Now much more to report today, except to say happy birthday to a long time friend some-time reader, and to say that while I’m still a long ways off ‘ok’, I am starting to reach ‘stable’. I think given the world-shift we’re all going through that I’ll take that for the time being.

May 13th, 2020 – 595 – Day fifty-eight

Busy day so far, though one where I managed to finish a bunch of open tasks. I’ve got a few more I’d like to finish by the end of the day, but it’s important to pace myself, even though my productivity is starting to get back to something closer to my normal level. I’m not there yet, that’s for sure.

My daily walks are working pretty well for me it seems. I go out at 3pm or so, and come back at 4:30. I make up the extra work time until 6pm, which means a longer day, but one where I am at least in near-total control of my routine. This kinda works for me, though of course once back in an office I’ll have to shift it to a 5pm walk and home by 6:30. I’d do that now, but I wouldn’t want to hold up dinner. So, ‘near‘-control.

TFS is now sitting at 49,501 words, so IĀ could if I wanted to carry it to 50K. I won’t because that’s arbitrary, and I do want to pace myself, and because ‘1K is Enough’ exists for a reason. If I find it easy to accidentally breeze over 1K then it’s ok to chip a little more. If I find my checks coming in at 667 words, 750 and 856 then that tells me I’m anxious to get it done, so pushing myself on those days tends to backfire. Call it a willpower issue.

Speaking of willpower, I’ve been studying the book I bought on it and have found some useful information that’s helping shape my personal covid-lifestyle response. For one thing, I’ve started drinking Lucozade on occasion when I need a willpower boost, and while I can’t say if it’s had an effect, I have managed to break through a few mental fugs of not being able to do stuff after drinking it. That’s pure ‘anecdotal evidence’ and not a health recommendation, but still neat nonetheless.

May 12th, 2020 – 594 – Day fifty-seven

I’m almost back to a normal, enjoyable routine. After a productive team meeting over Microsoft Teams, I found the willpower before starting my jobs for the day to crank out target and my journal, and this of course. Getting things done before 12pm is a large boon for me, because it makes the majority of the day sail by, which right now is a great help. I don’t want to do too much savouring and reflection while things are bleak.

Not much to report on the TFS front, except that in two days we’ll sail over the 50K mark, which I still find bizarre for a typed-first story. That’s only because I’m so used to typing already-written stories of course, but even so it’s a nice feeling to know I’ve made the switch without a hiccup it seems. Now I can focus on work, enjoy a stress-free walk later, and fingers crossed, repeat the process again tomorrow. Here’s hoping.