November 30th, 2020 – 796

Premature to call today a turning point, but it’s 16:57 and I’ve gotten all my work, writing and chores for the day done. I can’t even remember the last time I pulled off that trio. I’m especially proud that I maintained my work without compromising on it to achieve the other two. But I have to keep this up, so three rules:

– Avoid my phone after 9:30pm

– Bed by 10:30 at the latest

– Kick off tomorrow maybe as early as 8am

No matter what though, it’s nice to have hope again.

November 29th, 2020 – 795

Still out of sync, still not doing great. I need to try and reduce the amount of fig in my brain but it’s gonna take time. Even a single early target could make the difference now, and I guess we’ll have to wait and see if that comes about tomorrow or at Christmas, or god forbid 2021. If I try hard enough I can write on a break at work. Heck if I did it at 9am I could always just work until 6pm. Then again I tend to work until 8pm anyway and not get early writing done so…

This month was rough as hell, but it’s October’s fault. This is all fallout. I just hope it’s starting to clear.

November 28th, 2020 – 794

I couldn’t do it. I just wanted to write early, but my batteries are now in that limbo phase where you know you can only take ’em out and put them back in again so many times before you have to just accept that they’re empty. I’m running on fumes and my mind is not holding up well to the process. If I had any spoons left they’re spilled on the ground five stories below and I don’t have the energy for the stairs to reach them.

I feel cold, weak, like I’m failing. I’ll write, I always do, but it does feel like nothing else is allowed to stick this year. This, it turns out, is my lowest moment, the point at which I begin to crumble. I’ll get past this, I always do, but man if the tunnel don’t seem a lot longer than when I set off into the dark. I care deeply about not falling apart, but I’m failing so hard not to. I can’t take this disruption limbo of giving the normal world back and taking it away again. I get it, and I’m going along with it but it sucks, it sucks hard.

I wonder how I’ll look back on this time. Will I see this as a point of pride for overcoming the same demons that nearly dragged me into the abyss at Sussex, a triumphant round two? Or, will I see this as a dark chapter I close the book on and try to exist in spite of? Or is this just what life inside my head will be like from now on, as all the positives I spent seven long years trying to painstakingly assemble all fall to the ground and shatter. Or, will I not look back at all?

I just don’t know. How can I? All I can do, is get this off my chest, try to breathe, and write a thousand words. A win is a win, even if my world’s on fire. Can’t waste time feeling bad that I’m so inwardly focused in a time of national crisis: I’m doing my part, keeping safe and working on, and I’m allowed to feel horrible doing it. I’m doing the one meaningful thing that helps. And I’m doing the one meaningful thing that helps me too.

Sorry for the viserol post. I’m not in a good place right now, it happens. I’ll finish writing and sleep. What else can you do?

November 27th, 2020 – 793

I really need to write early tomorrow. Write early, sleep early, reset my brain, reset my clock. That’s the one missing piece right now and I swear it’s within grasp. Not even morning early I can sleep in, if I get up at 2 but write by 5 that’s a win. I just need some order and control back…

November 26th, 2020 – 792

I spent a while after work today rereading the earliest entries on this blog. A reminder of strangely different times, where I had a line between work and home that wasn’t mutilated, and when writing in the morning before 11am was almost the standard. I got to bed on time and had enough spoons left to have a crack at a healthy lifestyle.

One general election, global pandemic and two lockdowns later, I’m reminded in a humbling way how the world refuses to stand still, and how much it can all fall apart. That 1K survived is enough, and was never in any doubt, but I miss morning targets, and being able to keep work out of home, so that got more work done at work and more rest done away from it. Still not got the hang of it.

I played Animal Crossing New Horizons for the first time in 5 months today. I really missed it, it was lovely to see all my villagers again and do all the cool Turkey Day event content. You’ll have to forgive that I don’t have the willpower to grab an actual screenshot but I’ve got a photo at the end of this post of the Turkey Day room I made. It’s very zen, nice to have in the background while writing.

Writing is going well if not explosively so. I still need to today – wanted to get this in first – but I don’t think it’ll be too much of a slog. One things for sure, I need to sort my sleep routine soon because I hate starting the day so groggy. I just hope that I find my rhythm before the next big upheaval.

November 25th, 2020 – 791

Ok so I’ve been crunching the numbers on my word counts, ranging since August 4th, 2019, which is the first time I started to track the numbers with more detail. There were a lot of data points I wanted to pull, but the one I want to focus on is more visual:

So this graph shows my word count average for each month. I have the day-by-day data, but that is less helpful at a glance. A month is arbitrary of course, but I do find my life moves in phases of a month, ‘good months’ and ‘bad months’ and so on. There’s a chance that is unhelpful, and I should ignore the existence of calendars but, that might be too radical even for me. But I think the chart above has one point to make, though I have to clarify something.

In June, I wrote an average of 1,297, the second highest average of the year. I started writing The Wanderer on the 18th, and prior to that, with the exception of 2 days, every day was just-1,000. Granted one of those was my 5,250 word sprint to the finish on The First Stroke, but the word counts after the 18th are a different animal: in 12 days, only two were just-1,000. July and August were both WAN-focused until the 23rd. Of the remaining 8 days of August, 5 were just-1,000. The average word count for August came out as 1,369. Of the remaining 23 days of August, the exact same number – 5 days – came up with just a thousand words.

I think you get the point I’m making. Look at that graph. Now, imagine that I was not writing a novel that I hated so much that every day was a sprint to get past it as fast as possible between June and August. Can you see the trend? Yep, I leveled out at just over 1,100 words. I’m not in a rut; this is where I’m meant to be right now, and that’s ok. I’m not ‘ok’ – there is a lot wrong in my life right now but that’s not for airing here – but I’ve not been giving 1K enough credit: it really is the lone survivor of my mind from 2020.

Pre-lockdown numbers were better than post, which is not the data I expected to see. But what I actually think happened was this: I started doing 1K of main story content a day, and that led me to overcompensate; as I found my feet, I did less of that. I have a natural trend of more words a day that has taken on many different faces over the project: the journal, the blog, my push to edit each day. I am confident in time, my main story content per day will hit a floor of averages of 1,200. In addition to my 1,100 a day on average, I average 320 words of my journal, and 60 of my blog from a rough count, though I could do with a better number there. Combined with the 30 to 50 of my bullet journal each day – even if it is digital right now, I’m writing 1,500 words a day.

So, what’s the point of this post? I keep beating myself up for ‘underperforming’ since the end of lockdown 1.0. It’s not true. I’m outputting about 45,000 words of content a month, which if I focused it would put me in spitting distance of NaNoWriMo in my worst month. I’m knocking it out of the park, and I need to stop beating myself up for it. I’m never going to get the confidence to send off work to publications and publishers if I keep waging this pointless smear campaign. I’ll get there.

November 24th, 2020 – 790

Well that was awful.

Every time I manage to get back on my feet this year gut punches me again. Granted this was a smaller punch but trying to work tethered off your phone whilst also performing a three-person negotiation over costings for the electric work that is the reason the power is switched off and is rather loud somewhat adgitated me. I went into today thinking I might manage an AM target. Well, it’s 23:35 as I write this so if I sit on finishing much longer I might yet, just not the kind I wanted…

Breathe deep, move on. I’ll fix it.

November 23rd, 2020 – 789

Why is six afraid of seven?

Geddit? Because it’s day, you know what never mind…

So I actually wrote about 2 hours ago, and we’ll before my usual midnight rush to blog of the last few days. This is preliminary but I think I’ve found a technique that, if not guarantees earlier targets then certainly creates a better framework. In part I’m cautiously optimistic because I pulled this off despite being emotionally exhausted. It’s been a wretched old time of things lately, and I am quite keen for it to stop being that way very soon.

Screwy emotional states aside, I’m optimistic in general about the pathway forward from here. I know we’re still in semi-lockdown and that there’s plenty of stresses to clear yet, but I am gradually starting to adapt to home wiring better. I have a home office readjustment in the works that might help out there, and I’m also quite keen on applying new rules to more overtly seperate parts of my living space, so work both happens in and stays in its own place.

TWO is coming along well, clearing the 16,000 threshold with ease and well on the way to a potential 18,000 tomorrow. Even if that doesn’t happen, I’m still pretty darn pleased with how it’s gone, and how the pacing appears pretty stable. It’s still the build up chapters bit there’s already a lot of excitement and drama up front, and it only gets more so in my planning. It’s much more of a natural flow than TWR was.

Speaking of TWR I have decided on my current editing plan: I’ll reread it after TWO and then gut it. If that takes away half its wordcount so be it, but I think that’s the best solution for the lack of focus I’m worried 1.0 has. In a way it was what a first draft should be: all potential and no polish. Thinking about it like that makes me feel better about the book as a whole.

November 22nd, 2020 – 788

It’s funny, I was craving to reread 11/22/63 by Stephen King today and didn’t even notice the date. But then my brain is a teeny bit fried, so not so suprised about that derp. My mood has been, a mixed bag today. Just churning out the last words for today and then I’m gonna crash again. I need to write sooner than this…

The good news is while my sleep and early writing is screwed, my diet leapfrogged and fixed itself, which is helping my head. Even so man, I really need to hit earlier targets. 5pm tomorrow I need to write right away, if not on my break if I can. I have, no idea if I’ll manage that or not.

November 21st, 2020 – 787

787. If days of 1K were aeroplanes, it wouldn’t be all that fitting for today to be the Dreamliner, but perhaps it has been a better day. There’s a lot of drama in my life to unpick right now, far too much weight to actually take off, but I have unloaded a lot of that cargo, or at least made a robust plan. I’ll need to shift a lot more before I get back to flying. Right now, that means keeping calm, using my rest time, and getting a steady if not so impressive stream of words each day. 1K is enough. Need to keep telling myself that.