February 28th, 2021 – 886

UpWork decided to go down for an additional four hours downtime yesterday, so I didn’t get to sleep until past 4am. That proved a grim start to the last day of the month and yet, while today wasn’t ‘great’, it wasn’t awful either. I’m seeing in little ways how I am doing tasks right away, picking up detritus, and getting tasks for the flat done in quick succession. I have struggled to get to the other end of the day much as I have to get to the other end of the month, but I’m still on my feet – not literally I’m at my desk – and I’m still fighting. That’s all I can ask for.

Tomorrow I start writing Chapter 18 of TWO. That’s important because it’s the midpoint of the novel, where the story sees a dramatic pivot in plot, tone, and for that matter, perspective. I’m quite excited because what I’m doing is delving into a type of storytelling I have little experience of, and through a character I am immensely fond of. It’s going to be an interesting exercise if nothing else, and one I feel that will serve the story, and the audience’s perspective on the plot twists and turns from here on out. And, well I’m starting to enjoy writing again. I’ve been struggling with it for the last week or so but today, the words came without as much angst. That’s gotta be a good sign.

In 8 days, the UK in theory leaves lockdown. In practice, I doubt much if anything will change, but it does mean that there is a faint glimmer of hope. I still think another lockdown is far from out of the question, but I also think we’re closer to the end of this mess than the start. My initial prediction of this extending into 2022 may yet prove wrong, as I sincerely hope it will. And I feel, right now, like I’m starting to put myself back together. The pieces have been scattered ever since the stressful start to the 19/20 Academic Year, the General Election, and of course the Pandemic. And other stresses will emerge. I still have mountains to climb that I cannot even see on the horizon yet, many at least as high as the largest I have yet scaled. But, I also feel like after over a year and a half, I’ve found the right climbing gear to tackle them.

February 27th, 2021 – 885

Saw Tenet today. That was just a waste of time. Enough said on that.

No that’s a terrible Haiku, but then it was a terrible movie so shrug. I feel, awkward when I criticize art given I know I am not all that great myself yet, and that my best work still isn’t quite at ‘consistent greatness’ level yet, but here’s the thing: when your film is supposed to be about manipulating time and using that power against nefarious forces with the same ability in high intensity action sequences, don’t make your ‘fun and games’ a bunch of people sitting around talking about that. There was so much exposition where there should have been cool experimenting with the concept, and by the time they got to that, I was bored. And then the finale was full of complex explanation and exposition too, when we should be getting payoff, we instead got homework. And man, talk about flat characters that I could not care less about.

Ok no one reads this blog but SPOILER WARNING. There is a bit in the plot where the characters break into a high security facility where one of the time manipulation machines is. They fight two masked people who are ‘inverted’ – meaning they are travelling the other way in time. Spoilers, but this is them from the future, and our protagonist – who refers to himself as the protagonist all over the place because oooo look at me I’m self aware media, god that’s annoying – he fights himself. And I wanted to laugh because it’s exactly the same person. There is zero character development or arc between the first encounter and when he’s in the past fighting himself. They’re pretty much clones because he hasn’t progressed an iota. This film played itself harder than Cookie Clicker, which is a damn sight more engaging than this drivel was.

Ok, ok I’m done now. Onto my terrible writing. TWO is, well it’s going. It’s plodding along. I feel like I need to rethink the balance between day to day life and action in this, even though I have more action than say, a movie that spends the entire fun and games section talking about drawings and moseying around on a boat ok no I said I’d stop. It’s a problem for the next rewrite, but when I compare it to say WHT, which had action every other scene and in many places chapter after chapter, I worry I’m being too dull. If I am, I may need to play around more with what the outside force is able to do, and perhaps show more of that on screen. The more horror elements of it – and I stress, TWO isn’t a horror – are about the psychological idea that the universe might be against you after all, but I don’t want to drown that too much in the human side. Even so, I need some of said human side so any of it matters to the reader.

One to think on. Don’t watch Tenet.

February 26th, 2021 – 884

Rough end to the week. My mood is not in a great place at the moment, and all my optimism that I might be about to climb out of this rut is looking a little shaky all of a sudden. I’m still kinda optimistic, if only because my first commitment tomorrow is 3pm, but this is very much a ‘working weekend’. That keeps seeming to happen. I might have to institute a ring fenced day policy, say Sunday as a ‘nothing on this day or else’ message, but I mean what can I do? All I can do is try to be more stubborn about keeping certain days free, and at least the Saturday plans are nice ones. I haven’t used my support bubble much if at all, and suffice to say I could probably use the company given I rarely if ever see anyone anymore. If lockdown does end on the 8th then maybe that will change, but I don’t think it’s going to end up the ‘smooth’ end it’s being portrayed as in the press.

TWO keeps marching on. I end today with 40,000 words within a ‘good day of writing’s distance, and if tomorrow is a good day, then I’ll also have banked a 31K February, which isn’t too bad. About a page worth of the handwritten version above target. Granted I don’t need-need to, 1K is enough and if I only do target tomorrow I’ll still have averaged 1,100 words a day, so I can hardly complain. Even so I feel a little hollow at the moment, if only because I’m burned out and need an actual holiday. I also just need to figure out to an extent where I want to go with my non-writing career, assuming as I am that no writing career is on the horizon. That seems safest to assume if I’m no longer trying to get noticed. Feels weird saying that. I mean I’m not exactly happy about my career right now, but, I don’t know. I still have a lot of anxieties trying to get ‘out there’.

One day I’ll feel back in control again. I don’t think it’s that far off now, all I really need to do is hold steady where I am now, not get ill, not get injured again, not have any undue horrific incidents between now and the day lockdown eases. And yet, this is 2020+ so I do not trust for a second that will be the case. I pray that I am pleasantly surprised when the time comes.

February 25th, 2021 – 883

So little things are changing. For starters, I have been in a bad habit of writing up my bullet journal at the end of each day rather than during as I went. Today I managed the former. I’ve been in a habit of doing my work from various different PCs and at times sitting in bed with the laptop when I just needed ‘comfort’ – today I managed to just work from my desk, which is helped by having a nice one at last, even if it is a dining table. I organised my finances after work – because that’s fun right? Actually, call me weird but I do find that fun, even relaxing. And I played some Undertale which is conventionally fun.

In all, I had a good day. I’m still tired, and still a bit out of whack, but all things considered, this is far closer to the me I want to be than I’ve managed since the accident. Still weird to think a sprained ankle caused this much disruption, but in a way it wasn’t the ankle; all the habits that being off the foot for as long as I was, rolling into a house move and a busy time at work created a concoction of chaos that in hindsight looks all but inevitable. I’m hoping that in a month’s time or so, I’ll look back on now as being ‘inevitably fixable’. It’s starting to feel that way, even if it is early days.

So TWO is progressing well, now closing in on 40K and soon thereafter the midpoint, which I think will be about 43K into this draft. Speaking of story beats, I’ve been editing WHT in tandem, and I’ve found my B Story starts about 7,000 words too late, so I have a lot of cutting to do. The way I do this most of the time is to take the early chapters and merge them up, so that the beginning is more snappy. Of course setting the scene matters too, and I need about 8,000 words of that, but, well this is where it gets awkward.

See what I really need is a Docs plugin that tells me where my story beats are, and then lets me ‘flag’ what they’re meant to be. Ideally it would then have a dashboard that said ‘All is lost is X words too late’. ‘The midpoint is Y words too early’ etc. Correcting the grammar so it doesn’t sound like, well like one of these blog posts, that’s important, but it’s not as important as a good flow. Anyone can fix grammar, but knowing what the right moment to punch your reader in the gut is, and when you’re meant to get their hopes up, and for that matter when to cut the poor saps a break, that matters. I know that, but it’d be great if I could denote it in a dynamic way that updated as I went.

I guess some day I’ll brave google-code or whatever their Javascript language is called these days and build that. Or someone already has and I’ll stumble across it, filling my heart with joy. If you’re reading this and feel like stealing it and making a fortune FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DO IT. For real, I don’t need credit for the idea, those are cheap, you’d be being a life saver. And lord knows if I do it it’ll be shoddy and I won’t charge for it, and that’s not in the spirit of capitalism at all. Won’t someone think of the economy?

Ok, I’m getting weird again. Don’t say it, I can pretend I’m normal if I want to. Even if I do unwind by doing my finances…

February 24th, 2021 – 882

See told you, not even close to writing early. But I did have a more productive day, and I did also manage to write more than yesterday too so that’s a plus. Health wise, eh I’ve been better, the lack of sleep is catching up on me given I can’t drop off at night and keep waking up, but if I can get that under control the other health issues should go with it. I even made time to play some games tonight, notably Undertale which I finally got around to getting on the Switch as well. I gotta say, while the portability is nice, I really hope it’s one of the mouse-compatible Switch games. That game is damn hard with joycons.

Half way through the week, so just gotta keep my head and get to the weekend when, I guess I’ll sleep. I’ll try to anyway. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll come out the other side rested enough to feel myself again. I know I’ve been telling myself that for eleven months now, but it’s gotta be true some time. Right?

February 23rd, 2021 – 881

You know, it’s been so long since I worked on a desk that had a depth greater than 50cm that I forgot what it was like to not feel I had to telescope the bones in my arms just to sit even close to upright. I forgot what it was like to not feel like carpel tunnel was hours away with wrists bent to such angles as the humble wrist should never reach – though given my hypermobility that one was less novel an issue. And I forgot how nice it is to just have space. So here is my desk.

Ignore that I still haven’t reassembled the rowing machine…

Ok so it’s a dining table but, no, it’s a desk. Granted it is a dining table but times permitting, this is to be my home office desk until I can go with my step dad to look at partner’s desks in person, as he’s the family expert – and built enough of them – to know which are well made and which are just glorified chipboard. So that’s exciting. And in the meantime, I legitimately love this desk. It’s cosy, it’s got a varnished top so no paper-like texture, and most of all I can work without feeling cramped or stressed. Ok I am still stressed out of my skull but less stressed.

Today was a good day. I just hope this is the start of something better.

February 22nd, 2021 – 880

I had a bad day. Nothing I can’t overcome, but today I managed to get a help-email address to open at last and hoo-boy there is a lot to clear. It’s fine, I’ll clear it but damn, technical issues of Covid amirite? In all seriousness it got me down, like, bad, and I have not had the nicest of evenings under the anxiety of it all, even if it’s totally fixable and no one is on my case about it. I care about doing a good job and I hate when it feels like I’ve dropped a ball. It’s a knock to that fragile self-image we all have to maintain to some degree to function.

Truth is ‘functioning’ right now as you might have guessed isn’t so easy. I have been functionally overwhelmed, and yes still technically functioning, but I think my workspace at home is far from up to the task.

…Which is why I’m ditching this desk early. Ok, I don’t have a new one to replace it, but my sister used to have a table here and it’s about the size of the desk I want, so it’s gonna be my ‘trial run’ if you will, my way of seeing if I can make a desk of that size work in the space I have. I’m 99% certain I can and that I’ll love it when the time comes, but when you have the opportunity to test you’d be mad not to right? It’ll get here around 11:15 tomorrow so you know if I blog at like 13:00 it’s a miracle worker. I won’t, I’m sure it’ll be another 11pm blog. Even then, while far from perfect that would be a win. I just want stability, headspace and not to feel like I’m drowning anymore. Think another listen to Getting Things Done is in order too.

February 21st, 2021 – 879

It’s a shame I’m posting quite so late, though I have only now finished target so it’s not that unfitting. Even so today has been a lot better than those of late, my flat’s new tidy and clean feel helping me function and feel like I’m not drowning for the first time in a long, long time. I think I have to get through this week ahead in tact and move to earlier targets before I’ll call this even the beginning of a recovery for me, but it’s a great start in either case. Sleep is still not great but give it time to fall into place.

I’m really excited about the next steps for the flat too, as I am now in a semi-active hunt for my next desk. I am in particular looking for a partner’s desk – no not a Resolute replica sadly but it’s the next best thing – and I’m going deep. I’m not being lewd or saying I’m being super intense about it – though on the latter I kinda am – but the depth of the desk itself. The one I’m writing on is the basic standard, 50cm in depth and, well that’s not a lot for a multipurpose desk. If you’re just writing, 50cm is easily enough. If you’re using any kind of PC, you need at least 60cm for comfort.

So I’m looking for 90cm. No I am not joking. Just shy of a metre deep and realistically one and a half wide. I’m on the hunt for what you might call a big chungus, if you use horrifically outdated memes unironically. I do what I want because no one reads this and I am free to worship the big chungus in peace for all eternity, at least so long as I keep the payments up to WordPress. Money. Well. Spent. But yeah, I want to go big so that I feel I have room to breathe, and so I can spread out the various components of my writing and work. Also big partner’s desks are freaking cool and to be frank I wouldn’t be surprised if in time they make a big comeback.

I really hope this work week goes well. I’m all too aware that some email problems have really hampered my query response rate and that is not a good feeling. Best I can do I guess is go for a full night’s rest and, hope for the best.

February 20th, 2021 – 878

I’m keeping this short, but not because I’m sad or stressed or burned out. I’m tired, and it’s been a long day but…

…the flat is tidy. That took, a while. Ignore the whiteboard that’s going downstairs. This is, a biblical relief. And I might finally have a chance of restoring my routine. Here, once more, is hoping.

February 19th, 2021 – 877

Thirty thousand words. I am, so tired and I need a quiet weekend. At least the flat will be tidy by the end of tomorrow. I’m really hoping that a tidy home will make my world feel less chaotic. Not really much else to say tonight, just that I really hope by Sunday I’m not writing these posts at 11pm. It’s been a long, everything.